Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"What's Wrong with this Picture?" How Many Changes Can You Find?

I look forward every month to my new issue of Elle Decor. I have to say, it is one of the best publications out there. I was very excited to see that the cover of the September issue had a home by one of my favorite designers Victoria Hagan. I love her understated classic design sensibility. I noticed there were a few differences between the cover and the editorial photos however. So I thought it would be fun to play a little game:

"What's Wrong with this Picture?"

Of course there is nothing intrinsically "wrong" with either picture. They are both wonderful. But the object of the game is to name all of the differences.

I'd love to hear your list, and your thoughts as to why the rooms are so different. There has been a bit of blogging about the importance of good photography lately, and I think staging is also important for photo composition. But do you think the cover was the real deal or the editorial? Which look do you prefer?

(Here are a few of my catches: drapery color, pillow color, throw on sofa arm, table gone to left of fireplace. table lamps, floor lamp missing, different side table, lounge chair missing, flowers on coffee table, wood in fireplace. Did you catch any others?)

HOLD THE PRESSES!

Well I am truly without proper words! I have been visited by one of the most impressive women in the Shelter Magazine world, Margaret Russell. Elle Decor is and has been the magazine I look forward to most every month. It consistently puts out interesting, unique, beautiful editorials that capture my imagination. I love being introduced to new talented designers and innovative design. To receive a blog visit from the editor makes my day, my week, my...well, you get the picture. Ms. Russell (um, may I call you Margaret?) was kind enough to leave a comment to explain the cover shoot process so I am happy to post it for you all! And thank you Margaret for the visit! I hope you visit again!

MR said...
Hi all,This was a terrific posting. For the record, an editor/stylist is present at every ED shoot and we bring flowers, but that's about it. Covers sell magazines, and sometimes we move some things around in a room for a better cover shot to accommodate cover lines, and occasionally we will slightly alter an image or return to the location for a cover shoot, which is the case with Victoria Hagan's project in our September issue. The room made a good cover, but the original photo was a bit quiet. The real-life room is always featured in the article (as in this story and also the Randy Powers project in July/August), so this is not about subterfuge, it's simply to create a strong cover for the newsstand. And no one we've featured has ever had a word of complaint, only bloggers.By the way, I love your blog.—Margaret Russell
September 29, 2007 2:02 PM

27 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

Katie - I noticed all this too, and wondered, "why?" I'd be curious to hear from a sylist why the alterations were made. And curious as to which room was "original." I agree neither is particularly better. hmmmm...

robyn said...

I like the colors in the cover. The curtains, the blue lamp and pillows & throw, also the small table next to the couch and the flowers. Hey Katie, maybe one's a fall look and the other summer?

katiedid said...

Hello Mrs.!
I am very curious also! I may have to investigate further. I do like both looks. But if I had to pick one, I would pick the cover as my favorite.

katiedid said...

Hi Robyn!
I was wondering if htey had something like that in mind?

Leah said...

Hey Katie,

Have you seen the "Save Katie" poster from http://www.theposterlist.com?

Thought you'd enjoy!

;-)

Leah

Splaneyo said...

I think it should be what is the same... There are almost too many to list! It was fun though.
Heather

katiedid said...

Leah-
Thatt poster is a crack-up. I think I have to have it. It is going in my office.;D

Cote de Texas said...

Hi, they did that with the cover with the Houstonian Randy Power's mother's home this year. They moved the furniture all around too, stools moved from room to room. weird. Stylists!!! Fun post. How's the kitchen coming?


Joni

a blog of everyday delights said...

The curtain color, the distance at which it's taken, the pillows, there looks to be a nook where that little table and lamp is in the back corner of one picture, but no nook in the other photo. the chairs are moved, there's no lamp, there's a different side table, there's the basket, the table deor is different, the lamp is blue in one photo.

I like the cover better acutally. I think it's because of the extra pops of color. It makes it a little more welcoming. I think I'd feel more comfortable in the room on the cover.

Jackie Von Tobel said...

Very Interesting. To me it looks like the hues of the shot were altered in photoshop so the drapes and pillows look greener rather than blue. The other items I put down to photo styling.

How sharp of you to notice these details. I think in most of these shoots we are having the wool pulled over our eyes on some level.
Jackie

Bhavna said...

The cushion cover colors are different, throw missing in second pic, placement of chairs, centre table flower arrangement, lamps missing in second pic...:-D did I catch all the differences? (this was so much fun!) ;-)

Definitely prefer the first pic..it 'speaks' more than the second one

katiedid said...

Hello Joni, Jackie, BED,-
I think there was some Photo Shop-ing going on also! A little difficult to change a drapery treatment just for a photo shoot.
The kitchen is coming along. Finish plumbing and electrical this week!

katiedid said...

Hi Bhavna!
I think I like the more colorful one too.

Brilliant Asylum said...

What a keen eye you have. I am going with the color-sells-more-mags theory.

Habitually Chic said...

I LOVE this post! I always notice stylist changes. I'm sure they PhotoShop-ed that lamp from the back left corner to make room for the type. And my question is, why bother asking to feature someone's home if you're just going to change it all?

Things That Inspire said...

Hello - A good friend had her home published recently, and it was fascinating to see how the stylists set up the room, versus how it is set up in everyday life. They moved furniture and art around, brought in new pieces of furniture, removed others. The guest bedroom where I usually stay was completely rearranged!

katiedid said...

Hi BC-
I think you are right about that. THe brighter colors work with the title colors of Elle Decor. Since Victoria is a big name, getting the cover was probably a given as long as they could doctor the image a little.

katiedid said...

Hi HC! I was thinking that whole niche area did look a bit different. I think you are right about the photo shop-ing. It is crazy scary what can be done to the gullible public these days.

katiedid said...

Hi TTI! Did your friend end up keeping anything the way the stylists had it? Sometimes I think I could use a fresh eye with my own house, and would love a stylist's take on how to move my stuff around.

Neutral Dwelling said...

My first thought was Photoshop because the chairs look like mirror images along with the little bit of the sofa showing across the room in the second pic. I have to say- I think I like the blue version.

katiedid said...

Welcome ND! And thanks for visiting! I think I have to agree with you. I am off to visit your blog!

Style Court said...

Apart from color needed on the cover to grab attention at the newsstand, as BA said, the copy also has to fit :) Sometimes certain elements just get in the way of the words.

Once I heard Margaret Russell explain that, other than flowers, Elle Decor does not bring in furnishings. She said she wants the existing rooms to work naturally. But clearly sometimes they move stuff around -- a lot. Very clever Katie!

katiedid said...

Hi Courtney!
Margaret Russell is fab in my book. She has lead Elle Decor to be one of the best. I did notice in the editorial that end tables were brought in from other rooms for the cover photo.
Thanks for the info!

ALL THE BEST said...

What a great eye you have Katie!! Very fun and interesting post!

becky said...

Hey Katie! That is really funny! I wonder if one is pure Victoria, and the other is post-photo stylist?

This is making me want to restyle my living room for fall - it's getting a bit stale. I have this compulsion to do another flip-through all of the magazines I have lying around here first, which is hindering my progress!

katiedid said...

Hi Becky-
Thanks for the visit! I think you are right.
I know how you feel about styling your own home. I have so many magazines, I find it impossible to narrow it down!

MR said...

Hi all,
This was a terrific posting. For the record, an editor/stylist is present at every ED shoot and we bring flowers, but that's about it. Covers sell magazines, and sometimes we move some things around in a room for a better cover shot to accommodate cover lines, and occasionally we will slightly alter an image or return to the location for a cover shoot, which is the case with Victoria Hagan's project in our September issue. The room made a good cover, but the original photo was a bit quiet. The real-life room is always featured in the article (as in this story and also the Randy Powers project in July/August), so this is not about subterfuge, it's simply to create a strong cover for the newsstand. And no one we've featured has ever had a word of complaint, only bloggers.
By the way, I love your blog.
—Margaret Russell