In honor of my upcoming styled shoot at Norfolk Botanical Garden THIS COMING MONDAY (eeeeee!!!!), I thought I would share some tips for putting one together.
A styled shoot looks SO FUN, and is, but they are SO MUCH WORK! Like wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-write-things-down work. Because I enjoy this process of obsessive living and sleep deprivation, I keep scheduling them. lol. But seriously, preparing for a styled shoot is, in some ways, like preparing for any other event. Having a vision, finding the people to do the job, and putting all of their components together. It's different because no one is coming to this event. For me, that part is a bit of a let down. I LOVED my shoot in February because there were about 15 people in the room. I thought, "People are getting to see all of our hard work! WOOOO!"
Planning a shoot requires COMMUNICATION. As the shoot coordinator, you are in charge of sharing your vision with every vendor involved. Your photographer needs to know. Your florist needs to know. Your baker needs to know. These people are artists and artists like to know what they are aiming for. I usually email each individual vendor with specifics about the overall feel of the shoot and how they can add to it. Then, I send a mass email to EVERYONE involved, simply because I want them to know who they are working with.
Having a CLEAR VISION is going to be your best friend. When I was dreaming up my very first shoot with Daytona, I bought a few things that really didn't work for the shoot. I spent a lot of time walking through Micheal's, At Home, and thrift stores trying to buy things that would look cute in a photo. However, a lot of these things didn't go with our theme: Brunch wedding, soft greens, airy, lace. So I left them out. Less is more. LESS IS MORE.
You will spend money. Ugh. This is the worst part for me because while I'm planning a shoot, every store I visit becomes a potential hunting ground for the perfect vase, pillow, or candle. (Currently, I am STILL trying to find ribbon for my bouquet for Monday.) I have spent about $150-200 on each shoot I've done. Some of that has been absorbed into my home decor, and some has been reused over and over and over and over again. *Side note, all of the brunch shoot decor has been used for 4 additional events.
Don't do what everyone else has done. If one of your goals is to get published on a wedding website, BE DIFFERENT. Details matter. Think like a bride. Would an engaged woman look at your pictures and want to Pin your ideas all over her wedding board? Also, if you're new to this game, a GREAT way to get pictures that match your branding is to plan a shoot that will match your brand. The brunch shoot was a perfect compliment to my logo and colors. Totally on purpose. This will also help you market to your ideal client.
I've made mistakes. I totally forgot to put the jewelry on my model once. And the pieces were sent to me from Kentucky. Oops. I missed a staging opportunity for my invitation suite. I left debris in the background and it was clearly visible in some of the shots. I had shots in my head that never happened because I couldn't keep everything sorted in my mushy brain. Even though there are no guests at this event, things are happening SO FAST. Assume you are the most forgetful person in the world, just for that day, and make a list. I've already made a list of deal breakers for my shoot next week. I'm determined to use every experience as education for the next.
I hope this has been helpful to anyone considering doing a styled shoot. They are TOTALLY WORTH IT and you'll make so many good connections in doing them. Remember to be kind, gracious, forgiving, and generous to your collaborators. Every vendor is adding their own important detail to make your dream come to life!
Images by Daytona May Photography.