Styled shoots are really fun, especially if you have a great team and a clear vision. One of the questions I get asked most is how to put together a styled shoot. If you are reading this post, consider that you have already begun the process of creating a shoot.
1. Know your Brand
If you don’t know what you like in photos and weddings, its going to be really hard to identify a good team to work with. For me it was simple, I am a very visual person, I was able to look at my work and know how to see similarities in other peoples work. Perhaps your work is light and airy, maybe you prefer to shoot film. Whatever your style is, make sure that the wedding stylist you find has similar taste as you. There is a lot invested in styled shoots, both money and time, people want to know what they are getting into and whether it will pay off for them.
2. Have the Passion and Hustle to Make it Happen
Last year at this time, I was eager to get my feet wet in the world of weddings. I shot a wedding in July and realized afterwards that I wanted to build my portfolio and get more time behind the lens and with couples. If you are just starting out as a photographer, it can be hard to book weddings. It takes time, but the problem is that you can’t gain knowledge without experience. That is where styled shoots come in, and that is why the first tip is the most important.
3. Reach out to a Stylist Whose Work you Connect With
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand, start to research stylist in your area. For me I was able to do most of my styled shoot development through instagram. I searched hashtags, and went from there. I sent LOTS of messages, I had to ignore all my instincts to not be pushy because I didn’t want to seem like a stalker. I even tried to get some more notable photographers on board when I wasn’t getting any bites from stylists. Once I found a stylist, we met for coffee and talked theme and ideas, we made some semi-concrete plans for shoot location and dates. I remember leaving that meeting and feeling amazing.
4. Communicate Often, and be Willing to Help in any way.
This is so important, especially if its your first styled shoot. Like I said above, there is a lot of money and time invested in these shoots. Offer to help with as much preparation as possible, but also know that the collection of stuff and accessories for the shoot is the job of the stylist. I always offered to make Goodwill runs as long as I knew what the stylist was hunting down. I never just picked something up because I liked it and wanted it for the shoot. When the actual shoot happens, your stylist will have lots of stuff jammed into his/her car, and may or may not have been in accidents on the way. Offer to help bring as much stuff to the site and do the same at the end of the shoot.
5. Be Prepared and Deliver Images to all Vendors in a Timely Manner
Please, this goes without saying but I have to say it – be nice. When you are friendly and helpful, it makes everyone feel at ease and helps the shoot go smoothly. Ok, that’s all about that. So to prepare for your styled shoot, just as you would prepare for any shoot, make sure to get very little sleep because you will be up worrying endlessly about being perfect. Forget to eat breakfast and only drink coffee, rendering you a shaky disaster. Overshoot and leave a 4 hour shoot with 4000 images that you then have to cull and edit.
Um, actually don’t do any of that. I will do that for everyone else. You just work on getting lots of sleep, charging your millions of batteries, clearing your 8 CF cards, and packing your camera bag like a well seasoned pro. Oh, and bring food not just for yourself, but for everyone. It will break the ice because everyone will be talking about how they have only had 4 cups of coffee.
Once your shoot is done and you are home you need to start the culling and editing process right away. Please try to at least transfer the images from your cards to your hard drive. I do that just for the assurance in case some terrible disaster happens and the only thing destroyed are my CF card (that would be a very weird disaster, I know).
I like to share my images with vendors using my shoot proof account. It’s really professional and super easy to use. This part is really important so its going to be in bold even though I hate words in bold, if your stylist doesn’t remind everyone, make sure that ANY images that are posted on social media have ALL the vendors tagged.
Ok my friends! That is all for now, so glad I could help and shed some light. Message me if you need help or have any questions.
Photographer: Marnie Cornell Photography
Stylist: Rock and Stone Wedding
Cake: Natalie DeHaven Cakes
Florist: Diamond Events Floral
Macarons: Charmaine Mosiman
Stationary: Derive Design Collective
Models: Carly & Daniel Moritz