I am here to help you streamline a Wedding Styled Shoot process with some easy to follow tips and tricks! It seems that everywhere you turn from Instagram to Pinterest and beyond we are flooded with wedding inspiration and content. So what does that mean for you as a wedding professional? Whether you love them or dread them like a bathroom scale, styled shoots are the new prerequisite for being a wedding vendor in today’s market. Here are some of my tips and tricks to I have learned over the years to create a successful styled shoot that you can be proud of without driving yourself (and others) bonkers!
Who’s the Boss?
I say “boss”, but really it’s the person who is willing to take on the majority of the backend work to make a shoot logically possible. There are many vendors involved in a styled shoot. Just like in a kitchen, there can be too many cooks in it and that can spoil the pot. It has to be decided who will be the driving force behind the design and planning of a styled shoot. Typically, I would say, it is the planner who takes the lead, BUT it really is dependent on who is willing to step up to the plate and do most of the leg work. As long as it is clear who the concept designer/planner of the shoot is (regardless of their business) then you are on the right track.
& Personality Types
In order to create a fierce styled shoot you need an amazing team. No one can do it alone! It’s important to craft a vendor team that is cohesive, like-minded and in tuned with the vision/direction of the shoot. Wildcards and rogues need not apply. Ask yourself the following question when adding a vendor to your styled shoot team.
- How do I feel about this vendor as a human? (That MAY sound stupid, but trust me, it’s important!)
- Does my business aline with the same values, style sense and customer service beliefs?
- Am I confident that this vendor will have something unique worth while to bring to this shoot?
- Do they will get along and work well with the other vendors selected?
- Are they someone I want to cultivate a relationship with/work together in the future with?
How much is too much?
Keeping your vendor team tight, curated and streamlined will help to keep the drama low and the payoff high! I typically recommend no more than 7-8 total vendors on any shoot. Any more than that and shoot day can get very overwhelming. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially when you are first incorporating styled shoots into your work load. Make sure the vendors you are partnering with are each conscious choices that work with your business model, personality type and mindset. Quality over quantity always prevails!
One of the biggest hurdles with styled shoots can be meeting everyone’s expectations. It is crucial, right off the bat, to establish what each vendors expectations actually are. Never assume anything and always over communicate. Everyone needs to be on the same page in order to make this work! Before bringing any vendor on to the team, ask them point blank, “what are your expectations in participating with this styled shoot? Are you collaborating for social media posts? Are you planning on submitting to wedding blogs? What would make you feel like this shoot is “successful”. Defining what this shoot’s expectations are will cut down on assumptions and bring the team together to make each other look good!
Creating a contract for each vendor to agree to and sign will clarify and establish the expectations of the shoot and hold each vendor accountable for their contributions. Now, you might think this is overkill, but I ensure you, you will thank me later! Include in your contract a social media handle section so it is clear how each vendors would like to be credited for their work. Having a master list of each vendor’s social media handle will come in handy later if you plan on submitting to blogs. It is the vendor’s responsibility to update you if their business name or social media handle changes.
Oh money, it makes the world go round, BUT it also can be a touchy subject. Depending on the size and needs of your shoot, there will be a need to set a budget for supplies and rentals. Setting (again) the expectations of who will be contributing to the budget and how much that will be per vendor is important. As a planner, I always remember to supply snacks and a meal for the vendors. Fed vendors are happy vendors. Remember having sponsored vendor participation is crucial, BUT there will be financial blurps that come up so make sure you are prepared for them!
There are many options for finding models for a styled shoot. Think about the viewer you are ultimately trying to reach. Are you looking to showcase a certain demographic in your portfolio? Have you only ever used professional models for a styled shoot and want to incorporate a real couple? Are you looking to appeal a specific client personality type? Defining what you are looking to achieve will help you determine where you should find your models.
Here are some options I have used to find models for my styled shoots.
- Finding a real couple through social media, friends or previous clients. I do not recommend using current clients for styled shoots.
- Hiring professional models through an agency.
- Contacting local bridal boutiques who might have recommendations for professional models or engaged couples.
- Look for pretty people at the farmer’s market. It is LA after all….JK!
Previews & Social Media Rules
I believe it is important to share a handful of photos with vendors within a few weeks of a shoot. These are shots that can be shared on social but will not be included in the final submission to blogs. I try to make sure to share one for each other the vendors showcasing their contributions. From there, no other photos should be released to vendors if you plan on submitting the photos to a wedding blog or magazine. Only AFTER a styled shoot is picked up for a wedding blog publication should you release the entire gallery of photos to the vendors remembering to share all the vendor handles for social media. Sharing images BEFORE a blog has been released risks a retraction of your submission and a blog choosing to not publish your work.
Useful Tools & Discount Codes!
Organization is key when it comes to planning a styled shoot. Having a detailed timeline, layout and vendor contact list with social media handles is crucial. Here are three helpful programs (AND discount codes) that I use to help me keep my shoots streamlined.
Honeybook is the perfect platform to create your custom vendor contracts, invoices and receive payments. Vendors can sign and return their contracts to you online with the touch of a button as well as send you payments for any budget line items. I use Honeybook for all my contract business contracts, styled shoot contracts and brochures.
Get 50% off with Anything But Gray referral link: http://share.honeybook.
Aisle Planner is the perfect platform to keep track of your vendor contact list, social media handles, timeline, notes, budget, submissions and vendor contracts. Aisle Planner will help you keep your sanity! I use is for all my wedding couples, corporate clients as well as styled shoots.
Your first 30 days are free plus, use the link below to get 25% off any plan for your first 3 months when you use my Referral Link!
Anything But Gray Events Referral Link: https://www.aisleplanner.com/referral/oSkg
Anything But Gray Events Referral Code: oSkg
I hope this helped you streamline your styled shoot process and get you pumped to create something amazing!