Styled shoots (or editorials) are a fantastic way to get creative, collaborate with other professionals and get a tonne of new imagery for sharing online, which in turn helps generate enquiries and bookings!
But, lets be honest, they can sometimes be a bit of a challenge – the organisation, the logistics PLUS keeping everyone happy whilst getting what you want out of it!
I’ve shot quite few over the years (with various results) so here I’ve complied my 7 top tips for making sure your styled shoot is the bees knees:
1. Pick a theme
What are you looking to show off in this shoot, what’s the mood or vibe – boho bridal, glam, vintage? Pick a theme and regularly refer back to it so that all the suppliers working with you on the shoot stay on message. Do your research and create a moodboard before you contact anyone so you know exactly what you want it to look like. Pinterest can be a great tool for this.
2. What’s the point?
What do you want to achieve out of this photoshoot, are you looking to have it published by a particular blog or magazine? If you are, make sure you do your due diligence and find out what they require and how your work will fit. It can be worth asking what they want to focus on and you could tailor a shoot to that. Alternatively, if you’ve chosen your theme already do a hashtag search on Instagram to find matching blogs to contact.
If you want to set up a styled shoot just so you can create content for your own blogs or social media then this can sometimes be more freeing! I have developed a close circle of wedding industry suppliers I just love working with and we try to organise one a year that’s really just for fun & practise.
Take some time to look at your own work and what you want to capture & improve on!
3. Reach out and make friends!
Not as cheesy as it sounds, I promise. But you will need to reach out to other suppliers for makeup, flowers, accessories etc. Even cars, food and room dressing if you’re going all out. Like with any networking you do, be yourself, be friendly & professional and don’t take it to heart if someone doesn’t want to get involved – they likely don’t have time or its just not their style, its never personal!
Use your shoot as an opportunity to work with others whose work you admire or you’ve met on previous weddings you’ve shot, if you liked what they did.
Been approached to shoot someone else’s styled shoot? Maybe a florist you know is organising one? Make sure its going to fit with your brand & style as these images will be shared and hopefully help attract clients. You want them to be the right ones for you!
4. Models Own
Who’s faces are you using? Professional models will need paying so make sure everyone is happy with the budget!
Do a shout-out “model call” to actual couples to get involved – I like working with people in genuine relationships as it can make the images a bit more personal and intimate.
It will depend on the overall look you’re after, a professional model will make posing a doddle so can be awesome for the more glam/editorial vibe. As above with tip No.1 – remember your theme!
5. Remember to tag!
Carrying on from making friends – make sure you keep them! Do NOT forget to credit/tag/link ALL the suppliers involved EVERYTIME you use the images. Make sure this is understood both ways. As a photographer I know nothing frustrates me more than seeing your image being used uncredited and likewise I’ve also heard many a peeved makeup artist voice their disappointment at not being tagged in posts by others. You’re all getting involved in the shoot for coverage & exposure so make sure everyone gets recognised!
6. Make a shot list
The day will get away from you if you aren’t organised. Make sure you know exactly what shots you want to achieve and plan the day accordingly. Looking to get a golden hour shot? Hair & makeup needs to be done in good time so you don’t miss the light. Are you wanting to work on your off-camera flash techniques? Allow enough time in the schedule for you to achieve what you need, especially if you’re experimenting with camera settings or new equipment.
Whilst its good to also go with the flow if a particular set-up gets you & the team all inspired on the day, having a clear shot list will mean everyone goes home satisfied and you won’t be run ragged trying to cram lots of extras in.
Always make sure there’s a few ‘hero’ shots of each suppliers product too – a great chance to whip out the macro lens or do some funkier crops in the editing!
7. Patience, patience, patience – good things come to those who wait
Don’t rush home and edit straight away, give your eyes some rest and review everything refreshed a few days after the shoot. Take your time – I know everyone will be excited to see them but set a reasonable (and achievable!) deadline to the team for when the images will be ready. Make sure you are 100 % happy with them because the sharing will inevitably start the minute those images hit people’s inboxes!!
Most importantly though, get creative and enjoy it! It’s a great chance to play!