Letting Beauty Show Through

June 19, 2014

By Kyle Hoepner

We naturally spend a lot of time and effort to make sure the houses published in New England Home are presented to best advantage. For us, that doesn’t mean (as it does for some other publications) substantially refurnishing or otherwise staging the interiors or landscape. Large-scale interventions of that sort wouldn’t make sense for us. Our mission, after all, is to celebrate the work of New England’s top design professionals, and if we re-did the rooms it wouldn’t be their work any more.

But showing houses with their best face forward, as it were, does mean taking pains to hire the best photographer for each project, one whose “look” is most sympathetic to the look of the home’s design. And it means sending along one of our editors for the shoot, to neaten and fluff and primp, and perhaps put out a few fresh flowers—much as you would straighten up your own place before having friends over to dinner.

The difference such basic care can make is often dramatic. Here, for example, is a photo of a Cape Cod living room as we first saw it, followed by the final picture that appeared in our pages.

Photo by Keller + Keller, styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent. Click here to see more of this house.

But even after doing all the things we can do before snapping the photo, there are times when the universe just doesn’t cooperate in making everything perfect. That’s where Photoshop, the professional’s image-editing tool, becomes our friend. Again, we’re not trying to falsify reality, but it’s amazing how much a badly placed power line, tree branch, or exhaust vent can detract from the underlying loveliness, and how much removing such distractions will improve the view. Just consider these examples, each one courtesy of several hours of labor by me or by our art director, Robert Lesser.

Photo by Michael J. Lee. Click here to see more of this house.

Photo by Laura Moss. Click here to see more of this house.

Photo by Tria Giovan. Click here to see more of this house.

This is all a reminder that the power of design applies not only to the creation of beautiful homes, but to every aspect of how they are translated into print or online pixels as well. It always pays to sweat the details.

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