Behind the Scenes at the Fall Stitch Photo Shoot

For me, one of the most exciting times in our magazine cycle is the photo shoot. With great lighting, props, and models, the projects really come alive! Join me on a behind the scenes tour of the photo shoot for our Fall 2010 issue.

Kathy fixes an errant hair.


Pam, arranging props for the perfect shot.


Tricia and I wrap gifts for use as props. The antler headband was passed around to keep us in a holiday spirit while shooting in the middle of the summer.


The photo shoot for each issue of Stitch takes places over three long days in a fabulous car-repair-shop-turned-photo-studio in downtown Denver. We usually arrive each day around 8 a.m., bleary eyed and glad that there’s a pot of coffee already brewing. With about forty projects to photograph in only three days, there’s a lot to do—but we proceed with what we hope is some degree of organized chaos.

We have an art meeting before each photo shoot to decide on the overall tone we’re aiming for, and to hash out broad details like background wall colors for each project story, what needs to be photographed on a model and what doesn’t, etc. Since each project section has its own look and feel, we try to shoot each story together to minimize time between shots. There’s a lot more construction and heavy lifting than you might expect at a photo shoot—painting walls, laying down a different bit of flooring, assembling a faux kitchen or bedroom, etc—so it’s nice when we can use the same background for several shots in a row.

Each shot requires propping, lighting adjustments, and a bit of trial and error until we find a shot that’s just right. Model days are even more complicated with hair and makeup, capturing just the right pose, and trying to decide what clothing, jewelry, and shoes go with each garment. This shoot was particularly busy with five models—two women, a guy, a little boy, and a dog!

Although we all pitch in wherever needed and work together as a team, people also have specific jobs and responsibilities at each shoot:

Joe, our photographer, is the man behind the lens. He takes the photos, directs the models, and figures out how to get just the right lighting for each shot. His two assistants, John and Scott, help with painting walls, setting up lights, and creating makeshift armatures so we can do things like suspend giant snowflakes behind our model or hang a huge tree branch across a scene.

Pam, our photo stylist, arrives at the photo shoot with a gigantic van overflowing with props, furniture, and other amazing treasures. She goes shopping after our art meeting and is responsible for creating each scene at the shoot. Her creativity and attention to detail bring our artistic vision to life.

Tricia, as editor-in-chief, is the final decision maker. She is keeper of the overall artistic vision and is the one who can say “Okay, I think we’ve got this one, let’s move on.”

Katrina is our project editor and technical sewing whiz. She’s responsible for making sure we have enough detail shots of things like zippers, pockets, and any other unique design features than may need further explanation in the project instructions.

Kathy, our hair and makeup artist, works her magic to make our models look their best—a sweep of her hands can take a model from formal holiday party to casual lounging at home. She also keeps a sharp eye out while we’re shooting, looking for stray hairs and makeup smudges.

For my part, I could be steaming a skirt, trying to slice an apple in an artful way for use as a prop, or crossing off projects on our shot list so we don’t forget anything.

Sometimes Joe has to get up high to shoot large projects like quilts.


Katrina and her dog, Chloe, who was kind enough to be our canine model for the day.


At the end of the shoot we are tired and usually getting a bit nutty, but satisfied and excited about the group of projects we’ve selected for the issue. We hope that we’ve captured each project in a way that is accurate, imaginative, and inspires you to sew!


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About StefanieB

I'm the Managing Editor of Stitch magazine. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado with one fat cat, one very active dog, and lots of books, crafting supplies, and video games.

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