How to Streamline Wedding Styled Shoots

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!

colorful balloons pink wall los angeles california rebrand photography colorful los angeles wedding planner

Julie Shuford Photography, Despina Scandalis, Balloonzilla, Anything But Gray Events

 

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.

Mary Costa Photography, Booth and Bus Co., Erika Reno Artistry, Rockabilly Ruby, Ruby Street, Dolly Couture, Anything But Gray Events.

Vendor Partnership

& 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.

  1. How do I feel about this vendor as a human? (That MAY sound stupid, but trust me, it’s important!)
  2. Does my business aline with the same values, style sense and customer service beliefs?
  3. Am I confident that this vendor will have something unique worth while to bring to this shoot?
  4. Do they will get along and work well with the other vendors selected?
  5. Are they someone I want to cultivate a relationship with/work together in the future with?

Miki and Sonja Photography, The Black Tux, Rmine, Betsy DiFrancesca, Brackish Bow Ties, Anything But Gray Events

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!

 wedding vendors working together to create Valentines Day design

Day Break And Dusk Photography, Mwokaji Cakery, Luxe Linens, DIY LA Bride, Go Go Snap Vintage Stationary, Anything But Gray Events

 Expectations 

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!

Colorful wedding tablescape with florals and vintage china at The Fig House in highland park, California.

Mary Costa Photography, Shindig Chic, Fern and Bone Rentals, The Fig House, Ink and Nod, Anything But Gray Events

 

Vendor Contracts 

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.

Colorful spring tablescape wedding design with floral centerpiece

Mary Costa Photography, Of The Flowers, Luxe Linen, Dish Wish, Go Go Snap Vintage Stationary, Ruby Street, Anything But Gray Events

Budgetting 

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!

Wedding Dessert Table by Sugar Philosophers at City Club Los Angeles. Dia De Los Muertos.

Joan Fuller Photography, City Club Los Angeles, The Sugar Philosophers, Flower Duet, Anything But Gray Events

Models

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.

  1. Finding a real couple through social media, friends or previous clients. I do not recommend using current clients for styled shoots.
  2. Hiring professional models through an agency.
  3. Contacting local bridal boutiques who might have recommendations for professional models or engaged couples.
  4. Look for pretty people at the farmer’s market. It is LA after all….JK!
Moody Styled Shoot with lesbian couple at Big Daddy's Antiques with Peterson Design and Photography.

Peterson Design & Photography, Big Daddy’s Antiques, Deborah Lindquist, Friar Tux, Face It Sugar, Mulberry Row, Anything But Gray Events.

 

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.

Dark and Moody Tablescape by Anything But Gray Events at City Club Los Angeles

The Big Affair, City Club Los Angeles, Winston & Main, Heirloom Paper Co., Luxe Linens, Anything But Gray Events.

 

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

Honeybook helps you streamline the wedding styled shoot process.

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.com/7HVg4

Aisle Planner

Aisle Planner helps you streamline the wedding styled shoot process

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

 

The Fig House Styled Shoot with African American Couple.

Mary Costa Photography, The Fig House, BRIDE, Asos, Cheek to Cheek Artistry, Anything But Gray Events

 

I hope this helped you streamline your styled shoot process and get you pumped to create something amazing! 

 

  1. Jess says:

    Very helpful! Do you have any recommended resources for creating a contract?

    • anythingbutgrayevents says:

      Yes! I use Honeybook to create contracts. It is a great system! If you would like to try it, here is a discount code.

      50% OFF your first year using this code:
       http://share.honeybook.com/7HVg4

  2. they said says:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  3. Happy day to you and your friends.

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