I’ve been asked a lot recently how I do these styled shoots I’ve done recently. I’ll be honest, styled shoots are my least and most favorite things to do. My favorite, because I get a little more control (it’s weird, brides don’t let me choose their place cards…how odd…), I get to work with new vendors AND I can create a vision that I know will be published! My least, because tt’s very very rewarding but incredibly stressful! You never know if a vendor will follow through, you don’t know what curveballs will be thrown, etc.
When I know I want to do a styled shoot, first I come up with my idea. My recent shoot in Santa Barbara, I was doing for other photographers as well, so I had a ton of pressure on myself to make it as wonderful as possible. I thought about what would be fun and I remembered the hype of Emerald being the color of the year and I thought, “how fun would that be?!” Then I began my research. The first step, in my very very humble opinion, is to find a stellar wedding planner. The reason is that wedding planners know people. I do research and pick 15 or so wedding planners of the area and email them with my idea. You must present an idea, don’t just say, “::giggle:: I would love to do something! No idea what though!!” because it’s unprofessional and lazy. Come up with a unique idea silly!
This is the exact email I sent to Kimberly Curtis of TOAST events in Santa Barbara:
“My name is Jenna Clark and I’m owner/head photographer at Creatrix Photography, a Hawaii based wedding photography company. I’m visiting Santa Barbara on February 25th, 26th and 27th for the Showit United convention at the Four Seasons. I’ve volunteered to do a shoot for other photographers to get experience with wedding shoots, but as I’ve never been to Santa Barbara, I’m looking to expand my contacts and hopefully create a successful relationship with you!
I’m looking to do either an early morning or sunset shoot, completely flexible on the creative teams availability. I first wanted to find a wedding planner who would be interested in the experience, but also interested in publication. I would like to make a publication worthy shoot, so if this sounds like what you would love to do, let’s get started!!!!
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you!”
It proceeded to snowball from there and a month later, I was on the beach with a couple, chandelier and a BEAUTIFUL set up! We had over half a dozen vendors involved, most of who I never spoke to. They just put in the effort, trusting me to produce. And I did! I got them published on Grey Likes Weddings, which is one of the biggest wedding blogs in the world.
When you’re setting up a styled shoot, it’s important to research the vendors you pick. I chose Kimberly because of her website layout, the images, the professionalism it showed. Often, wedding planners are freakin l-a-z-y with their websites, but to me that shows they don’t care, so I won’t work with them. Someone has to care about the success of the business, to be relied on to do something for free!
You also want to pick the right publication to submit to, because there is literally no purpose to do a styled shoot unless you aim big. You will not get the cooperation of top vendors if you don’t have the goal of getting out there into the world. I knew I would aim for either Grey Likes Weddings, 100 Layer Cake or Wedding Chicks. GLW just happened to be the one I submitted to first. Research that publication, find out what they’re looking for, how many images they require. Often, they prefer 75-100. GLW emailed me requesting 100 MORE detail images!!! So details are vital to a styled shoot!
So to recap, the most important things to a styled shoot are:
2. Wedding Planner
3. The idea of the publication you’d want to aim for
4. A good attitude!
If you’d like to learn more, please contact me! Thanks for reading and good luck!