Thursday, February 23, 2012

Composing Photos: Styling to tell a story.


Here's another post in the Composing Photos of Interiors series, which focuses on styling.

This post was inspired by you all -- from your many comments in my last post. You all told me that what you appreciate about some styling is the feeling that someone actually lives in these beautiful spaces.

  the gardener's cottage said... 
..i think the reason why these photo shots appeal to me to much is b/c they bring the element of livability to the rooms... 
 ...These shots with things on the floor are some of my favorites--helps the eye move but also helps the room feel more real somehow, more lived-in, especially the pets!

Heidi @ Decor & More said...
...I always love the photos that feel as if someone has just stepped out of the frame. 


The photos I've included below are all styled to tell a story of the 
people who live in them.  

Or perhaps the idea is for you to imagine yourself living there.

Let's look at some common themes.


1.  This is where we eat.

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The story:  A leisurely breakfast of toast and coffee in a beautifully unmade bed.
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The story:  A late breakfast with the weekend the paper.
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The story:  Breakfast for the whole family.
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The story:  Breakfast for a young and hip couple.  
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The story:  Breakfast for two/three?  There's tomato juice.  Maybe last night was a big night.
   Look how the napkin is casually placed on the chair.  Perhaps to bring the eye down?


Are you sensing a mealtime theme?  It's harder to find styling showing lunch or dinner.



2.  This is where we work.

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The story:  A place to pass the time while perusing old books.
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The story:  A comfortable and pretty workspace for two.  
Or perhaps a client/designer space to meet and discuss ideas.
































































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 The story:  A clean, spare space -- like a fresh sheet of paper -- to write.  Perhaps a novel.





 3. This is where we prepare food.

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The story:  Making lemonade for the guests. 
Notice how the tea towel partially obscures the dishwasher.   It also brings in a another element of the coral color.  There's great  movement of the eye here, I think.


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The Story:  Family fun in the kitchen.  On the menu for dinner?
Pizza that they'll make together.
source unknown
The story:  More breakfast being prepared here.




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The story:  Fresh ingredients are out for a gourmet meal about to be prepared.


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The story:  The cook is just in the from harvesting in the garden.


4.  This is where we arrange flowers. 
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The stories all pretty much the same in this theme, so I'll refrain from commenting. 

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5.  This is where we relax and have a good time.
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The story:  teatime and backgammon.  Notice the placement of teapot and game on the floor.


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 The story:  kick-off your shoes and cool down on the screened-in porch with some iced tea and peaches.  Not hard to imagine in which part of the U.S. this porch resides.

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The story:  Ready to watch the game with beer and chips.

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The story:   A mug of tea, a game of chess, and some reading is the only agenda for the afternoon.

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The story:  Thanksgiving, of course.  In the barn, of course.
I almost didn't include this West Elm photo.  But I liked it because the ad is for the table.  What better time of year to sell tables than before Thanksgiving?



6.  This is where we clean.

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The story:  Dreamily hand washing the china, crystal, and silver.
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The story:  A spotless kitchen with an uber clean floor.
How Scandinavian.

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The story:  Martha lives here.


7.  And now for the oddballs.

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The story:  You know, just sittin' around in the parlor havin' a Coke.
This one cracks me up.  Who would ever think to style with Coke?  Guess it matches the pillows.

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No real story to be told here.  But if one must be told, then it is this:  It is utterly too difficult to pick which white bowl will next be filled with flowers. So while we think, we might as well have some rosé and nibble on tangerines.  And perhaps kick around a wooden sphere.  
(Really wish I had found this photo in time for my styling the floor post.)
Strangely, this is my favorite styling in the entire post.  I love the way everything looks together. 


A few things to note:

  • Notice how these stories romanticize the act of eating, preparing food, working, and yes, they romanticize cleaning too.  As for arranging flowers, that's always romantic. 
  • Scroll back up and notice which colors are predominately used for styling.  Either that, or I'm subconsciously attracted to this particular group of colors on the color wheel.
  •  These are the stories I invented as I viewed the photos.  We are all meant to create our own stories for how the rooms are used, I believe.



16 comments:

  1. Once again, such an educational post! Thanks for doing this series, Camille. It really makes me think and implement these tips in my shooting--as you know;)

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  2. Can you guess which one I like? Hint, a habit started by Aunt Clara in Easton Md. involving a daily bottle of.....?

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  3. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Each one does tell a story, and you are right that everything is romanticized-- even doing the dishes! The ones we are drawn to as individuals say a lot about us also. I think the accent colors are mostly blues or blue/greens, but I also see some coral, yellow and brown. I am guessing you like a pop of clear, but not saturated, color in your neutral spaces. These posts must take a lot of time to put together. Thank you for making the effort. I find them to be quite enjoyable.

    xo,
    Anne

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  4. Another winning post, Camille! Lovely.

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  5. Such a wonderful post! Totally explains why we all have the temptation to make our homes/lives look better/more perfect in pictures... because it actually IS more pleasing to the eye!

    ps. some of your stories are cracking me up... did I detect a bit of sarcasm in a few of them? :)

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  6. Great observations! My favorite photo is the mother and two children in the shot - that is as real as it can get. I've noticed I like it when I get to see the people that live in the interiors - it all makes it more authentic and genuine!

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  7. When my house is clean and smelling like Mrs. Meyer's, the flowers are fluffed and the fruit bowls freshly filled I fell just like these pictures.

    Know what I mean?

    I actually float around my house in domestic goddessness.

    xo jane

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  8. Oh what a fun post- I'll have to go back and read the ones that I've missed. So many beautiful (and well composed) spaces!

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  9. Beautiful post Camille! It is an art isn't it?

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  10. There is SO much that goes into styling a photo! Love the little quips you had for each one - you were bang on!

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  11. Well, you already know I adore this series ... but BRAVO! Love this post, too. I had a kitchen photographed today and I styled it as "preparing for a pink and yellow dessert party." Lots of pretty desserts out, plates and napkins. Basket on the floor with a tablecloth hanging out of it, as if the homeowner was pulling out the linens.

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  12. I sat here early this morning catching up with your post! This one was particularly educating. You really have the eye for detail....

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  13. I too am enjoying this series Camille.
    I think that "life" revealed in an image is what captures my attention. I love images that feel authentic. I tire easily with so many images present in magazines that portray an almost "sterile" setting.

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  14. OK Camille, I am thinking about that other blackboard in the kitchen photo - not the one from me - and how we might incorporate some of those details. Still derailed by the desire for white!!!

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  15. I just LOVE these posts! They make me think a bit. I tend to enjoy making tablescape photos from time to time, and have lots of "just harvested" photos - but you went so in depth, I just love the time you take in finding all these images for us!

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  16. I just found your blog this morning. I love the combination of showing what you've done in your home as well as the collection of gorgeous inspiration. I'm guessing you have even more, as I'll soon find out when I delve into older posts.

    You are very responsible quoting sources. If you are inclined, I know the source of the aqua work area in 2) This is Where We Work. It's the Bee Cottage from House Beautiful; a gorgeous makeover if I might add. Here is a link (pic 10 of 10): http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/home-makeovers/bedroom-before-after-photos-bee2-0311#slide-10

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I enjoy reading every comment.