How to properly organize a wedding styled shoot ?
What is a style shoot? This is a shooting bringing together several vendors with the same objective: often, it will be a question of allowing everyone to add photos to their portfolio, or to submit for publication in blogs. In this article we will talk about photoshoots concerning weddings, but there can also be photoshoots inspired by pregnancy or birthday …!
A wedding style shoot is a big photo shoot with vendors involved in the wedding world, models in place of the real bride and groom and extras in place of the guests. The day can take place like a real wedding or just keep little bits of it.
Why do a wedding style shoot ?
An inspiration shoot is very useful for the communication of the company in which you are. It allows to:
- get to know quality providers in order to create or expand your professionnal network
- test new techniques, new equipment, new style, be able to take risks
- build or expand your portfolio
- be published in blogs and magazines
Follow these 5 steps for your shooting:
Define the intention of the inspiration shoot
Have you decided to do a styled shoot? The first thing is to define your intention:
- Do you want to get published in a wedding blog? If yes which one? What are their conditions? Their editorial line? Check out some of their styled photo shoot posts and see what you can do to follow suit.
- Do you want to create or expand your portfolio? If so, which clientele are you targeting? What is your brand image and how are you going to put it in your shoot? What do you want to show to attract your target customers?
Define your level of involvement
If you are a wedding photographer like us, you can choose different levels of involvement in the shoot:
- You can come only on the day of the shooting and take the photos, but that sometimes requires agreeing to move away a little from your original idea since it will be someone else, surely a wedding planner, who will choose everything.
- You can share the tasks with a wedding planner with whom you will share the same vision of the styled shoot: you can for example find the models, the make-up artist, the florist and the place, and that the wedding planner takes care of the stationery, decoration, cake, jewelry … The big advantage: the wedding planner has a contact book that will allow you to meet people that you would not have approached yourself!
- Finaly, you can organize everything yourself, that will takes a lot of time, but that choice has the advantage of being able to manage everything according to your expectations and your vision of things.
How and when to canvass a planner?
If you are already working with a wedding planner, the ideal is to take the next step with him or her. You can also canvass wedding planners once the general idea has been found, to allow them to assess whether the shooting will be in their editorial line or not, so once the next step is completed.
Generally, planners have a lot of proposals from photographers or other providers, and a shoot whose idea is already well advanced will surely tempt them more! You may even have already chosen your place, your models and your dress for example before contacting them.
Our advice: work with a wedding planner who will also use the photos, or a wedding planner with roughly the same experience as you and the same clients. Working with the wedding planner who has the largest clientele in the region and who does not need to use your photos will bring you less!
Enter in the creative process
First thing to do: brainstorming! What do you imagine for this shoot? Write down your ideas, no matter if they are doable or not, write down everything that comes to mind! You can be inspired by everything around you: a movie, a book, photos, music … You can also choose two ideas that you like and put them together to create a new one which will be truly unique!
Choose a story to tell through your shoot. It can be simple and short but will give all providers an idea of what you want to do and give the models a vibe, a character to play. Is this an elopement wedding? A wedding destination? How to tell an atypical story?
The next thing to do is the moodboard: an inspiration board that will guide the different vendors in their service and allow everyone to have the same atmosphere and the same colors in mind. The moodboard is what will set the tone for your entire style shoot! In addition to the photos, you can add some text to describe the atmosphere you hope for and the story you want to tell.
Choose an inspiring place
The choice of the place is very important and must correspond to what you have chosen in terms of inspiration, it must allow you to tell the story you want and be consistent with your moodboard. You can even choose the location during brainstorming and put it on your moodboard.
Even if it is a public place, remember to ask permission to shoot at the town hall before D-Day and to explain what you plan to do (a campfire is not allowed everywhere for example). Some places will ask you for financial compensation, others will make you sign a contract …
Choose your vendors
Once your intention has been defined, your moodboard established, and your location chosen, it is a question of choosing the vendors with whom you want to collaborate! The ideal is to be able to choose vendors who have the same clientele as you, a style that corresponds to the shooting, and who correspond to your brand image: if you are looking to be very green in your ways of doing things, choose vendors who are too!
Your inspiration shoot can be as simple or as complex as you choose. Here is a list of vendors that are most often found in wedding styled shoots and which can very well serve as a basis for a simple shoot:
- The married couple: you choose a couple or models, they can even be your friends!
- Choose them carefully according to the mood you want to give.
- The dress and the costume
- The makeup artist / hairdresser
- The florist
- The photographer and the videographer (why not us?)
Depending on the story you want to tell, you can add all the necessary vendors to this list:
- A ceremonial officiant
- Extras who will play the role of guests
- A paper mill
- The Jeweler
- The decoration
- A cake
Stay in touch with them until D-Day!
Establish a schedule to get back in touch with the vendors, especially if you contacted them a long time before, and double-check one or two weeks before your style shoot that all the vendors are ready and have understood what you expected.
Get in touch with your models for example a week before to check that they have in mind your instructions in terms of schedules and outfit, and call them back the day before to check that everything is still okay for the big day!
Have in mind the objectives of the shoot
All the work done before D-Day should bear fruit on the day of your wedding styled shoot.
You can make a checklist of photos to remember and a precise schedule for each thing, each photo or atmosphere to photograph. Do not hesitate to ask the photographer at what time of the day it would be better to do the shoot if you have a specific inspiration in mind in terms of light for example.
Attention to detail
Only the photos and video of the inspiration shoot will remain, so pay special attention to detail. Remember to highlight the work of all the vendors who participated, a style shoot must be beneficial to all if you want to be recommended!
Our advice: take a photo of every detail from several angles, with and without the “bride and groom”, so that vendors can choose what they want to publish in their portfolio. To see what it looks like in a real shoot, we invite you to watch this great video of John Branch IV.
Small non-exhaustive list of details to remember to photograph on D-Day:
- The shoes
- The hairstyle
- The cake
- The decoration alone then with the models
After the shooting
Remember to correctly tag vendors each time you use one of their photos: on your website, on instagram, on facebook, on youtube … The collaboration between you will bear fruit with the sharing of your vendors! Moreover, here are our partners of the shooting which served as illustration for this article!
Stationnery: septembre Wedding planner : lesmomentsm Photographer et videographer : instant_shooting_wedding Flowers : pimpantes.atelierfleuriste Dress: cousu_de_fil_blanc_ Place: hotelabbayelyon Second place : grandhoteldieu Shoes: chaussure_danse_et_mariage Hairdresser: lora_cazalas Makeup artist: camelia.rainbow.makeup Makeup: plscosmetics Bride: alicialenoir_ Jewelry: chavanybijouterie et aronine
Get your styled shoot published on a blog !
Your first objective was perhaps quite simply to constitute a portfolio, but to publish the photos (and the video) of your inspirational shoot on a blog will perhaps bring you a little clientele and above all will bring more visibility to your work and your website thanks to the backlinks of the blog in question!
The first thing is to target the blogs that you are going to submit to. Look at their editorial line, read the conditions under which they share your work. A blog that posts moody and bohemian images won’t post fine art photos, and vice versa.
- To be published, your inspiration shoot must tell a story that is out of the ordinary. Blogs seek to inspire the bride and groom with original ideas!
Pay attention to the season: a winter shoot will not be published in the middle of July.
- Do I have to send the photos in a particular format? In any case, be careful that your photos are neither too heavy nor too light.
- When blogs ask for exclusivity on your shoot, take them one by one! Take into account the response time indicated by blogs and send them a follow-up before submitting your inspiration shoot to another blog.
- Remember to add to the photo gallery a list of providers who participated in the shoot with their instagram, their facebook and their website so that blogs do not have to ask you again.
- Rename your photos strategically, for example with the name of the shooting location or the name of the shooting if you have chosen one so that your photos do not get lost.
Finally, a no today may turn into a yes tomorrow: don’t give up if you’re not published right away! The editors of these blogs and magazines have editorial guidelines to follow and receive hundreds of publication proposals every day. Maybe another shoot in the line of yours has already been accepted and they don’t want to duplicate it. Maybe your shoot is liked but does not correspond to the evolution sought by the blog.