cottages & bungalows photo shoot

by | Aug 31, 2015 | Artistic Endeavors, Photography | 34 comments

Last fall, I received an e-mail I wasn’t expecting.  I had worked with Cottages & Bungalows for years as a contributor to their DIY essentials column, but when the editor asked me to work for them as a photographer and stylist, it was a total surprise.

I felt like I could do it, but I was really, really intimidated.

I have had photographers come to shoot my house before and they had so much gear and knew exactly what they were doing.

I was…just me.  And my gear pretty much fits in one bag.  And I had never photographed someone else’s home, dealing with all of the lighting and composition challenges that may come with it.

It may seem silly to some of my readers that I felt intimidated.  I do photo shoots in my own house and studio all the time.  I did all of the photography for my book and most of it for the MMS Milk Paint Look Book.  My work has been in magazines before and even on a cover.

But, for some reason, this felt different.

The good thing is that I have worked with Jickie, the editor of Cottages & Bungalows, a lot in the past, so I knew she would be great to work with on this.  And the homeowner, Heather from the Heathered Nest was so sweet and a long-time Miss Mustard Seed reader, so that made me feel at ease, too.  And I had Kriste there to help and she’s always awesome.

I was pleased with the pictures when I was taking and editing them, but I still had a fear, irrational as it may be, that I would open the printed magazine, flip through it, and my pictures would look subpar.

The magazine hit newsstands last week and that fear was finally put to rest.


Not only was I pleased with my pictures, but the spread was HUGE!  It was 12 pages and felt like it just kept going and going as I was turning the pages.

And it was so rewarding to see my name there, along with Kriste’s.


I don’t want to spoil the spread for those who want to buy the magazine, but I will show some of the pictures from my shoot that didn’t make it in the feature…





























And Heather took some pictures of me at work…




Yep.  I’m on a toilet.


It was such a fun and rewarding experience and I hope I have the chance to do it again at some point.

The issue is really beautiful with a lot of fall inspiration and home tours, including Melaine’s  from My Sweet Savannah.


  1. Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane

    Marian, can I just tell you how much I love your sweet, unassuming nature? Thank you for sharing all of your different real life experiences with us, and thank you too for sharing your hopes, fears, and qualms. 🙂

  2. Lori Merrill

    Hello Marian, Beautiful job. The pictures are very nice and inspiring. I will look forward to the magazine. As always, you do amazing work. Lori, @vintagethruthyme

  3. heather

    You are so talented…I loved how it all came together. You and Kriste did such an amazing job. So glad I had the chance to work with you.

  4. heather

    P.S…notice my profile shot?? It’s the one you took of me that same day 😉

  5. Karen

    Marian, your work is always so beautiful! Congrats on the large magazine spread. Can’t wait to see the article and photos.

  6. Fran

    Can’t wait to pick up a copy of Cottages & Bungalows to see the other pics! I especially loved the pics of the child’s table, crayons, and curtains–such a happy scene!

  7. Jonni @ Jasper's Cottage

    The pictures look beautiful, can’t wait to run out and pick up the issue. I hope you get the chance to do it again soon! jonni

  8. Dorene @ Seasonal Chapters

    These pictures are gorgeous and if they are just the ones that didn’t make the final “cut” for the magazine, I can’t imagine how beautiful the ones that got printed in the issue are. I am looking forward to picking up a copy so I can see more. Congratulations on the latest addition to your creative resume. Well deserved.

  9. Ale

    Wow, the pictures are incredible!! Congratulations on a wonderful spread.

    Would love to hear more tips on interior shooting from you. You are such a pro!


    really cool

  11. Teresa

    Wow… a 12 page spread! If these are the pics that didn’t make the cut, I can wait to see the ones that did. I will pick up a copy soon of the Fall edition of Cottages & Bungalows. Beautiful job!

  12. Terri

    Beautiful! I’m so happy for you and Kriste. Congratulations you two!

  13. SueSchneid22

    Your pictures look great, Marian! Your humility is so honest and unassuming. You’re a breath of fresh air!

    All the best-

  14. Denise

    Can you come do my house? 😉 Looks awesome.

  15. Marlene Stephenson

    Congratulations it all looks so wonderful,can’t wait to see the magazine.

  16. Jill

    I love these homes and your beautiful photos. One thing that caught my eye was the super cute camp fire. It’s adorable!

  17. Pamela

    Fabulous Marion !! I just love your transparent heart,,and you are a gifted woman. I read your posts and am inspired both creatively and spiritually ..Blessings to you !!

  18. Nancy

    Love the pictures!!! Your home is beautiful!
    Can you tell me the name of your fabric of the panels in your Living room? Love the fabric!! Thank you!

  19. Donna Doble-Brown

    Marian, you have such a great eye! I LOVE how you styled and photographed the rooms! Well done! Miss Kriste too!

    You guys give me so much inspiration! Love you both . . .

  20. AnnW

    Very nice job, Marian! You photographed your whole book, so you really are a professional. Well done!

  21. Marcia Stewart

    Marian, I love you style captured in the photos.

    Could you tell me if the homeowner was reluctant to paint the brick on the fireplace? We have a corner two sided fireplace which forms a 90 degree angle. It is dark brick and huge. I am so reluctant to paint brick/ a fear of making a mistake I cannot undo. Yet once I did paint it, I probably would say I wished I had made the change years ago.

  22. Jenny B.

    Awesome! I totally get why it would be intimidating! You did a terrific job. 🙂

  23. MaryLisa Noyes

    Can’t wait to check out the magazine! I’m sure there are more magazine offers in the your future.

  24. Maaike

    If those are photos that didn’t make it into the magazine, I guess I better go buy that issue!! Your photos are AMAZING!

  25. Cheryl

    Great job!! Now I want to buy the magazine and see the rest.

  26. michelle

    This is absolutely beautiful! I love following along as you take on new challenges. These photos made me even more excited to start my fall decorating today.

  27. Cindy

    Marian… your photographs are incredible! I know you could do that as a professional, and obviously the people from the magazine saw how good you are too!


  28. Mary Ann

    Wow, just wow. Congrats… but we always knew you could do everything!

  29. Kim

    So lovely. A beautiful home perfectly captured in your photos. You are so talented. What really put it over the top for me was you and Kriste’s styling. This makes it a must purchase for me!

  30. Penny

    Well done Marion, your photography was amazing and you and Kriste did so well @ styling the rooms. Great team effort. Thank-you so much for sharing it with us.


  31. Cassie

    I Picked up a copy of the magazine and ended up dog-earring almost every page of the article! On an unrelated note, I have to ask – where are your boots from? I LOVE them!

  32. Chelsea

    Love this post ! I am trying to incorporate a more cottage feel in our home! View my progress and all our family adventures at! Thank you for all your great information! Love MMS!

  33. Debi

    I have collected three pieces of old wood that I would like to use as the mount for porcelain doorknobs. I hope to use them as a towel rack of sorts in a bathroom I am redecorating. Besides brushing them and washing with a solution (e.g. TSP), how do I seal them. Do you have any suggestions?


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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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