Ever wondered what goes into those glossy looking photos you see on interior websites? Well, today, we're taking you behind the scenes to show every step of the way from start to finish of a photoshoot. A lot of what goes on before is NOT pretty and there are days and days of preparation that go into it!
The glossy final shot of our ladder desk
We shared some behind the scenes photos on instagram after our last shoot and got a whole lot of questions so we thought we'd do a full breakdown over here on the blog of how we prepare for and undertake a photoshoot.
Gemma, our stylist for the last shoot, busy setting up a shot in our 'fake' alcove
It all starts with a concept for the shoot which is taken from the design of the furniture we happen to be shooting. For example, with our recent work from home desks launch, we wanted to showcase how you could fit a work space into even the smallest spaces so all the sets were built around that concept. We then add in our core design values which are scandi style, minimalist and neutral. For this latest shoot we worked with a very talented stylist, Gemma. We worked with Gemma to come up with our ideas and concepts and she brought them to life with moodboards which show all the colours and props will use for the shoot.
The mood board for our ladder desk
Next up is the hardest, most labour intensive part of the whole shoot. Now we work to bring the moodboard to life! A lot of bigger brands will use a set builder to do this part but we are still small so we do this part ourselves. From painting walls to building 'fake' alcoves to shoot in, we get stuck in and start bringing the vision to life.
First day of set build, mostly carrying heavy furniture up 3 flights of stairs..
Building and measuring everything out ready for shoot day
This one was a shoot with a difference, the added complication of being Covid secure
To help our customers envisage how our furniture pieces can fit into their home and daily life, we use props and homeware pieces to really bring the furniture to life and make it feel like it is in a home setting. Again, because we are a small brand, we don't have a huge budget to make this happen. We make a list of all the props that we have in our own homes and bring as much as we can from home. For all the last little bits, we make a shopping list and get those brought it.
The day before the shoot we spend the whole day preparing the set. On this last shoot, we didn't have enough space in the location to set up every single shot. We started with the first 3 and then the rest had to be broken down and re-built on the day. Getting that first bit of prep in is VITAL because it means we can get more done on the day itself.
Busy styling the first shot the day before
Shoot day always starts super early for me, whether I'm driving a van full of furniture across London to a studio at 5am or I'm on set hoovering and steaming the bed covers, there's always something that needs doing early! The stylist normally arrives early too to set up any last minute bits or bring props. The photographer is the last to arrive because they don't really need to be there until we are 100% ready to shoot.
When you sell bedsides, there are always a lot of sheets that need steam ironing on set!
Shoot days are always so rewarding because you finally get to see all the work that has been put into it in the lead up. Sometimes we'll be shooting furniture that has been designed a year ago (I'll talk about the design and sampling process in another post!). It's like everything finally comes together.
On set, agonising over that perfect shot
We always have a plan of what order we'll shoot things and we put it up on the wall so we all know where we are and what's happening next. It's a long day but always fun.
The day plan, what we're shooting and how
Checking the shots throughout the day in case we need to revisit anything
We'll normally wrap up shooting around 5
Shooting has finished so Yeshen (photographer) will go home but Gemma, Meera and I still have a lot of work ahead of us to break down the set
5pm when we lose the light and then it's time to start breaking down the set, packing up and cleaning. Shoot days are an early start and a very late finish.
It's not always possible to get everything finished on set day so often, the next day we will still be packing up furniture and cleaning. There's so much to do with a furniture shoot, a lot of heavy lifting, carrying things up and down stairs and breaking things down.
Still so much to pack up the next day
The final shots
It's normally a few days later that we start seeing the final shots. We check everything on set as we are going along to make sure everything looks how we want it to but there's nothing quite like getting those final pictures in your hand (on your screen?!).
The next few days we'll go back and forth with the photographer to make some edits, normally just colour corrections or removing plug sockets or similar. Then it's the big moment when we put them out into the world to see how everyone reacts to the new products. It's very nerve wracking to see how things will be received but ultimately, very exciting when we start to get customer feedback.