Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cottage Style Meets Coral Cottage!

It's late Tuesday night as I write this post and I've had an amazing day! I can't disguise how excited I was to attend the photo shoot of The Coral Cottage today for Cottage Style magazine.  It was really fun!

Last week I shared with you in this post how the whole thing came about and today it actually happened!  Yeah, I know I've used a lot of exclamation points but exclamation points are what I need to express myself accurately!

This is what happened:  I opened up The Coral Cottage at 9 o'clock this morning and soon the photographer,  Richard Leo Johnson, drove up.  His beautiful work has graced many a magazine and we were so happy to have him on our project.  Turns out Richard is very personable as well as capable and when he learned I was interested in improving my photography skills, he was kind enough to share his knowledge and explain what he was doing so I could understand.

Richard began setting up his camera on a tripod and he connected it to a computer so that we could look at the images as the stylist composed each scene...

...which bring us to our stylist, Sandra Mohlmann, who arrived next with a car full of props from her own collection as well as from various design stores, the grocery store, the florist, etc.  She said she often goes to as many as thirty places to shop when preparing for a project.  

 Sandra lives in Charleston, SC and I learned that her career as an interior designer led her into her current position of Field Editor and Stylist for Meredith Publications when she assisted in styling her own home for a magazine feature years ago.  Her talent caught the eye of editors and now she styles for many magazines all over the country!  I made it my job to watch and learn as much as possible from her while trying not to get in the way.  Thankfully she was very gracious, showed me what she was doing and allowed me to help a little (not that she needed any help at all.)

Sandra did a lot of this--moving the furniture and accessories for the most pleasing arrangement.
One thing that I found fascinating was that Sandra had what looked like a script that contained a list of photos the magazine wanted taken.  The script described the angles they wanted the shot taken from and the orientation--landscape or portrait--they needed.  Often, this required furniture to be moved around.

See the end table to the left of the sofa in the photo above?  Looks funny from this vantage point where it is so far away from the sofa, doesn't it?

Now look at it from this direction...

It looks good here, doesn't it?  Sandra and Richard wanted to show the shape of the end table and it would not have been seen if photographed close to the arm of the sofa.  Lots more tweaking took place before the final picture was captured--pillows changed around, accessories added, rooms in the distance styled, etc.  It took much time and thought to make it all perfect.  An eye for detail is essential in styling!

One other really cool thing I learned from Richard was that in the Photoshop editing tool you can "stitch" two photos together.  Richard uses this feature frequently to give a fuller picture of the room.  It is often impossible to get everything into one picture with a digital camera.  By putting the camera on a tripod and taking the same photo twice but with a slight shift left or right/up or down, Photoshop can merge the two photos into one and you cannot detect where the "stitching" took place.  Seriously cool.  Maybe even cool enough to make me want to learn how.  Hmmmm.

Richard and Sandra worked hard all day and, after over seven hours, they were satisfied with the pictures of The Coral Cottage.  They should be--they are gorgeous!  Can't wait to see them featured one day in Cottage Style magazine!

Thanks Richard and Sandra!


  1. Can't wait to see the pictures...of course they will be gorgeous because Coral Cottage is! Keep us posted when the issue will be out.