What Happens At A Magazine Shoot

Well, I was filled with anxiety over the magazine shoot yesterday, but Franklin and Esther, man and wife team (he photographs; she styles) could not have been nicer. I felt like they were old friends by the end of the day. (www.FESchmidt.com)

So what happens at a magazine shoot in a home, people are asking me. 

Well, there is a LOT of equipment involved. Big tripods. And a very important component, the laptop where so much of it happens. 

I had no idea you could set the cameras up, then sit down and work from a computer or remote. That way there is not so much walking back and forth and checking to see what is in the shot that they might have missed, like a tiny corner of something that was not supposed to be included. 

They are given instructions from the editor who wants the feature, in this case Country Sampler. She tells them how many shots of which rooms, and what section she wants. They told me two other magazines could have taken this one. One was a magazine for small homes, the other one for old homes. I forgot the names of the magazines.

They started in the kitchen. I stayed with the dogs in the living room while they did the kitchen and dining room, so I have no idea what they did there. There is only so much room, and equipment and cords are everywhere. 

They told me that every editor is different, and that each editor has something she simply does not like and does not want. This particular editor did not want: live plants (geez, there went my pretty house plants from every shot), lace (there went every doily), and appliances. (Okay, there went both my coffee bars.)

Not only that, there could be no telephones, computers, or anything of the kind in a shot. So there went my office that I had worked on for weeks. Oh well. 

They said some editors will say no dolls in the photos, that they look like mummified babies. They said every editor has something. And since they work with so many, they know their preferences pretty well. They've been doing this 25 years.

(I went to the kitchen doorway once and got this shot, then got out of the way.)

I had to fill out and sign release forms. And was given a letter from the editor of the magazine, explaining how things would go once the shoot was over. 

They shoot at least a year ahead, she wrote. And write the articles many months in advance. Then when they start to work on an issue, they finalize the editorial line-up of home tours and contact the home owner (or in this case, renter) to confirm their home is going to be published. 

You see, the magazine publishing world may or may not use your feature. I guess it all comes down to specifics and what happens with an issue and last minute decisions. (Or wow, it could be a last minute reading of Tarot cards for all I know...insert laughter.)

You cannot let your home be scouted, submitted to, considered for publication by, or be published in any other competing, country decorating-related magazine or book until your home has appeared (or not appeared) in their magazine. And that issue is no longer for sale on the newsstand. 

When they assign the article interview to a writer, which could be several months from now, a managing editor will call you. She will conduct a "pre-interview." That person will ask you some brief questions so that they can provide the writer with some basic direction for the formal interview. 

She will either mail or email you a printout of the final photos before the writer calls. You CANNOT post these photos, as they are copyrighted images.

When (and if) your home is scheduled for publication, you will receive a call from the copy editor for fact-checking and clarifications, if necessary. 

So having said all that, they stopped and I fixed them lunch. It was deli tuna salad (they have very good deli tuna at my grocery store) on poppy seed bread, cole slaw, sweet potato tortilla chips and iced tea. For dessert I served warmed cinnamon rolls. So I didn't cook anything. I went the deli route because my kitchen is so small, and I didn't know ahead of time how much equipment would be in there when it was time to stop for lunch. 

We ate, very informally, around my $35 round oak coffee table I found at a garage sale, my big "wow" buy of the year. I just grabbed plates and they didn't match, but then who cares? 

They loved Abi and Charlie. Charlie was very shy, but finally took to them.

(Poor bromeliad, they did not want you in the photos. You had to be hidden away.)

No matter what you have done to your house in preparation, if you're having a magazine shoot, you must know that things will get moved around. 

For instance, I had changed up the dining room considerably since I sent in the photos. I had the two tables in there and the potting bench I painted white and put coffee things on. Well, since the editor would not like that, all the coffee things had to go and they put other things there instead. I don't know what. The editor might nix the whole room or feature over that, who knows?

(Poor thriving and pretty plant, you did not make the cut either. It isn't your fault...)

Esther did the styling. She removed things and added other things. My poor plants were put into solitary during the shoot. Kind of felt sorry for them. My yellow bromeliad has such a beautiful bloom!

I had also changed up the living room wall. Remember, I added the gallery wall. I had also changed what was over the fireplace. They said they liked the window pane over the mantel better actually, but then she may not. 

I told them the painting over the fireplace that I sent in photos of had to go. You see, it didn't have real glass, but that plexi-glass stuff (a consignment store buy years ago) and the plexi-glass had come out of the frame at the top, and flying bugs had found their way in and died at the bottom. That was not a pretty picture, quite literally!

(Poor Abi. "Mom, make all the flashing lights go away.")

The editor wanted a photo of the dogs on the bed. They would not comply. So that was out. They took a photo of me sitting in my favorite chair with the dogs, which I really didn't want. Because not being able to walk around much or walk as fast as I use to has put 30 unwanted pounds on me. And who wants a "fat photo?"

I did not dress up for the shoot, as I knew I would be carrying around two dogs for much of the day. I just pulled some things out of the closet without being picky. Since I'm just not into dressing up, that would not have been "me." They were dressed quite casually as well, which made me feel better. 

(They brought the flowers, tomatoes and apples in. Not sure if they made the cut or not. I wasn't in there.)

They were here till after dark, as they had told me they would be. After they left, I went to putting things back where I had them to some degree. Still haven't gotten all that done. 

I will let you know when (and if) this house makes it to publication. 

Would I do it again? If I had those two particular individuals, I would. Not certain if it was someone else. But it was very interesting to see how all this is done.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Follow on Bloglovin
follow us in feedly


  1. Awesome Brenda! So sorry so much could not be in the shoot. I know you will be published!! This is just wonderful. See you are a somebody. I will grab my magazine and show to everyone...this is my friend Brenda's homr. I know her!! Im excited for you Brenda!!

  2. I hope they do publish and article with your home photos! It was interesting to hear your story of how it went...not sure my home would ever have a photo shoot.

  3. I always wondered why you never saw our modern electrical gadgets, now you've explained it. Boy, lots of work and goings on in your house. I'm glad the dogs like them. Certainly made it easier for you. But thank you so much for the step by step explanations of your day. I had no idea it was that involved, nor the length of time out they do their shoots. I just know ti's going to be published!

  4. Sounds like it was all very interesting, especially to one who likes to take photos, like you. I thought about it going on yesterday and figured as exciting as it was, it must have been pretty exhausting too. Congrats on having such a big event happen and glad the pups were good with it. It will be fun to see what the article shows when published.

  5. Congrats on your photo shoot. Your house is so cheerful and warm. It belongs in a magazine. It's so cozy too.


  6. There is so much work involved, attention to detail, editing, redoing, lighting, styling, more editing, etc., to a photo shoot, isn't there? You come to truly appreciate the decorating magazines, and maybe feel a little guilty about complaining how expensive some can be! But when you think that one shoot incorporates the talent and work of 5 or so people, travel expenses, publishing costs, and much more, you realize that it probably should cost more!;)

    Thanks for your 'investigative reporting', Brenda and hope your cozy little house makes it to the printing press!


  7. Congratulations Brenda! So very exciting, surely we'll be seeing it in print soon...keep us posted!

  8. This was so interesting to read all the details of a magazine shoot! When I look at interior home pictures in magazines, I know there is no way that the people actually live that way day-to-day. I can't believe they (well, not the people at your house, but the editor) didn't want any live plants in the photos. I think live plants add so much to a vignette or room, but hey, I'm not the editor, nor do I know exactly what look they were going for, so who am I to say? lol Anyway, sounds like a very interesting experience!

  9. I had heard that Esther and Franklin were nice people work with.. I had no idea there were so many "dos and don'ts" involved.. I'm sorry your plants didn't get included..
    I had hoped Charlie and Abi would be in the pictures.
    I will keep my fingers crossed that your home will be in the pages of CS sometime soon.
    The conversation with the writer should be interesting..
    Lunch sounds like it was delicious.. Eating it at your round oak table was perfect..
    Take care and be cozy.
    Charlotte in Virginia

  10. I can't wait to see it...congrats to you and it is fun. very exciting!
    I was in a 2009 issue, can't believe it has been that long.
    Blessed Thanksgiving

  11. I would love to see your home in a magazine! Keep us posted!

  12. How very exciting! I loved reading how it all works. I've heard that they move things every which way, so you needn't put a whole lot of thought into your displays right before they come. Your lunch sounded good. I think I would've done the same thing (served from a deli). I can only imagine how nervous your dogs were. Mine gets very excited if anyone new comes over. He makes a spectacle of himself in front of them to get attention. LOL! I can't wait to see it once it's published. I hope you do anyway!

  13. I love the person you are Brenda..just yourself..congratulations for having your cozy little home picked to be in Country Sampler...my favorite magazine! I can hardly wait to see it...I bet they enjoyed their day with you and your cute doggies...Carol

  14. I found all this very fascinating! Thanks for sharing all the details of your magazine shoot.

  15. I've never heard it explained about what they did so this was very interesting. I know you're glad you did it but it sure was a lot of hard work. Hope you get everything back the way you want it. You have such a beautiful home! Sweet hugs!

  16. No matter if they publish your house or not, it's still a very interesting experience, and while I know it was hard work, it will be worth it. Thanks for filling us in on the behind the scenes, I've always wondered how it works.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that one day you say, go and pick up this issue, I'm in it.


  17. Wow, Brenda, how exciting! I really, really hope that they put your home in their magazine, you deserve it! And your pretty home deserves it as well.
    Hugs, Cindy

  18. That is exciting. I hope your home ends up in a magazine.

  19. This was quite interesting to read, Brenda, and see the photos of your photo shoot. I'm looking forward to your telling us when to buy the magazine because your house will be featured!

  20. This was so interesting and informative! I hope they do put your lovely little cozy place in there, in the end. Mummified babies? LOL! :)

  21. The advance timeline for magazines is crazy; so much work for one article. Imagine how much time is involved with putting the whole thing together. Sure hope you make the cut. :) Best wishes, Tammy

  22. I am sure that whatever they have chosen in your house is wonderful, Brenda. Now we sit and wait, and wait, and wait for the final result. xo Laura

  23. It will be so fun to see your home in the magazine. I did not realize that they do the photo shoots so far in advance. I read on a blog recently about someone who went through the whole photo shoot thing, but by the time the article was ready to run, the magazine had gone out of business.

    Hope the house plants are back in place and aren't drooping from rejection.

  24. I can't imagine they won't use your home in their magazine. It would certainly be their loss if they don't.

  25. Sounds like things were hoppin' at Little Cozy House yesterday! I really hope they use your pics in the magazine Brenda! So happy that they wanted to photograph your home, it's certainly a jewel with all the colors and happiness throughout the rooms. I be you're exhausted today from all the excitement..

  26. How exciting! I hope you will get published, but bummer it may take up to a year!

  27. Hi Brenda! Oh, so cool! I'm sure it was exciting and exhausting at the same time! I'm so proud for you and hope your shoot makes the mags! I know someone famous! ;)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  28. I have a dear friend who was featured in an earlier version of Country Sampler this year and she described much like you did. She said it took much longer than she expected and they moved lots of things around. But what a grand experience to have.... hope you make the cut! Vicki in Louisville KY

  29. How very exciting for you,.....I hope they decide to use your home in their magazine. That is just very cool...

  30. Fascinating to hear about your day with the photographers. Sorry about the things that were cut, but I'm sure what they shot will be fabulous.

  31. I always have a feeling in magazine it's not the real house and you just confirmed it since they removed so much of your things!

  32. Your plants are lovely but maybe some folks are not. This is exciting for you Brenda. I do not think I could get my house clean. I am about to join a primitive club and just having to host a few times is nutting me up. xo, olive

  33. Hi Brenda, I hope your home is published in the magazine. The process is interesting and it sounds like it was a fun day even with having to put everything back in place. Looking forward to seeing your home in the magazine.
    Happy Thanksgiving this week

  34. I sure hope it gets published. I have subscribed to County Sampler for years and would love to see your home in it. I have noticed in some magazines that they move things around and you might see the same item in different rooms. To bad they didn't use the plants and doilies, they make a home, well, homey. :)

  35. I hope your home makes the cut for next year's issue! How interesting it would be to see how somebody else styles your home with the things you own. Congratulations!

  36. Exciting and exhausting! I'm sure your home will be published. Congratulations!

  37. I am just catching up and somehow missed this post. It was fascinating to read about your house photo shoot, and written in your own way too, Brenda. I feel sure your home will make the pages of the magazine, even the name of the mag seems just right for the cosy look you have created. I have had book photo shoots at my home, of work projects, not the actual house itself, but I know what you mean about moving everything around! Well done, Brenda.....I am looking forward to seeing the pictures when they are published!
    Helen x

  38. Fascinating! I can't wait to see what they use in the publication. That is so odd about plants.

  39. Thanks for sharing your photo shoot experience! Congrats on even being considered! I hope your home makes the cut and we will see your home published. I don't understand the not wanting plants or your coffee bar in the shoot.

  40. Wow! Congratulations on the possibility of having your home published!! That is wonderful. I have wondered what goes on during a photo shot - how interesting - how long it takes, what they want or don't want in pictures. I have "tripod lights," on my wish list of things I wish I had. I love the idea of hooking up to the computer after each shot - or a series of shots - interesting - I think my camera with an attachment will do this - I will have to investigate.

    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  41. Country Sampler is my favourite magazine. Can't wait to see your cozy little home :)


I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time.

Please be kind with your comments. We all need kindness in this world. That's not to say you can't state your opinion! Everyone should be able to state their own opinion in a kind and thoughtful manner.

I appreciate each and every one of you!