The trick to making a magazine is to make everything in it appear effortless, especially the photos.
It’s the same tactic those cooking shows use when the celebrity chef whips up a gourmet recipe in 20 minutes. All their ingredients are perfectly measured out in cute little bowls. All the pots and pans are clean and not jammed in a cupboard.
The reality is that photo shoots take a lot of time and preparation. From figuring out what the photos should be, to scheduling a time to take them, to gathering all the supplies and then making them happen, hours go into the photos you see in the magazine.
Today, graphic designer Carrie Hamilton Barlup, photographer Kate Penn and I went to my house to take pictures for a layout in the holiday issue (which should be in your mailboxes the week of Nov. 14). The photos will illustrate a story, written by Smart writer Jen Baker, about tips for turning your autumn centerpiece into a holiday centerpiece by using the same base and swapping out just a few of the accessories.
Carrie and I pooled our holiday decorations and didn’t have to buy anything for the shoot, which meant we were off to a good start.
Of course, when we got to my house, we realized we didn’t have everything we needed.
Some of the unexpected additions were:
* Grilling tongs. We didn’t have one of those long candle lighters, and Carrie kept burning her hand when she tried to reach inside the hurricane globe to light the candle. We had already used the tongs to position the candle inside the globe, and Kate had the bright idea to secure a match with the tongs, light that match and use it to light the wick. It worked, but I made sure Kate had a good grip on the match before I lit it.
* An iron and ironing board to get the creases out of the table runner and table cloth I hadn’t used in years. In fact, I had never used the table cloth, which was a gift for my wedding (10 years ago). I also hadn’t used my iron in several months.
* My kids’ step stool. Kate needed to be just a little higher for some of the shots and it gave her the boost she needed. Later on, my son went into the bathroom and was displeased to find the stool missing.
In the end, we shot four different centerpieces, which took about two hours.
Here are some outtakes from our afternoon:
For more behind-the-scenes fun:
One Smart Woman Barbie Smith and her daughters visit the newspaper.
A random question I got from a reader.