July 7, 2015

How-to Plan a Styled Shoot by Published Seattle Wedding Photographer Something Minted

In some ways, a lot has changed since I planned that first styled shoot, and in some ways not much has! I still love to use locations that inspire, but opt for wedding venues or potential elopement locations instead of the field on my in-law's property (thank you K&H for always believing in me!)

Collaborating with vendors local to a venue is good for them and good for couples in search of recommendations! Teaming up allows for creative styling and the chance to shoot editorial and learn along the way. Planning for such events is about fostering inspiration and community.

There is no one formula for designing styled shoots, but I choose to invite past #mintedbrides and clients to join instead of hiring models. It's a way to keep cost down and serve others well!

In celebration of some destination wedding inspiration recently published by Swooned Magazine, I'm sharing my five steps behind planning it:

How to Plan a Styled Shoot

Step 1: Develop a concept
Create a list of inspiring brands and elements and create a storyline. For this styled shoot, it started with the concept of all things sweet for a Valentine's Day wedding in one of the most romantic cities around!

Step 2: Decide on location & set a date
Having a tentative date/timeframe is essential before reaching out to vendors. Most venues are booked on weekends, so weekdays are best. For this particular shoot I knew I'd be visiting Savannah, Georgia in February and that I wanted it to be held at a historic venue not far from the beach (a favorite place for golden hour photos!) Tybee Island's lighthouse made for a perfect location!

Step 3: Reach out to area vendors
Once you have your concept and location locked in, it's time to collaborate with vendors. Reach out to the ones you dream of working with that offer something your clients (current or future!) can incorporate into their weddings. Provide potential vendors with as much information as possible and share your hopes and dreams for the shoot. Be clear on photo rights upfront and let them know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. Wondering just how to write that request? Contact me for my go-to template!

Step 4: Plan and stay organized
Create a shoot timeline and invite vendors to join! This will not only ensure delivery of products when you need them, but offers the chance connect in person. It's important to have a set time for all day-of events such as makeup, hair and the actual shooting time to utilize the best light. Another way to make for a fun behind the scenes experience is to offer drinks and light bites!

Step 5: Submit your work
Putting yourself out there can be scary. Even as kindly as a magazine editor may regretfully decline your work, it can still get you down. Don't let it be a stop sign! Because someone somewhere is looking for exactly what you have to offer. If you are genuine in your intentions and share the heart behind the storyline you've created, it won't go unnoticed :)

I hope you've found this helpful! Have you been a part of a styled shoot before? If so, what did you love most about it? Any challenges that you faced?

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