How to plan a styled shoot for your wedding company.

How to plan a styled shoot for your wedding company.

What is a Styled Photo shoot?

“A photo shoot conducted in a controlled and thought out manner in which the creatives involved produce props, dress people (or objects) in a particular way and place them into scenery or against a backdrop that creates their imagined and desired look and feel. This allows for very intentional emotions to be portrayed and very specific images to be captured.”

~Rebecca Kooiker from Runaway Romance~

What types of styled photo shoots are there?

There are two different types of styled photo shoots, one type includes using models and props in a specific location or with specific scenery. The focus of this type of shoot is to convey certain emotions and feelings, and put the viewer in the shoes of the photographed individuals. The second type of styled photo shoot does not use models of any sort, but the focus is rather placed on a specific object or many specific objects. This type of photo shoot can do one of two things, make the viewer desire the product that’s being photographed, or it can also simply serve as a way to bring across certain emotions and feelings of the photographer.

Why do a wedding company needs to do styled shoots?

Styled shoots create beautiful portfolio images – Getting great portfolio images from a styled shoot is not just for new wedding businesses. When you do a wedding, you don’t have ultimate creative control, the couple does. When you do a styled shoot, you can showcase your work in the best possible way that you know will really appeal to your ideal clients.

Styled shoots give you a creative outlet – You got into this work because you love doing it and clients don’t always want what you want to create. Styled shoots can serve as a very productive creative outlet for you to create to your heart’s desire. You can get as elaborate or as minimalist as you want because you don’t have to focus on catering to the needs of a couple.

Styled shoots let you practice your craft – When was the last time you really pushed yourself to try something new in your business?

Styled shoots can be a great way to challenge yourself & try something new before you actually do it at a wedding. Styled shoots are great for networking – Make sure you take the time to talk to your fellow vendors on the day of the shoot & make sure you stay in touch with them afterward using.

Styled shoots can get you great PR – If you haven’t noticed, wedding blogs love styled shoots.

Styled shoots can attract clients – If your styled shoot is featured on a wedding blog, people are going to want to come over to your website and find out more about you.

Styled shoots create beautiful portfolio images. Getting great portfolio images from a styled shoot is not just for new wedding businesses. When you do a wedding, you don’t have ultimate creative control, the couple does. When you do a styled shoot, you can showcase your work in the best possible way that you know will really appeal to your ideal clients.    

Why is it important to do research?

It is of utmost importance to first decide what you are trying to achieve with your styled photo shoot before you jump into the deep end. If you do not have, at minimum, a rough outline of what style of photography you would like, what props you’ll need, location/scenery you wish to utilise, the day(s) in mind of when you want to conduct the shoot, etc. then you are on your way to failure. Planning and organising are the most important aspects of anything you wish to achieve, even the littlest of tasks include some sort of planning and organising.

What are some important factors to keep in mind?

When you plan your styled shoot you need to decide whether you are going to be focusing on models or objects, then you can decide what else you need:

The things you need to keep in mind include the following:

  • When are you going to do the shoot?
  • What location or scenery are you going to use?
  • Who is going to take your photos?
  • What is your budget, and is it flexible or tight?
  • Where are you going to source your props/models from? (What vendors are you going to use?)

How do you get a vendor to commit?

Finding a vendor can be tricky as they need to fullfil certain criteria, and sometimes you might have to spend a little extra or change something from your original plan, but don’t let that discourage you, it’s all a part of the process.

It is a good idea to email the vendor of your choice, but make sure that you do not settle on only contacting one. The more possible vendors you contact, whether it be via phone or email or even social media, the more options you have to choose from. This allows you the opportunity to pick the best quality for money and possibly even work out a deal or discount with the vendor of your choice.

If the vendor is weary of doing business with you, it is a good idea to give credibility so that they can trust you. You can ask previous clients for referrals to give to the vendor as well as offer to pay a deposit in order to secure your vendor.

The steps in planning a styled shoot:

Step 1 ~ Establish your goals

Before you can recruit anyone to help with the styled photo shoot, you need to fully understand your goals and do the necessary research. If you are clueless and lack the necessary research then it will be incredibly difficult for anyone to help achieve your vision of the styled shoot because they have no criteria or guidelines to follow; this could lead to extra costs and loss of time.

Make sure when you set your goals that you define the purpose of the shoot and create a list of what needs to be done in order to be successful.

Getting published in the industry – you need to make sure that you look at the current as well as possible future trends in order to stay on top of things as well as ahead of others in your line of work. It’s a good idea to keep a list of what your clients and audience will be most drawn to.

Step 2 ~ Contact the necessary people

It is vital that you outsource candidates of the best quality for the best price possible, this means getting quotes from many people rather than just one; this allows you to open up your options so that you may find the most suitable candidate for the job. You are like to be happier with the results as you have considered multiple other people/businesses for the job.

Step 3 ~ Target market

When it comes to your target market (the people you are trying to reach during the shoot) you need to do as much research possible so that you really understand this client/customer base. You should find out what they respond to emotionally and physically and utilise those as key points in your design.

Step 4 ~ Brainstorming session

With your group of recruited candidates, create an “open table” where everyone is able to share their ideas, concerns and more about the shoot. If you allow everyone the opportunity to contribute,

At the end of the session you can filter through everyone’s ideas and thoughts and come up with one collective idea that is best suited to what you want.

Step 5 ~ Gather all resources and confirm specifics

Once you have decided on the refined idea for the photo shoot and its specifics, you need to make sure to get everything that the shoot requires. You need to do the following:

  1. Make sure the venue or area used for the shoot is booked and confirmed and find out when setup can take place, including time allocation of the shoot from the venue’s side.
  • Book and organise a photographer and make sure that all that is needed is included i.e. lighting etc. – if not you will have to outsource the specific items yourself.
  • Make a list of everything you will need including: furniture, décor and other props/items and budget for each category.
  • Next, outsource where you will hire all of these items and book them for collection the day before the tutorial. Remember that you might not find certain items as they are out of season and you may have to substitute these pieces.
  • You need to pack consumables and perishables carefully and properly, so they do not spoil before the shoot. This will apply to any food items or flowers you wish to use on the day.
  • One last thing you need to remember, is refreshments for the day if you are shooting for long periods of time.

Step 6 ~ Create a Pinterest board for your shoot

Gather colour palettes and inspirational photos for your shoot to showcase to your team, the look and feel you want to achieve in your styled photo shoot. This brings everyone onto the same page and limits confusion.

Its best that you do not pin exact movements, gestures and poses for the photo shoot onto your board as this can lead you to copy the photos rather than figure out what “You” want. It stunts your creativity as you get too caught up in trying to recreate the specific photo instead of allowing your creativity to flow. This doesn’t mean that you can’t look at any poses of other styled photo shoots, it simply means that you should let the movements and gestures be natural on the day.

Step 7 ~ Put in all of your efforts into the photo shoot

Make sure that you put in the time and effort you’d like others to contribute. Don’t expect others to do what you aren’t willing to do yourself. If you approach the shoot with a serving heart, looking out for the best interests of your team, then they will be able to flourish and produce their best work to make the shoot as successful as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to be extravagant and over-the-top, but if you make sure your team is being looked after (heard, refreshed and seen), then they can only respond positively.

Step 8 ~ Finish strong

It’s a good idea to keep a list of everyone’s details, including their business and social handles so that you can properly thank and promote one another. This builds good working relationships between you and tour team and can allow you to work together successfully on future projects.


Evolve your wedding business.

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