Last week I had 5 finished projects photographed on the same day – a slightly insane thing to do on my part, but it was a Friday and all my clients live within a 25 minute drive from each other and Tim McGhie, my photographer, was willing to take on the challenge. We’ve worked with each other before and have the knack of styling, talking, shooting, fussing and then some more fussing down to a fine art. We multitask constantly although I never take a picture (or have anything to with the camera apart from ooh-ing and aah-ing as the images appear on screen) he’s great at polishing stainless steel appliances! I apparently am quite rubbish at it………….best to know your limits!

Getting a space ready for a photo shoot is a lot like getting your home ready for guests or for resale. You want to lose the clutter and make sure everything is looking its best. However in a photo shoot you sometimes place furniture in a way that makes perfect sense in the shot but wouldn’t work in real life – i.e. a chair blocking the only way in and out of the room or a bathroom stool preventing you from opening the vanity…….. Its taken me years to get ok to doing this. Also you need more accessories in a space than you would maybe want in everyday life. A large ottoman is perfect for putting your feet up on – you don’t want it cluttered – however in a photograph it can just read as a big empty blob – it needs a tray or books or a throw to dress it up.

If I am getting a whole house ready for a photo shoot it’s normally a 2 day process. Day one the house is styled and on day 2 the rooms are photographed. It can take a lot of time but it is so worth it. I constantly take pictures during clients projects and I like to be able to present them with a pictorial diary of what we did at the end of the job. Sometimes its really hard to remember what things looked like before we started we work.

For a single room shot as was the case on Friday – these can be done on the same day if you are organised. And I mean ORGANISED. You have to know exactly what is going where and have everything bagged and tagged in the car so you only take in what you need. As I was schlepping stuff around I realised that I normally always have the same things with me. So I thought I’d share my styling tips with you room by room. Who knows they might help you get through the upcoming holiday season!

Entrance Foyer

Remove all your excess clutter (shoes, bags, jackets, coats) – in a tight entrance space – this simple act alone can make a huge difference. A bench or a seat is a must if you want people to remove their shoes. A bench with open space beneath – instead of a hinged storage bench – I find to be more useful in a hallway. The open space can be used for guest shoe storage and it means no one is going to trip over someone elses footwear……..

Powder Room

Clean fluffy hand towels, fresh soap and a fresh roll of toilet paper (yes I bring toilet paper to a photo shoot). Surfaces cleaned with Mrs Meyers (available from Canadian Tire) surface cleaner smell of lemon verbena and natural scents and not of bleach. A strong scent of cleaning fluid is not welcoming – especially if you are cooking and the two smells combine. Ugh.

Living Room

Plump pillows, fresh flowers and soft lighting. It’s a winning combination every time. If its dusk or evening then light a few candles, if its cold out light the fire. Turn on your table and floor lamps to create soft pools of light. Max 60 watt bulbs. Dimmers are a must!


Clean dish towels, fresh soap dispenser, large bowl of fruit and clean surfaces. If you do have stainless appliances try Method’s Steel for Real. Its amazing – this was something I had forgotten to pack on Thursday night!


I love a bed throw – it keeps all looking tidy and crease free. Life can be too short for ironing and a bedspread to me is a must.

I hope these tips will help keep you sane over the next few weeks. The stainless steel cleaner alone is enough to save a marriage!

And as for the photo shoot images – all the new images that were taken on the photo shoots will be shown on my blog and website in due course. There are some amazing transformations. We’ve had an incredibly busy year and looking at these images makes me understand why I love my job so much. I get to make people’s lives more comfortable – from a gorgeous new bathroom to delivering a comfortable and well lit living space – its a great way to spend your workweek. No job is ever the same and you’ll always find something unexpected behind a wall, but having the right people around, makes my job, the best job in the world!

Next week I am going to show some sneaky pics of a couple of bathroom renovations we are currently working on. I will show you the process that my head goes through from start to finish and how finding one item can bring everything together. I’ll also review the latest addition to my design library and the fun I had creating my first book.

Have a great weekend – its chilly, but the sun is out so its time to rake up some leaves!



  • Sarah November 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Great post and tips! Sounds like you have been a busy lady!!

    • gilliangilliesinteriors November 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Thanks Sarah – it’s been a crazy busy year, so glad that I was able to get all these spaces shot. Have a great Sunday. Gillian


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