BHG Kitchen Photo Shoot

Marian ParsonsPhotography

Two whole years ago, a stylist and photographer came to my home to photograph my kitchen for the Better Homes & Gardens special interest publication “Kitchen + Bath Makeovers.”  I was beginning to think the shoot ended up on the cutting room floor, but then it appeared in the Spring 2015 issue!


…and now that it’s out in the world, I can finally share the details of the photo shoot.

It’s always exciting to have a crew come to photograph my home.  I take pictures of my spaces often, so it’s nice to get a fresh set of eyes on everything.  I also love watching the photographers work…



The one I worked with on this specific shoot, John, was so talented.  I think I audibly gasped a few times when the image was relayed from the camera to the computer screen.






With this particular shot, the head-on view of the stove and range hood, John positioned the camera on the opposite counter and caught a view of the kitchen I hadn’t noticed before.  I would’ve had to wedge myself under a cabinet to do it!  I love that he showed me a new vantage point.




The stylist didn’t add a lot of “props” to the space, but the editor really wanted pops of green, so they added the green enamel pot, used my green plant pots and bought a huge bouquet of green hydrangeas.

I removed everything from the counters that wasn’t photogenic, like the toaster, dish drainer, coffee maker and microwave, etc.  They were stacked in the dining room.  And, of course, I scrubbed that place like never before…every crack, crevice, spot, stain, spill and spiderweb.


The thing I enjoyed the most about this shoot was watching John “control” the light.   He would add a scrim or a black piece of fabric and totally change the look of the picture…the way the shadows would fall, the way the light would reflect.  It was fascinating to observe.  (Of course, I was like a parrot on his shoulder, so I could learn all I could!)


One shot that didn’t make the magazine was this detail shot of the counters and cabinets.  We arranged some blueberries, eggs and a whisk on a marble pastry board.  It was simple, but so pretty.  I think it was my favorite shot of the day.


Some things I took away from this shoot…

  • It takes A LOT of time to get one shot just right.  We spent the entire day styling and shooting just a few shots in one room!  Recognizing that caused me to slow down when I’m working on important shoots like home tours, freelance projects and furniture reveals.  It also gave me permission to have less-than-magazine perfect photos when I can’t take all day to shoot one subject.
  • Getting the photo properly lit is a dynamic, experimental task.  You might get the lighting just right and then the sun goes behind a cloud and it’s totally different.  You might fix one shadow only to cause another problem.  It was so fun for me to watch John “play” with the light, trying different things until he was satisfied.
  • Photography is part art and part technology, so there is always something new to learn.  You should see the gear these pros travel with!  There is so much technology involved that even shopping for equipment and software is overwhelming.  Then there’s the whole personal preference factor of how you like the picture exposed, composed and cropped.  So, don’t be hard on yourself if you’re still learning.  I think we’re all still learning to one degree or another.
  • Assign yourself homework.  The day after the photo shoot, I took out my camera and tried to capture some of the same things John did.  It helped for me to practice right after watching him in action.  (You could try this with any picture that inspires.)


I was shooting with my d7000, but I felt like I was already getting better results.  And the pictures I watched him take still inspire me.

This picture I took for my Summer 2015 home tour is inspired by the one John took of this scale on my counter…



…and I have since taken many images of the stove and range hood head-on, just as he did…wedged under the cabinet.


So, I think the lessons I learn and the little nuggets I take away from these photo shoots have been the most valuable thing.

Seeing the article in print is just the cherry on top.


Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, Kriste and I will be driving down to Atlanta to attend the Haven blog conference!  We’re excited for a road trip and to meet and mingle with other bloggers and readers.

Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room (AND newly crowned New York Times bestselling author) and myself (that’s a tough act to follow) will be teaching the workshop “Insider Secrets to Publishing a Book” on Friday at 10:00 am, if you’re interested in attending.  We’re going to share our book publishing stories as well as tips for each step of the process.

BHG Kitchen Photo Shoot

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