Working on a beautiful styled wedding shoot with talented suppliers is a real privilege. I can quite honestly say that our most valued friendships have been forged when collaborating with other like-minded people in this wonderful industry of ours.
Whilst I would encourage anyone who owns a wedding business to take part in styled shoots, experience has taught us some valuable lessons. The aim of any collaboration is to bring value to your business by showcasing the very best of what you do. A styled shoot is not simply about providing an item or service for free and receiving some pretty pictures at the end. Whilst beautiful imagery is wonderful for your portfolio, there are some key things to consider.
Before a styled shoot can be arranged, the organiser (often the photographer or the stylist) will have created a mood board of images and a description of the vision they have for the shoot. This mood board may be presented on social media forums where the supplier is looking for others to be involved or you may have been presented with the concept directly. Before instantly hitting the ‘I’m In’ button, it’s really important to delve a little deeper at this stage.
The first thing to question is whether this is a concept which has been ‘done to death,’ (please don’t get me started on the number of Boho shoots I see knocking around!) How original is the vision? Is there a story behind the concept which aligns strongly with your brand? Is this a style which will attract your ideal clients? Does it excite you and more importantly will it be a vision that your couples share?
We have had to turn down the opportunity for working on several styled shoots as they were taking place in venues where our couples may not naturally book. This isn’t to say they weren’t beautiful venues, but as many of our couples marry in city locations, a shoot in a luxury hotel doesn’t align with who we are or the work we do.
Before you say yes, pay really close consideration to this aspect. It might look great on paper but will the images ever be used if they don’t appeal to your clients?
Researching the photographer’s work is absolutely key. If the photographer is providing you with images of your work, then you need to know that their style sits alongside your brand.
Think about the images you have on your website and social platforms. Are they light and bright or dark and moody? A professional photographer won’t edit images (and nor should they) to suit your brand identity so make sure you are one hundred per cent confident in their work and how your pieces will be captured. Look at their website, check out their social media or reach out to to suppliers who have worked with them before. There are some seriously talented folk out there who can provide you with stunning images for your portfolio so invest heavily in this area of research as they are worth their weight in gold.
With the wedding industry thrown into disarray, there are a surge of suppliers itching to utilise their creativity by getting involved in styled shoots. It’s important to be mindful though of the intention behind the shoot and always make sure you are clear of the expectations. How much financial investment does the shoot require? Are you splitting costs with other vendors? Does the shoot involve making an item from scratch or can you use something which already sits within the concept? Once you’ve established costs, the images captured for a styled shoot can be used in two ways:
The organiser of the shoot will provide you with photographs of your work in exchange for your involvement (this is often unpaid) or the photographer may also wish to submit images to a blog where you have a greater chance of exposure. It is perfectly acceptable to ask the photographer where they intend to submit the images and think about whether this a blog which represents your business. Bear in mind that blog editors can sit on images for months before you are able to release them publically but you’ll be able to use behind the scenes shots on your social media. Make sure you take lots of these on the day!
On The Day
As stationers, we are able to post our work and trust that the stylist involved will style our paper goods with love and care. 90% of the time there was absolutely no need for us to be there on the day and we completely trusted the suppliers we were working with to come together and create something beautiful.
Unfortunately though, there have been incidences where we really wished we had been able to attend and oversee how our work was presented. This isn’t about throwing a hissy fit or behaving like a diva but there have been times where our stationery barely featured in the shoot (despite being asked to provide multiple items) or they weren’t styled in line with the initial concept. On very rare occasions, some of the final photography was such poor quality that the images couldn’t be used. Anywhere.
Thankfully this doesn’t happen often; where there were issues this was due to lack of experience on our part and not fully understanding how important it was to look at a suppliers previous work. You live and learn though and if you can be there on the day then go! It’s a wonderful experience to be able to come together with a bunch of likeminded individuals and when a shoot comes together you really do feel an enormous sense of pride.
If you have really spent the time at the research stage, then you’re likely to walk away from a shoot with some truly beautiful images that you can’t wait to share. Make sure you directly thank everyone involved and credit all suppliers on your social media platforms. Tagging, sharing and commenting will raise the visibility of your posts and allow potential clients to envisage their own wedding through the imagery you share.
We are so lucky to work within an industry where there is so much talent to be found. From wedding florists to cake makers, dress designers and stationers, it is a world filled with huge joy and inspiration. If you are planning a shoot then lots of luck and here’s to many more collaborations in the future.
Planning, Concept, Styling & Floral Design: The Vintage House That Could
Photographer: Becky Tranter Photography
Cake : Sweetest Thing Cakery
Invitations & Stationery: Bonny and Clyde Wedding Boutique
Venue: The Flour Mill Studio
Bride’s Dress: Katya Katya
Hair & Makeup: Sheridan Wilson
Models: Nicola Gilzeane & Darcey Faith Wortley
Napkins: Bo Concept
Glassware: Ferm Living
Come and view more of our work here.