Timber Home Living March April 2011


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FAQ: Questions about our photographer's guidelines

We strongly recommend that you review our magazines for style and content. Photographs not meeting the minimum standards described in these guidelines generally reflect poorly on the log home producer and therefore are better not used. We review all photographs submitted and select those that are technically flawless. We appreciate your investment in your photos, and we're pleased to have an opportunity to view them.

General Requirements
Timber Home Living publishes hundreds of color photographs of timber homes annually. There are essentially two ways we use photographs:

  • Timber Home Living Annual Buyer's Guide primarily uses single photographs of interiors or exteriors of homes. These photos are published independently of the articles they accompany, and photo captions identify the producer and some interesting detail in the photo.

  • Timber Home Living magazine uses photo features. Each feature requires a minimum of a dozen or more photographs of both the interior and exterior of a particular home.

Feature Requirements
To adequately lay out a feature article, we need a minimum of 12 photos of the exterior and interior of the home. These must include views of all major rooms. Close-up shots of such details as roof trusses, log stairs, railings, dormers, porches, and window and door treatments are also appreciated.

A full complement of views is recommended, including horizontal and vertical formats, close-ups, and distant shots from various angles and of various elevations, front, back and sides. Exterior shots must be well framed and present the home attractively in the context of its setting and landscaping.

We also recommend that you include a black-and-white print of the floorplan, no larger than 12-by-15 inches so we can quickly see the relationship between rooms.

Film Requirements
We prefer to see 4-by-5-inch format color transparencies or Kodachrome or Ektachrome color slides, although smaller color transparencies and 35 mm color prints are also acceptable.

We will treat photographs with care, but we cannot assume responsibility for loss or damage while they are in our possession. We recommend that you carefully pack all photos and transparencies between cardboard and mail in a sturdy envelope taped on all four sides.

Each photograph must be individually identified with owner's full name and address. Please do not write with pen, pencil, or marker on the photos. Ink may bleed onto other photos. Pencil marks often show through to the image-side of a print. Tape an address label or business card to the back of each photo.

We always need publication-quality photos, so we keep all photos we don't use immediately on hand for possible use in future editions of our magazine. Unless we have your photos, we cannot consider using them; in other words, "out of sight, out of mind." If you want your photos returned after we look at them, please specify this in your cover letter.

Sample Copy
If you would like a sample copy of Timber Home Living magazine, please send your check or money order for $4.00 to Home Buyer Publications, Attn: Sample Copy, 4125 Lafayette Center Drive, Suite 100, Chantilly Virginia 20151.

Style and Content Suggestions
Following are suggestions that will help you better understand what we look for in a photo shoot:

Less is better when it comes to home decorations. Too many objects in a shot overwhelm, preventing readers from getting a true sense of the homes. Please pare back as needed. For example, if you're shooting a dining room with a table for 12, we'd rather see two glasses, some cheese and a bottle of wine, than 12 place-settings and a centerpiece. And if you're shooting a den, we'd rather see a half-full bookcase and a few tchotchkes than shelves, walls and every available horizontal surface covered.

  • We're interested in close-ups of neat details, like a family crest carved in the mantle, an intricately carved newel post or a unique piece of furniture.
  • We're also interested in shots of innovative technical details, like a dumb-waiter that carries firewood from the basement to the great room, or some high-tech innovation. These shots are helpful in illustrating the technical sidebars that sometimes accompany our features
  • On a similar vein, we're interested in photos of grand home features, like an indoor pool, built-in cabinets, home theaters and such. These are the sorts of details that entertain readers and help them plan their homes.
  • If the home has a spectacular view, please try to work it into a shot. You might show it through the great room window, or in a in a photo shot across a welcoming porch. We want to place readers in the setting and let them see what it would be like to live in this house.
  • We like photos of the owners, if they're willing, but placed in the home rather than posed. For example, you might shoot them cooking a meal together, if they love to cook, or sipping wine in the great room while watching the fire. The goal is to get them looking natural, like we're eavesdropping on the great life they lead.
  • If appropriate, incorporate the owner's pets into one or two photos to further establish the home's lived-in feel.
  • Please don't use any lighting or effects to warm your photography. The natural tones of the logs lend plenty of warmth on their own.
  • We want bright, welcoming interiors, so please light the home accordingly. It's particularly important to  brighten up the corners, which otherwise can look oppressively dark. Our readers are interested in every aspect of log home construction, so whenever possible, light even the back corners of the rooms.
  • We're looking for a mix of shots--wide-angle, medium range and close-up and a mix of compositional styles. For example, an overview of the room, followed by a close-up from a different angle of a particularly interesting feature of that room.
  • We're interested in exterior shots of things like a wildflower garden, or a quiet spot with a teak bench and bubbling fountain. We're expanding our coverage of gardening and landscaping, and these types of shots will help readers visualize good ideas.
  • We want to make sure the photos and text complement each other. So, when you're shooting a home, please ask the owners about their favorite features or favorite rooms or unique furnishings and make sure to include photo of those things. Occasionally in the past, we've had homeowners rave to our writers about a feature and not been able to show the feature because we didn't capture it on film.
  • Please keep an eye out for strong cover compositions. Please budget time specifically to shoot potential cover shots. These could be interiors or exteriors. We look for dynamic vertical photos that have a neutral area on the left side against which our sell-lines will be readable. For example: an expanse of wall that is of fairly consistent color value provides a legible, uncluttered background for sell-lines, as does an area of sky transitioning to lawn. Please keep in mind that we need approximately one-third of the image space for text. We can provide cover acetates with sell-lines if this will help you compose the photo.

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