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Greenhouse Interiors Home photo shoot for Inside Out Magazine

The Truth about Styling Homes for Magazine Shoots

I often wonder about the homes featured in magazines. I’ve seen enough episodes of Next Top Model to know that along with smizing being essential, everything is not as it seems in the world of capturing humans on film.

Greenhouse Interiors Home photo shoot for Inside Out Magazine

I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s the same when homes are photographed and printed in our fave interiors mags. I mean, everything looks so perfect; I assumed that at least some props were brought in and that a little bit of work was done in post production to make those space seem so sunny and envy-inducing.

I decided to ask the expert in interior styling, Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors, about this very topic. Julia has years of experience shooting homes for mags like Inside Out, Home Beautiful and House & Garden, so it made perfect sense that I get her to dish on the truth about styling people’s spaces for magazines. You might be surprised by what I’ve uncovered!

The Truth about Styling Homes for Magazine Shoots

Inside Out Magazine Photo Shoot by Greenhouse Interiors

A shoot can be done in one day.

“It doesn’t take me days and days. I am only ever usually employed for a half day or full day for styling. We tend to get there around 8/8.30 in the morning and generally chase the sun ’til it goes down,” Julia explains. “On the rare occasion, I have finished up around 4pm, but that’s not the norm. There is always one more shot to get… just one more!”.

The home always looks different on camera.

“I remember when I had my own home shot for the first time, they moved every single object and left me wondering if I had really bad placement. But in fact, I soon learned it has nothing to do with that, but moreso the way the camera reads the room. So explaining that to poor unsuspecting home owners is always high on my agenda so they don’t feel the same way I did”.

There can be a lot of smoke and mirrors.

“Quite often I ‘C-Stand’ in a hanging plant that never really existed before,” Julia says. “We have many contraptions to help us create a certain look, and the old C-Stand is definitely one of my favourites. Sometimes, it’s a Pilates class too; where we hold in an artwork and the photographer will make us disappear from the image in post production. It sure beats taking the hammer to the wall when you’re not in your own home”.

People and pets add a layer of difficulty.

“Pets and people are sooo hard to shoot and add another whole layer of complexity. The poor homeowners have a gaggle or people staring at them asking them to move two centimetres, smily slightly etc… and it’s anything but natural. What they say about working with kids and animals is true! Interiors don’t move, and they do as they’re told as a rule. People are not the same. I thank my lucky starts that I am behind the lens every day as opposed to in front of it”.

Home of Megan West for Inside Out Magazine by Greenhouse Interiors

Not all items belong to the home owner.

“Sometimes I pack half of my house and other times I turn up with nothing by foliage. Though that is rare. Most homes need a degree of propping for magazines, or replacing of certain items”.

Disasters do happen.

Julia recalls a time when she turned up to a home and the place was virtually empty, leaving her to fill it with almost all of her own props.

“I had the task of moving in, and moving out, of a stranger’s house in one day and had to shoot in-between. I felt 99 at the end of that one…totally wrung out. Nothing about styling is glamorous despite what it looks and sounds like”.

Every stylist has a fave home shoot.

“My all-time fave space was a shot for Inside Out a year ago. It was the home of Vanessa Kortlang and was packed to the rafters with ingenious use of colour, pattern on pattern and the coolest collectibles I’d ever seen. She had innate style that lady, and it was an utter delight to go with it. Despite living in a small Victorian cottage, she had created my version of utopia that celebrated every colour of the rainbow. I hope she reads this. People that that deserve to be recognised for their cleverness”.

>>> What’s your take on home styling in magazines? Drop a comment below and share!

The images in this post were all styled by Greenhouse Interiors and come courtesy of Inside Out Magazine. All images were photographed by the awesome Armelle Habib.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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3 Responses

  1. Ive had the privilege of homes + and home beautiful take photos of my home and I had the most amazing and fun time ever yes a few props get added and they might move things around a little but it was certainly a fun experience.I think it depends on the magazine I know Homes+ stayed very true to the home owners style only a photographer came to my home but home beautiful have their own stylist but she was absolutely beautiful and such a pleasure to have in my home.

  2. Enjoyed reading this! Most of our styling is small scale but exhausting and fun…usually. I’ve wished I had been more of a pilates girl on a couple of occasions…or owned a donkey when we do an outdoors shoot. Thanks for the insight.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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