So today something happened that I honestly never imagined would: a magazine came to take photos of our apartment. No, not Elle Decor or Home Beautiful, but a local magazine here in Hong Kong called Playtimes. As the name suggests, it’s a parenting magazine. Each month they feature a home in the magazine (and online!) and unbeknownst to me when I replied, at the urging of a good friend, to someone in a FB forum about having photos taken of our home, it turned out to be the magazine. I have never thought of my home as magazine worthy and am a bit nervous at our place holding it’s own against the huge designer apartments they usually feature, but figure, “what the heck?! This sort of chance isn’t going to come up very often. No guts, no glory!” It was really interesting to go through the process of the photo shoot so I thought I would share a little about it. The photographer and the writer came over at 10am and were done by 11:20am. Much quicker than I thought it would be! Unlike a shoot for an Aussie or US magazine, there was no question of whether the kitchen would be photographed. In Australian and U.S. homes, the kitchen is often the centre of the house but in HK it is the helper’s domain. So you really don’t see kitchens having the same focus here. But they did photograph the lounge room, dining room, master bedroom, the boys’ room and the spare room. Just one shot of each room. When setting up for each shot the photographer, a lovely lady named Melanie, would first determine the lighting and the best camera angle with input from Ingrid, the stylist and writer. When setting up each shot we put lots more accessories into each shot than I would have thought you would! And they were positioned in slightly odd ways that looked odd in real life, but I presume will work well on camera! So for instance, this how the boys’ room photo was set up:
Extra art was pulled into the shot to fill it out and make sure there was enough colour, without any blank spots. Luckily, the boys’ room is certainly not short on colour. It looks odd to me and cramped with too much art, but they know this stuff better than me!
The dining and lounge rooms presented much more of a problem though. In real life, the dining room has a variety of wood and rattan with a lot of texture, but not a lot of colour going on. This doesn’t photograph well though – the textures get lost and the room just looks very, very brown. So again, accessories played a huge part, with a teal green trench coat even coming in to add a shot of colour!
In the lounge room, we had a similar problem as the palette is black and white, with wood and gold. There are only a few bits of pattern and colour from the beanbag, and a couple of throw pillows. In addition, our tv is, like most these days, larger than any interior designer likes. TV’s dominate rooms and are really lacking in the “pretty” factor. So the photographer had me hold Alex, who was wearing a bright emerald green sweater today, and walk across the room. The effect is of blurred movement and colour, which the photographer timed so that we were in front of the TV – breaking up the expanse of screen. Clever, huh?
I originally didn’t think they would be able to take any shots in the spare bedroom as it’s in a state of flux right now. I stole the pillows from in there for our master bedroom, since I liked them so much! But luckily, I happened to order a few new pillow covers from Etsy (a great store named Loubella1, if you are interested) only a few days before I found out about the photo shoot and they arrived just two days before! This meant I needed to flesh out the rest of that space (or at least the side with the little sofa and side tables) with enough accessories to fill a photo. On Saturday, I had planned to check out Zara Home anyway, and found a lovely vase there that works really well with the space. On Sunday, I went over to Ap Lei Chau and managed to find a throw and a pillow (from a store called Inside) and some beautiful faux foliage (from Bowerbird) to finish it off. So here is how the room looks as I have it:
I usually have the room set up with the pretty stuff on the table by the door. This is for two reasons: firstly, so I can see it as I walk by, not just when I am in the room. Secondly, Alex’s change table is set up on the deep window sill on the other side and I try to keep breakable things out of reach from there. But for the photo shoot, we used the other side of the sofa because it’s closer to the window, with slightly better light and also, the bar cart is a little taller, which brought everything (sofa, artwork, table, etc) closer together for the photo, allowing a tighter shot.
I am not sure if the pictures will be in next month’s magazine (March) or April’s but I will be sure to let you know when it’s available to see online and then we can all see for ourselves how the photoshoot turned out!