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The Photo Shoot and Magazine Reveal

First, you do your install, then comes Photo Shoot Day (s), then comes Published Day! OMG. If it was THAT easy!!

Dining Room

I am TOTALLY excited that my new build project in La Quinta, CA (near Palm Springs) just got published in Elegant Homes magazine!  Let me tell ya’, it took a long time (almost two years!) to get this baby on the newsstands!

I know I have talked about the prep needed for the Install Days (on my blog post Installation Day Toolkit), but the prep for the photo shoot, is often just as complex. The good news is that before the shoot, you are often very excited, so it doesn’t FEEL difficult:)

I mean, I literally am so fired up, I feel like I have had 4 shots of espresso! The homeowner is excited too, because they will get to see their house looking its most fab!

So, how do I prepare knowing there are so many different rooms and types of styling that needs to be done?

Well, preparation is different for a portfolio photo shoot, than it is for a magazine photo shoot. Mainly, because a magazine looks at my portfolio shots, then they have a stylist that prepares so many things for the shots.

So, in this post I will give you a Photo Shoot Checklist so you can prepare for your personal portfolio shots. In the Elegant Homes process, I took photos in the house before the homeowners had even seen the house. It was part of my installation. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it was great so I didn’t have to inconvenience the homeowners.

I sent those photos to people who may publish the work and then they had their own team decide what shots to take for the magazine.

So, before you have your photo shoot set up (ROI TIP: with the BEST photographer you can afford), what do you do?

One Month Out:

Take Quick Shots (read iPhone shot) of All of the Spaces from Multiple Points of View

  • This will help you figure out where you want to spend your time with YOUR photographer.
  • Then, I send these via email to my photographer, for her input, so we can plan the day.
  • You can change your mind when the photo shoot day arrives, but this will help prioritize the day!

Three Weeks Before Photo Shoot

  • Swing by the house and see if you need to get anything special for the day(s)
  • Make sure that you have all of your lampshades are in and that all of your accessories are in place
  • Purchase any items you think would make the space THAT much more awesome! I say purchase because if you plan on sending these photographs to get published, then they may require you to have that art or accessory for the photo shoot.
  • Remember, this will live on your website for a long time, so make the space the best it can be!
    • Accessories
    • Art
    • Bedding
    • Blankets
    • Vases

Two Weeks Before Photo Shoot

Check the Extras- Again!

  • With a fresh eye, check your Quick Shots again and see if you have all of the accessories you need.
  • Don’t forget LOTS of vases/containers for flowers. Even if you think you won’t need something, bring it!
  • Make Sure to have:
    • For the bathrooms
      • White bath towels to roll up-or a Turkish towel or two
      • Fresh soaps
      • Pretty trays
      • Natural sea sponges/back scrubbers
      • Glass containers for bath salts
      • A stool- to place next to the tub


  • For the kitchen
    • Glass containers (a stylist tipped me that they bring in things that add texture like beans and rice)
    • Fruit- TONS! I tend to take lemons, oranges, apples (green)- something you buy a ton of so you can stack.
    • White plates/bowls- again, so they can be stacked!
    • White pitcher or two
    • A few cool looking towels- I like Turkish towels
  • Cleaning supplies
    • Towels and Rags
    • Windex
    • Sheila Shine (for Stainless steel)
  • Fixers (things to fix!)
    • Various Tapes
    • Felt pads in all shapes and sizes
    • Scissors
    • Sharpies
    • Paint pens
  • First Aid
    • Advil /aspirin
    • BandAid
    • Rubbing alcohol


The Day Before the Photo Shoot

Gather all of the accessories,  load them in my car.

  • Buy flowers- LOTS AND LOTS of FLOWERS!!
    • Make sure you have a place to keep them overnight!
    • When transferring them, I place them in big buckets with small amount of water. I also tape the tops of the buckets, if necessary so the flowers don’t fall out
    • Make sure that the flowers are different flowers in each room. I learned that on this past shoot!! I didn’t realize that it was so important to have different flowers and different containers for the flowers.
  • Lists- of shots I want to take
  • All of the accessories and items mentioned above

Then, I make sure my goodies are in the car!

For Me:

  • Drinks- for everyone including a case of water
  • Gum
  • Phone Charger
  • Phone Speaker for music
  • Protein bars
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts

The Day of the Photo Shoot

  • Arrive at least a 1/2 hour early. It takes a while to get everything out of the car.
  • Find a “staging area” for all of the accessories and flowers. It’s usually a garage or a room you aren’t photographing
  • Take quick pics (iPhone) of the spaces so when you move anything for the photos, you can remember to put it back. Trust me, your brain is fried at the end of the day and you won’t remember anything- and you can’t even be design-y!
  • When the photographer arrives, introduce them to the homeowner- or anyone else who will be with you!
  • Have FUN with the photo shoot! Remember patience:)
  • Lastly, I give the flowers for the homeowner to enjoy. It is part of a thank you for “borrowing” their space for the day!

For a Photo Shoot Checklist, please click here!

Master Bedroom

There are some more photos from the shoot, so be sure to grab the Fall 2016 Elegant Homes!!

Remember, when planning your own shoots- be sure to collaborate with the photographer! We both look at the shot before hand to see if we would change anything. The photographer thinks in 2-D and designers 3-D, so it is great to have the full picture!!

Don’t forget to download the checklist here:

Photo Shoot Checklist_Page_1
Click Here to Download Your Photo Shoot Checklist