When you see a gorgeous interior photograph, ever wondered what it takes to get the shot? You might be surprised at the planning that goes on behind the scenes to pull all the elements together. Above is the hero shot I styled for 55 Downing Street’s Simply Modern sale, which came quite a long way from the original concept.
Here’s a look at the styling process, from concept to completion. (FYI, this is not a sponsored post – just a neat look into the behind-the-scenes world of a stylist.)
When I pull together a concept for a shoot I do a simple mockup to give a sense of what the set will be and how the products will relate to one another. Above is my first mockup and the concept I pitched to the buyers. There’s a pretty clear Midcentury/Danish vibe here (which was the focus of the sale event, so yay!), but it doesn’t really have a ‘wow’ factor (boo!). It’s a little cold, even with that faux-fur pillow and shag rug. And with our target audience being primarily female – plus the fact that NONE of the furniture pieces ended up being available for the shoot date – it was time to go back to the drawing board.
Here’s version two. Much prettier! Instead of painting a yellow accent stripe on the white brick wall, I proposed painting the whole thing a soft coral hue. Since I was starting over with furniture selections, a look through our inventory revealed these three pieces which are kinda perfect to communicate a Midcentury look. While I wouldn’t necessarily put all of these leggy pieces so close together in real life, for a vignette it works to communicate the theme and look of the sale.
I loooove the soft pink and blond wood lamp, and I feel like a GENIUS for coming up with the idea to layer the deer wall decal on the surface of the mirror. It’s so cute I can hardly stand it! The fur throw helps add more softness, and the succulent arrangement introduces a much-needed bit of life and color.
And now we’re at version three. Version two remains my favorite, but the reality of styling for a retailer means that there are many others involved who have visions for how a shot will come together. The “let’s stick a deer head on the mirror” concept was nixed (I’m still keeping that idea in my back pocket for the future though); the lamp was unavailable; and the brick wall was needed by another stylist the same day.
But my job is to be a problem solver, so problem solve I did. The wall definitely needed to have texture, so the brick was replaced with a beautiful wood wall painted the same soft coral. The wall had a window opening in it that wasn’t right for this shot, so I rotated the mirror to cover the window.
Since the deer decal was no longer an option I suggested a ceramic stag head. (Fun fact: his name is Juan and he resides in my living room when he’s not making appearances on blogs.) White ceramics photograph so beautifully and add texture without dominating. Plus, I’m pretty certain every room needs an animal head.
Ta da! Here’s the final photo. It looks remarkably close to the mockup above since we shot it at the same angle, which totally cracks me up. Creating these simple mockups has been a helpful way to visualize all the elements in a scene and make sure that everything works visually and that I’m not missing any crucial elements for the shoot.
If you’re decorating your own home and have a basic understanding of Photoshop, I highly recommend this practice. It takes a little time, but it’s a really helpful way to take some of the guesswork out of putting a room together when you can visualize the end result more clearly. (And if Photoshop wizardry is not something in your skill set, I’d be happy to help.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this type of post – did you find it helpful? Would you like to see more behind-the-scenes posts like this? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter! Tweet me @lesleymyrick.
Image: Lesley Myrick for 55 Downing Street.