Laura J McDonald photography | The Making of a Blog Post

The Making of a Blog Post

September 29, 2014  •  2 Comments

I'm sure you've heard it said that no one really wants to know how sausage is made. If your feelings run the same regarding pretty pictures then read no more. {{Spoiler alert:}} this photo wasn't taken at a recent wedding, or on a lovely date night with my husband, or even at my local Pottery Barn (which I seriously considered looking into when given the editorial I was charged with shooting). On the contrary, I set (and reset several times) my dining room table and then shot (and reshot from every different angle) this beautiful banquet scene — all in the hopes of bringing visual impact to the written inspiration at Not that Michelle Benzinger needs additional impact. She's written a doozie this time. Preach. (yeah, I just said preach. Go check out her latest post!)

Since I am inclined to the "before" and "after" in all things, I thought it might be fun to detail the behind the scenes of a blog post. It struck me as especially amusing today, while my husband pounded out the revised budget amidst napkin rings and stemware. To be fair, I did use HIS "home office" as my set. It does have the longest table in the house and fairly decent lighting. 

Here is, truly, how it all played out. Michelle mentioned to me, say, three weeks ago, "Oh, I'm going to need some pictures of clocks. And maybe a map or globe." And then a week or two later, "And a banquet table. A really long banquet table." So my creative wheels started spinning and anytime I saw a clock I snapped a pic (with my phone) — like this one while browsing at Home Decorators — to remind me to "think time."

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

I then spent an afternoon or two (or three) setting the clocks around my home in different areas, trying to catch the sun in just the right window at just the right time. Most days the sun filtering through the leaded glass sidelights that frame my front door provide charming little diamond rainbows all over the foyer. So when my husband's very large (and too heavy for me to move) Weber grill was delivered and deposited in said foyer one day, it became the tablecloth-covered base for these lovely gems . . .

No puns were spared in setting up this next shot, which could be called "The Thyme has Come," "Thyme in a Bottle," or "Thyme for some new glasses." Truth be told, I was going for that blurred perspective (aka shallow depth of field) and didn't have any flowers around the house or in the yard to deposit in my vase. I keep some potted herbs in my kitchen, so I plucked the lacier of the two (basil's kinda clunky) without even thinking about the play on words. And since we're in full disclosure mode here, all you need for a clean white background is either a super scoured bathtub with overhead skylight or some sturdy foam core and natural window lighting. Voila.

In my search for the perfect world shot, I looked first in my son's "office" (which is code for large closet with a desk and doors that I can close because he keeps said office unnecessarily untidy, which is not-so-code for he's a bit of a slob, albeit a slob I love with all my heart). Nathan loves maps and puzzles. He has two quarter maps, several puzzle globes, and a large world map pinned to the back wall over his desk. I smiled upon discovering this dream scrawled in his (fourth grade?) handwriting . . .

Where IS that?!?!?! Who wants to live in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Africa? As best I can tell, he didn't even circle LAND. I could get all kind of distracted trying to get to the bottom of this mystery (and believe me, I'm CERTAIN Nathan has a perfectly logical answer as to why he circled THAT spot). But I digress . . .

After shooting oodles of my two favorite globes, indoors and out, all of which were passable and helped visually tell of Michelle's desire to unite women across nations and denominations, I finally had the chance to read the actual blog post, which concludes with a powerful plea (inspired by a quote from Sojourner Truth). Michelle implores, "There is a hurting, desperate world out there and I think a force of sisters can turn the world right side up again. Wake up, sleeping beauties (with all the coffee that it takes) — it is time to come together simply and purely to be a force the world has never known." 

None of my previous shots included the world upended. So the morning the photos were due, this . . .

became this . . .

I might be the only one who even notices that the globe is somewhat upside down, but it was important to me to include that detail. Nathan has finally caught on to the "photo shoot" set-ups around the house. He didn't bat an eye at his puzzle globe sitting in a chair by the picture window, posing pretty. But back to the scene that inspired this whole post. Yes, this is where the hubs gets it all done while he's at home. Maybe the expanse of the table mimics his large desk at work, maybe he likes being as far away from the family room (and t.v.) as possible, or perhaps he simply prefers having his trusty bike by his side while crunching the numbers (yes, that IS where he keeps it), but this day he found himself a bit crowded out. Never complained though. Just asked, "Are we having company?"  

If I were as organized as most people think I am, I might have thought to actually prepare a banquet meal and invite a few neighbors over to take advantage of this lovely atmosphere. But after setting and resetting the table ad nauseam (the outtakes of which I've spared you), and then shooting and reshooting and editing and preparing the photos for upload, it turns out I just didn't have the time. {{cue visual impact}}

p.s. if you've visited this site before, I hope you noticed my gorgeous new logo — handcrafted for me by my amazingly talented niece. More on her, and her giftedness, in a future post. If you're new here, welcome! I hope you'll take the time to poke around a bit and visit again soon.


Nicole Hartman(non-registered)
You have such an amazing eye. What a great post!
Thanks for the behind the scenes(non-registered)
Awesome post Laura. I love that you took us behind the scenes. All of the shots are amazing!
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