BHG Kitchen Photo Shoot

by | Jul 15, 2015 | Artistic Endeavors, Photography | 17 comments

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.


  1. Karen

    It is so much fun to read how the magazine photos are taken! Thanks for sharing the background information. I really enjoyed the post!

  2. Heather

    There is sadly no feasible way for me to make it to Atlanta for the conference, although I’d love to hear your talk on publishing a book! Any chance you’d be willing to write a post about it after the conference? Sort of the “after the photo shoot is published” reveal like you’ve done here with the kitchen now that the magazine is in print. I bet there’s a lot of readers who’d love to hear more about your experience publishing your book, but also can’t make it to Atlanta. Just a thought! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the magazine shoot experience! Very interesting! Helps keep us all grounded just knowing how much time and effort goes into all those beautiful images!

    Have a wonderful weekend at Haven!

  3. Judy Pimperl

    Congrats on the BH&G publication featuring your great kitchen. It is always fun to watch creative people work and I’m glad you were able to pick up some tips to use and share. Thanks! And, I’m sort of happy to know that it isn’t all as easy as it looks to get those perfect magazine shots…
    Y’all be careful out there on the trip to Atlanta.

  4. Coco

    Congratulations on the feature and thanks for sharing such great tips. This is definitely one area I’m always working on to try and improve. Can’t wait to finally meet you at Haven. Safe travels, CoCo

  5. Denise

    What a fun shoot! This post reminded me how much I would love to have wood countertops in our kitchen – just might need to take the plunge!

  6. Rowena Philbeck

    WOW awesome congratulations!! Love the pictures they took. Love the green in the kitchen as well. Thanks for showing us.

  7. Sarah Phillipps

    I am so excited for you that you finally got to see the magazine article and are going to Haven! Maybe next year I will go, too.

  8. Docia Fuller

    I’m glad you got to enjoy the experience of a photo shoot with BH&G! I was lucky enough to have my Quilt Shop in their Quilt Sampler as one of the the Top Ten Shops in the U.S. It was so interesting to watch them get the right shot ! BTW, I was lucky enough to get a piece of ironstone from your sale! Thank you so much!

  9. Ashley Harding

    Congrats on the photo shoot and having your kitchen published! How gratifying to see the results of all of your hard work so beautifully illustrated! I’m getting ready to do a kitchen makeover post, so reading this was very helpful for me (although my photography is far from yours). Have a great time at Haven and safe travels!

  10. Stephanie

    Congratulations! Well deserved. See what God can do! 🙂

  11. Cindy Harvey

    super neat….I think BH&G was shooting the kitchen I did for my son about the same time….their feature came out last fall in the same magazine (Kitchen + Bath Makeovers). I agree…. Super interesting to watch the pros work! I also enjoyed watching the stylist frouf and stage the space. Have fun at Haven!

  12. Deb

    How exciting! Love the green accents al the way to the jacket hanging on the hook in your office. You could switch out the green to any other color, and will look great throughout your house, different color for different seasons. Have a great weekend.

  13. Trina @ afewmineradjustments

    Congratulations! This would be a dream come true for me. We are actually remodeling our kitchen right now and are doing most of it ourselves. I am taking a ton of photos and some videos of my littles banging away at walls and tiles….they love that.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    xoxo, Trina

  14. Lauren Baxter

    Congratulations!! That’s awesome, looks like so much fun! I love photography but photographing my home is definitely a toughie and something I want to practice more!!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  15. Wendy J

    I love reading your blog and how you make it seem possible for anyone to create the look we want without having unlimited funds. The photos of your kitchen are beautiful. You give me the drive and determination to want an create surroundings that make me happy and light bulbs to go off in my head!!
    Your paints are not available in my area so I have been toying with the idea of opening a small scale business in my sun porch. Now to make that happen!!

  16. MaryLisa Noyes

    My niece’s husband is a professional photographer and I am so impressed how his magazine cover’s come out especially working with human subjects. I think that’s why I enjoy Instagram so much because people’s talents with their camera is amazing. Your skill is very professional. Thanks for sharing….

  17. Carolyn Peeler

    Congratulations on the article. You have done such an inspiring job at renovating and decorating your home, and the feature is well deserved. Getting published is always a thrill, no matter how common (or not!) it is.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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