Staging Process for the Bakers Rack

Vintage yellow ceramic jar and wooden rolling pin.

Remember the bakers rack that I posted about earlier? I mentioned that in hindsight it was rather time consuming to paint with a brush (as opposed to a paint sprayer). But what was even harder was coming up with staging it for photography. So today I thought I would take you behind the scenes and show you the process of staging for furniture photography.

What I love about this piece is the amount of storage it provides. It's also very versatile as far as what to use it for. A kitchen is the obvious choice, but it would also work well for bathroom storage, garden items, a coffee bar station, etc. It's a large piece, but the open design keeps it from feeling heavy. However, I found the openness difficult to photograph. I don't usually spend too much time with the staging, but as you'll see here, this one kept evolving.

No Staging:

Painted bakers rack without staging.

I usually have fabulous ideas about how to stage my furniture, but I don't always have the "just right" staging items on hand, so I usually just "shop" around my house. I initially thought about staging this as a coffee station and was going to use a couple of coffee prints from my kitchen, but I was too lazy to pull out a chair to get the prints down.

Shopping my house for staging items.

I liked the bright white of the wreath and pitcher against the paint color Coco. The neutral burlap ribbon and fabric on the wreath added a touch of softness.

Bright white against the Coco paint color of the bakers rack.

First Attempt:

The neutral color scheme looked good to me. Except I felt it was getting a little lost and it looked too empty.

I liked the neutral color scheme, but it looked too empty.

I prefer to keep my staging simple so as not to overwhelm the furniture, but this piece needed something more. So I gathered up a variety of staging items with different colors and textures that I thought might work to test the items out against the color of the furniture. I really love how the pink and green look when paired with Coco.

Testing a variety of staging items against the Coco paint color.

Second Attempt:

I decided at this point to stage the bakers rack with a kitchen theme using whites and other neutrals. I moved and tweaked the various items until I came up with a vignette that I liked.

My second attempt at staging the bakers rack with kitchen items.

It looked good to me so far, but as I stepped back to get the full piece in the frame I realized that it was looking top heavy. And also maybe a little too cluttered for my taste.

This staging attempt was OK, but it looked top heavy with the empty bottom shelves.

Third Attempt:

So I replaced the flowers on the scale with a neutral kitchen towel and added some baskets to the bottom shelves. 

I liked the neutral colors for staging, but it still seemed like it was missing something.

Fourth Attempt:

I thought it was too plain without the pop of colors from the flowers and still a little top heavy, so I added some painted wood crates to the side to add some white balance to the bottom section. The crates also add a little bulk to the bottom section of the photograph. I liked this set up, but it was getting away from my "keep it simple" staging philosophy.

The crates help with the white balance and keep the photograph from being top heavy.

Fifth Attempt:

So I moved some of the items off the main shelf and added a hurricane lantern and wooden rolling pin. There wasn't enough color and it felt off-balance.

The glass hurricane lantern is getting lost in the photograph.

Sixth Attempt:

So I swapped out the lantern with a ceramic jar. The yellow is subtle works in keeping with my neutral theme. But I decided to try one more arrangement.

The yellow jar adds a hint of color while still remaining balanced with the neutral color scheme.

Last and Final:

I added back the white ceramic crock and scale from my first attempt and felt the balance was just about right. But I was running out of time and daylight (and was getting frustrated at this point, too), so I settled on this set up for my final photograph. In hindsight, I think the white pitcher is getting lost next to the wreath, so maybe I should have switched it with my yellow ceramic jar. But done is better than perfect, so I rolled with this set up. Plus I have the other photos that I can use for advertising if I need them.

Bakers rack staged with kitchen items.

I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes process of staging. Did you have a favorite or would you have staged it differently altogether? I've been working on improving my staging photography over the years. Sometimes I cringe when I look back at my older photographs and wish I hadn't sold the pieces so I could re-photograph them! But again it's a process and I plan to continue to improve with time.

The process of staging furniture for photography.
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