85th Anniversary

Behind-the-scenes: What it takes to shoot eight magazine covers in a day

Home editor Emma Reddington hits the streets to find the best accessories for Chatelaine's 85th Anniversary issue. The end result: fantastic!

Chatelaine cake photo shoot

It takes a lot of work to produce a cover for a magazine, but to produce eight covers takes a lot of coffee, good sneakers and a team of people! While the kitchen busied themselves triple testing countless different recipes I set out on a search for the best props Toronto has to offer.

Finding props for a photo shoot is kind of like going on a massive treasure hunt. We were looking for everything from clean, modern cake stands to gold forks to beautiful cake toppers.

Most cover stories start with some kind of inspiration, and since we were shooting four cakes, we had pages and pages of cake pictures, stands and toppers we admired. After a short list was made we decided that handing off the making of the toppers to a professional would be best. Steph Hung, a former craft editor at Martha Stewart, took on the task and went away to work on the beautiful paper jewels, pleated fans, and green vines you see adorning our covers.

Finding cake stands took a bit more work. After I hit up the local prop stores and cleaned their shelves of every appropriate cake stand (I think I had about 18 in my possession at this point), I started my search for the hard to find, one in a million stands that would make our cover really stand out. A google image search pulled up a name I had never heard of before – Southern Vintage Rentals out of Whitby, ON. I left my information on their site and the next day the owner, Kathie Hess, called me and sent me oodles of photos of charming vintage glass cake stands. I had hit the jackpot! The cake stand you see with our cherry cake sits atop one of her stands. I love it when something like this happens. Other beautiful cake stands came from local vintage stores around Toronto like Hawk Eyes and Mrs. Huizenga.

The day of the shoot I unpacked all of our finds. We filled three eight-foot long tables with accessories — everything from plates to cutlery to linens to cake servers to pedestals. Final count: we had over 35 cake stands to choose from. On a photo shoot this size it takes an entire village to create the beautiful final images. Between the kitchen team and the photography team and the art department we had about 10 people on set. We started at 8 am in the morning and wrapped around 9 pm that night. It was a lot of hard work but it was worth it!

Which cover do you like best?


cakes spread