Photoshoot Before and After: Making bootylicious rooms even more bootylicious

Most people do it: you look at a picture of a celebrity in a magazine and sigh, thinking, "God, if I just looked like that..." I have news for you...even "they" don't look like that. Exhibit 1: Beyonce, admittedly a beautiful woman, before photoshop:
And after photoshop:
The same thing happens with decor magazines. You look at the pretty pics of beautiful rooms, then look up at your own mess, and think, "It's not fair. Why can't my house look like that." I have more news for you: a lot of those houses don't really look like that either, at least, not all the time. Here are some reasons why:
1. They change for the magazine. Sometimes magazines decided even already pretty rooms need to be spruced up before being shot. Here is the guest room of Joni from Cote de Texas (click here for the whole story) before the magazine shoot: Really pretty, right?

Apparently not pretty enough. The magazine asked for new pillows and cushions, new accessories, the removal of the zebra rug, etc. Here's the room ready for the shoot with the changes in place (there are many more changes asked for in other parts of the room not shown. I urge to go to Cote de Texas blog for the whole story.

2. Professional photography and lighting make a huge difference in how spaces look. Do a test. Tomorrow at work under florescent lighting, take out a hand mirror and take a look. Later that night after you've recovered from the shock, look at yourself in a room with low wattage incandescent lighting. Better huh? If you really want to look good, turn off the lamps and bring out the candles. In other words, the right light makes all the difference. Same for photos. Furthermore, there is a reason you look better in the photos taken by the professional wedding photographer and the one snapped by your inappropriately drunken Aunt Betty with the disposable camera: the professionals know what to do to make you look great, while the Aunt Betty just knows she needs another manhattan.
The following are the shots taken by Erin of elements of style
before a photoshoot at her house for the Boston Globe:
Now look at the shoots taken by professional, Eric Roth:

In this last one, they've photoshopped out the lamp cord and moved the cpu from under the desk.
3. They borrow items for the shoot. It's very common for homeowners to borrow items for the shoot. It can sometimes be a monotary issue, it can be because the existing element doesn't photograph well, it can be because the stylist is using some of his own things. Just remember, just because it in the photo, it doesn't mean it lives in the room all the time.
Here is the living room of the fabulous Visual Vamp
Before the shoot, Valerie had already replaced her cowhide rug with the uber trendy black and white striped dhurrie. However, she needed some pillows to make the newly recovered sofa pop, and her own patent chairs had not come back from the upholsterer in time, so she borrowed chairs and pillows from the New Orelans store Perch. Here is the room as it appeared in the publication:
By the way, the pillows looked so fab, she had to buy them. That's one of the reasons stores are willing to loan items: often the homeowner falls in love. You've got to go to Valerie's blog and witness the continuing transformation of her living room.
4. They have the luxury of moving things around for the perfect shot without having to worry about practicality. Plus, they have photoshop. Here is an example of the above in the home of Antony Todd as it appeared in Elle Decor magazine (notice the differences between the room as seen in the magazine and as shown on the cover:


Anonymous said...

This was really interesting to see!

Jessica said...

Very insightful! It's encouraging to know that even designer spaces get "airbrushed" before being published.