July 7, 2015

How-to Plan a Styled Shoot | Published Seattle Wedding Photographer

In some ways, a lot has changed since I planned my first styled shoot. And in others, not much has. I still love to use locations that inspire, but opt for favorite venues to photograph against or dream of getting the chance to, instead of my in-law's property (thank you K & H!)

Collaborations make my heart sing! They allow for creative styling and the chance to shoot for editorial publications. Planning for the event isn't all about being featured by wedding magazines, (although it's always welcomed exposure!) it's about fostering inspiration and community.

These photographic events are a unique way to connect with other local industry vendors and real couples too. There is no one formula for designing and styling such shoots, but I choose to invite past #mintedbride's and clients to join in on the fun.

With a destination bridal session just published on Swooned Magazine, I'm sharing a few tips behind planning it all:

How to Plan a Styled Shoot

Step 1: Develop a concept
Create a list of inspiring elements or brands to decide what you want to portray. For this styled shoot, it started with the concept of Valentine's Day and "love sweet love."

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 shore (a favorite place for golden hour photos!) Tybee Island's lighthouse beach 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 or produce something so complimenting to your brand, you want all your clients to use it! 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 it? Contact me for my go-to template!

Step 4: Plan and stay organized
Create a shoot timeline and invite vendors to come by! 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 can regretfully decline your work, it can still get you down. Don't let it. Because someone somewhere is looking for exactly what you have to offer. If you are genuine in your intentions and share personal touches from the event or about the couple, they 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? Share them all in the comments below!

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