The Art of Having Your House Photographed for a Magazine

If a magazine editor ever says they’re coming to shoot your house for an issue.  Don’t vacuum. There’s no need to vacuum.

There’s also no need to paint the outside of your back door, lay stick down tile on the inside of your cupboards or  fix your leaky taps. Just a little heads up.

You do need to hide things.  Like the hideous fireplace tools you found at the side of the road.  Or the multitude of rolling pins (one of which you actually use).  Hide the Head & Shoulders, the embarrassing medications and your collection of mismatched pens that don’t work.   Hide em.  Same goes for anything you own but hate.  Just hide it wherever you can because if you don’t, sure as shootin’ it’s gonna end up in a picture.

Come to think of it, even if you do hide it, it may still end up in a picture.

You’ve seen how in a completely relaxed and calm manner I got ready for the big day.  Other than the constant eye twitch and pop up stomach rashes, everything was smooth sailin’.  (cough, cough)

The day of the actual shoot?  Picture perfect if I do say so myself.

If your house ends being shot for a magazine, here’s how you can expect the day to go:

8:00 a.m. Photographer, Stylist and Assistant show up and start taking pictures of your yard.

Notice the professional manner in which Donna Griffith, the photographer, mimics a photographer.

10:30 a.m. Everyone and everything moves inside the house.  Set up bounce sheets.  Bounce as in “bouncing the light”, not Bounce as in smells “fresh” in a way only chemicals simulating nature can smell.

Leave everyone alone to shoot your kitchen while you run upstairs to put the new sheets and pillow forms on the bed.  And then iron the bits of the sheets you can see.  I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t do it in real life (iron my sheets and pillowcases).  But I do.  On occasion. Sometimes.  So sue me.

12:00 p.m. Arrival of Style at Home, Editor-in-Chief, Erin McLaughlin, otherwise known as “The Boss”.    Lunch of sushi.  Now keep in mind, your particular crew may eat something different.  Be ready to roll with the lunches.

You can only see her from the back (the one with the blonde ponytail) but stylist Lara McGraw has an impressive pedigree.  She’s really well known for her food styling in particular.  AND,  she’s blindish in one eye.  I got the one eyed prop stylist.  Lara rocks.

1:00 p.m. Back in the house to shoot more interiors.  Did I mention there’s really no use in vacuuming before something like this?  Because there isn’t.  Or tidying even.  Do not tidy.

I had frequent drop in guests during the shoot.  At this moment it’s my niece who is 62 years younger than me, has 3 children already and always has clean, fresh smelling hair.  I hate her.  No, really.  I do.

2:30 p.m. As the homeowner you may be made to risk life and limb, by being forced to balance on the tiny edge of your couch to hang a 4,000 lb.  mirror.  The mirror was originally in the other corner of the living room, where it couldn’t be seen.  They liked the mirror.  I moved the mirror.  How easy is hanging a mirror?  Check here.

2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A bunch of other stuff might happen but by this point you’ll be so delirious and tired you won’t think to record, photograph or even remember any it.  You’ll just rub your eyes, your house will be back to normal and everyone will be gone.

7:00 p.m. Fall down asleep, somewhere in the vicinity of your bedroom, possibly on top of your fireplace tools.  You’ll wake up with a really sore neck but your ironed sheets won’t be wrinkled!

I have 10 Style at Home Magazine subscriptions to give away!   Details tomorrow.



  1. Nicole says:

    I love your site, thank you for all the great ideas, tips, etc. Your home looks lovely and well put together and I love your Peonies! I grow them too, and I don’t know a lot of people who have them growing, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that shot with the Peonies outside your house. In magazines I usually see them in a vase but not growing in the ground. I want to do a lot more home projects now thanks to you. I’m nearing 30, I work, I’m married, no kids yet, so I want to do as many cool projects as possible before we have kids and less time for that kind of thing. Anyways, I am telling all my family and friends about your great site! Thanks Karen! You Rock!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Nicole! I’m glad you found my site. And thanks for taking the time to comment and tell your friends and family. ~ karen

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The Art of Doing Stuff