Styled shoots are used extensively in the wedding industry as they’re a great way for wedding pros to collaborate, push boundaries, and simply get creative.
Mostly they’re done collaboratively. Meaning everyone dedicates their time, craft and talent, free of charge, in order to get new images for marketing and promotional purposes, to diversify their portfolio and for press coverage.
Have a Clear Concept for your Styled Shoot
Before you choose your team, make sure you have a clear concept and an end goal in sight. You’re more likely to be successful getting a great team on board who share common business and creative goals, if you have a clear concept.
Ask yourself these five things: What? Where? Why? How? Who?
- What’s the purpose of the shoot?
- Where do you want the shoot to take place, indoor, outdoor, London, Paris, on a lake?
- Why are you doing the shoot?
- How are you going to execute the shoot – do you have the skill and capacity to coordinate it or do you need to bring on board a planner, stylist or publisher?
- Who is it for? Is it for marketing, or new images to diversify your portfolio and to attract new clients from a different demographic? OR is it solely for publication and editorial purposes?
Choosing Your Styled Shoot Team
Behind every successful styled shoot is a fantastic and reliable team. It’s so important to choose the right team when planning a styled shoot and to think about brand alignment.
Always ask, is this association with my brand currently the right fit? Take the time to do your research, be particular and ask colleagues for recommendations and take advantage of wedding Facebook groups.
It’s absolutely fundamental to get on board the right photographer, there is nothing more disappointing as an editor than getting a gorgeous submission which is let down by poorly lit or poor quality photography.
Putting it together
Pre-planning is key to ensure everyone has the creative space to work their magic in their field of expertise on the day. Try to meet in advance with your key collaborators, such as your venue, photographer and stylist to discuss ideas and brainstorm.
- Create a secret Pinterest board with your key looks and ideas, model poses, make up and styling ideas and start inviting your collaborators to contribute.
- Create a list of key shots you need.
- Visit the venue to confirm your chosen spaces, arrange any equipment required and clarify any access issues: Are there any parking and loading restrictions? Are there restrictions where you can and can’t film at your venue?
- Make sure you have public liability insurance.
- Make Google docs or excel your best friend and create a timetable / call sheet detailing what time is everyone needs to arrive and what their roles are, where they need to be along with a sheet detailing the teams contact details.
- Always ensure you liaise with your creative team in advance to find out the maximum and minimum times they need to set up.
- Factor in set up times and use that for any models to have their hair and make up done and to dedicate time to ensure dresses and outfits fit properly before shooting.
- Make sure there is a lunch break on you shoot day, as the host, it is a nice touch to make sure everyone is watered and fed If you want your work published, now is not the time to experiment with a photographer who is not skilled with editorial shoots.
Most suppliers collaborate with the intention of having their work published on a wedding blog, or wedding magazine.
Getting published is very subjective, bloggers, editors and publishers all have different criteria that at times changes. So make sure you research the publications in advance to ensure your work is in alignment with their overall style, aesthetic and readership.
Things to think about
- Are you sharing something that is fresh and exciting or something that has been done many times?
- Have you submitted a rustic DIY shoot, to a luxury modern publication? It is not likely to get accepted if there is a mismatch in style.
- Submit to one publication at a time, most have exclusivity clauses. Be persistent.
- Editors are time poor, make it easy for them, submit a preview of low resolution viewing images via a dropbox link or similar
- Make sure you have a brief write up about the concept behind the shoot and clear linked credits to all collaborators.