Interested in a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Sturbridge Yankee Workshop photography?
Come and take a look at the steps taken to put together a catalog page! We love mixing and matching all kinds of country looks for your home, and providing plenty of photographs to give you a unique opportunity to see what will complement your personal style. Selecting and photographing our products is an important step in creating the perfect country home!
The first step in creating catalog imagery is planning. A style meeting is held, where buyers, stylists, and the creative director plan what photographs are needed for this season's particular products. Is there a promotional focus? What would the buyers like to showcase? What are the photographer's requirements and limitations? These and many other questions are asked at the meeting. Photoshoots are subject to the season, the budget, and the particular new products the buyer has selected. This is the stage where ideas are weeded out, and only the best and most necessary images are planned.
2. SET DRESSING
If you've ever seen a play, it's easy to understand the next step in the photoshoot: set dressing. What are the physical props and sets needed to create a pleasing image for the catalog? This is the stage where the creative director rolls up her sleeves and turns the plans from the style meeting into reality.
There are three main components to set dressing: props, sets and lighting.
Props are kept in bins in a shelving area, and range from hats to books to pillows. If the creative director can't locate a prop she needs, then she has to go out and find it from a store or other source.
Sets are enormous wheeled partitions twelve feet high and of various widths. Imaginary "rooms" are created when sets resembling a living room or an outdoor porch are physically wheeled into place. A spacious backlot area contains planks of wood for different flooring, columns, slate tiles, and bricks. An entire virtual country world is created with these versatile sets.
Lighting determines color, so it is essential to photograph our products in accurate lighting. Large studio strobe lighting and a photographer's "soft box" ensures a well-lit shoot. If the shot requires natural sunlight or outdoor light, the photoshoot may take place in an off-site location.
Once the sets have been created, the actual products are placed in the set according to the plans from the style meeting. This stage requires product perfection — curtains need to be ironed or dry cleaned, upholstered chairs need to be impeccably clean, the floor is swept free of dust and debris and windows are washed. Beds and furniture pieces need to be assembled before shooting, quilts and other textiles are removed from packages, any tags or stickers are also removed. Prints must be hung level, rugs laid out to showcase their patterns and lamps lit so they do not cast too great of a shadow.
Accented with props, the products may be photographed several times from different angles to give the customer the best possible images.