I met with some of the biggest and best publishers in the design industry to bring you BEHIND THE SCENES TIPS that I have compiled into a list of what editors look for when deciding on which projects to select for their most coveted spot each issue: the whole house editorial feature with, drumroll please…a cover.

One might argue that is the highest accomplishment a designer could achieve in this world.


They get countless submissions every day, so I want to preface with – there are no guarantees of selection; not even if you execute this checklist exactly. BUT, as my CBP fam, I want you to have a leg up on the competition and ensure you have THE BEST POSSIBLE chance that your projects make it to the top of the editor’s list.

Please note, this is not affiliated with any one particular publisher and there are never any guarantees of selection.

Before we dive in, I want to give you the highlights, just in case you don’t have time to read this the whole way through.


Select a project that has a story. Editors, much like their readers, want to see a space that has a story. The story behind a space can be just as important as the space itself.

The project must feel “complete” in these three areas: (a) the trifecta of having great architecture, (b) build & (c) design. They also look at great landscaping as a bonus.

Select just one publication where you’d like to submit the project. Publications want to feel like they have the exclusive on the project. Be careful not to post the full project anywhere until after the issue comes out. Posting a couple of photos on social media is typically okay, but anything more than that and the editors will likely pass on the project.

Get to know the personality and aesthetic of the publication. Flip through an issue and notice trends in their editorial section. They’re usually not as concerned with how “expensive” the project is; they are more focused on how it fits the style of their publication.

Book an all-inclusive day rate shoot for the project. Publishers are looking for about 20 images in total and 2-3 wide shots of each main space including: entry, master bedroom/bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, outdoor living and anything with a unique design.

Book a stylist or plan out the styling with our CBP Styling Guide. Editors are looking for spaces to be “effortlessly styled” which means somewhere in between nothing done at all and staged.

● When capturing photos of the space, they like a mix of:

○ Horizontal & vertical

○ Mostly interior shots with a few exteriors

○ 2-3 money shots that could be used as a cover

○ 1-point perspective (straight on) & angles, with a focus on 1-point (that is mostly what they will publish if selected)

○ Mostly wide-angle with just a few detail shots

Be prepared with 20+ photos of the space. They want the photos to give them a tour around the entire house. When shooting a room, make sure you have shots that include every angle of the space.