So a couple of months ago, I helped Nat out on her mammoth shopping shoot: kids rooms. Mammoth because there are three rooms that need to be created, it has to be to a certain budget, it has to be newish and cool and it’d be ideal if it actually looks like a real room. My big pet hate with shoots was getting the images back and the “rooms” not looking like real rooms. So I love that Natalie really fills hers out – there is STUFF in them, they’re imperfect and they actually look like someone might live there.
You also have to work fast. Nat had two days to build three rooms, put together furniture, decorate and style it up. And you really have to do everything – when you arrive at the huge studio space, you have a few tables for props, a wall of windows and a few huge panels and brackets. These are your walls: you slip the panels into the brackets on the floor and slide them together to create a corner or longer wall. It’s never perfect so it’s digital production specialist Bi to the rescue later on to do electronically what a carpenter and plasterer would do in real life: seal the gaps together and make them seamless.
And then? You paint, wallpaper or create a wall-map collage, you lay a floor, hang curtains and use a giant L-shaped arm to hang a light fitting. You have to build the furniture from flatpack and unwrap everything being careful not to destroy the packaging (it all has to go back in perfect condition to be sold later) and marking what went where. Then you customise the furniture, you make toys, iron linen, hang decorations and fold clothes. There’s careful toy-in-basket-on-top-of-blankets placement so they peek out the top even though the basket is too deep for the limited amount of toys you have. You hang wallpaper with double-sided and masking tape and cross your fingers it doesn’t fall down overnight before the photographer can snap it. And then you can start moving in, changing things around, styling it up and trialling and erroring until it looks right… And that’s all we got up to when I hot-footed it out of there for my ridiculously long drive home in peak-hour traffic.
Circus room stage 1. I “wallpapered” with double-sided tape along the sides and masking tape on the top and bottom.
I couldn’t go the next day, but I’m 100% sure it was hectic. Nat still had to place the rest of the items (these pics was how the space looked when I left), style it up and work with Chris Warnes while he photographed it. And then? Then she HAD TO PACK IT ALL UP!!!!!!!!! Oh yes, as if it wasn’t enough you have to build the set, you have to take it allllll down again too. And put it back perfectly. All before 6pm. Eek. She did have a few other elves (thank goodness for those three keen interns!), but she did the hardest yards.
Pastel princess stage 1: quite different in the end result: walls are flipped around and furniture different. I made the pom pom garland and height chart.
So shoots are hectic, hard work and stressful, but look at what she created? Aren’t they gorgeous? My fave is the young explorers – Zak would LOVE that room, being world-obsessed. What’s yours?