I am very blessed to be able to not only design a room, but to also style it for my photo shoot, shoot it myself, and then write about it. I want to give you just a tiny sneak peek of what is to come in the Romantic Homes, June's issue. Two more photos are at the end of this posting.
My very special friends, Kendall and Joni asked me to help them with their bedroom. They wanted it all done up "Elizabeth House Style." They are a wonderful couple to work for - they are accepting of all ideas - that is a treasure.
In the colors of pale blues, tans, and a little gold, their tiny bedroom became a humble retreat that one would find in the south of France. I don't want to spoil the June issue for you so I won't give you any details of their fabulous furniture, custom bedding, or fauxed walls and ceiling. However, I will share with you that the editor was thrilled with the photography - which makes me very happy.
However, I do want to share with you my experience in shooting this feature. What exactly goes into a magazine photo shoot? My working solo is not typical at all. Most photo shoots consists of several people, to include the stylist, the photographer, the assistant and probably yet another assistant. Other than the number of people, my photo shoots basically consists with the same amount of work. However, I love doing this so much - I don't like to call it work.
I start out by scouting the site - which simply means I check out the space to be photographed and take notes on needed props, the arrangement of furniture, outlets, and especially the lighting. I use only natural lighting when I shoot. I need to study the light at different times of the day and adjust for cloudy or sunny days as well. I like the challenge of color temperatures and adjusting the white balance as the sun moves across the sky or behind clouds.
On the first day, I trek all props to the home and unload them in another room. I like to call this my "shopping room" because I lay out all that I brought, and I spend the day studying the room and arranging the owners' things as well as any props that I may use. While styling the room, I study the light and check the time of day and take notes to help me remember the time of day when a section of the room is lit in a manner that I find suitable.
The second and third days are spent shooting. This is when the real styling takes place. Many times, objects and furniture are arranged for "the lens" which means items are most likely moved closer together than normal, or arranged strictly for lighting purposes. Lamp cords, dust, threads, crooked photos, phone cords, outlets, and a carelessly placed camera bag are all moved, hidden, or adjusted over and over again per every single photograph.
Would having an assistant be helpful? Of course. And maybe some day I will get one to help me on the shoots. But for now, I enjoy getting inside my head and visualizing my shots. I like the quiet. I like seeing what no one else will see until the photographs are published. I like not having to answer questions that would most likely be asked from an assistant:
"Where do you want this?" "How is the light?" "What about this prop instead?" "Why don't we move the chair over here?" "What is that prop for?" "Where are you going to use this?"
Not that these questions are inappropriate and some are even necessary. But I am a terrible "boss" when it comes to actually creating something. When I am in "my element" and I am actually creating, I don't talk. Hard to believe, I know. Yup, I shut my yapper and I constantly think. In fact, there have been many, many times that I am working diligently only to jump out of my skin because someone has come up to me to ask me something and I was totally unaware of anyone even in my presence. But to have someone "helping" me by asking me question after question only slows me down, interrupts my thoughts, and most likely, my answer to just about every single question that is asked of me while I am creating is "I don't know yet."
I don't know yet. And I won't know until I do it. There is something almost magical that happens to me when I am working and concentrating on something I have a strong passion for. I really don't "plan" it out exactly. I don't really know which props to pack - I just see a prop at the moment I am packing and think to myself "that may work...not sure where, but I think I could use that." I am almost on autopilot when I create. It comes very effortlessly to me. I know, that seems so unfair to those of you who struggle just to make a bed - but then again, I struggle greatly to remember names - and most of the time I fail at remembering names where as some of you remember without any effort.
When the shoot is completed, I pack it all up, clean the room, and unload it all back into my store or inventory room. I then get to do what I love the most - download my photos and work on them. On this particular shoot, I downloaded all my photos and began my love of cropping, color adjusting, and choosing. I was so involved in my process that at one point I glanced out the window and saw the sun coming up! I had worked through the entire night and not even realized it nor was I tired. I wanted to just keep going.
And it is that "just keep going" feeling that we should all be so lucky to experience in our lives. Think about it. We all go, go, go. But where are we going? We go to the bank, the store, the dry cleaners. We go to soccer practice, to meetings, to work, and to obligatory family visits. We also go without. We go without sleep. We go without recognition. We go without encouragement. And we also fore go. We fore go our needs. We fore go our wants. We fore go a lot of things because we have learned to go without and to just go on and make do.
But how often do we truly, and I mean truly, just "want to keep going?" When those rare moments of wanting to just keep going happen to us - may I suggest that you do. Sooner or later, you will stop. But don't shortchange your need to just keep going. Don't usurp that need with "shoulds." I should be getting to bed now. I should be doing the bills now. I should be working on that report. I should be cleaning the house now. The only "should be's" that you should be doing is indulging in your need to just keep going. Lord knows, it is a rare need. So cherish it.
And who knows? Your need to just keep going may just take you where you should have been all along.
from my house to your house,