Q What are the homes magazines looking for?

Each magazine has its own special style and editorial requirements. In the main they’re looking for attractive homes that show signs of life and reveal the decorating talents and personality of the owner.

Homes that are too clean and tidy can look empty and cold; homes that are too cluttered look equally uninviting.

Generally speaking, magazine editors are keen for houses to have been decorated or renovated to current style trends –a quick glance through your favourite homes magazines will show you the sort of thing they’re after. Sometimes it’s the unusual, quirky elements that appeal though, so don’t be put off if your own place doesn’t quite seem to fit the bill.

 In brief:

  • Homes with personality and character
  • Homes where the owner has done the decorating themselves
  • Homes with a unique and distinctive decorating style
  • Homes with a good transformation story
  • Homes that are lived in and ‘real’

Q Does it cost anything?

No. The photographer and I are paid by the magazines.

Q I’m selling up, can I send you pics?

No thanks. By the time the feature is ready for publication you may have moved, and it’s not fair on the new owner to potentially see their new home in print with you living in it.

Q I own a property overseas – are you interested?

No – but other journalists may be.

Q I own a rental property I’d like to promote?

Sorry – I’m not really interested in rental properties. They generally lack the personality and ‘lived in’ homely look we’re after.

Q I’ve been approached another journalist already… are you interested too?

No. It’s far too complicated to have two journalists and two photographers pitching the same feature to different magazines. Magazines like features to be exclusive.

Q Which rooms should I send?

All the main rooms please: kitchen, sitting room, hallway, bedrooms and bathrooms. Also send pics showing any other rooms of note.

Q How long will the shoot take?

The recce and official photo shoots can last all day – from 8am to 5pm-ish. The photographer will want to take as little of your time as possible, but sometimes finding the right camera angles and styling can take longer than expected.

Some furniture may need to be moved: it’s rare to have the TV set and stereo on show. Dirty clothes, washing etc should be hidden away. Bookshelves may need to be tidied so books don’t look too untidy.

Not all rooms need to be photographed but the main four rooms will: kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and master bedroom. Please make sure the photographer will have easy access during the day.

Q What does the stylist do?

They’re not always required, but if the magazine does request one, they’ll spend the day fluffing up cushions, arranging flowers, straightening towels and neatening your bookshelves. Everything will be put back to its original place by the end of the shoot.

Q Will I be in the magazine?

Yes. Most magazines insist there’s a person in the pictures. You may be called upon for a head and shoulders portrait and also a picture in the kitchen or sitting room. Pets and children may also be called on to pose.

Q Do I need to hire a professional cleaner?

Not unless you want to.

Q I haven’t finished the guest rooms – is that ok?

As long as the main rooms are ready to photograph that’s fine (see above).

Q Will the photographer need lunch?

That would be very kind, but is not essential. He’ll certainly appreciate coffee/tea. It might be an idea to discuss this when he calls to arrange the recce shoot.

Q How long does the process take?

From start to finish it can take six months or longer. Some magazines take longer than others to reach a decision on the recce pictures.

Q What can I do to improve my chances?

See the first answer and bear in mind that magazines are looking for:

  • Homes with personality and character
  • Homes where the owner has done the decorating themselves
  • Homes with a unique and distinctive decorating style
  • Homes with a good transformation story
  • Homes that are lived in and ‘real’
Q How do you match my home to a magazine? 

The photographer I work with is extremely experienced, working in the homes magazine market for more than 30 years. He knows the house types and decorating trends that each magazine goes for – some have a younger more modern reader profile while others are more traditional and comfortable.


Q How long will the interview take? 

This can take as little at 45 minutes over the telephone, but sometimes longer as caption information has to be quite detailed. To make the interview quicker, try to make a list of where key items were bought, favourite shops, design ideas and inspirations. Sometimes the interview may take place over two phone calls, so we can both have a rest in between!

Q Can I see what you write before it goes to print? 

I can offer you full copy approval before the feature is submitted to make sure you’re 100% happy with the piece and it’s all factually accurate.