Shooting Heather Ross's Book at Melanie's House

Over the years I have worked at STC Craft, many photos for many of our books have been photographed at Melanie’s house. (When I’ve seen these photos after the shoot is finished, I’ve actually found myself thinking “and now it’s really a Melanie Falick Book.”) From Sewing Green to Knitalong to Weekend Sewing, Melanie’s home makes numerous appearances. And if you look closely, in almost all of these books, you’ll even see the infamous grass-green cabinet. (It’s shown above on the lefthand side, though the cover of Sewing Green is where the cabinet makes its most prominent appearance.)

And so, as we set out last week to do a final day of shooting for Heather Ross’s upcoming book, Heather Ross Prints (due in stores in fall 2012), we decided to keep things easy and head up to Melanie’s house in Beacon.

One thing that is great about shooting at Melanie’s house is that she has loads of antiques and interesting home wares, many of which we integrated into the shots. For instance, the Anthropologie dishes in the photo above are shown along with her grandmother’s silver--together they make a fabulous not-too-matchy match with Heather’s tablecloth and napkin projects.

But of course, if you know Melanie at all, you know that she is a Tab soda fanatic. And so, along with the antiques, we had to give Tab a cameo in a detail shot of the sarong project (the sarong is on the chair, just out of frame). I snapped this low shot while the real shot that will be in the book was being set up.

While every person at a photo shoot plays a key role, from the photographer (of course) to the person who goes to pick up the food for lunch (a VERY important job), our stylist, Karen Schaupeter, was a huge player. From keeping us on schedule to beautifully matching Heather’s prints within a setting, Karen moved quickly and kept things fun. In the photo above, she’s actually texting while ironing—talk about a multi-tasker!

As the stylist, Karen is in charge of bringing every possible prop we might need that day and organizing it so it will be at the ready. Shown above is just a small portion of the props spread out amongst the projects.

And here are two adorable pincushions that Heather provided as possible props. They may not have made it into the book, but they did make it onto the blog.

Shooting in a house can give you a world of options, but it can also have its limitations. For this shower curtain shot, Karen, the stylist, and John Gruen, the photographer, had their work cut out for them. Not only is the bathroom so small that you can’t possibly shoot a shower curtain from inside of it, but there wasn’t even a shower rod (only a tub). With some lighting poles and studio magic, we were able to fabricate a curtain rod and get just the right angle out in the hallway, producing what turned out to be one of our favorite shots. In fact, we liked the light in the bathroom so much that we wound up moving a table in there and shooting some still lifes on it.

And of course, on a photo shoot there are three things that you’ll see people doing a lot: checking their phones, snacking, and huddling over the camera to see how the shots are turning out. In this photo, Karen, John, and I gather around the camera to flip through the apron shots. And that’s right, I’m the one wearing the apron. (Again, when you shoot at Melanie’s house, you use the props on hand—including people.)

But the best part of shooting at Melanie’s house, aside from the great hospitality and the unlimited Tab, has to be her loyal companion, Molly—one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. I love how you can barely see her tail in this photo because it’s wagging so happily. Aside from a bit of dog hair that needed to be lint-rolled off of the projects now and then, there’s nothing like a sweet pup to make a day of shooting that much more fun.