The Reality Behind Home Photo Shoots

26 September 2012

As a girl who just can't help but compare her own home (that has miles to go before it looks magazine worthy) to all of the beautifully styled homes in magazines, I want to thank both Edie at Life in Grace and Joni at Cote de Texas for their wonderful posts that reveal the truth behind these shoots.  They can be so fun and inspirational, but they don't necessarily reflect life as we live it.

Edie has a beautiful out-of-the-ashes story (literally), and her new home is so charming and elegant.  Her home is going to be featured in an upcoming Better Homes and Gardens issue, and on her blog she let us in on the behind the scenes action of the photo shoot at her home.  She revealed what they shot, but also what they didn't, and some tricks that they used to make her already beautiful home "magazine worthy."

Then, Joni blogs (in a very well researched, nearly investigative piece) about the differences between a home styled about 5 different ways.  There was the original ranch when Harold Ramis lived there (yes, Egon.), then when Kathryn Ireland styled it for her book, versus the real estate listings showing how Kathryn Ireland actually lived in the home, then the Elle Decor styling for Reese Witherspoon's photo shoot (the third owner in this story),  compared to the real estate listings for Reese's home (again, showing the reality of her decor). 

I love the differences that Joni points out, and I do have to say that I agree with her that we are all a little bit cheated in not getting a more realistic picture of the way people live in their homes.  Cleaned up and flowers added? Sure.  But when the house is almost unrecognizable, what was the point of doing the shoot in the first place.  To say, "This is how we live," when it is not true seems disingenuous. 

That being said, I love looking at a well-styled room just as much, if not more, than the next guy.  And I do think that we should put our best foot forward in public.  There is nothing wrong with displaying perfection as a goal for others to achieve.  But it is important to keep in mind that people don't live in magazines and no one is perfect.  As a bar set high to provide inspiration, I think these shoots are fantastic, as long as we don't compare our own selves (and self worth) against them.
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