It’s styling GIF time – where you get to see behind the curtain of what it takes to pull together one perfect shot, in this case for the book. I know it looks like we just go into a house and snap some photos with our iphone, but we set the camera up to each angle then style meticulously to that angle AKA styling to camera. Some houses we shot for the book were a lot easier from the get-go, and it was just about gzushing to camera. Where as some were a lot more difficult, where the architecture was great and the pieces were great, but everything needed to be rearranged to make the most compelling photograph for the page. So, we kept all these process shots mostly because I am a photo hoarder, but also to help show you how to do it (and to illustrate my obsession with styling).
Here is what the room looked like when we came in. All the elements were good – the window, table and chairs were all super pretty, but the space certainly didn’t feel as inviting or alive as we wanted it to be.
We take this before shot to frame it up, then once we are happy with the exact angle we get to work. Everything gets moved around a tiny bit at a time. For this shot we were looking for something more lived in and more relaxed. The style of the house is rather old-world-french with legitimate beautiful antiques and paintings so this wasn’t the time to be sparse or minimal. We wanted layers, depth and personality – represented in a bowl of cherries, apparently 🙂
Now you probably wouldn’t live everyday with all that on your desk, right? But for a shot to feel really welcoming, inviting and to give it a sense of ‘person’ (the true calling of a stylist) you accessories and personalize until you really feel like you know the person.
The painting obviously added that statement we needed. The second chair helped fill the foreground so it didn’t look so lonely. The art leaning in the window sill gave it the ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ romance that never hurts. That table was pretty long and empty, so we dressed it with the combination of some real life things (books, computer, a mug, those cherries) and more pretty stylized pieces (that gorgeous blue bowl and the flowers). Then, to help balance the shot we added those branches in the vessel on the floor (which also echoed that rose-y tone we had going on). And to break up the back of those chairs we snuck on there a fringe-y throw that echoed the blues – but were a different tone so it didn’t look too art direction (ironic, eh?).
The End Result – a window office retreat, ready to write the next heart-throbbing romantic trilogy in. Actually, I’m not really even joking, the client who lived here is a writer and she did write Country Strong and Endless Love. So, maybe it just takes the perfectly styled window office to make you a wildly successful and creative person?
I know that a natural reaction is to say ‘but it’s all fake and why would I ever prop a random bowl of cherries on your desk in real life?’ and lets face it, you might not really have that there unless you were trying to sell an idea, a lifestyle or a person to someone. But hear me out: sometimes you want to sell that to yourself. I style my house all the time to look pretty for me, not just for photos or my guests, but because everyday I want to walk in and be like ‘Ooh, I want to be this person’. It’s all about composing the things you love in a way that tells your story. Some of us have more things than others and more complicated stories to tell. Just having the chair, table and the window wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to be that person… and now I do.
In case you are looking for that “oh so romantic (and yet productive) office retreat”, we have pulled together this “get the look” for you to get you in the mood.
1. Coral Desk Chair | 2. Blue Turkish Blanket | 3. Gold Task Lamp | 4. Woman Painting | 5. Marble Footed Bowl | 6. Wire Basket | 7. Leather Journals | 8. Flowering Branches | 9. Farmhouse Table | 10. Blue Marbled Bowl | 11. Blush Pink Mug | 12. Seascape Painting
For more about the book, behind the scenes, and a few more peeks inside the pages look here: Book Title And Cover Options | The Real Book Cover | Behind The Book – Styling The Perfect Shot |Styled On Shelves Now
***Photography by David Tsay