interiors photoshoot prep

One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot


This is a topic that I have previously found very little information on - or at least little GOOD information. When I started my design business, I was pretty clueless as to what all went into make a stunning shot. Prop styling such an intuitive and visual art, that it's a hard topic to write about - and I thirsted for this information. Truthfully, good styling comes with A LOT of practice. Oftentimes, items appear differently on camera than they do in your own (or your client's) home. I want to shed a little light onto the process, so that you can start to take baby steps towards being an amazing stylist. 

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot

1. Find The Right Photographer.

Having the right photographer is key. The right photographer should make your work look better in photos than it appears in person. Finding the right person may take some time - and trial and error. Try out a few pros to see who is the best fit for you and your style. Instagram is a great place to start your search. Be sure the photographer's style meshes well with yours and take the time to grow that relationship, as it could be a long-term one!

2. Review your shot list. 

Do this in the space with your photographer. Be sure you both have a count of the vignettes you wish to capture. Be flexible and trust your photographer's eye. If you're proposing an impossible shot, rethink it and let your photographer suggest another. Arrange your shot list in order of importance, in case you start losing daylight. I always walk the room solo first, taking iPhone snaps along the way to get an idea of what shots will work.

Michelle Gage // One Room Challenge: How To Prep For A Photoshoot

3. Hide all cords (& ugly stuff).

Tuck all of your cords away. Hide them behind dressers and under rugs. Nothing ruins a photograph more than an ugly plastic cord poking out. On that note, shut the door on any disasters. We shot our master bedroom and closet, but didn't intend to touch the bathroom just it became a dumping ground for all of the construction clutter. No one needs to see that.

chairs + rug from Anthropologie (old);  sconces  from Lamps Plus;  pouf  from Overstock

chairs + rug from Anthropologie (old); sconces from Lamps Plus; pouf from Overstock

4. Clean your windows.

Use a microfiber cloth to clean your windows. The grime on them can really appear enhanced in a photo. 

bedding  from Pom Pom At Home; sconces from Lamps Plus;  rug  and  pad  from Overstock

bedding from Pom Pom At Home; sconces from Lamps Plus; rug and pad from Overstock

5. Sweep and vacuum your floors. 

Be sure to clean up any dirt on your floors before the shoot day. Sweep and vacuum, Cinderella.

6. Turn off all lights. 

It's very rare that a shot looks better when the lights are left on. Leaving your lights on can add odd coloring to other items in the space - and be blinding at times. It's best to turn the lights off for shooting. 

art  from Gray Malin;  dresser  from Overstock

art from Gray Malin; dresser from Overstock

7. Freshen up with flowers (& plants).

I cringe every time I see interior designers skip this step. Adding floors (or fresh fruit, depending on the room) can really liven it up! Bringing flowers into the space can also bring in color. Sure, you can use white ones if you need that balance. However, if you want to bring a POP of pink (or another accenting color) into the space, this is an easy way to do it. This step is totally affordable too! I get flowers from my local grocer and plants (like this $10 one) from Ikea. 

8. Books, books and more books. 

Books are the #1 needed item for any photo shoot, especially when styling a shelf. If you're thinking that you wouldn't use them to style a bedroom, you'd be wrong. While you certainly don't need many there, you still need some. For example, I styled both nightstands with a small stack of books. Books were crucial to getting varying heights on a flat surface. 


For any of you who still have yet to shoot your space, I hope you found these tips helpful. There is so much that goes into photoshoots, so it's best to be prepared. Following a few of these steps will ensure styling success. 

I'M SO EXCITED to share my finished space with you. It's one of my favorite projects to date and I'm so grateful that it's mine. In the previous two seasons, I worked on room's in other people's homes. I was sad to say goodbye to those spaces - and this time I don't have to.

If you're trying to catch up on the last few week's progress, you can read up on week one, week two, week three and week four by clicking the embedded links. Be sure to come back next week for THE BIG REVEAL!!

To stay up to date on what the other fantastic featured designers are doing, check out their blogs, linked below. 

ORC Spring 2018.png

Apartment 34 | Beginning in the Middle | Coco & Jack | The English Room | The Gold Hive

Gray Malin | Jenna Sue Design | Jojotastic | Kelly Rogers Int. | Linda Holt | Marcus Design

Michelle Gage | Natasha Habermann | The Painted House | Rambling Renovators

Sacramento Street | Shannon Claire | Sketch 42 | Stephanie Kraus | Bisou Style

Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by ORC


Thank you to, Lamps Plus, Pom Pom At Home and Gray Malin for providing product to make this challenge a BIG success.