This Sunday, I will be taking long overdue professional pictures of a client’s place that was completed a couple of years ago. Yes, you read right! YEARS. I got the push because they will be published in the Montreal Gazette in a couple of weeks for an article about maximizing storage in small spaces. Her space definitely fit the description with a murphy bed, dining room banquette storage, and a hidden washer dryer, all crammed into what looks nothing like 500 sq. ft of living space.
This all got me thinking about how I’m going to style each home for the shoot which is actually a really important part of my job. As beautiful as a space looks in person, quite often it just doesn’t come out as pretty in photo. It’s difficult to capture the feeling of the room without a little help. Styling a space for a shoot is very similar to home staging.
The first step is to declutter and organize. If my client has been living in their home for a while, this can sometimes take a lot of time. I usually ask my clients to do this before I get there but it becomes almost hard for them to do on their own since they don’t see the stuff that they use daily as clutter. I literally mean clear all counters, yes that means storing your coffee machine and other small appliances for the day, and get rid of anything and everything in the shower – shampoo, soaps, lufas. I will definitely come in and add some personal items to each shot to make the space look somewhat lived in and warm but it’s essential to start with a blank canvas.
That brings me to step #2; finding the right balance between an empty space and a lived in space. There are certain items that can help a space looked lived in without making it feel messy or cluttered. We don’t want the accessories or props to be the star of the show which is why it’s best to use neutrals when choosing these details. A white soap dish, white towels, glass jars, wood trays. Unless the colour of your dish set adds to the colour scheme of the space and its architecture, white is preferred.
Set the table. I’m not crazy about over the top or festive place settings but just don’t leave the table bare. Sometimes a modest centerpiece and a few snacks laid out will do the trick.
Drop the lemons. Please. Pretty please. Nothing screams staged more than a bowl of lemons. Be creative! There are thousands of other props that you can use that will give you a pop of colour or will fill in the blank space. That being said, let’s try to avoid the overly staged look all together. Perfectly placed bottles, three green apples in a row… if it doesn’t look natural, lose it.
Bring in flowers. Nothing warms up a space quicker then a simple floral arrangement.
The idea with a photoshoot, as with staging a home to sell, is that you want the viewer to…