I’ve always been fascinated by the magazine business, by the editorial side, the styling side, the photography side too. When a magazine scout wants to come look at your home, it’s flattering of course, but for me the thing I value is the opportunity to gain some insight into the industry.
Each time I have the chance to work with professionals in the business, they always teach me something new, and it’s had a profound impact on the way I take photographs of everything. Like all of us, I’m drawn to the pretty and I love to see how real spaces, ones that people actually live in, come alive on the pages of a magazine.
Last week there was a two day photo shoot at my house, and I’ll share all the details when it comes out in May. At the end of the process, I sat down with Sarah of Albaworks, the regional field scout and stylist who found my home through the blog. After watching her work for two days, I asked if she’d be willing to answer some questions so I could share with you all some insight into the industry from the perspective of a field scout and magazine stylist.
Enjoy my Q & A with Sarah, and these lovely images from her portfolio!
Q: Let’s start with your background Sarah, tell us what you do.
I’ve been a location scout, field editor and stylist for national home magazines for the past ten years. I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of magazines that run the gamut from ultra modern to traditional design, and from high-end to budget-savvy. Everything from Traditional Home to Better Homes & Gardens, California Home & Design, This Old House, Kitchen and Bath Ideas, Do-It-Yourself, etc. My job changes all the time, which I love. Some days I’m scouting a home, on others I’m styling a shoot, or I’m interviewing a fantastic homeowner. Whatever it is, I’m constantly learning something new.
As a regional scout, I serve as the eyes and ears for these magazines on the West Coast and beyond. It’s taken years to distinguish the “It” factor, but I know it when I see it. It’s my job to match the right location with the right editor, without wasting anyone’s time.
As a stylist, my job to enhance what’s already present, so I come in to put the icing on the cake. Styling for magazines is all about maintaining the integrity of the home and complying with the rules and requests of the individual magazines down to the exact angle and detail.
Q: What do you look for when scouting a home to be featured in a magazine?
I’m always on the hunt for a great kitchen or bath, or an entire home. Typically a solo bedroom or living room will end up on the cutting room floor. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the first spaces homeowners decide to remodel, so it makes sense why so many magazines will feature them.
In general, I’m looking for everything the magazines are looking for. Kitchens and bathrooms should have a unique element to them. We’ve all seen the head-to-toe white kitchen, so we want to see something new that makes a kitchen or bathroom special. Does it have clever storage, interesting mix of materials, color, or even a great floor plan? Is it “green” or tech savvy? Is there a historic twist?