Feb 27, 2007

Just Keep Going...

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,



Anonymous said...

Hello Elizabeth,
I just love the picture's...so refined, I've been searching for the magazine here in the Netherlands, until now no luck. Maybe at Central Station Amsterdam? Will let you know...in the mean time: keep up the good work and spirit..your stuff is just devine!
Have a great day!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello to the Netherlands from St.Louis...I am thrilled to know that I have someone from your region reading my blog. I love the Netherlands and have been there many times. If you give me your mailing address, I will be happy to mail you a couple of back issues of the magazine. If you don't locate the magazine over there by June, I will mail you the June issue as well. Thank you for your kind words!

Unknown said...

Can't wait for this issue of "Romantic Homes!" I loved your post today, Elizabeth, thank you for your encouragement - I always love to read what you've written because I know that I'll often see words that so many of us need to be reminded of...

I'm going to remember to "keep going" the next time inspiration and desire hit me...

Beautiful photos - you have a gift!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth this was very insightful, very inspiring, and very uplifting. As an artist I have times where I get that keep going feeling and it's wonderful. Just the other day I was editing my artwork for greeting cards and was caught in that same moment. I love loosing time once in awhile. I enjoy your photography and this goes without saying, your style! Thanks for sharing all of this.


ShabbyInTheCity said...

I have always admired the work of Sunday Hendrickson...a photo stylist I see mentioned at the end of many magazine articles. Having a blog lets me be the stylist, the photographer and the author and I love it! Can't wait to see your new article :)

Retroboutiques said...

Oh my, I just cannot wait until that issue comes out! Congratulations to you, and thank you for your always wise words of advice!

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how fantastic this issue will be. I cannot wait to actually get the issue, I know it will be dreamy and beautiful... you know how to capture beauty... Congratulations

The Feathered Nest said...

Your photography is amazing! I'm so glad Romantic Homes has realized another of your many talents ~ My partner, Cindy, in owning our little antiques store, and I both love your taste and your unique way of design and placing importance on the simplest of things. And of course your color palette is perfect for a lover of all things vintage! I wish you many more photo shoots and articles so we all can enjoy them!!
Take care, Dawn

Brandon Woline said...

Elizabeth thank you for this blog. It made me think of the time I was getting ready for one of my antique sales. It would not stop raining, and the friend that was going to help us fell through. Because of these set backs my mother and I had to pull an all nighter. We were having so much fun we didn't even pay attention to the time. Antiques really are my passion. Thanks for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, it is because of your articles and photos that I have finally subscribed to Romantic Homes rather than trying to find it in a store. Thank you again, for such insight and for sharing your wonderful images.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you Lana - I will be sure to pass along your comment to the editor of RH. So glad you subscribed and I look forward to doing more features for them.


lindaharre said...

Elizabeth......I found your blog this morning at 3:00am and am thrilled! I too live in St. Louis and am a teacher in Webster. I have lived most of my life in Webster and recently built a home and studio in Eureka! What a treat to find your SHOP!!!! I have passed it many times but with parking looking ominous I have not stopped! I will be in today or tomorrow after school! I can't believe I have missed such a treasure!!!!! Your photos are "to die for" and your talent is rare:) I have enjoyed your apartment and your writing as well.....Thank you for sharing .....this blog world is such a miracle:)

longnecklady said...

I can't tell you how relaxing and beautiful just the littlest images that you let us glance at are. Do you have the names of the colors that went into the room?


Anonymous said...

I just found your site through Ulla today. I like your style. I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous blog, so much information and inspiration! Wow, wish I lived closer by, will have to wait for the magazine to come out to get my peek thrills! Thank you again!!!

Debbie Schramer said...

I found your blog and website today through Ullabenulla. I was SO excited and happy to find out about you and your incredible shop!!! I only wish I didn't live so far away and could visit sometime!! Hopefully someday my husband and I can go there. We are both artists and create beautiful little fairy furniture and houses from nature and found objects. I would love for you to see our work. Your creativity and beautiful aesthetic ability is incredible!! I am sure I will spend hours and hours looking at your site and your blog!! Thank you so much!!

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