I recently worked on a table styling out under a favorite oak tree and as I set up the camera and tried to find the perfect angle- I realized there was something missing.
It wasn’t the tablecloth. Or the pumpkins. They were there. And I had the candles, the dried florals, the twinkle lights- and even the stack of dishes ready. But it just wasn’t right and ready to to photograph yet.
The patio was too clean.
There wasn’t enough of those beautiful fall oak leaves for the look I was after. The few that had fallen were already raked to one side and the rest were scattered about on the lawn.
The leaves haven’t changed all the way yet here- the ones that have fallen are from the heat we have had. And if you are styling a fall table- well you need more than a handful of fall leaves, right?
So I did what most strange folks would do. I started wandering around and gathering up leaves that had fallen on the lawn & scattered them on the patio.
My husband saw me from across the yard & came over and said
‘What are we doing here?’
‘I need more leaves on the patio.’ I replied as I picked up another handful.
He stared at me and nodded and said ‘Of course…You are putting leaves ONTO the patio.’
And he probably questioned my sanity… but he has learned over the years not to ask when I do random things like put a mess of leaves on the patio. Then he grabbed the leaf blower and wandered around blowing leaves from the pile and the lawn ONTO the patio- and after a bit- it was just right.
So, I lit the candles & finished the shoot.
And as we crunch, crunch, crunched through the leaves to have dinner at the table that night- he laughed and joked about how most of the time- a mess of leaves raked OFF of the patio is the yard work goal.
True. True. But I am not done out here yet… so these will be staying for a bit. 🙂
The funny thing is- stylings and photoshoots work that way.
You are not always just stumbling upon the perfect EVERYTHING for a photo, pointing your camera and grabbing the capture. They often look a lot more like work and tinkering and imagination to get the look. They involve all kinds of trying one thing or another, lighting candles again and again, creative angles (and big messes behind you) and a sprinkle of pixie dust.
And sometimes they look like raking leaves back onto the patio and making a beautiful mess to create the perfect snap.
But how do you get the look at home- when you don’t have the perfect spot for a pile of leaves or a dock to set up a table for two- but you want to create that same feeling of an autumn inspired table?
Create the perfect setting
Don’t wait to find the perfect setting- especially when setting up right outside your door. Create that vision you have in mind. If you are thinking fall- rake up those leaves and scatter them. Christmas? Bring a tree outside and set it up or string a tree in your yard with some twinkles.
Look to Nature
Nature is the biggest inspiration for pretty much any setting. Think about the different places where you might decide to set up a table- and take that location as the inspiration for the rest of the look.
A table for two in the garden? Pick what is in bloom for a wildflower arrangement. A table in the woods? Think branches with leaves, evergreen clippings or even dried flowers. Those pumpkins that are stacked up on the front porch steps? Move them on over to the table for a quick centerpiece.
Use natural touches for a centerpiece
Use seasonal fruit or acorns for rustic autumn and even scatter a few leaves if you are so inclined. Easy autumn centerpieces are often right outside the door under trees or in the yard.
A few more tips:
I have heard many times from people that hosting a gathering or setting a pretty table every day – is too much work to have everything look so perfect.
Not every occasion has to feel ‘formal’ with matchy-matchy china, glasses or flatware, crisp ironed linens or incredible flowers- some of the best tables are simple, casual and focused merely on warm seasonal charms. Bring out those pumpkins for a simple centerpiece and simply stack plates and table setting element in a casual way rather than setting formal settings and ironing napkins.
Seek Inspiration Right Outside Your Door
With staying home and not traveling- our world that we we live in everyday has become much smaller and more focused- like our home and yard. Traveling has been more like from the bedroom to the living room and gathering with friends and family has looked more like a zoom call happy hour.
And those changes have definitely not been easy. And while we wait to get back to our usual traveling, gathering ways- I started seeking adventure in my own backyard and found that there was so much magic waiting just right outside in hidden areas that I am not sure I have noticed in awhile.
While I have had this table set up in this area for several years now- there are some areas of our property that I haven’t explored much probably since we first moved here. And I have found some treasures of areas to plop a few chairs and sit for a bit just by wandering some of the areas we don’t usually explore.
This Ruffled linen tablecloth available in the shop- I am off to work on a couple of twinkling trees that are coming your way soon. 🙂
Happy Wednesday all.