Wednesday, April 21, 2010

behind the scenes: real living mag kids room shoot

shopping - nurseries may 10-1

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.

behindscenes1an idea of the studio and how small the “rooms” are
props tables arranged by “room”

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.

behindscenes4The Young Explorer’s room stage 1. I moved the walls in place and stuck up the map collage.

shopping - nurseries may 10-2In the mag. Click to enlarge
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.

behindscenes4Circus room stage 1. I “wallpapered” with double-sided tape along the sides and masking tape on the top and bottom.
shopping - nurseries may 10-3In the mag. Click to enlarge
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.
behindscenes3Pastel 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.
shopping - nurseries may 10-4In the mag: click to enlarge
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?
{behind-the-scenes images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home; scans courtesy Real Living mag via Daily Imprint}

24 Responses to “behind the scenes: real living mag kids room shoot”

  1. yes see, I’m the dopey one, I thought these gorgeous rooms were real rooms!!! shows how easy to copy them if you really want to!
  2. MicP says:
    That is sooo awesome! Thanks for sharing behind the scenes pics!
  3. peta says:
    mine is the explorer one too! I have already been pooring over the pages – and working out what i need. I am most definately using that map wallpaper idea. i love it! my only concern is attaching to the wall and getting a nice smooth finish. …
  4. kathy says:
    Was just looking at these rooms last night as I perused the new mag. I love them all!
    So many great ideas there to take away, even from the ‘boy’theme ones I can use some ideas in my girls rooms.
    Thanks – love your creativity!
  5. Amanda says:
    Wow what a great look behind the scenes! It looks like despite the hard work and stress that it would have been really fun too!
  6. Viv says:
    Ohh I really like this post! Thank you for sharing. How exciting that you were able to be involved in the setup and it definitely looks like a lot of hard work went into it. You couldn’t tell from the photos though, it all looks effortless and like a real room.
  7. Katrina says:
    Thanks so much for sharing – this is my DREAM job! Loved seeing how it came together. I loved the rooms too. Fab job.
    Hope you are having a great day x
  8. Amanda says:
    This was such a great post Belinda – I loved reading and seeing photos of how a magazine shoot comes together – you’d never tell they weren’t real rooms. Although I can see it’s lots of hard work and must be a long day, it must be so much fun gathering ideas and styling the ‘rooms’. Thanks for sharing x
  9. miss mellie says:
    oh wow how fantastic. thats my dream to be a mag stylist so it was good having a sneek peek into it!! ahhh so inspired
  10. Debora says:
    How fun! Love the behind the scenes look.
  11. Hazel says:
    Love it! I love Real Living magazine and now can really appreciate the effort that goes into preparing the shoots!
    :) Hazel
  12. Alison May says:
    Oooh thank you for this: I can’t tell you how much I adore seeing behind the scenes stuff… it kinda makes real life feel more workable you know?
  13. This is such a fantastic pot, love it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience it’s so interesting to see what really goes on behind the scenes :)
  14. Oops I meant ‘fantastic post’ but I’m sure you got that ;)
  15. Piper says:
    Thank you for sharing these behind the scene pics – I always have dreamed of being a stylist – now I get to take a peek at what it’s like! It’s amazing how the rooms get created…so inspiring :)
  16. Piper says:
    oh btw…saw you over on real living blog yesterday – how fun :)
  17. amy prior says:
    I love being able to see how you do these shots in real life- looks like tonnes of fun
  18. Jane says:
    Fascinating post about the behind-the-scenes workings of a mag shoot! It does look like pretty hard work but the results speak for themselves. My favourite rooms were a tie between the explorers and the princess, because the princess room is not too girly but feminine enough to know it’s for a little lady. Well done!
  19. Alison Gibbs says:
    Thanks for an insight to the ‘reality’ of a Real Living shoot.
  20. Lynda says:
    This is so amazing! Many years ago pre-kids I worked in fashion and advertising and styled many photo shoots. We too worked in warehouse type buildings and constructetd what we needed. I’m completely blown away to see what you guys have built in such a short amount of time and how fabulous it looks. You must be so very proud of your involvement in this project!
    I’d just feel better if it was in Inside Out, not ‘Real’ Living
  21. fat mum slim says:
    That’s so cool to see behind the scenes. So much work goes into it, and I’ve always wondered how it works. I have a new appreciation now. x
  22. Abby says:
    Thanks for sharing the insider info, I’ve always wondered how these “rooms” all come together. Looks like lots of work, but lots of fun! You guys did a great job.
  23. I love them all!! So funny, I have this month’s issue of Real Living and I was ogling the gorgeous kids’ rooms, then I came across your blog today and here they are! They do look real and the lighting is fab, it really looks like there’s daylight poring in from an unseen window :-)

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