A day on a magazine shoot

Marcia Morgan
September 8, 2020
A day on a magazine shoot

First magazine shoot since lockdown

One of the things I love about visting homes for magazines is you get to see how different people live in a space. Such an asset when it comes to redesign homes as it gives you so many points of reference to draw from. But also I just love wandering around other peoples houses!

Socially distancing

Meeting up with the photographer Rachael, www.rachaelsmith.net at the location, the first thing I want to do is give her a big hug and I'm not a hugger. But human contact has been scarse for me, and we haven't seen each other in months. Sadly I can't. This new normal is going to take some getting used to. Air kisses it is at a distance.
I have a car full of vases, flowers, cushions and throws to put in the house just in case I need extra dressing. There's no off street parking, and the roads all permit only the down side of location work in London. So its a mad dash to unload and move my car,  find a parking spot nearby before I get a ticket. Then its a Usain Bolt sprint back to the house.

By the time I get back I'm already hot and bothered, its one of the hottest days of the year so far and I haven't even started working!

The interior of the house doesn't disappoint though and makes it all worth while. A five story Georgian Townhouse that had been completly renovated from the basement up. Every curated room excites me, I even over look the fact that its has lots and lots of stairs with wide hallways. Leg day anyone!

Each level has a backdrop of original period architectural features, Bedamire furniture and Hollywood Regency with gold accents sit alongside vintage prints and bone china crockery. The predominate colour scheme used on the walls in the main living spaces are blush pink and verdant fresh green hues. Its a sublime mix of understated glamour and opulence tastefully executed by mixing textured furnishings in period colours in an unexpected playful way.

But back to the shoot, there's very little time in a day to stop, or eat so I graze on fruit when I can. I have to move from one room to another, making beds moving things in and out of shot, finding little nick nacks, books to fill holes on tables, arranging flowers. All before putting everything back to where it was and moving on to the next room.

Rachael's one of the fastest photographers I've ever worked with, maybe because she's really small! Lol, but really because shes trying to capitalise on the best light at the right time of the day. I've done TV live and any TV show due to filming schedules sometimes only gives you minutes to finish dressing a room so I've learnt to be really quick on shoots.

But its also down to just being decisive, if you know how you want everything to look, bedside table dressed with flowers, water glass, check it comes together easily.

A room may look perfect when you walk in but as soon as you put a camera on it things start to jump out. Real things like phones and radios or toasters can look out of place or perfect depending on the style of the home.

Some items you want in the foreground of a shot while other things you may want to remove or have creeping in like a side table next to a chair. The camera angle dictates what will work, but its good to know your angles. In the same way we have the light hit faces getting the angles right in a room and using the natural daylight can make all the difference between and good shot and a great image.

I also don't wait for the photographer to set up their camera in a room. You always get a brief of which rooms the magazine would like to see, but how its shot is down to the photographer and stylist. I always work this out myself and make suggestions as the images appear. A quick way of doing this is taking a photo on you phone and seeing how it looks

A lot of photogrpahers expect you as the stylist to art direct the shots. So my job is to make sure the best angles and views of the room are to camera. I always take shots of the room before I move anything. Helps when you have been on your feet for 8 hours and your brain is shutting down in a heatwave to magically leave the house as you found it.

The house is out in The English Home April 2021 so as much as I'd love to show you a sneak peek I just cant yet. But trust me it will be worth the wait!

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© Marcia Morgan
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