So, let me start by saying- I am not actually an expert but I've just done 3 epic styled shoots in the space of one month. In fact, it's the first time I've ever organised a styled shoot, but they were INCREDIBLE! They were everything I could have asked for and more, and the content really did boost my business after in such a short space of time. So now I'm writing this to share my own recent experience, with the aim to help you with your own styled shoot so you can plan an equally epic shoot.
If you're reading this, I'm going to assume that you are thinking of creating your own styled shoot, or even want a bit more advice to help you up your game. Let's get to it. But first, do you want a glimpse at the shoots I did? Here's some photos
The one thing you'll notice, is that they are all incredibly different from each other, and that's the point I want you to remember- your shoots should really show the extremes of your talents! You can have a shoot for every type of colour or situation, and that's what I wanted to expand my portfolio with. So, this leads me onto point number one:
1. Start with an idea
Start looking online for inspiration. Scroll through Pinterest and Wedding blogs to get inspired! That way you can see what you love, and know what you don't love. You can also see if an idea has been overdone before, and maybe think of how to make it different from everyone else. Also, if you're planning on publishing the shoot to blogs, check out what they regularly post and what the entry requirements are before you start your shoot.
2. Create a Moodboard
Now you're inspired and have lots of photos for examples. Let's get them all together on a single paper. This way, you can properly pitch your idea to your suppliers with minimal effort! You want it to show the colours, the theme, the types of poses you'll be doing- all at a single glance. Creating a moodboard is really easy to do, and you can use free templates on Canva. In fact, you can even download my styled shoot template for free, here:
3. Source a Venue
I like to source a venue first, as it's one of the easiest way to set the date and also tell your suppliers the location. You need to work around your venue's availability, so reach out to them and ask what dates they are free. Often, especially during quiet seasons, venues are unmanned during the week so they may need to sort staff to be on site that day. So don't just assume you can book any day, reach out to a venue, tell them how amazing their venue is, how you would love to shoot their and they can use the images for their own needs too, for free. Once you've set a date and a venue, you can then source suppliers.
4. Source Suppliers
I am a big believer in aiming high, so don't let the fact that a certain supplier may be way out of your league put you off from contacting them. The worst they can say is no, and you can move onto the next option. To do this, made a short list of your ideal suppliers for each category, maximum 3, and rank them from most desirable first. Contact that supplier, both on Instagram and via email, reaching out and letting them know that you're doing a shoot, and tell them why you think they are the best person for it. Don't go on about yourself and your needs, speak to them about what they can do with the images after, why you thought of them, and tell them about anyone else involved in the shoot. Of course, attach the moodboard and don't forget to say please! If they say no, or don't reply within a few days, move onto the next supplier in your list.
5. Post to Facebook Groups
To help source suppliers and models, I always post my moodboard onto styled shoot Facebook groups, expressing what I need and what I'm looking for. Sometimes you might even get suppliers reach out that you hadn't even thought about! For example, Photo Press UK reached out offering newspapers for my grunge styled shoot, and it was ideal, and I would have never thought about it! My favourite group to post in is this one
6. Source Models
This is a very important step, especially as the models will take center stage in your shoots. You want to source someone that fits the look and vibe you are going for, and if you can, choose someone experienced so your time isn't spent instructing models on the day into poses. The only downside is that professional models often come with a fee, and if you do not have the budget for it, you'll have to get someone amateur or a friend. This is a decision you need to make, but personally, I preferred to source someone established so I could focus on being creative, rather than giving instructions. Most models are on Instagram, so send them a message with the moodboard, ask for their availability and rates, and tell them why they are ideal for the shoot.
7. Create a Styled Shoot Brief
Now, this step isn't necessary, but I like to create a full 10 page brief about everyone and everything so all suppliers know what's involved. The brief is an extended moodboard, with more inspirational imagery, and also the full list of suppliers involved. It also serves to introduce you properly, and give as much information about the shoot as possible so all the suppliers can get to work with your vision in mind, know the basic timeline and location information.
8. Follow Up with Suppliers
Don't assume everyone knows everything- a week before the shoot, create an Instagram Group and also email all suppliers and ask them if they need anything. Normally, suppliers get to work on their part around this time, and it also serves a reminder that they are taking part. Then a couple of days before, message them individually to ask if they have any questions before the shoot. This is their chance to query anything, and also have their say. Communication is key amongst your team, and you can also instruct them to speak to each other if it requires more input other than yourself, such as the stylist and the florist working together.
9. Create a Shot List
This isn't just for your benefit, but for the benefit of all involved. Make sure you write down every supplier name and write some shots that would suit each supplier. You basically do not want to forget about anyone or overshadow the other. For example, shots of the model with the cake or hands with the wedding rings can be easily overlooked on the day when posing. A simple one page document that you can glance at on the day is all you need.
10. Create a BTS folder
We are living in a digital age, and everyone has a phone in their pocket. It's very likely that your suppliers will be taking lots of videos on the day, and their content can be great for reels on social media. One thing I did with every shoot was create a shareable google drive link and asked everyone to share their phone footage. That way we can all create content around the shoot, and create hype around it!
And there you have it! That's how I put together my last 3 shoots, and now you have all the information from my brain into a blog post so you can go off and do your very own. Don't forget, you can download my canva templates for free using the links above.
Do you have any questions? Do you want me to go into more detail? Don't be shy, I'd love to help. Hit me up on instagram and I'll get back to you https://www.instagram.com/gabrielasphotographyandfilm/
Lots of love,