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Photo shoot styling

Photo shoot in Morgan Creek

By 03/05/2010January 23rd, 201749 Comments

I have just finished decorating a stunning home in White Rock and I thought I’d share my day with you starting with a picture of the view outside my house at 7:30 am yesterday!

Spring has arrived in Vancouver and my turtlenecks are suddenly too hot to wear 🙂

7:45 am – Here I am clipping some leaves from one of the bushes in my front yard!

7:55 am – I’m loading up my car with flowers. The biggest thing I have learned about photographing interiors is how important the flowers are. Pick up any magazine and if you mentally take the flowers out of the image, many times the room is pretty boring without them!

The trunk of my car!! Can I fit another vase back here? Nope!

8:15 am – My assistant for the day Alexis (one of my former students) volunteered her services a few weeks ago. The cab got lost bringing her to my house so I picked her up at the Starbucks nearby!

She confessed she made a point of not wearing any black because she was spending the day with me!! So fun, I loved her purple and blue outfit!

9:22 am – We arrive at my clients home in White Rock to set up before my photographer arrives!

10:15 – Almost ready!

This is the coffee table that I designed and had custom made with 4 cube ottomans in faux ostrich leather that slide underneath. Since this is my client’s great room and living room combined it’s where the TV is as well.

I don’t know about you, but I like to put my feet up when I’m watching TV so I designed it so everyone could get comfortable and yet maintain the formality of a living room with the combination of both!


10:30 am – Anna [Beaudry] is here!

I ran out to help her and then ran back inside to get my camera to take a picture and then walked away without grabbing her bag, oops!

My lovely client Laura! She took some action shots of us too, hence the camera!! Since I can’t show the photos right away (because I want to get them published), you’ll just get a sneak peak of her house for now.

11:35 am – We’ve just set up and shot the living/dining room (the first picture always takes the longest) and now Anna is setting up the next image. It’ll be the full view of this bookshelf that I blogged about last fall when I had finished styling it. (See the golf course in the backyard!).

12:10 pm – Here we are setting up the next shot in the library. I’m squinting to see inside the viewfinder! Alexis was surprised at how much time professional photography takes! Depending on the angle everything has to be moved, especially if the room is symmetrical and perfectly balanced like this one!

12:25 pm – Anna’s moving the chair while I watch through the camera to make sure it’s perfect!

1:15 pm – Time for some water!

2:20 pm – Anna’s downloaded the next set of images to her laptop so we can see them in a larger format to make sure there’s no stray wires or cats that we missed, etc.

2:30 pm – I came into the kitchen to get some more water and Alexis snapped this one! Now I’m getting tired.

3:10 pm – It’s a wrap! There is so much running back and forth to look in the camera and then fix and move furniture and accessories and flowers I was totally exhausted!! It was fun though! I bought so many tulips I ended up dancing around the house the night before while I was clipping the ends and placing them in vases! Flowers just make me happy!!

Hope you enjoyed my day as an art director 🙂



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  • Karena says:

    Maria, I love the ottoman you designed, how perfect! Yes everyone needs to relax with their feet up and be comfy at days end.

    I am having a giveaway soon! So come follow me blogger friends!

    Art by Karena

  • The Buzz -Diane James Home says:

    How fun to see behind the scenes of a photo shoot! we always look at the flowers in a spread and think they finish a room. Great post and we're hoping spring's around the corner, too!
    – The Buzz –

  • Red Door Home says:

    Looks like a beautiful home. Hopig to get a chance to see the pictures from the photo shoot.

  • Tania - Grange de Charme says:

    What a nice post ! Yes I can see that it's spring time ! Flowers are so important, it brings life in décoration and hapinness in our hearts !

  • Things That Inspire says:

    How exciting! I have always wanted to go on a full day photoshoot to see the process, and this is the next best thing! I can't wait to see the whole house in a magazine some day soon.

  • pve design says:

    I would love to be your assistant or a fly on the wall!
    I know it will be fun to see all your work in the magazine! I for one look forward to seeing all the colors!!!

  • Annie@A View On Design says:

    anytime you get a commission in Aus, and you need an assistant maria, I'm here for you babe! As for this home, wow, it looks divine – can't wait to see the pics (have a look at that house from the outside!!! wowsa!)

  • Tammy@InStitches says:

    That looks like a fun day and a really pretty house. Can't wait to see the rest !

  • Roxy Te Owens says:

    My father is a furniture designer and manufacturer and has a coffee table just like the one you designed! It was always a hit with friends when they discovered the nifty little ottomans! ;)Loves.

  • The Zhush says:

    Such a fun post! Hope you get your shots published!

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    What a neat sneak peak inside a photo shoot. You are SO right about the flowers. A florist friend once told me to find the cheapest flower at the floral department and buy as many as I possibly could afford for a party. I filled the house with daffodils and it definitely made a difference.

    I'll be looking forward to seeing what all those oranges in the back of your car were for!

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    I'm sure the images will be beautiful. I can't wait to see them. I love the flowers you selected. Such wonderful colors. Of course, I would expect no less from you!
    Hope you get some rest this weekend.


  • Mary says:

    When you are staging a room to be photographed, does it matter what color the flowers are? Do they need to "go with" the decor? Do you use just one color in your arrangements or can it be a mix?

  • camdesign says:

    that was so much fun to watch… so looking forward to the pictures in Style @ Home magazine… I say put it out there and it will happen… believe… hehehe
    hoping to get together in 2010…I was just yesterday talking about you to someone and telling them how special you are and how much I want to hang out for coffee with you… so I am putting it out there and believe it will happen… hehehe
    Regards, Carol Ann x

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    Loved seeing you in action. Great shots of you too! Beautiful house and I love the ottoman! That orange is divine. Looking forward to seeing the shots!


  • Rebecca says:

    I am left wanting to see more of this lovely home. From what I see it is a warm and welcoming place to live and visit.

    Great Work!

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    Sounds like a very fun but tiring day, Maria! The house looks beautiful and here's hoping you get it published!

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno says:

    What a fun post! I love seeing behind the scenes action. So true about the flowers, they instantly add that something extra to any room. And you picked lovely ones!

  • Heather from Satisfying Spaces says:

    It is always fun to see what goes on behind a photo shoot. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maria Killam says:

    HI Mary,
    I chose white for the living room (where you saw me arranging them) because the colours in there were green, rust and white so I wanted to keep it in the same scheme. The flowers and the grapes on the coffee table actually ended up getting cut from the photo because once we set up the shot they looked too cluttered (well you had to see it), it's a clean and contemporary looking space so only the birds and the coffee table books ended up in the picture! The dining room is fun though, that's what you didn't get a glimpse of at all. . . we'll have to wait!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Mary I just realized I didn't really answer your question. I don't really have a 'rule' I just go by how I feel the room should look. Nothing wrong with a combination either it was just tulip season so easy to buy them en masse!

  • Debra Phillips says:

    behind the scenes is always fun and the voyeur in me so enjoys.
    OMG the ottoman…gorgeous and functional. can't wait to see this in print maria….congrats!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Very cool ottoman. I want one too. I love your posts about your day. It's so fun to see what you get up to in a normal working day. (I want your job) And your assistant for the day made sure she wan't wearing black. So fun.

  • Charlotte's Color Specialist says:

    That was great Maria! I love the progression of your day – very cool! Beautiful work – applause applause!!

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    Thanks for the behind the scenes look at your day. Good ideas for shooting your creative work. I am sending some emails to former clients to shoot their homes for portfolio purposes. Problem is that I don't have a lot of befores, lessons learned I guess.

  • Kelly, Arte Styling says:

    Photo shoots are so fun…but also very exhausting! At least you were the boss. 🙂
    Can't wait to see the final photos. Good luck getting them published! Very exciting. Looks like a beautiful home.

  • Gwen says:

    So much more work than I ever realized. Beautiful home and genius ottoman!

  • Poindexter says:

    your custom table with the ottomans tucked away beneath is a truly brilliant idea! Bravo!

  • Anna Beaudry Photographic Design says:

    Love this Blog Maria, you did such an informative and entertaining job if it! (as usual). Always such a treat to work with you my dear 🙂

  • other-option says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It's neat to get a "behind the scenes" look at a photo shoot. Can't wait to see it in print!
    – Danielle

  • Developing Designs says:

    What a fun, exhausting day. Love the flowers and yes they make all the difference. 🙂 Can't wait to see the final shots, I am sure they are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the whole process. As an interior designer who also has started doing interior photography for other designers as well as myself, it's nice to see the way it is "suppose" to go (since I sort of fell into it). I thought it was only me that got stuck on site for 6-8 hours or more for one shoot.
    Now try to put those feet up and get some rest 🙂 xo

  • fabricfan says:

    Tulips are so plentiful right now, I want to buy lots. Can't wait to see the final photos, the glimpses were great and leave me wanting more.

  • Hill Country House Girl says:

    What a cute post! I do not say that lightly – I mean it – to see your cute smile is such a delight. I know it was a day full of detail work and that you worked very hard. I am sure that it all turned out beautifully. Can't wait to see it published!

  • Marija says:

    I love this behind the scenes – and the sneak peeks at your clients place! But now I have a ton of homework – gotta read some of those posts I miss on styling for a photoshoot and photography 101 for designers. Can I learn any more over here?!?! You're the best! Marija

  • Acanthus and Acorn says:

    Oh this was fun! And so true when you visually "delete" flowers, palm fronds, branches, etc… from a room…it's just goes flat. And, always yes to real flowers!!!

    I LOVE the coffee table with the cubes . I used a round version recently for a media room with wedge ottomans…only I didn't design it…so it wasn't colorful and fab like this one!!!

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    How exciting! Looks like a good day of fun!

  • Erika @ BluLabel Bungalow says:

    Thanks so much Maria for a behind the scenes look of your project! An added bonus to your resourceful blog!

  • Grace says:

    That was so much fun. I felt like i was taking part in your day (without the running around and getting tired part). What a gorgeous house and I think that ottoman is an amazingly clever idea. By the way, you have a pretty view from your house – lucky you!

  • Jane says:

    Thanks for sharing your day. It was fun seeing from behind the scenes. I loved all the tulips!!! They are my favorite flowers…any color!

    (I have been working in a tulip painting all day!)

    Jane (artfully graced)

  • DesignTies says:

    Looks like a great day!! Looking forward to the reveal photos!

  • Marlo says:

    That was fun to read – an hour by hour play of your day!

    Tulips are my favourite and they look beautiful in your client's home. And what a beautiful home to work with!

    I'm so looking forward to seeing the photos and how you used the green, white & rust scheme. I know the rooms will be gorgeous, as always.

  • Design Wanna-be says:

    So much fun! Your job is a dream.

  • Marlo says:

    Me again.

    I'd like to know where to get the end tables next to the green sofa- they're beautiful!

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Maria Maria Maria… you rock!!! Love this post. You're so full of energy and light and energy and light … and energy and light …

    that light brown is perfect. great!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    Love the coffee table and ottomans you designed! Wish to see more of this lovely home and your work! I just love visiting your blog…always take something POSITIVE away from it! You are as always so inspiring! Happy Sunday!

  • traci zeller designs says:

    Looks beautiful! I can't wait to see the photos in a magazine!! I'm curious to know how many rooms you had photographed in one day – and whether you took detail shots within the rooms. I'm wondering if I need a new approach to my professional photography!

  • Candied Fabrics says:

    Wow – this is so interesting! Thanks for sharing your day – can't wait to see the real pix someday!

  • Lee says:

    Would love to see the final photos from this shoot, do you have them on your blog?

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