How to create a styled wedding shoot-6 tips to get you started

Styled wedding shoots are a great way to get together with other wedding vendors to stretch your creativity and put together a themed photoshoot. I’ve done a couple so far this year and have loved everything about them. The most recent one is featured in this post, we did a geometric inspired wedding shoot at The La Jolla Hyatt
You may have wondered “how do I create a styled wedding shoot? It can be a bit daunting trying to figure out where to start with a styled shoot, to help with that I’ve put together 6 tips to get you on your way!

Venue: The La Jolla Hyatt
Hair and Makeup: The Doll Service
Floral Design: Blooms by Breesa
Wedding Dress: D’Angelo Bridal Couture
Event Design: Savvy Soiree
Linens: Concept Event Design
Chairs, Tableware: Classic Party Rentals
Cake: Hey there, Cupcake!
Behind the Scenes Video: Focused Bliss Productions

Check out the behind the scenes video below!

1-How do you put together a styled shoot?
It can happen pretty much one of two ways:
1. You as the photographer come up with the concept and bring together all the vendors or
2. A coordinator/event designer approaches you with an idea and asks you to be a part of their shoot. For me I didn’t want to wait around for the phone to ring, so for my first one I took it upon myself to be the photographer, coordinator, and designer. It’s more common for people to be working on styled shoots than it was a few years ago, so if you’re a photographer wanting to put one together don’t be afraid to reach out to other vendors. Everyone I ever reached out to had known about styled shoots and expressed interest in being a part of one. A great place to start is Facebook, and I also approached other vendors at the end of bridal shows I have exhibited at and asked if they’d be interested

2-Do you have to pay the other vendors/do you get paid?
In general the other vendors involved in the shoot know that everyone is coming together to donate their time and creativity to the shoot in exchange for the photos, the networking, and the possibility of photo publication. Personally I do not get paid either to do these shoots. There are less about the monetary richness and more about the non-monetary gains you get from them!

3-What one thing must you have before setting up a styled shoot?
To be honest there’s a lot of things you need to have in place before setting up your styled shoot. I would suggest clearly defining what your theme is going to be. You need to pick the venue, colors, models, decor, and flowers based off your theme so you need that first and foremost. You can’t make a single decision on the look of the shoot without first knowing what your theme is. I would suggest doing your research before hand too, to see what other shoots are already out there. You want to know that your theme hasn’t been done a 100 times before and knowing what has already been done will help you to make choices that will make your shoot stand out.

4-Can I do the shoot without a designer?
As I mentioned I actually have done a styled shoot without a designer, so on the day I played photographer and event designer. If possible I would recommend having a designer for the shoot. I say that because wearing two hats on the day of the shoot will add more stress to you. I did had fun coming up with the theme and bringing all the elements together to make it happen though! I pulled items from my house as well as did some “renting” at local stores for other items I needed. I know I know it’s not the most ethical way to outfit your shoot but you gotta get creative sometimes!

5-What’s the goal of styled shoots?
A-Building a portfolio of images that showcase the types of weddings you would like to shoot
To attract the type of client you want you need to have those images to attract them, so put together a styled shoot from scratch that keeps in mind the type of client you are trying to attract and then you’re already getting something from the shoot right there.
B-Getting the shoot published, whether that is on a blog or in a magazine
After each styled shoot I have done I have submitted the images to be featured. This most recent one will be in a “to be named later” wedding magazine in the Fall! It’s helpful to build a strong team around you for the shoot because those other vendors may possibly have existing relationships with blogs and magazines that can aid in getting the work published.
C-Relationship building, the wedding industry is all about networking and creating strong relationships with other vendors
Putting together a shoot is a great way to work together with local vendors, and can lead to co-marketing with each other in your city. Brides trust recommendations from their friends and other vendors, so you always need to be out there meeting people and creating these strong networks!

6-What if I’m just starting out?
It doesn’t hurt to reach out to other vendors introduce yourself and mention that you are just starting out in the wedding industry and would love to collaborate on a shoot in hopes of building a strong portfolio. Everyone has to start somewhere so maybe find other vendors who are also just starting out and make the venue a park by your house, or your friend’s awesome backyard. This is where it helps to get creative with your shoot and wear a few different hats if need be to make it all happen!

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