The other day on Instagram (sometimes it seems everything happens on Instagram) me and my interior-obsessed Instamums were chatting about having your family home featured in a magazine. “Oh, I’ve been asked about that before,” exclaimed one owner of a handful of children and a to-die-for home (500+ likes per room pic shared), “but I’ve always said no. I’m worried my home won’t ever be perfect enough!”
Ah, fellow Instagrammer, if only you knew! Since The Pink House launched earlier this year, my home has been the subject of a few professional photoshoots, for blog posts, Grazia and Good Homes mag. As a result I’ve learned that what you see in the oh-so-perfect family home tour pics is a loooong way from reality. So here, for the record, is what actually happens on photo shoot day…
TRUTH 1) Same shit, different location
Despite your best efforts to finally tidy up all the crap before the photographer arrives, somehow you discover said crap has mysteriously multiplied overnight. Which may or may not have something to do with the trolleyful of extra ‘props’ you bought the day before at IKEA. But the photographer’s here now and she's on a tight schedule that doesn't allow for your laborious tidying, so what you gonna do? I’ll tell you: shove all the extraneous shit BEHIND THE CAMERA. This is an extremely effective way of making your home look practically perfect in each photo. It’s also an extremely effective way of helping burn those calories. Because once your oh-so-patient photographer (hello Grazia photographer Susie Lowe) has taken a photo of THAT end of your living room, guess what shot she’s going to want next? Yup, the OTHER end of your living room; the end that is now buried under a double crap pile. My biceps are still feeling the burn two months later. And my house is still a tip - wouldn't know it from Susie's photos below, would you? Ha! Fooled you!
TRUTH 2) You will suddenly have nothing to wear
Except a) black clothes, b) clothes with inappropriate slogans, and c) clothes that clash with everything in your home. A couple of weeks ago the fantastically patient Katie from @beautifulhomesinthenorth came to photograph The Pink House - and me in The Pink House - for Good Homes magazine. The shoot included an episode where she tactfully tried to explain that my favourite floral-print Isabel Marant shirt clashed horrifically with the fabric on my armchair. Except without using the words ‘clashed’ or ‘horrifically’. I was gently encouraged to change into something that wasn’t either crazily patterned, black, or emblazoned with the word ‘fuck’, which left me with my sports bra and the outfit I’d worn for Halloween last year. #ootd this was NOT.
TRUTH 3) The sun will shine
Didn’t expect that, did you? Except, sadly, I have discovered that contrary to my PPS (Pre Photo Shoot) expectations, the sun is a total nightmare when it finally - and inevitably - appears during an interior shoot, having gone AWOL for the entirety of the previous 30 days. Because then the sunshiney bit on your coffee table is brighter than Justin Bieber’s teeth, while the rest of the room fades into gloomy Darth Vader darkness in comparison. Or you get the REALLY annoying sun-in, sun-out scenario. Yup, those calculating clouds are sure to appear at JUST the wrong time, obliging your poor photographer to frantically raise and lower blinds and switch lights on and off so your bathroom doesn’t look like it’s in the Costa del Sol while your bedroom appears to be in deepest, darkest Iceland.
TRUTH 4) Your kid will kick off
If your child is expected to take part in the shoot, said child will have been going extra mental in the hour leading up to the photographer’s arrival. And quite possibly during the shoot itself. Emilie, blogger at Stella + the Stars (@stellaandthestars), sums it up: “As expected Stella totes didn’t get the ‘behave like a nice quiet toddler, not a total nutter on crack’ memo for today’s photoshoot”. Words that are accompanied by an Instagram pic of sweet little Stella faceplanted on the bed, only flailing feet and legs visible, while Emilie does her best impression of the sweating-yet-smiling emoji for the camera.
So there you have it, proof that however much of a shitheap your home looks right now, it can be ready for its close-up in a matter of minutes. Just make sure you have a full bottle of wine on standby to help you deal with the stress/aftermath. Insert sweating-yet-smiling emoji here.