Decorating & Design

May 2, 2013

Styling A Summer Table

Only a short time ago, I was working away on the prop styling for the June 2013 cooking story. Unlike the photos in the magazine suggest, it was freezing cold outside with no sign of summer — or spring for that matter! To create the feeling of June, I went with an outdoorsy, easy-breezy palette of minty greens and soft pinks with lots of white. It reminded me of all the early summer flowers we have to look forward to, and worn picnic tables full of homemade cooked food. Hurray for summer!

As you can see, I always have lots of styling options on set. This great mix of tableware is from a number of different retailers, but they’re all similar in style. Unfortunately, there are usually a few pieces that don’t make the cut, but I keep them in mind for future photo shoots.

The same goes for linens and glassware. It’s always good to be prepared with multiples. Sometimes we like to show recipes in a serving bowl, but other times we show the recipes plated and ready to eat. This means glassware, linens and cutlery are key. They also help to add a bit of decor to a photograph that’s mostly about food. I fell in love with the rose coloured goblets from Pottery Barn and wine glasses from Crate & Barrel (both pictured above). They may be a little feminine for everyday use, but they’re perfect for a special outdoor dinner party on a warm June evening!

Now this is where I’m giving away all my secrets! What looks like a pretty garden scene in the magazine actually looked like this in studio. Once stylist Ashley Denton adds the finishing touches and the talented Donna Griffith puts her lens on it, the result is a convincing outdoor location.

It’s this fooling the eye that I sometimes love the most because of the challenge in capturing a location or feeling that might not be accessible when we’re shooting. From the raised table and chair (on boxes and books!), to the faux beadboard wallpaper from NLXL, you can see we have a few unexpected tricks up our sleeves.

For more behind-the-scenes photo shoot tricks, see Morgan Michener’s blog post.

Photo credits:
1-3. Joel Bray