Romantic Homes Photo Shoot

by | Apr 3, 2017 | Artistic Endeavors, Photography | 32 comments

Last October, I drove down to West Virginia to photograph the home of Melanie, from the blog Sweet Melanie, for Romantic Homes magazine.  This was the second time I was hired as a photographer and stylist for a magazine, so I had one shoot under my belt, but I am still very much a rookie.

I stopped by Melanie’s house the night before to check out the spaces, so I could get a sense of what rooms we should shoot first as well as what “fresh props”, like flowers, fruit, and food, I should purchase.

There would be some challenges.  The rooms were small, so I would have to use wide angle lenses and wedge myself into corners.  One of the rooms was in the basement, so the natural lighting was minimal and shadowy.

There were a lot of pluses, though.  First off, Melanie lived up to her blog name and she was so sweet.  She was a joy to work with and her home is beautiful.  She has worked very hard to turn hand-me-downs, yard sale/craigslist finds, and mis-matched furniture into a cohesive, Shabby Chic look.  She has also taken a home that really didn’t have anything special about it and transformed it with lots of creativity and architectural salvage.

So, I’m sharing about this now, because the issue featuring her home (and my photography) is hitting newsstands!  I just got my copy in the mail last week.

Here is what the cover looks like…

And the article is titled, “A Homemade Home”.

I’m so pleased with how the 14 page spread turned out!  I feel like it captured her airy, feminine style well and the pictures look clear and bright.  Here is a shot of the kitchen in the magazine…

…and the digital image.  (You can see they were able to crop out the ceiling fan, which was nice.)

And here is an angle of the kitchen that wasn’t shown in the article…

We shot the kitchen later in the afternoon, so we had some light streaming in the window.  This shot wasn’t as strong as the first one, but I like to give editors I work with lots of options!

The props for the kitchen shoot were my favorite.  Berries and a bunt cake seemed right at home there.

And I found these Italian sodas that were in the perfect color scheme!  I mean, prickly pear soda.  Who knew?!

I loved this little “moment” in a corner of the kitchen.  The pink-painted step stool was so sweet.

One of my favorite shots was of Melanie’s dining room…

The blue hydrangeas in that pitcher really popped against the pale pinks and brought out the blue in the seat covers and lampshade.

Can you believe Melanie sews most of her slipcovers out of bedsheets?  You can tell she sews a lot!

The basement master bedroom was the biggest challenge when it came to angles and lighting.  There was just one small window to let in natural light and that was it.

I spent the bulk of my time in that room, because it was tricky, but we ended up with some shots that showcased Melanie’s ingenuity and talent.

As far as styling, I kept most of the decor the way Melanie had it.  I just added a few fresh flower arrangements or nudged something one way or another.  I think it’s important that the homeowner’s style isn’t muddled by me adding a bunch of things that may or may not be her taste.

We did have to rearrange some furniture, but that was only because she had rearranged her furniture since the scouting shots.  We had to move things back, so they were a closer match to what the editor wanted.  Melanie was game, though, and you could tell she was a girl who didn’t mind scooting around some furniture!

A girl after my own heart.

To see the full spread, check out the May 2017 issue of Romantic Homes.


  1. DeAnna

    Turned out beautiful! How exciting to have been called by a magazine to be the photographer and stylist.

  2. Lisa

    A lovely home. Your pictures just draw me in, making me want to visit and stay awhile. Congratulations!

  3. Carole Prisk

    Wow, the pictures look great. What a sweet home. You wear so many hats. Is there anything you can’t do? I loved the singing at Christmas time, the Luckett posts make me wish I could attend, and I marvel at what treasures you find. And you look like you are having fine moving at warp speed.

  4. Marsha Kern

    You always amaze me with your talent!!!

  5. Sue

    Beautiful pictures of a beautiful home. I love the pink stepstool as well – Melanie’s personality really shows in her home.

  6. Barbara Smith

    Very romantic! You did a wonderful job showing her style! Thanks for sharing her home!

  7. Peg

    My mom just loaned me this issue today! Not my style, but it is a beautiful home, and you did an awesome job of capturing it.

  8. Farmmom Karen

    I love what looks like a dresser turned island in her kitchen and the little pink stepladder. So cute!!

  9. Teresa

    Love Melanie’s home and the pictures were beautiful. You mentioned the rooms were smallish and you had to use a wide angle lens. Well, the rooms certainly didn’t come across as small but rather airy, bright and open which is what the Shabby Chic style is all about.

    The question I have is how photo-shoots are coordinated. I noticed there was a stylist for this shoot as well. Does the stylist come in the same time as you or beforehand prior to your coming?

  10. Marian Parsons

    On this shoot, I actually worked as the stylist as well, but Melanie, the homeowner was given styling credit. That was fine, because it was her design and I just added some flowers, food, finishing touches, etc. I have worked on shoots when a stylist comes out as well and they meet the photographer on site.

  11. Patricia

    It’s a sweet house and you did such a nice job. It’s the kind of place where you can stop by and have a piece of cake and a cup of tea, for sure. But does a man actually live there? Because it doesn’t look like one would “fit” in !

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, she actually has a very manly husband and he was there for the shoot. We sort of chuckled about him sitting in the frilly chair, surround by pink and roses. 🙂 Under all of those slipcovers, though, is very comfortable furniture, and that’s what he cares about. It was clear that he loves Melanie and supports her expressing her creativity in their home. It was really very sweet.

      • Patricia

        Well, then that’s a perfect arrangement .

  12. Susan McKenney

    What a beautiful homey home! I love her style – but my husband would not so my shabby dream will never be my reality. BUT, a girl can dream and your pictures are absolutely dreamy! So happy you shared. Now I must go find the magazine!

  13. Melanie

    Oh Marian, thank you so much for sharing this! It truly was a great day to work with you and to see the amazing photos you captured of our home! The day Jade shared all of the photos with me for the phone interview made me absolutely giddy. I’m so happy for you and your accomplishment with this shoot! I was hoping you’d get the cover just to say you did that, but I was just thrilled to have 14 pages! My dream come true! Jut one more thing to put under your belt of amazing abilities. That day changed my life, you teaching me new things and helping me to grow. I will forever be greatful for all of it!

  14. angelina mast

    Beautiful, you did a wonderful job and Melanie your home is breathtaking.

  15. Sue

    Oh what marvelous photos of one of the most lovely homes I have ever seen! I absolutely adore Melanie’s home!

  16. Deanna Rabe

    What a beautiful home! The photos are great and the master bedroom looks wonderful, inspite of only one window for natural lighting!

  17. Sherry Nerreau

    I just got this issue in the mail and haven’t had a chance to look at it yet but I will look at that article first thing! What you showed us looks right up my alley (gorgeous) and you did an absolutely beautiful job styling and photographing it. You are a very talented young woman indeed! Congratulations on a job well done.

  18. Dianne

    So happy to know this was your work. I loved getting my copy of Romantic Home. I’m such a big fan of yours and very grateful for your Blog on moving “Onward”. You and your family are very special. Thank you always for sharing.

  19. Eileen

    What a charming house! Beautiful job!

  20. Gma

    That was the best shoot of the magazine! And I love that it kept going and going and going. She’s very creative and you styled it perfectly. Great job, both of you.

  21. Krista

    What a beautiful, charming, cozy home, and your amazing talents never end! It must be pretty exciting to realize where this all has taken you! Congratulations!

  22. Yolie Meyer

    Wow, what a difference! Great job, beautiful!!

  23. Sandi

    Just beautiful work! Hope I’m ok to ask a question about cabinets.
    I changed the knobs on my cabinets to stainless but the hinges are still brass. Any suggestion about how to make them look more like stainless? Thanks

  24. Debra

    The shots look great! I wish I had that talent for decor.
    I notices the side tables in the bedroom shots; where those made from a vanity? I have an old vanity very similar in style that is unpainted, needs help, and I was wondering what to do with it. I’m at a bit of a loss. Any advice is appreciated.

  25. Pat Miller

    Marian and Melanie! What a combo, for sure!
    A beautiful shoot made your beautiful home, Melanie, a bit sweeter!
    You BOTH must, and should be PROUD!!!
    Sweet eats, and sweet dreams!!
    Rock on, sweeties!! This time, I meant you ladies!

  26. Deb

    Wow! You both are just oozing with talent and have gorgeous homes. Thanks, Marian for sharing!

  27. sandi magle

    I’ve always loved Melanie’s blog and your camera work, so a perfect marriage. Will have to grab a look at this next week, Thanks for sharing, Sandi. And, congrats on the photo shoot, it looks gorgeous, Sandi

  28. Rebecca Kiser

    Beautiful! I really like that you respected her style and didn’t try to make her home into someone else’s vision. Well done!

  29. MaryLisa Noyes

    What a great accomplishment for you as the photographer and Melanie as the homeowner to have your creative touches featured like this. I will have to pick up the magazine! It’s lovely.

  30. Lynn Brown

    I have followed Melanie’s blog for a long time and love her home! She has so much talent for sewing and creating. You did an awesome job of catching exactly what her home is all about, the comfort and joy she has for her nest.


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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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