My Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas Photo Shoot


Pat (photography) Brie (head photographer) me (dorky) and Nicole Teut (Associate Art Director at Meredith : Special Interest Publications)

magazine photo shoot




Yesterday was so much fun for me. The crew came in the morning and I pretty much just followed them around and watched and tried not to get in the way. They photographed our bedroom, family room, front room, my office, the breakfast area and the foyer. The rooms were all decked out  for Christmas. I’m hoping that this was the least expensive Christmas decor they’ve ever featured. Not that there’s a contest or even a way to find out. But in my own head my goal was to be inspiring, super-creative, risky, fun with FAST easy decorating that is über accessible and also simple. I hope it comes across that way, you don’t really know until the issue  comes out.

Here are a few takeaways:

90% of the time is spent getting the lighting right. They want pure control of the light and Brie said it was actually easier that the sun wasn’t out. Pat’s job was setting up the lighting and then tweaking it for Brie after they looked at the shots on the computer.

They pretty much pick the exact shot they are going to use right here sitting in my house, they’ll mark the one they think is best and send that one on so it can be worked into the layout.

Nicole had Brie take the picture THEN she would look at it in the monitor and tweak the items being photographed–like change the angle of a present or see a cord that can be tucked away. She did no adjustments until she saw it in photo form.

They brought nothing to stage my house with. I think everyone assumes that magazines bring in a bunch of new stuff to make your house look better. I’m taking it as a compliment that they simply used what I had.

Whatever photos they use for scouting (whether you send them in or they come and take them) that’s what they are assuming they have to work with. I don’t know why this always surprises me. I’m a changer.  My house looks different every week. Nicole said that bloggers seem to be the most notorious for moving stuff around and they are used to it but I think they probably always wonder what will be changed when they arrive.

This issue will come out October-ish. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.

Thanks for putting up with me talking about this stuff.  It’s fun, but real life happens here 99% of the time so even though it’s an honor to have my house looking pretty in a magazine, I think our every day house with stacks of books and legos and messy desks is just as beautiful. If our house was clean and put together all the time, it’d be a real shame.


Update: Here are some of the photos from the shoot.

New here? Read about my first magazine shoot, lots more behind the scenes info if you are interested, the story is currently on newsstands in the Spring issue of Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine.

Can’t get enough behind the scenes info?  Kate had a photo shoot at her house last week and interviewed the field scout/stylist, it’s a fun read at her blog Centsational Girl.


  1. Congrats! What a fun experience! I’ll be looking forward to seeing it.

  2. Oooh! fun! Congrats to you :)

  3. So exciting!! I love reading the behind the scenes stuff, and I can’t believe they brought nothing in. I would definitely take that as a compliment. Plenty of great stuff to work with. Did they change anything??

  4. I could not wait for today’s post! so much fun ….living vicariously through you! ~~Kim

  5. fascinating!

  6. I love that after reading your posts…even ones where you are featured in a national magazine that I adore…I look around at my messy house and don’t feel the sting of comparison because you use your opportunity to dignify LIFE. The life where 3 happy, messy kids run around leaving piles everywhere and I barely have the energy to get dressed and brush my teeth. You’re real and I cherish that so deeply. Thank you for showing how beautiful actual living is too. :)

  7. How exciting! I can’t wait to see the issue next fall! I know we will all gain so much inspiration from it for our own homes!

  8. Brittany O. says

    Today I won $1000 from your blog. Ok, not really. I still LOVE your posts even though I get the spam. And it is refreshing to know that they just use what people have…

  9. So excited for you! Thanks for bringing us along on this fun adventure!

  10. I completely agree with Dana’s comment, and just have to tell you thank you for making me smile and laugh when I read your posts. You are a pretty darn hliarious and encouraging girl! LOVE your sense of humor!! Congratulations, and thank you for using your gift of encouragement to encourage so many women. You seriously rock!

  11. Joy @ Caspara says

    Wow, that’s so exciting! I’m sure it looked fantastic, but I look forward to seeing it and knowing someone real (and dorky — ha! ;-) ) like me lives there. Usually I look and BH &G and think, “That’s so beautiful… But impossible.” Maybe not this time.
    Thanks for the peek of the experience!

    • I always think that too, and then I remember that everyone in that magazine probably feels the exact same way!!! We are all just a bunch of dorks when it comes down to it!

  12. That is so exciting! I’ll be looking forward to that issue, and also the one that’s due out soon. Can’t wait!

  13. Yippee! I was hoping it was BH&G. Would you believe I’ve been reading that magazine for 39 years? I swear that’s the truth. I started reading my mom’s magazines when I was 11 years old. I would dream of someday having a home of my own. I always loved that it was Better HOMES & Gardens, not Better Houses & Gardens. I like the idea of a beautiful house, of course, but I’m much more interested in a lovely, grace-filled home. :)

    Thanks for the peek behind the scenes! Congratulations!

  14. Very cool! I love the behind the scenes look. I can’t wait to see your decor ideas in print! xo Kristin

  15. That is so exciting! I’d take it as a huge compliment that they didn’t bring anything to stage the house with! Can’t wait to see it. October, really?!

  16. Thanks so much for this post Nester. For some reason, it really resonated it with me. I love this (it actually made me cry. Well, sniffle and dab, because I don’t feel like battling runny mascara this morning):

    “Thanks for putting up with me talking about this stuff. It’s fun, but real life happens here 99% of the time so even though it’s an honor to have my house looking pretty in a magazine, I think our every day house with stacks of books and legos and messy desks is just as beautiful. If our house was clean and put together all the time, it’d be a real shame.”

    I really appreciate your heartfelt and sincere views on what a beautiful home is. It’s too easy to be too hard on ourselves. And your writing is a lovely dose of reality on what is really, truly meaningful.

    That said- what a fun celebration of all your hard work this photoshoot must’ve been. Congratulations! Your home is truly lovely, and I think it’s because you are.

  17. That’s so exciting! I love seeing a little peek behind the scenes! I bet your neighbors were like, ‘Huhhhh?!?!’. So awesome! I can totally see why they didn’t feel the need to bring anything to add to the decor, it’s fabulous as-is. Congrats! Can’t wait to see the issue!

  18. I enjoy reading your blog and you certainly don’t appear to be “dorky.”

  19. How cool is that? Can’t wait for the issue! :)

    Btw, my husband was excited to see your husband on Boy Dads. He was like, “Heeey, my wife knows his wife!” :D

  20. You are a natural pick for this magazine shoot!

  21. If you hurry, you can snag a free one year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens right now. I just posted!

  22. Nester
    Thank you for the behind the scenes and for keeping the decor REAL! I love that you use things that real people with real budgets can afford – but still make a stylish home.
    You’ve been an inspiration to me since I found your blog 9 months ago.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

  23. Seems a long way off. Yeah, I’ll definitely need reminding.

  24. I just picked up the latest issue of DIY magazine. What a nice feature of you, your home, and family. The writer and photographer really did a great job in the way they presented the spread. I love that they have you in the some of the photos. It makes the spaces we see in the glossy pages of magazines so much more interesting when we can see that actual people live in them.
    Looking forward to your holiday spread. :)

    My best- Diane

  25. This was really fun to see! Also The Purpose of a Work Space (linked). Wonderful!

  26. The first time I ever visited your blog and read your brief “Meet the Nester” section, I cried. It was such a heartfelt revelation to me. And today, when I read the last sentence in blue, “If Our house was….” – I sighed and smiled and I decided that you are the MOST inspirational of all the blogs I read; you are also the most genuine and the most wise. God bless you!

  27. So fun and so exciting!! I heard a photographer say the same thing the other week – that not having the sun out makes for better lighting. Who knew?

  28. How exciting for you and what a honor! That is on my dream list, to be featured in a magazine!


  29. yay to real life! I love that you LIVE it… but I also love that you make time for beauty and don’t apologize. Love you! Congrats!

  30. Go, Nester! I’ll look forward to seeing the Christmas-in-January in October in time for Christmas in December. I just don’t know what I’ll do for Christmas in July. Love your creativity! And loved seeing your house this month in the DIY mag. SupaStah!

  31. I just read all about your house in my DIY magazine tonight! It was so cool to open it up & recognize someone. Awesome that you have this post up too! But I wonder if you realize you’re in this magazine too because the write up has nothing to do with Christmas… ~

  32. I hadn’t noticed the new rug in the living room until now. Can you share where you picked it up please?

  33. Congrats Nester!

  34. Congratulations!! I can’t wait to see. How fun!

  35. Sounds like fun! I can’t wait to see it in print! Hugs, Leena

  36. I’d take it as a HUGE compliment they used all your stuff!!! I knew someone who had her house featured last January by BHG and they even brought in furniture to use, pulled hers out!! Virtually nothing was hers! So exciting!!! Congrats!

    • I think too that different magazines have different um “standards” I think if big daddy BHG decided to come here, they’d probably do the same–it’s really a huge compliment to her that they went to her place!!

  37. Congrats!!! All that work blogging, fiddling, DIYing, rearranging is paying off. You so deserve it! It will be great to see your lovely home in one of my favorite magazines.

  38. Yay! Congrats on all the fun!!

  39. How amazing is that????!! I am so darn proud of you, my friend!!

  40. Sarah Smith says

    Hi Nester,
    LOVE your house first of all. It gives me such inspiration, thank you! Congrats on your shoot, looks like so much fun. Can you tell me where you got your zig zag rug and striped curtains? I’ve been looking for these exact pieces. Thanks so much!!!

Leave a Reply to Kathy Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.