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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Behind the Scenes of Our BH&G Shoot

You guys were so kind and excited for our Better Homes & Gardens Refresh feature, so I thought you might like to see some of the behind-the-scenes action! The whole thing had to stay hush-hush until published, so all I have is quickie phone pics of the days they were here...but still fun to see all the work, and mess, that goes along with a major magazine photoshoot!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

You may recall the timing wasn't exactly ideal, since we'd just sold our house when we got the call! But I'll start at the beginning for those who like to hear it all.


How did this whole thing happen? Did you email them or they email you?
Last Summer, I received an email from Mark Lohman, a photographer who was shooting for a magazine in my area...he found my blog, and wanted to come scout my house while he was in town. We were only half-way through the majority of the room makeovers at the time, but he insisted none of that mattered.

Most scouts and photographers actually work freelance, so he sent off his informal pictures in hopes that one of the magazines would be interested in picking it up. Fortunately for us, field editor Andrea Caughey was immediately a fan and worked tirelessly to get us published. We got the word in July that Refresh wanted us!

Then what happened?
Andrea called early August and said they wanted to shoot right away, and could we make mid-August work? "Um, actually, we're on a near-deserted island for almost two weeks, and there's not a finished room in the house, but, um, maybe?" was my response. Fortunately Andrea had more sanity than me, so she pushed the shoot back to 'September, or October at the latest!'

So you actually shot it last year?
Not exactly. We returned home from our trip, and started busting out all the project lists, working our way from room to room. Nothing like the prospect of a major magazine photographing your house to get shizz done! September became October, then October became November. Each month we'd get word that they were 'close'...and to make sure and keep our house 'seasonless'. What?! It was Fall and Thanksgiving, and I'm a blogger!! We're supposed to decorate our houses with pinecones and plaid...it's what we dooooooo!

But turns out Refresh Magazine was undergoing an internal overhaul, so there was a pause in new shoots. At this point, I mentally moved on and figured it would work out if it was meant to be. Oh, then we accidentally found a new house and decided to move.

Just get to it and tell us how it finally happened!
That's not a question, but whatever. We signed the contract on our new house, with a closing date of December 31, and literally the next day we got word that the shoot was on....for the end of January! Then to further our shock, we sold our house in a day...and the new owners wanted to move in January 15!

But I we weren't about to miss out on such a great opportunity to have our home featured, so we did a lease-back from the new owners until after the shoot. (You can imagine my conversation with Mr. SP about why we needed to maintain two houses, right?!) Which means we couldn't move, or even pack a single box, until they were done. Which also turned out to be a good thing, since it allowed us time to remodel the new Kitchen! Or so I reiterated to Mr. SP. Frequently.

So long story short...we bought and sold a house, prepared for and hosted a photoshoot, remodeled a Kitchen, packed, and moved, all in the span of eight weeks. It was as crazy and exciting as it sounds. And I wouldn't change a single thing about it!

Did they bring a lot of stuff?
The talented stylist, Donna Talley, was so considerate of me and my style, and called several times to see what additional props I had on hand, and to get a feel for what I liked. She arrived the day before the shoot with an SUV bursting with decor, and the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen (flown in from California...it was, after all, January in Texas). That was the last time I could walk in my Kitchen for the week.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

How long did the shoot last?
This was another 'funny' twist. Initially they scheduled two days to capture 16 shots (8 rooms)...then they decided it was a 'strong cover option', so they added a third day for cover tries. Then Kitchens & Baths Makeovers magazine wanted to feature it, too, so a fourth day was added for 8 more Kitchen shots.

If you're counting, that left us with six days before the movers arrived. Thank goodness for our moms!

Did you have a say in what outside props they used?
Donna would ask if I liked something before using it, but since she's the pro, I left most all of it up to her.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Did you know what rooms they were going to shoot ahead of time?
A few weeks prior to the shoot, they sent a detailed shot list, with images from my blog and the scouting session. It outlined every shot and angle they wanted, along with the style and feel they were looking for in each image....down to the type of flowers they envisioned.

Several of the images were so old, the space no longer looked the same, so I had to send updated images for them to approve. Fortunately, they loved everything we'd done since the initial scouting six months prior.

What were you most surprised about?
The mess! I literally had to disconnect myself from the house and fight the urge to tidy. By the time the stylist brought in her supplies, and the photographer his gear, we could barely walk through the house.

Then, in order to set-up a shot, virtually everything in that space had to be moved out. So while the shot looked like this...

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

The area immediately around it, looked like this...

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

I was also surprised by how many people it took to create such beautiful spreads!



Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Did you get to keep any of it?
Nope, it all had to go back...with the exception of the large white vase they used in the cover shots. I bought that from the stylist as a keepsake. But we did get to keep all the flowers, so my house had never looked, or smelled, better. It was like Oprah's house up in there.

Sidenote: The 'cover tries' is a full day dedicated to creating the perfect potential cover...in our case, that meant styling the sofa and shelves with 8 different pillow and prop combinations. This was my favorite.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

What happened after the shoot?
Several weeks later, I received all the rough shots and sourced everything in each image. That means I detailed where every last pillow, lamp, rug, tile, and DIY project came from, along with dimensions and contractors of the Kitchen remodel. That's what they use to create the Source List at the back of the magazine.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes BHG

Were you paid?
No, there's no compensation...other than experience and exposure. And a gorgeous keepsake of our home. #priceless

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

What did you do while they were there?
Mostly stay out of the way! On occasion they'd ask me to sign releases and what-not, or request more props and supplies, and I helped the photographer's assistant to get lunch every day, but I was usually creeping in the background trying to take it all in.

After the first day though, I used the time off from work to also start packing the rooms they'd already shot.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Did you learn any tricks and tips?
These guys are pros for a reason...they work tirelessly to get the perfect shot. Adding gaffers tape to the backs of shams so they stand up straight, steaming duvets and pillows, propping chairs and benches for more height, and tweaking vignettes countless times until the entire shot was just right.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

The photographer and assistant, Brian McWeeney and his wife, Carolyn, were enormously talented and even managed to make my black hole Kitchen appear bright and cheery, by building an entire shantytown of reflectors.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

Did you spend days cleaning your house before they arrived?
Turns out, there's nothing like putting your house on the market to get all the shizz done and clean! So we were pretty much prepared. But yes, we cleaned! I knew they'd create their own set-ups though, so I didn't spend a lot of time making perfect vignettes everywhere.

Who chose your family's outfits?
We shot in January, but without a firm publish date, we needed our clothes to apply to any season. We worked together pulling clothes from all our closets that both coordinated together, and with the setting of the photo. They did ask that we keep the patterns simple and layers minimal.

Sidenote: One of the poses had my sitting son on the ground at my feet...but the balance was off, so they asked me to swap places with him. Funny enough, this was the only time I spoke up...there is no chance that I'd ever be sitting on the ground, while my son had the chair. He or Mr. SP would always offer me the seat. So we found another, more realistic, and polite, option...and that's what ended up in the magazine. Maybe it's an old-fashioned, Southern thing, but that's just how it is around here! #respect

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot

It was a long, busy, exciting, messy week....but I am so grateful for the experience, opportunity, and these crazy-talented people, along with field editor, Andrea Caughey, who lobbied so hard for us.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes of BHG Shoot
Brian, photographer | Carolyn, photo assist | Donna, stylist

Wow! I didn't mean for this post to get so wordy...but I'm glad I have it for the memory banks. Thank you again, darling friends, for your support, enthusiasm, and loyal readership....this absolutely would not have happened without you. #grouphug

41 comments:

  1. I love every single bit of this post! So gun to get a behind the scenes peek into an experience like this. The shots are gorgeous!

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  2. Oh my gosh, what a DREAM! And, those flowers! Ahhh!!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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  3. This post was so fun to read!! Thanks for sharing all the details!

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  4. How exciting! Thanks for sharing 😀

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  5. Yay! I can't wait to see it. Such a fun experience! xo

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  6. I ran out and bought the BH&G Refresh magazine once I found out you were in it, so it's really cool to see the behind the scene stuff when you know what the finished product looks like. Congrats!

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  7. wow... I love all your decorations.. Can't wait to see your new magazine..
    Click here for Fair Oaks Garage Doors

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  8. This was awesome!Thanks for the behind the scenes peek into it all! I love all the Southern traditions/customs too!

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  9. Wow -- thanks for sharing all of these behind-the-scenes details! A fascinating look at all the work that happens to create effortless elegance. That freelance photo knew a great subject when he saw it. Big congrats to you, Cassie, and so appreciate you sharing it with us.

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  10. Wow how awesome! Thanks for sharing!! So neat to see how it all works behind the scenes!!

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  11. So interesting, Cassie! Always wondered about how those shoots really go....and all the behind the scenes details! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Wow so fun and exciting!! And you are super human, I'm pretty sure!

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    Replies
    1. I give that title to you, Miss Mom of two littles!!! xoxo

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  13. It is reassuring to know that magazine "homes" are not really true expectations! Now I know why my pillows never quite stand up as nicely as I wish.....need to get some tape! The behind the scenes were very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. How neat to see the "behind the scenes" of a photo shoot!! Your house is gorgeous!! I can't wait to find the magazine and take a look at all of your pretty shots!! I love that you kept a memento with the vase! It's worthy of keeping, I love how unique it is! Congrats!!!

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  15. What a fun experience and post! And I love that you told him you'd never be sitting on the ground... Your men have manners!

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  16. Hey Cassie where is your striped hoodie from? Do you have a link?

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  17. Hey Cassie where is your striped hoodie from? Do you have a link?

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  18. Hey Cassie where is your striped hoodie from? Do you have a link?

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    Replies
    1. It was from Old Navy last season!! They'll likely bring something similar back!! xo

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  19. How completely unreal! Love it and can't wait to get my hands on that mag :) Well done!

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  20. I am loving your blog more every day! Thanks for sharing this experience. I got a little emotional thinking about you leaving this lovely home, but your present home will be just as lovely, I know.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so so much! I get a little choked up looking at that house too, then I look around at our new home and get excited about making it just as homey as the last one!! xoxoxo

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  21. I really enjoyed your feature in Refresh as well as the two other bloggers. It is so neat to hear about the behind the scenes stuff. I love seeing how things are put together to create such amazing images. Sounds exhausting though! Congrats again.
    Jenn

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was thrilling to share the issue with fellow bloggers...especially ones I know and adore!! xo

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  22. I LUV IT! I esp luv the part where you said no way on him on the seat and you on the floor. I'm a firm believer in teaching my son that elderly then ladies then men get the seats. #respect rocks!i would have bot that same white marble looking vase too- I was thinking the whole time "man I hope she gets to keep that one - it's so unsual!'

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  23. Great posting Cassie! Carolyn and I really enjoyed shooting your house. You were quite the trooper letting us take over every open space. Your family and DOG were great models. Again, thanks for a great shoot.

    Brian McWeeney
    http://www.brianmcweeney.com/

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    1. Photographer Extraordinaire!!! You are amazing...and you and Carolyn are a dream team! Thank you for making my house shine!!! xoxoxo

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  24. Holey Moley that was crazy!! You and your family are definitely good at rolling with the punches. Congrats on getting featured :)

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  25. I was so excited to see you in refresh. Great job Cassie. Hgtv too? Wow. Love it Teri

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  26. Cassie - I'm so excited about your shoot and the back story! I follow your blog daily and have been waiting for the final products. I even had my father run out and pick up a fresh copy of the magazine after the hand-me-down my sister accidentally got (she didn't know you would be in it) was water damaged. Just beautiful!

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  27. How fun is this and such an interesting post. I had no idea how this all worked. Congratulations on the spread, it is fantastic.

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  28. That's so crazy! I didn't realize how involved your shoot was or how many people you had to get on your side to get you in the magazine. It makes your feature that much more impressive! The two shoots we've had here involved little more than the stylist arriving with a couple of vases and fresh flowers. It's fascinating how different magazines work. So happy you have this amazing chronicle of your old house!

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  29. I love how you have ti sign a release form for your dog! Beautiful shoot!

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  30. So so soooo exciting! Wow I can already tell the pics are amazing can't wait to see the real thing in print!!! xo
    Kate

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  31. I think you need your own show on HGTV!

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  32. love the behind the scenes!! we always see the finished product, so FUN to see how crazy it can be in the background! and congrats!!!

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  33. That's so exciting! You might not be compensated, but those pictures of you and your family at home are priceless. And, your house looks amazing of course!

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  34. Loved reading this, Cassie!! Your spread was gorgeous!!!

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  35. Cassie, I love your blog & this was fun reading about your experience with BH&G. My favorite part is that you chose to sit in a seat while your son was on the floor...exactly right! We need more mom's & dad's teaching their children respect & manners...good job! Thanks for standing your ground. Your family is blessed that you care so much.

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Your comments are like popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts! xoxo, cass

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