How Many Photo Shoots are TOO Many?

How Many Photo Shoots are TOO Many?

What I Learned from TOO Many Photo Shoots:


4 interior design shoots in 1 week… (insert exhausted/frantic woman)…

Re-Branding a business is a lot of work.  I’ve teamed up with a graphic designer to create a new logo, I (re)registered my business with the state of Georgia and renewed my license, and I recently found an amazing web developer to build me a new website.  And in the hustle and bustle of it all, I realized I hadn’t photographed some of my favorite projects… the ones I want to showcase on my website!


So, I frantically scheduled 4 photo shoots in 1 week with the most amazing of photographers, Mali Azima but after really thinking about it we rearranged and scheduled 2 one week and the other 2 the following week and I still exhausted!

Let me begin by saying, photo shoots are a lot of work.

I’m going to repeat that for dramatic effect…


When I scheduled them back to back, I wasn’t thinking about all the items you need to prepare for the photo shoot. After all, while I was gathering items for one project, how much more difficult is it to shop for 3 other shoots at the same time?  Let me tell you… it’s a lot more difficult. Up to this point in my career, I had done my own styling but the sheer quantity of materials needed in a short period of time warranted me hiring a stylist. The stylist can help you accessorize but also work with the photographer to capture the best angle for each room (thank you, Brandon Bransford!). We had accessories (car loads worth for each home from stores all over Atlanta), which I had to transport and drop off the day before each shoot to ensure we could begin on time.

But, I think there is a silver lining to every circumstance, and this one is no exception.  Here is what I learned from the experience:

  1. Apart from the amazing amount of stress the human mind & body can handle, I learned that baby steps are vital.  I made a check list each day (thanks, Wunderlist), and step by step, my assistant and I ticked off every thing that needed to be accomplished.  Though there was much to do, breaking down the overwhelming amount of work into bite-size tasks allowed me to breathe easier.  It also gave me a sense of peace knowing that each errand I ran, each phone call I made, got me one step closer to my goal of having AMAZING photos for my new website.
  2. I learned that each photo shoot day took a lot longer than I thought it would.  Working with an interiors photographer is much different than the other photographers I had previously worked with (my headshot photographer, a real estate photographer, and yours truly as a photographer). There were a lot of moving parts happening simultaneously (assistants moving around, lighting being adjusted, camera angles being changed, the stylist changing around accessories, etc.), so now I know not to schedule more than one photo shoot in a day (or maybe even a week).  Ever. Ever. EVER!
  3. And, finally, I learned that interior design photo shoots are an exception to the rule less is more.  In this scenario, more is always more.  You never know what will photograph well until you try it, so the more options you have (accessories, furniture, fabrics), the more you increase your likelihood of capturing that one-of-a-kind image that encompasses your vision for the space.

I love my job and I am so grateful to be doing what I love as a career.  I learn so much from each experience and I hope you can learn from my adventures, too.

I am excited to see what the future holds as I continue to refine and re-brand my business.

Here are a couple of the rooms from that crazy week… (They were worth the effort!)


(Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Mali Azima, Stylist: Brandon Bransford)


(Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Mali Azima, Stylist: Brandon Bransford)

May you have a smart, stylish Tuesday!

Why an Interior Designer will actually SAVE you money...

9(Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Mali Azima, Stylist: Brandon Bransford)

Many people believe that they cannot afford an interior designer.  They think designers cost too much and that expenses will get out of hand quickly, leaving them with a feeling of helplessness and unexpected debt.

I am here to tell you that that is a LIE.

I’ve compiled 5, count ’em FIVE, reasons why interior designers can actually SAVE you money.

Here they are:

1. Interior Designers help you avoid costly mistakes.

You have great intentions, but without a keen eye and procurement savvy, its easy to order the wrong items and spend countless hours trying to rectify the issues.  The number 1 complaint I hear from new clients is that they are tired of ordering the wrong items and feeling like their space is a long way from looking pulled together.  Most designers and decorators possess a gift that allows them to “see” the selections in your space, after all, this is one reason most people hire us…they can’t visualize.  Colors, materials, furniture, and artwork look different online or in the store than they do in your home.  For instance, you may receive what you thought was your dream sectional only to realize the shade of gray you picked looks terrible with the (barely dry) paint color you had chosen because you were pressured by the builder to pick a paint color.  So you think to yourself..I like grey, I’ll just pick a grey I like from the fan deck, how hard could it be?  However, now that beautiful shade of grey looks blue next to your newly purchased gray sectional.  So now you have to pay to either repaint or buy a new sectional (guess which option I would tell you to do?  Paint, of course! ).

A good interior designer will save you time, stress, & the big M (for money).  We are here to take your dream space from conceptual form to reality.  Its like hiring a fabulous wedding planner so you can kick back and just enjoy your big day – or in this case your newly designed IMPECCABLE space.

2. Good Interior Designers have GREAT networks.

Good interior designers have a network of incredible resources that they can pull from for design jobs. They usually work with multiple sub contractors and contractors over the years, so they can accurately tell you how to get the best quality of work within your budget and time frame.  Talk about money saving results…

3. Seasoned Interior Designers have established professional relationships.

What does that mean for you?  Well,  it means that high-end vendors and manufacturers allow designers to purchase goods at pricing not available to the general public and extend special privileges.  This ensures you receive pieces that will work, not nicely, but PERFECTLY in your space.  This is because, again, designers have a wealth of resources to choose from that are not common knowledge to anyone but designers.  Most designers  have access to special trade and wholesale pricing with various manufacturers and vendors, so in addition to the procurement exclusivity mentioned above, you may also save money on the items you purchase.

4. Professional Designers and Decorators always carry measuring tape
(or in my case, a measuring tape AND a laser measurer) at all times

Why is that important for you?  It means that the items the designer procures for your space will fit perfectly.  No doors slamming into side tables.  Or headboards that are so large they cover half your window.  Or rugs that are so small they make your furniture look like it was purchased by giants.  Great designers measure everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.  Not just rooms, but doorways, windows, molding, ceiling height, drop ceilings, staircases, closet space, etc.  I’ve had so many clients contact me after throwing away hard-earned-cash because they ordered furniture before measuring properly.  Measuring goes beyond just making sure something will fit…does it allow you room to function also and this is an important element of space planning. Don’t do this! Let me, or another reputable designer, save you from this massive headache.

5. Talented Interior Designers have a keen eye for placement and coordination.

This trained eye allows them to coordinate all the furnishings, drapery, floor coverings, artwork, and accessories in a way that makes it hard for you to determine whether you are in a 5 Star hotel or your own home.  Good designers make this look easy, but I assure you, they spend hours, sometimes days, weeks or even months, coordinating your dream space. I easily spend 200-500 hours working on a space to make it look fabulous.  Their ability to create a beautiful haven out of your space is not only a god given talent but also a result of years of working with clients, going to markets to keep a pulse on what is current in the design world, and continuing education.

If interior design was so easy, then everyone’s home would be in Elle Decor.  But let’s face it, that’s not the case.  So save you self from headaches, frustration, stress, and wasted money, and just hire a designer.

You know, I think I might know of one I could recommend. 🙂


 (Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Mali Azima, Stylist: Brandon Bransford)



 (Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Christina Wedge)

For help creating your dream space, contact us at

May your space be smart, stylish, and deliciously livable,

Re-Branding: The Importance of Good Content

“Having the right content in place, keeping it up-to-date, and removing content that is no longer relevant or timely ensures that the user community will find what they need.” – JoAnn T. Hackos Content Management for Dynamic Web Delivery

I was not prepared for the amount of time I would spend on my new website’s content…

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to deliver well-crafted content.

Keeping the quote above in mind, my husband (the attorney), my assistant Jaclyn Steele (the song-writer & blogger), Tobi Fairley (the interior design & creative business consultant), and I worked tirelessly to hammer out the wordy details that would describe my re-branding to the public.  (Its amazing how my ideas were translated into word form in so many creative ways).

You wouldn't believe how many drafts of this page were created...

You wouldn’t believe how many drafts of this page were created…

But let me tell you, the hours of thinking, emailing, thesaurus searching, and typing paid off.  I am so excited to debut my new website with fresh, up-to-date content that reflects the contemporary nature of my brand.  Reworking the text also forced me to focus on what services I really want to expand on that I had not highlighted previously… It is opening up a whole new realm of possibilities.

Getting specific about the services I offer helped steer my re-branding in the right direction.

Getting specific about the services I offer helped steer my re-branding in the right direction.

One of my favorite things about my re-branding is my focus on smart home technology.  Check out this youtube video to see the tip of the iceberg regarding the technology we can help you implement:

Hard work always pays off in the end and I feel as though, with the help my team, I now have a fabulous fresh start to the year.

New year.

New brand.

New me.

Cheers to change and to smart, stylish living!

Re-Branding: Creating a New Logo

The importance of a brand name and symbol…

For as seemingly small as a name and logo are, they can have a big impact on the success of your brand.  The name, Refresh Decorating, served me well, but as it stands now, it no longer reflected where I wanted to go as a creative business owner.  I’m not just refreshing spaces anymore… I’m transforming them.  The same is true for my logo.  I felt as though it was no longer indicative of the changes that were occurring within my brand.

Enter search for new business name and logo.

Enter multiple hours of brainstorming and obsessing over re-branding.

After much thought, consideration, and advice from the amazing Tobi Fairley, I decided to use my name as the basis for my re-branding.  By doing so, I can ebb and flow, and change my business as I please under the umbrella of my actual name.  I find it to be freeing as the possibilities seem endless, but also daunting, as my brand is me… literally.

New name?  Check. Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors.

Now for the logo.

After doing a little research I came upon Emily McCarthy in Savannah, GA.  She manifested into graphic form the logo I had floating around in my brain.


New Logo?  Check.  Here is the logo transformation from Refresh Decorating to Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors.

Refresh Decorating Logo

My former logo.


My current logo.

My current logo.


I’m so proud and excited about my new look!

What do you think about the transformation?  Leave me a comment below!  I would love know your thoughts!

May your day be smart and oh-so-stylish!

Welcome To My Blog!


Hello and welcome to my design blog!  My name is Minhnuyet Hardy and I have been an interior designer for the past 12 years.  I want to use this blog to share design ideas, tips & tricks, before & after photos, and the silly adventures to be had in my day-to-day life as interior designer.  Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and stay a while—you will always be welcome here!

Cheers to learning together and creating Smart, Stylish Lives one blog post at a time!