You Asked, We Answered
Jennifer Schaerer, Editor in Chief
Today I’m going to answer some of the photography-related questions, which is one of the more intriguing parts of putting together an issue like this. Since Creative Spaces is such a visually inspiring magazine, photography is crucial to the overall project. And with spaces located all over the country, we spend a lot of time reviewing portfolios before selecting the photographers in each city.
“How far in advance are photos shot?”
We shot the spaces for this issue from December 2013 through March 2014. Normally the shoots wouldn’t be that far apart but after we started, the newsstand date was moved to a month later and then our production timeline was adjusted. We also had to work around the Christmas holiday and our annual industry trade show in January.
“How many photographers were used? How were they chosen? How many miles were traveled?”
For this issue, we hired 9 additional photographers in addition to our incredibly talented studio photographer, Symoni Johnson of RES Studio. The most important elements in hiring photographers for these assignments is their skill and equipment (the right lens and lighting makes or breaks a shoot) and an eye for architectural/shelter subject matter. A pretty common reaction from the space owners when they see the final photography is one of disbelief, because the photographers do such a phenomenal job of making the rooms look so gorgeous. As for the mileage, I think Symoni wins that one. Not only did she travel all over northern Utah to get the shots for local spaces, but she also went on a bit of a Thelma & Louise-style road trip with me to the midwest. On that trip we shot Stephenie Hamen‘s space (Sun Prairie, WI), Fiskars headquarters, Beckie Farrant‘s space (Greenwood, IN), Jill Yegerlehner‘s space (Dublin, OH), Jennifer McGuire‘s space (Cincinnati, OH), and Tracie Stoll‘s space (Prospect, KY).
Showing Symoni some midwestern states she’d never visited before. Clockwise from top right: the ways of the Cheesehead (Madison WI); a quiet winter evening checking email with a latte (Chicago IL); Symoni was fascinated with the concept of a Tollway Oasis and I was fascinated by her fascination (Des Plaines IL); arriving triumphantly after battling the ice storm (Indianapolis IN).
“How much housekeeping/rearranging was done? Any staging or propping?”
This year was a little different because we included some DIY bloggers in the collection, and BOY OH BOY do they understand styling and staging for photography! It’s their daily practice, after all, and they were all very prepared. When we were setting up for Beckie Farrant’s shoot, there was a particular wall vignette that we all felt needed another element. In a matter of about 10 minutes, she had completely re-styled that whole area AND posted a photo on Instagram. As for housekeeping, Symoni has a very well-developed eye for detail, and on the shoots I attended with her there was a lot of “Hey, Jennifer…can you move that to the right just a hair?” or “Um, do me a favor and wipe that little smudge off the corner of the table?” Although I may have given her the look on more than a few occasions, it’s what we appreciate about her most so I can’t really complain, now can I?
“How were the shots selected? How long did it take to shoot each space?”
Before we select a space, we see informal photos of the space and areas of detail. From those, we determine what we’ll be featuring in the issue and coordinate with both the space owner and the photographer. I’ll admit to
being a little bit lazy waiting for inspiration after I arrived at the shoots that I attended…there were more than a few shot lists I put together just before Symoni began shooting. But even when that was the case, the spaces took an average of about 3 hours to shoot. And then there were the dreaded head shots…but really, who wouldn’t be intimidated by two huge light tents staring you in the face while trying to maintain your best and most natural smile?
Capturing headshots of these crafty ladies. Clockwise from top: Jennifer McGuire, Beckie Farrant, Stephenie Hamen, and Tracie Stoll (holding up the trusty ColorChecker).
“Which one took the longest? Which one was easiest?”
The easiest ones to shoot were the larger spaces, and the ones with neutral color on the walls that didn’t “bounce color” to other surfaces. The one that took the longest was definitely our own space. Fun fact: we were finishing it up AS THE SHOOT WAS TAKING PLACE. No kidding. Susan was adding chalk art to the WeR Memory Keepers Craft Table in our entryway, I was hanging the ribbon rack and curtain, and Kerri and Stacy were reorganizing our paper because we had just anchored the paper cabinet to the wall the night before. And I have zero behind-the-scenes photographs because it was complete and utter chaos.
And there it is – another installment of Creative Spaces Behind the Scenes Q&A. There are still many more to come, so keep an eye out for:
- Storage ideas for small embellishments, washi tape, paper/cardstock, and scraps
- Organization tips for starting the space planning process, portable options, handing out of sight/out of mind, and keeping things tidy
- General averages on the rooms – size, cabinets, shared or exclusive space
- Top 5 things YOU can implement right now