Behind My Red Door

Friday, July 25, 2008

Behind My Red Door with Country Sampler

Just beginning to set the scene!

Despite the dark gloomy weather outside it was an amazing day. I am so honored to have had the talent of Esther and Franklin Schmidt as the team to professionally shoot our home. I love the homes they have done before ours - if you have back issues of Country Sampler, or if you have the September issue, look at some of the amazing homes they have been in and photographed. I will be very anxious to see ours in print sometime in 2009. Despite being very tired still, I am giddy with excitement and humbled by the honor and it will indeed be a long wait for the final product!

I also want to thank Donna Marcel the editor of Country Sampler. She only had my very amateur photos to go by yet she saw something in our home that she felt would translate into a magazine page or two and be something readers would enjoy. I truly appreciate that!

Unfortunately, DH could not take time off from work for the shoot - the pilot plant his company is building needs to stay on schedule so his expertise was needed at the office. He wished me luck, kissed me goodbye, and off he went. I did a little primping, a little last minute dusting and mopping and awaited the Schmidt's arrival. We got a bit of a late start so the waiting only added to my anxiousness. One of the things I was most anxious about was having my picture taken. Like most women, especially plus size ones like me, I don't enjoy it. But I wanted to have the full experience so I agreed to pose and I am OK with the results. When you see the photo spread next year, just remember that the camera adds at least 10 pounds (or 40!!)

When Esther and Franklin arrived, the skies had opened up so I had them pull into David's side of the garage so they could get all their equipment inside without getting drenched. (see - it was a good thing he went to work! LOL) They got their cameras and lights all unpacked in the family room and then carried them upstairs. As Esther pulled out the outline she was to follow, she began to look around, and she said my home was very Autumnal, one of the most Autumnal ones she had ever seen, and would have made the perfect fall shoot with the dark rich, warm colors and lots of black. And I totally agree. You know how I love Autumn and of course my home reflects that. She and Franklin both said it was going to be a big challenge to make my home look "Spring like". And indeed it was quite a challenge to "spring it up"! Spring flowers are just not widely available in late July, and just about everything I own is a warm or a dark color. Both Esther and I had bought what few flowers seemed appropriate for the season. I don't happen own many things designed to say spring without saying Easter, but fortunately, I had some fruits and veggies to use and those combined with the flowers, were just enough and we made it work. And I think the torrential rains outside sure made it feel more like spring instead of mid summer!

It was very interesting watching the whole process. Taking a photo for a magazine page is very different from how we take photos' of our homes for our blogs, or Webshots or for scrap booking or whatever. A lot of it has to do with lighting and the placement of the camera and of course the staging. Sometimes a chair has to be moved at a different angle, something dark has to be replaced with something lighter (or vice versa) and there are a zillion little variables - hiding cords, and light switches and things like that. Sometimes what we see with our eye, doesn't translate well in a photo. And then there are the props to make it fit the particular issue it will be in. It takes a long time to set the scene for one photo. The Schmidts take Polaroids first and then examine them in detail with a lighted magnifying glass thingie (like my technical term?) to check for any little thing that could be out of place or even something like a droopy leaf in the flower arrangement or bad spot on a piece of fruit. Then they fix it and take another Polaroid until they get it right. Once they are satisfied, Franklin then takes the real thing using multiple exposures to get different lighting effects. When the film is developed, Franklin will get back transparencies and he carefully examines them on a light table and chooses the best one. (I hope I got those technicalities right!)

Franklin and Esther worked all morning and then we had a short lunch break. I made a delightful lunch with chicken salad, my favorite broccoli salad, Asian coleslaw and whole grain bread. They were thrilled and appreciative of that. They then got right back to work and they we were finally done in the early evening. They got packed up, and we sat for a few minutes and had a nice chat and then it was time for them to head on out to to their hotel - but not before we shared a warm hug.

Here are a few shots of the experts in action and their equipment:

Franklin beginning to get set up. My windows are not that dirty, that's the rain!

Esther doing some flower arranging.

Esther and Franklin discussing an arrangement.

Lights and camera getting ready to shoot the kitchen

Another light waiting to see some action.

And so now I await a call from one of the writers for the actual article. That won't come for a few months. At that time I will know what shots will be in the magazine so the writer and I are on the same page as we chat. I am thrilled to have some of my favorite pieces in the photo's they took - my red step back cupboard, my painted cupboard that sits on the jelly cupboard, my little desk and antique chair, the portraits my mom painted of our kids( they are in the first phot with Franklin - to the right of the window), my Homestead chair, my whale shelf and more. And sorry - I won't be showing you those pics on my blog. I doubt Country Sampler wants me to spill the beans, but even if I could, I wouldn't. They put a lot of work into each issue and each article and I'd like to respect the process.

I'll tease you with this little piece of one possible photo:

Once again, I would like to thank all the kind and supportive messages and emails I got leading up to yesterday and even during the day and last night. You are all so sweet to be excited for me and with me. I truly appreciate it.

Tonight DH and I are going out to eat to one of our favorite steakhouses and I am celebrating with my favorite (but rarely eaten) porterhouse steak and a good salad. The perfect meal and the perfect ending to an amazing week!

Until next time - hugs, Linda