Behind the Scenes at a Photoshoot

Two weeks ago Hector Sanchez and my friend Sara from Simply Southern Cottage came over for a photoshoot. If you don’t know Hector, check out the last 3 months of Southern Living Magazine…the covers belong to him! The 3 days were long (and hot) and busy…and we had a lot of laughs along the way. And boy, did I learn a lot from him during our 3-day shoot. Here’s a few of the highlights and a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Hector doing what he does best!

First, your house becomes a wreck during a shoot. Only the scene actually in the picture looks great, everything else is a mess. Props and accessories are tossed to the side, furniture is moved, and equipment is everywhere.

Sara documented our days on her Instagram feed!

Hector travels with a handy cart that he rigged himself with a large monitor. It’s usually in the next room over and he walks back and forth from his camera to the cart examining each picture with a careful eye to detail until he has the perfect shot. It can take hours! Yes, you heard me right, I said hours… And he even worked out of the back of his car when we were outside!

Photo Credit: Sara McDaniel

The most interesting thing is that the furniture looked completely awkward in real life, but in the photo it looked amazing. Chairs were unnaturally pulled away from the table. Props were placed in strange positions. It’s all smoke and mirrors…or one big fat lie! 🙂 Another tip, doors and cabinets must be propped open in the shot. I even caught him looking for reflections in the open glass cabinets to make the shot even more interesting. Genius! Here he is taking a photo of my glass cabinets…doing whatever it takes!

Hector in action!

Here in Texas it’s usually brutally sunny this time of year, but as luck would have it, we had a lot of clouds for those 3 days. Unfortunately, Hector loves natural light, especially when it is dappled or streaming in directly from the sun. So, we often had to wait for the clouds to break to get some dappled light. Then, he fired off crazy rounds of pictures.

I had always understood that dappled light was a mistake, but Hector felt it added dimension to the surface he was shooting. He was right! The hardest part of this dappled-light-thing was when we shot outside. Waiting and waiting for those clouds to break in the heat…need I say more?

He turned all the lights out when we shot inside, but outside was a different story. Hector turned on the outside lights while shooting the greenhouse during the day. He thought it added a bit of a sparkle! Another genius move and I never would have thought of that.

Hector worked and worked with each scene, layering more interest as he shot to get it exactly right. My foyer was an example of that. First, we started with the stairwell that I wallpapered this past spring. (You can read about it by clicking here.) To get the shot, he had to go outside the window.

Sara always looked for the best shot in action!

He happened to see some bolts of my fabrics newly delivered by UPS in my hallway and suggested we unwrap them and add those to the shot. We brought in some fun shoes. Then, he got my sweet baby Zeus in the picture. Zeus was only doing it for the treats.

Here’s what we were looking at through the open window!

The final shot of the final day was at twilight in my greenhouse. To get the shot right, Hector had to put the tripod in the pool. It worked!

Sara always being the assistant!
From Hector’s monitor at night!

So now you know the truth…photoshoots may look sexy, but they are actually not. But they are fun, especially when you have amazing talent around you like Hector and Sara. I seriously can’t wait to see these masterfully crafted pictures!


I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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