I have a fun post for you today. I am going to show you what it is like behind the scenes in the DIY blogging world. The pursuit of the perfect Pinterest-worthy picture leads to some crazy things behind the scenes.
One of the things I loved most about Kristen Duke’s photography class at Haven, was her behind the scenes shots. She showed us the beauty shot of the product or DIY project, then she pulled back and showed us what was going on just outside the camera’s view.
I try to keep it as real as possible around here, but I also want to show you my projects in their best light. I worked hard for them, and I want you to see them how I do. Often times, I share projects before the entire room is done. So, the area I am showing you might be picturesque, but the rest of the room behind the camera might be crazy.
Halfway through shooting my new magnetic photo trays and bar cart, I realized I wanted to share with you the reality around the beauty shot. This is a great example of a space, where I am sharing a project in an incomplete room. The primary reason for the chaos in this room is budgetary, since we are not ready to put in the kitchenette area. That doesn’t mean I can’t make part of the space awesome. I believe a home happens out of order, and that is okay.
Here we go…here is what was going on all around me as I photographed the new bar cart area:
Whoa, right?! Okay, let’s talk about what is going on. I am still working, over a year later, on refinishing this retro dresser. The project always gets put on the back burner. The dresser will be the media cabinet for the basement family room, if I ever get it done (it’s close). In my defense, the matching highboy dresser is finished. Where the dresser is sitting now, will be the kitchenette area with a small fridge, sink, and microwave.
What’s all that stuff on top of the dresser? Styling rejects. I still have a lot to learn about styling. I pulled together lots of things from around the house to style the bar cart. The things that didn’t make the cut remained on the dresser. The sour gummy worms did not make it onto the cart, but you bet I ate a ton of them while working.
The rug situation. I was trying a layered look. I liked it, but the pattern and color of the bottom rug wasn’t working for me. I put down the chevron rug, before deciding to swap the pillows for chevron pillows. You can see in the final shot above, I removed the chevron rug and used just the faux sheepskin (totally borrowed from my son’s room).
Do you see all the black plastic sticking up around the cork flooring? That is because I have not finished the baseboard in this area. Until we determine cabinet placement for the kitchenette, I did not want to install the baseboard. I temporarily nailed one piece to the wall behind the bar cart for the photo shoot.
Other interesting things of note, as we move in closer and look at the things on the cart. The little teal bucket on top holding the stevia packets, has a little surprise inside. I did not have enough Stevia to fill the bucket, so I put a spare lemon in the bottom of the bucket to fill up some of the volume.
I wanted to fill the lantern on the bottom shelf with napkins, but only had one pack of napkins that went with my color scheme. To make the stack look bigger, I put a small wooden plaque under the napkins.
The drawer holding popcorn on the middle shelf is long. It would take a lot of popcorn packets to fill it up. I used what I had on hand, then stuffed a few clear plastic cups in the back to hold the popcorn upright. Right now, the cookie jar is empty.
So, what do you think? Is it crazy to work so hard on a beauty shot amidst the chaos of the full room? Do you appreciate having a well-styled reveal photo? Do you like seeing what goes on behind the scenes?
I do enjoy seeing what goes on behind the scenes! I love getting inspiration from home blogs but part of me always wonders, how do they manage to keep their homes so perfect all the time?! Good to know how much work goes into getting that perfect pic.
Sabrina, My home is far from perfect. The one room I am photographing that day might be, but my sink will be piled with dishes and living room will be covered in toys. Thanks heavens for photo cropping!
I love seeing what goes on behind the scenes! I think it really helps for people to understand that the styled shots take effort and it is not always what the entire house really looks like. That said, I get why shots are styled and I am not sure you can stop doing that, but the behind the scenes is much appreciated!
Emily @ My Love for Words says
Great post! It’s fun to get a glimpse behind the curtain. Thanks for sharing.
It’s like standing in line at the store when my idol was Mary Tyler Moore and they showed her without makeup saying This is the real deal here! And well, young as i was, i knew makeup changed stuff, but she did look different!!! Well we know everything is not all as it seems, but I was blissfully admiring and yet also ignoring that nagging thought, but how do they pop the corn? Ahhh! The tricks of photography!! Can’t help but love it!!!
Thanks, Gwen. What a great analogy…my room without makeup on.
I love my DIY and design blogs and I the behind the scenes shots are great. The styled photos show your amazing talent and the behind the scenes show that your house is also a work in progress like many of ours. Your blog has been my biggest inspiration to get away from neutrals and starting adding color to our rooms. I think it scares my husband but I’m having fun with it! Thanks for sharing.
Kim, glad to hear it. Change is always scary, but if you love colors, then go for it!
Sarah @ An Inviting Home says
I love this! :-) I was just talking to my sister this morning about the “behind the scenes” of what it takes to get those great pictures.
I am glad you showed the behind the scenes shots. Several areas of my house are similar because getting to the finale isn’t pretty! I would love to know how you get the lighting just right though. I have a decently good quality digital camera–not an SLR by a long shot–but I just can’t seem to get really good pics inside the house no matter how hard I try. My pictures are always a bit too dark or too bright (when I use flash). I really need too find a cheap photography class!
Angelique, Shooting inside is tough. The first thing I did was figure out the best time of day to shoot in every room in my home. Read my post on best light for interior photography. After making sure I am shooting the room at the best time of day, then it comes down to the settings on my camera…I do my best to manually adjust things like ISO and aperture. Sometimes in really dark rooms I use a really long shutter speed on a tripod to let more light into the camera. I also usually overexpose my photos a bit to get them brighter. My photos are not perfect by a long shot, but I keep trying and learning new things everyday.
Jessica Lundgren says
Haha! Love it! Seeing behind the scenes every once in awhile can be refreshing. Keep up the good work!
After all your hard work of completing a project I completely understand why you’d want to style it to look great, but behind the scene pictures are fun to see too. I really appreciate that your blog is day by day, project by project, instead of one finished project picture with everything you’ve done all at once.
Kristin, Thank you for saying that. I enjoy sharing projects as I go, even if I can’t get a glamour shot of the room for a while. I am glad you like it that way, too.
I recognize those chairs! You were part of the inspiration for our store, which we launched just a few months after you got the chairs from us. We’re glad to see that they’re still going strong as design anchors.
They are the best chairs! We use them daily in the kitchen. And, because they are so great, I have to borrow them for photo shoots around the house :)
Christy @ Creating a Beautiful Life says
Thanks for giving us an inside peek! These are some great tricks!
Christy @ Creating a Beautiful Life
Love it! When viewing multiple blogs on a daily basis, it’s easy to get believin’ that most other people spend their lives in these perfect environments… leaving me feeling lousy about my own “lived-in” look! It starts to feel like a level of perfection that I can never attain. Seeing your shots and hearing your staging tricks is great for remembering that everyone lives with some level of chaos… and that there’s sometimes a cost to perfection in other areas. Thanks for “keepin’ it real!”
Thanks for keeping it real! Love the style shot and then the behind the scenes. Gives me hope and lets me know I’m not the only one with the pile of dishes and toys strewn all over the place and all those projects “in the works.” LOL!
Visual Philosophy says
Love the BTS stuff! Thanks for giving us a peek into your world.
I’m so glad you posted this today because just this morning I was looking around my messy, toys-everywhere living room and thought “maybe I should stop reading design blogs and I’ll feel better about this disaster.” Now I won’t stop reading, I’ll just remind myself of this post! ;)
Amy, Honestly sometimes I think the same thing. Just remember magazines, TV, and big blogs have a whole crew of people to make things look awesome and professional photographers to make things look even better. But underneath all of that it is still someone’s real home, that really gets lived in…they just show it to you on the good days :) I will try to do more of these behind the scenes peeks in the future!
I LOVE perfect imperfections, and seeing the honesty in your work is completely refreshing. As a reader it allows me to trust your outcomes, and the process. Thank you for being such an amazing and honest blogger!
Courtney, I never thought of it that way. Thank you so much for reading and valuing the “real” posts!
Fun post! So true! I will snap photos of food as I’m cooking and will push piles out of the way on the counter, so I can get just what I want in the picture! It’s real life!!
Nikki @ Deepest Ocean Blue says
I love this post! This may be my favorite one yet! Love the “keeping it real” posts. Makes me feel better about my messy house!
Gracie Lathrop says
This is great! So glad you shared. I’ve done a lot of photography classes in the past and understand the composition and lighting I just need to be better at applying those to my blog pictures and not just my artwork :) Love the entire set up though!