Well, I was filled with anxiety over the magazine shoot yesterday, but Franklin and Esther, man and wife team (he photographs; she styles) could not have been nicer. I felt like they were old friends by the end of the day. (www.FESchmidt.com)
So what happens at a magazine shoot in a home, people are asking me.
Well, there is a LOT of equipment involved. Big tripods. And a very important component, the laptop where so much of it happens.
I had no idea you could set the cameras up, then sit down and work from a computer or remote. That way there is not so much walking back and forth and checking to see what is in the shot that they might have missed, like a tiny corner of something that was not supposed to be included.
They are given instructions from the editor who wants the feature, in this case Country Sampler. She tells them how many shots of which rooms, and what section she wants. They told me two other magazines could have taken this one. One was a magazine for small homes, the other one for old homes. I forgot the names of the magazines.
They started in the kitchen. I stayed with the dogs in the living room while they did the kitchen and dining room, so I have no idea what they did there. There is only so much room, and equipment and cords are everywhere.
They told me that every editor is different, and that each editor has something she simply does not like and does not want. This particular editor did not want: live plants (geez, there went my pretty house plants from every shot), lace (there went every doily), and appliances. (Okay, there went both my coffee bars.)
Not only that, there could be no telephones, computers, or anything of the kind in a shot. So there went my office that I had worked on for weeks. Oh well.
They said some editors will say no dolls in the photos, that they look like mummified babies. They said every editor has something. And since they work with so many, they know their preferences pretty well. They’ve been doing this 25 years.
(I went to the kitchen doorway once and got this shot, then got out of the way.)
I had to fill out and sign release forms. And was given a letter from the editor of the magazine, explaining how things would go once the shoot was over.
They shoot at least a year ahead, she wrote. And write the articles many months in advance. Then when they start to work on an issue, they finalize the editorial line-up of home tours and contact the home owner (or in this case, renter) to confirm their home is going to be published.
You see, the magazine publishing world may or may not use your feature. I guess it all comes down to specifics and what happens with an issue and last minute decisions. (Or wow, it could be a last minute reading of Tarot cards for all I know…insert laughter.)
You cannot let your home be scouted, submitted to, considered for publication by, or be published in any other competing, country decorating-related magazine or book until your home has appeared (or not appeared) in their magazine. And that issue is no longer for sale on the newsstand.
When they assign the article interview to a writer, which could be several months from now, a managing editor will call you. She will conduct a “pre-interview.” That person will ask you some brief questions so that they can provide the writer with some basic direction for the formal interview.
She will either mail or email you a printout of the final photos before the writer calls. You CANNOT post these photos, as they are copyrighted images.
When (and if) your home is scheduled for publication, you will receive a call from the copy editor for fact-checking and clarifications, if necessary.
So having said all that, they stopped and I fixed them lunch. It was deli tuna salad (they have very good deli tuna at my grocery store) on poppy seed bread, cole slaw, sweet potato tortilla chips and iced tea. For dessert I served warmed cinnamon rolls. So I didn’t cook anything. I went the deli route because my kitchen is so small, and I didn’t know ahead of time how much equipment would be in there when it was time to stop for lunch.
We ate, very informally, around my $35 round oak coffee table I found at a garage sale, my big “wow” buy of the year. I just grabbed plates and they didn’t match, but then who cares?
They loved Abi and Charlie. Charlie was very shy, but finally took to them.
(Poor bromeliad, they did not want you in the photos. You had to be hidden away.)
No matter what you have done to your house in preparation, if you’re having a magazine shoot, you must know that things will get moved around.
For instance, I had changed up the dining room considerably since I sent in the photos. I had the two tables in there and the potting bench I painted white and put coffee things on. Well, since the editor would not like that, all the coffee things had to go and they put other things there instead. I don’t know what. The editor might nix the whole room or feature over that, who knows?
(Poor thriving and pretty plant, you did not make the cut either. It isn’t your fault…)
Esther did the styling. She removed things and added other things. My poor plants were put into solitary during the shoot. Kind of felt sorry for them. My yellow bromeliad has such a beautiful bloom!
I had also changed up the living room wall. Remember, I added the gallery wall. I had also changed what was over the fireplace. They said they liked the window pane over the mantel better actually, but then she may not.
I told them the painting over the fireplace that I sent in photos of had to go. You see, it didn’t have real glass, but that plexi-glass stuff (a consignment store buy years ago) and the plexi-glass had come out of the frame at the top, and flying bugs had found their way in and died at the bottom. That was not a pretty picture, quite literally!
(Poor Abi. “Mom, make all the flashing lights go away.”)
The editor wanted a photo of the dogs on the bed. They would not comply. So that was out. They took a photo of me sitting in my favorite chair with the dogs, which I really didn’t want. Because not being able to walk around much or walk as fast as I use to has put 30 unwanted pounds on me. And who wants a “fat photo?”
I did not dress up for the shoot, as I knew I would be carrying around two dogs for much of the day. I just pulled some things out of the closet without being picky. Since I’m just not into dressing up, that would not have been “me.” They were dressed quite casually as well, which made me feel better.
(They brought the flowers, tomatoes and apples in. Not sure if they made the cut or not. I wasn’t in there.)
They were here till after dark, as they had told me they would be. After they left, I went to putting things back where I had them to some degree. Still haven’t gotten all that done.
I will let you know when (and if) this house makes it to publication.
Would I do it again? If I had those two particular individuals, I would. Not certain if it was someone else. But it was very interesting to see how all this is done.