the spring photoshoot …. in the snow!

by Sharon Santoni

Just when I thought I could go into hibernation during January;  just when I long to sit in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a good book, I find myself preparing for a photoshoot for a French gardening and interiors magazine!

winter  river landscape white with frost

Tomorrow my good friend Franck Schmitt, a talented photographer, if ever there were one, will drive over for lunch, and to take pictures of some Spring flower arrangements …. of course I look forward to seeing him,  catching up on his news, and arranging the flowers will certainly be fun,  but there is one little detail in his brief which is causing me to worry … have you guessed?

Yes, that’s right, it is ‘Spring’.


Franck has been asked to produce an article about Spring bouquets …. shot in my house … in the bright spring sunshine …. and his deadline is next week …. Hmmm…

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that the weather here right now is anything but Springlike, in fact it looks more like this:

winter landscape white with frost

But we have no choice, it has to be done, and I have to think of the following:

– 1.    what to wear?  At the moment I spend most of my time in a pair of jeans and a big soft cachemire or mohair sweater …. tomorrow however, in the name of art,  I shall peel off my layers of jumpers and scarves and pull out a pair of linen pants, and a lightweight shirt, pale neutral colours which won’t distract from the blooms

UGH, I shiver to even think about it!

a winter and a spring outfit

– 2.    which flowers to choose  ….. my garden looks like this right now

plants in the garden in January

so I obviously can’t find any help there!  Instead I have called on  my favourite local florist, who has ordered all sorts of goodies for me from the Paris wholesale market.  Fingers crossed I shall have lilac, snowball viburnum , alchemille and maybe even peonies!

Ideally Franck wanted a couple of garden shots, but that isn’t going to happen.  Even if he turns up with ‘warm’ spotlights, to give a feel of spring sunshine, there is nothing we can do about the lack of foliage in the garden … I guess we shall just improvise.

I am sure that many of you professional stylists and photographers have to deal regularly with shooting in the wrong season.   Shooting Christmas in August, or Thanksgiving in the Spring.  Maybe you would have some tips or stories that you could share with us, I’d love to hear how you cheated with the seasons!

I won’t get to my computer tomorrow, but I promise to post on instagram as the day comes together, so if you would like to see how it goes, just tune in here!


Phyllis January 21, 2015 - 4:41 pm

It’s all gorgeous — you can’t miss with any of them! 🙂

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 5:56 pm

Thank you phyllis

florence January 21, 2015 - 4:49 pm

As soon Xmas has gone, everybody thinks about Spring ! I prefer to take time, to appreciate each season, and not try to hurry up ! life is so short !

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 6:55 pm

You are right Florence, but magazines have to prepare their material at least 3 months ahead, so these pictures will be for an April issue


Heather in Arles January 21, 2015 - 5:23 pm

Good Luck tomorrow!! I am sure that you will be in good hands with Franck and it will all work out perfectly. One thing that I learned in working with my honey, the magazines always used to say: “Il ne pleut pas au paradis!” – hard to deal with! – but the only tip I can think of is to shoot upwards so the background is more sky than garden. Oh! And your warm smile will convince everyone that spring really has arrived… 😉

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 9:50 pm

Thank you Heather, I think it will be mostly vignette shots this time, can’t see what else we could do!


Emm January 21, 2015 - 5:54 pm

Good luck, and hooray for a helpful local florist. Looking forward to the beautiful pictures.

If you have any silk long underwear, it’ll keep you warm under lightweight clothes, and the readers will never know your secret.

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 9:52 pm

good thinking Emm! Off to dig out my silky knickers! 🙂


vicki archer January 21, 2015 - 6:19 pm


Your shoot tomorrow reminded me of a day when Carla and I were photographing the last few scenes for, French Essence.

The publisher wanted a winter shot inside… a double page, hero image… so no vignettes or easy way around.

It was mid July and 35 degrees. We had the fire burning all day to get the flame height and the coals just right… we had to fudge the light and create a winter ambience while all the time we were in a muck sweat! We moved the furniture around a zillion times and tried to make the room look inviting and warm… I think it worked, but what a job!!

Good luck tomorrow, xv.

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 9:53 pm

That is exactly our situation Vicki except in reverse!

Can so imagine you and Carla cursing the heat 🙂

I’ll let you know how it goes


Sharon January 21, 2015 - 6:54 pm

You forgot the Primrose. Nothing says spring like Primrose!

It could be worse. They could be asking you to pose in a swimsuit in that cold, cold lake!

After it is all over, do you get to keep the flowers?

Sharon Santoni January 21, 2015 - 9:55 pm

I should hope so Sharon, I’m the one who’s paying for them!!

And yes, a swimsuit shot would be far far worse 🙂 in so many ways!


Karena January 21, 2015 - 8:03 pm

Dear Sharon,
With your style and panache, the shoot will be a grand success. Tall forsythia blooms would be a good addition, or any tall flowering branches (I am sure you have thought of that though!)

The Arts by Karena

Miss Diane January 21, 2015 - 8:35 pm

J’avais toujours pensé que les “shooting” se faisaient l’année précédente pour être publiée à temps… Bon “shooting” and tell us in which magazine we will be able to see your beautiful spring garden!

Kerry January 21, 2015 - 8:57 pm

You both will work your magic so I can’t wait to see the results :o)

Colleen Taylor January 21, 2015 - 9:09 pm

Looking forward to see all the gorgeous flowers, arrangements & what else you surprise us with. X

Lorrie January 21, 2015 - 9:25 pm

Enjoy the shoot, Sharon, and I hope you don’t shiver too much. Silk long underwear is a wonderful and lightweight way to keep warm.

The Enchanted Home January 21, 2015 - 10:28 pm

So very pretty, love the sneak peek of what is to come. And that picture of your home in your header is DREAMY!!!!

La Contessa January 22, 2015 - 1:55 am

Guess who is coming to stay with MOI on FRIDAY??!!!!

Marian from UK January 22, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Perhaps you could get Franck to take some wonderful wintery shots as well, then he/you would be in hand for a request for winter in the summer – if you get what I mean!! Seems a shame to wast the lovely frosty scenes and the garden flowers bedecked in their glistening winter finery! Good luck and looking forward to seeing the results.

Gillian Dry Paddocks January 22, 2015 - 7:40 pm

Your instagram photo’s look gorgeous Sharon, it definitely looks like Spring. Wish I could get the magazine here in NZ when it comes out. Look forward to your posts of the finished article. Gillian

sheila birkenshaw January 27, 2015 - 9:28 am

I had to do a swimwear shoot in the middle of January (for a summer issue). We had booked a Health Farm with gorgeous indoor swimming pool. The morning of the shoot it was snowing and I had to drive outside of London. (I had the clothes and props) My car broke down on route, I managed to find a garage who I hired a car from and left my car. One model was delayed and we had five shots to do but we had to avoid the windows as they were covered in snow. The Aussie photographer said we’d only get one shot done as I was three hours late…but we got it done and thankfully the Editor was delighted. What we do for fashion!


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