When their family relocated to a new home within their town’s historic district, Shannon Weight and her oldest daughter Imogen decided to take the opportunity to makeover Imogen’s room. Most of us probably remember when we first received our own room, or when we first had an influence in how our room looked and felt. This particular room makeover, however, caught our attention because Shannon is a professional kid’s photographer, and Imogen’s room provided the perfect canvas on which to explore her favorite subject: children, and specifically one of her own. With wistful memories of our own first rooms fresh in mind, we caught up with Shannon to talk about how she and Imogen poured their unique skills, curiosities, and desires into the space.
Before you arrived at the beginning of Imogen’s room makeover, you first decided to move homes and make a major lifestyle change. Can you talk about that change and how it has affected your approach to design?
When we chose to transition from our starter home and buy a pioneer home in the historic district of our town, we knew it would be life changing. The desire came from our philosophy that life shouldn’t just be lived but should be enjoyed. We wanted a home which has class and character but is comfortable and inviting. We also felt it was important to pay homage to this 150-year-old house by returning to a slower, more deliberate and purposeful lifestyle – a kind of reset back to the basics. More emphasis on nature and less on technology. More focused on being surrounded with good books and art and less on other all-consuming media options. A focus on quality and not quantity.
What was the makeover process like – was it a collaborative effort between you and your daughter?
Imogen is growing up quickly and changing from a girl to a young woman. She is very much in a “tween” stage, sometimes lingering in her imaginative little girl dream-world and sometimes boldly asserting her independence and desire to be a more sophisticated grown up. We wanted to create a space which made this transition comfortable and easy. A mix of fun and sophistication was the goal. She was consulted regarding most color and design elements. She was so excited to have a new fresh space in which she can read, draw, paint and dream.
What was most difficult part and what are some of your favorite elements now that it’s finished?
One of the challenges was to add color to the space but not go overboard or make it seem juvenile. Orange and yellow are colors Imogen likes, but we wanted to balance them so that they accented the space and didn’t dominate it. We really like how the color pops and adds a fun whimsical feel to the room but does so in a complimentary way next to the blue-gray of the walls and textiles. She loves the space and feels like it is really her own.
Will you share with us some of your favorite tips for photographing kids and/or taking great family photos?
Children can be challenging – in general and especially to photograph. They don’t have to be. If you can get them to relax, feel comfortable in their element and forget that they are being photographed, that is when their personalities and expressions come through. Talking to them about their interests and asking them their thoughts – in other words, making them feel important – can get them to relax and be natural and get you a better photograph. If that doesn’t work, I always find that a small bribe of candy or ice cream is definitely successful and efficient.
Photography by Shannon Weight