Behind The Scenes At The Photo Shoot For Southern Living!

Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes on a

Southern Living photo shoot!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever dare to think I’d be in Southern Living Magazine, much less my entire family, but lo and behold, in the October 2010 issue (on news stands soon) there is a feature story on Southern Plate! Not only am I in there with my husband and kids, but so are my parents, some dear friends of ours, and even my dog, Zoe got in on the photo.

Here is a snapshot of the first spread. There are seven pages total included in the story and an additional photo of the kids on the table of contents page. The contents page alone will melt your heart.

Donna Floria wrote the story and Jennifer Davick did all of the photography along with an expansive team of folks from Southern Living Magazine.

Okay so the lowdown on the photo shoot (because this behind the scenes stuff is the interesting part!): This was shot on location in Birmingham in someone’s front yard in late July.  I couldn’t tell y’all what I was doing and it KILLED ME. You know I’m not exactly the type to keep secrets, right?

The shoot was for a fall spread so of course, it was set up to be a fall photo shoot. The funny part of that is that it was all outside and the heat index that day was 113. ~giggles~ Which makes it an even cooler memory! Kind of like the cover of my book, it was a summer photo shoot and shot outside on one of the coldest days in January. I wore capris and sandals for that, so it only goes to reason that I’d wear jeans and a sweater in July.

My life is starting to make sense now.

But seriously, it does make for a much better story after the fact.

So suffice it to say it was hot. Hot. HOT. We didn’t have to be on the set until early afternoon but the Southern Living crew had been there since early morning setting up and doing their food shots. They had been outside in that heat all day and not a single one of them uttered the slightest complaint. And let me tell you something, those folks work HARD.

You would be amazed at all of the planning and beforehand work that goes into a photo shoot for that magazine. Weeks (at minimum) of work, scouting, testing recipes (yes, they test every single recipe they run, regardless of who it is from), getting props together, designing the shoot, etc. They are some of the hardest working folks you could ever meet and every single person I’ve met from there has the best attitude regardless of whether they are working in the frigid cold or the smoldering heat.

See those ladders in the background? Those drove my mother crazy because Jen (the photographer) kept climbing up on them to take photos and Mama was afraid she’d fall. I just tried not to watch. Jen did all of the photography for my book so I already knew she was superwoman. Later on in the photo shoot it started lightning and she was still up on that ladder. I think Mama about had a heart attack worrying about her.

This is us getting ready for the shoot. I’m talking to Marian Cooper Cairns, she is the food stylist for the shoot and I was also lucky enough to steal her away to do the food styling when we were doing the photography for my book, too!

Marian rocks, and isn’t she cute as a button?

Amazing that a person who works in the Southern Living test kitchens all day can be this skinny.

But I digress. Not that me digressing is new or anything…

They had this gorgeous table set up beneath a big old tree. This is Katy Rose and Benjamin walking to the table. Benjamin is the son of our friends Heather and Eric, more about them in just a few photos. Jennifer Davick is poised behind the table here.

This is the youngest member of our family, Zoe. Donna Floria is in the background, she wrote the beautiful and gracious story in the magazine.

Zoe is a four year old lab mix that we adopted last year from the Humane Society and she is as sweet and precious as she can be. We didn’t plan on bringing her with us to the photo shoot but at the last minute had no one to babysit her. I couldn’t board her because they would have been closed before we got back home and I can’t stand the thought of Zoe spending a night away from home. So, at the last minute we ended up having no choice but to bring her with us.

I was worried sick about how folks would react (you have to respect that not everybody is a dog person) but everyone was wonderful and very kind to Zoe. We parked our car right by where we were posing and I set a bowl of water out for her before tying her leash to the car door. Well, a few minutes later, here came Zoe! She  had chewed through her leash! We tied her up again and a few minutes later our little Houdini trotted up once more. This is me, finally giving up and bringing her over, with both of her leashes tied together where she had eaten through them.

The really cool thing is, Zoe ended up being in the final photo!

Clearly, it was meant to be and she was well aware of this long before we were.

This is the first outfit I wore. Actually, we all wore white. They stylists told us ahead of time to wear white shirts and khaki pants or jeans. I was all over the jeans! When we got there they had all of these sweaters, scarves, and accessories that just pulled the whole scene together so well. As someone who can’t put an outfit together to save her life, I can truly appreciate these people. Caroline put this beautiful scarf around my neck and I fell in love with it. I ended up taking photos in a sweater she had picked out but guess what?

They let me keep the scarf!

I’ll definitely be wearing this on my book tour.

This is almost the final photo. We were mostly in place. Little Ben was enthralled with Zoe. Do you notice anything different about this photo? I kept thinking something was off but couldn’t quite place it until I realized, it’s flipped in the magazine! hehehe

You know how models have different specialty poses and such for different occasions? Well this is our “It’s fixin’ to rain” pose.

We’re really good at this one…

Okay, so there were these bales of hay and there were these kids and when the two met some kind of fun erupted from it.

I was worried there was some master plan with the hay bales that the kids might mess up but the entire crew pretty much said “They’re fine, let ’em play” and so we did.


and we watched them and saw that it was good.


And I just want to state once more as you look at me in that sweater and the back of our friend Eric in his sweater,

that it was a heat index of 113…

Not complaining, just saying that it adds a bit of interest.

(Psst, Eric is wearing a ladies sweater… I just gotta say that ~snickers as she pokes fun at good natured Eric~).

The children continued to play so another stylist decided to style that shot a bit because it was so stinking precious.

Here come Mama’s quilts!

Added into the shot, and they kept right on going.

Let this be a lesson to you, skip Toys R Us. For real fun, buy three bales of hay and turn the kids loose.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch I was posing with some nanner puddin’.

While the kids continued to play. That is my hubster with the sweater draped around his shoulders. He is standing by Mama and Daddy and then the gorgeous one is my friend, Heather, the Mama of Ben and Sophie. Hmm, I don’t know if we’ve seen Sophie yet…

This is me adoring the pudding for Jen

This is what I was told to do and when you are told to adore Banana Pudding made by Southern Living food stylists, you adore the Banana Pudding!

But after a while of adoring banana pudding, you really just wanna eat it.

and they continued to play…

There is Sophie! She’s the one bringing up the rear.

and after a while that banana pudding got really heavy 🙂

and the kids decided to make tunnels with the hay bales!

Note: I love starting sentences with “And” and “But”.

Despite my impressive academic record in English Composition*, I’m just a rebel that way.

*Every now and then I need to remind myself that I really was good in English.

Then I just go back to writing in whatever way the wind blows.

Eric and Jen teamed up to try to get the kid’s attention for a bit.

The final photo in the magazine of them on the hay bales is just too precious.

Okay so you see this gorgeous truck?

Wanna know something funny?

It was towed in to the shoot! It doesn’t even run. hehehe

I can’t wait for you to see this final picture. It ended up on the Table of Contents page!!!!

This is Mama and my friend Jamie, thinking cool thoughts and watching the shoot.

Marian is styling the food. We wanted to eat this food so badly. I mean, we’re only human! But we were advised against it. Actually Marian kind of looked horrified at the thought of us eating it and told us it had been sitting out all day long. ~giggles~

Back to the table, here is Mama moving some hair that was bothering her.

Me and Mama posing with my apple juleps.

Katy Rose wanted some of that so bad. I made her a big old batch as soon as we got home.

Mama and me

and this is me moving some hair on Mama that was bothering me 🙂

Daddy was having severe truck envy during the shoot. Finding out it didn’t run helped some though.

The food, posing delectably and being styled.

There are some recipes in this issue that I gave exclusively to Southern Living.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if you buy the issue, make my Vidalia Honey Vinaigrette!

Then call me and tell me your address and what time to be there!

Alright now, I’m not a big fan of butterflies.

Actually, they give me the heebee jeebees, but even I have to admit this is beautiful.

I blame the butterfly house at Calloway Gardens entirely for my butterfly phobia, just so ya know.

Benjamin feeding his Mama a big old roll.

How precious is that?

Wrapping things up…

The photo shoot was called to an end by Mother Nature in the form of rolling thunder and lightning.

We got out just before it started raining and headed back home after a wonderful day.

Any day spent with these folks is a good one. That’s just the kind of people they are.

Special thanks to the entire staff of truly wonderful people at Southern Living for all of the hard work and wonderful spirit you put into this shoot and this story. I emailed Donna Floria (who wrote it) after I read the story and told her,

“That made me wanna meet this Christy Jordan gal!”

I hope you’ll pick up an issue to read the story that YOU made happen as well as get the exclusive recipes.

Now that you know the behind the scene tales, it’ll be even more interesting to read!

Many subscribers have already gotten their copies and it will be on news stands soon!

Here is what it looks like:

If you’re coming to the UNA Tailgating Event and Cooking Show you’ll get to meet some of the folks from Southern Living, too.

Stop by their table and give ’em a big Southern Plate hug for me!

Thank you for all of the pre-orders!

We are now at day seven of being the #1 Southern book on Amazon!

The most precious and valuable jewels you’ll ever have

around your neck are the arms of your children .

Submitted by Pam Elkin. Submit your quote by clicking here.

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  1. Congratulations!!! You’ve come a long way. Thanks for letting me join you. I love reading you blog. It always makes me smile 🙂


  2. Christy, I am so happy for you! I almost felt like I was there with you during the photo shoot. Makes me want to have a picnic! I wish my SL would hurry up and get here!


  3. I am visiting your blog for the very first time because my Southern Living arrived Tuesday and tonight….drumroll….I prepared your Vidalia Honey Vinaigrette! It is OUT OF THIS WORLD and oh, soooo easy. (I loved having all the ingredients in my pantry, too! How great is that?!) I intended to visit your blog just to tell you how delicious it is (and to thank you for an amazing recipe, as well….it was a HUGE hit with my family) and lo’ and behold I see you ask folks to be sure to make it. Done! I’ll be back to visit again sometime soon…after all, I’m now a new follower and fan! Best wishes to you, Christy, and congrats on your Southern Living feature. You’ve arrived, dahlin’!

  4. I was thrilled to open my Southern Living and find you and your lovely family inside. I cannot wait to try some of the recipes. I loved the article and it was neat to read today’s posting to see how your fall shoot could show up in the magazine. You did good girl!

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