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Behind the scenes on a photoshoot

Updated: May 9, 2022

‘If I ever built a house, I'd love to get it professionally photographed.’ So that’s just what I did.

This one is one of my faves from the shoot

Amidst a business rebrand, it was finally time to pull the trigger on having my home professionally photographed.

Check out this adorbs and quick video of the photo shoot day!

How do I choose an interior photographer?

Getting professional photos taken are not cheap WHATSOEVER. Investing in photos to add to the new website or to Instagram is crucial right now as I was taking horrid photos with my phone before and it looked...well, it looked crappy and unprofessional. My brand director, Courtney recommended that I start photographing my projects starting with my four-year labor of love project which was my personal home. She recommended that I use a local photographer and a stylist to think about possibly getting it published in a magazine or online outlet. Imagine??

So, I needed to find the right photographer that gels with my personality and sense of style. Interiors photographers are specially trained to not just photograph a home for showing super wide-angle photos (Think: what you see on Zillow). They are masters at artful photo composition, staging, and lighting. It was also critical to me to find someone that I loved being with (because you spend a LOT of time with them) so that I can use them again and again to make sure that all of my future projects that are photographed have a consistent look and feel.

Photographer and stylist at photoshoot
Angela & Kristi checking things out

A great interior photographer can make or break the way that people remember the projects. The photographer Courtney recommended was Angela Newton Roy who she saw was killing it on Instagram. And man did she deliver! Angela is local to the DC Maryland Virginia area, is easy going, funny, experienced, loves mid century modern design (like me), and she was also a designer in a past life which was a huge plus. She checked all the boxes!

Do I need to hire a professional stylist?

In this process of rebranding my business, I learned that styling for a client for their everyday space vs styling for a two-dimensional editorial photoshoot are two completely different worlds. So I decided I needed a professional to help out. But, stylists vary wildly. Everyone has a different sense of style and you need to match the stylist with the aesthetic of the home. Angela came with one recommendation that she thought would do my shoot justice.

Kristi Hunter is an art director and stylist who has worked for brands like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Domino Magazine, and many other home, hotel, and food publications. She came over the night before to drop off all of her styling products like vases, fresh flowers, pots for the plants, styling fruit (yes this is a thing), large bowls, and smart-looking large coffee table books. Her style is simple, sculptural, contemporary and oh so chic!

The next morning, before we started the shoot, she was outside of my house foraging for branches and leaves to place in vases. Now if I had done that - the leaves and branches I would have clipped from my yard would have looked weird, dry and boring. Kristi would go out and come back with the most perfectly sized, sculptural in shape leaves in different hues of amber or bright green. I was in awe.

Chic styling in kitchen, natural leaves

Kristi and Angela were essential to giving the space a polished, fresh feeling, and heightened stylish edge to get an impeccable photo.

How do you prepare for a photoshoot?

First - I sent tons of photos to Angela, the photographer, so she could assess the space. Next - she came by to do a pre-shoot scouting session. She did a walk through of my house and decided on how many shots we would shoot for.

The worst part of the photoshoot? It took about five days to clean and prep my house. And another 3 days to put everything back. I enlisted the help from my two boys, my husband, and a landscaper to blow and rake all the leaves. Kristi, the stylist, brought a ton of amazing accessories for the day of the shoot but she doesn’t bring bedding, pillows, and furniture. I stocked up on those items from my friend’s basement who owns a real estate staging business.

Preparing for a photoshoot
My little one helping out

Staging accessories for photoshoot
My friend's basement - so chaotic but so much good stuff to borrow

How long does it take to do photo shoot?

In hindsight, I wanted to take a lot of photos for the website so I should have asked Angela to do at least a day and a half or two full days. The way it would work was Angela and Kristi would focus on one room at a time but in that one room there would possibly be three different angles shot. For example, in my master bathroom, we did three separate shots - it probably took over an hour and a half - just for one room! We started at 8:30 in the morning and stopped around 5:30 because there was no more light. By the end of the shooting day, we were actually shooting in the dark.

Angela had her camera tethered to a laptop so we could review shots on a larger screen and adjust accordingly. After Angela would frame the shot, Kristi would place and replace different items to make it feel layered and visually captivating. Often, they would move the object just an inch to the right or replace a chair with a small side table to make the shot perfect.

Photographer and stylist reviewing the shots
The Dream Team

STYLIST TIP: Kristi also came with flowers that most people would not think of first to buy at their local florist. They were cooler than your average store bought bunch. See examples below and get inspired to buy like the stylists do!

modern tulips
Painted Brownie Tulips

modern flower arrangement
mini mango calla lilies & clematis white seed pod

modern flowers
mini mango calla lilies, schwarzwalder calla lilies & clematis white seed pods

NEXT UP! I'll post a sneak peek of the photos once they are ready. I'm so excited to share them with you! It was fascinating to see my home through the lens and through other people's design eyes. Now that I got my first shoot over with, I know the process will get better (and easier) the more and more I do it. Right? Please say yes.

DONE and DONE... Click me to see a fun tour of my house through the photos from this day!

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