There’s a lot more than meets the eye when putting together a styled shoot, and we want to make sure that you’re checking all of the boxes before spending the time and energy into planning one. Because wedding blogs often publish fewer styled shoots than real weddings, editors tend to be fairly picky over what inspiration shoots get featured and what don’t.
In order to help you plan the most dreamy shoot that will lead to blog features and bookings, we’ve come up with a list of ten things for you to keep in mind the next time you’re ready to start dreaming up your next styled shoot.
Things to Remember When Putting Together A Styled Shoot
#1: Compile Your Ideas on Pinterest
In the beginning stages of planning your styled shoot, it can be helpful to have a Pinterest board dedicated to your ideas and vision. Use this as a mood board to collect everything from details you want to recreate to pieces you want to rent or buy to shots you want to try on the big day. But just remember, before you go crazy Pinning inspiration, put that board on private. You don’t want everyone to see what you’re planning before you do it.
Recommend Reading: Pinterest for Wedding Photographers Course
#2: Connect with Talented Vendors
Styled shoots are the perfect opportunity to work with your own list of favorite vendors. Not only do you get to handpick the professionals to carry out your vision for this shoot, but you’re showcasing their work to potential clients who might just hire you as a team to transform their dream into reality. Let each of your vendors do what they’re best at. Supporting local vendors will, in turn, inspire local couples to let you create something unique together that perfectly represents them.
#3: Choose Your Location
Another important detail when planning a styled shoot is the location. Is there a venue you’ve been dying to shoot at? Or have you stumbled upon a dreamy spot at a national park? Wherever it may be, your shoot has the potential to showcase a wedding location you love to future leads. This is the perfect opportunity to show off a new space or demonstrate a new and fresh way to take on a popular space.
#4: Curate the Details
Speaking of details, don’t shy away from them! The purpose of wedding blogs (like Junebug) featuring a styled shoot is to show off weddings that couples planning their own wedding can use as inspiration. That’s why it’s important to keep the styled shoot attainable for the everyday couple while also including details that stand out. There’s a fine line between wedding inspiration and an editorial shoot. If an editor feels as if the styled shoot is too editorial for everyday couples, there’s a good chance they’re going to reject it.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that wedding blogs exist to inspire couples and show them all the different things they can do for their very own weddings, so share as many details as possible while also sharing portraits of the couple as well.
#5. Know Your Audience
If there is an online publication that you’ve dreamed about being featured on, research the weddings and styled shoots that they’ve previously featured. For example, some publications appreciate more classic, timeless weddings while others prefer edgier, more unique weddings. However, while researching the blog, it’s crucial that you don’t recreate a shoot that has already been featured. Editors see countless weddings every day, so you want to stand out. If your styled shoot is too similar to previous content, you run the risk of being turned down.
#6: Create New Trends
Styled shoots are a great opportunity to share what you want to see in the wedding industry. If you’re tired of seeing the same old decor, then style something totally new–this is a great way to start and spread trends! Since wedding blogs don’t get their hands on a real wedding until months after the wedding happened, it can be difficult to be the first to show what’s trending, but styled shoots can speed up that process.
Styled shoots show couples that they can literally do anything they want for their wedding and don’t have to follow the same rules and traditions that their parents and grandparents are used to.
#7: Consider SEO
Styled shoots are a great way to boost your SEO. For example, when people search for a specific area or venue for weddings, you’ll show up on Google and will be more likely to get that booking. Of course, this is only helpful if you’re blogging consistently (which we highly recommend).
Remember, if you are the only photographer who has photographed at a specific location, it’s going to be super easy for you to rank for it on Google. Instead of shooting where everyone else has been, get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
#8: Be Realistic
Putting together a styled shoot is more than photographing a beautiful couple in wedding attire. Styled shoots perform best when they seem like a real wedding. The best way to achieve this is by creating 3-5 vignettes for the shoot which couples can pull inspiration from.
Whether it’s a ceremony space, sweetheart table, guest book table, reception space, etc., most publications are looking for a lot more than a couple being photographed in a pretty place. In fact, Junebug prefers to have only one couple and a faux ceremony. The more realistic the styled shoot is, the better of chances the shoot has at performing long term.
#9: Use a Real Couple
While we’re on the topic of making a styled shoot as realistic as possible, it’s extremely beneficial to use a real couple for your shoot. Photographing a couple can be easier than using two models who haven’t met before. Couples have the advantage of already being comfortable with one another and naturally having better chemistry than two strangers.
While shooting, you can direct the couple as if they were any other client of yours and they might be a little more willing to get close and cozy with their partner. It also doesn’t hurt that they may keep you in mind for the future–hello future wedding bells!
#10: Have Fun
Though this isn’t a magical trick to putting together a styled shoot, it’s still important to remember why you started planning this shoot to begin with. Although planning and executing a styled shoot is a lot of work and can be stressful at times, it should be fun. It’s the perfect way to do something creative for yourself while supporting and working with local vendors.
Now that you have the key to styled shoot success, you’re ready to make some serious magic (and maybe submit it to your favorite wedding blog). Now it’s time to think about social media game to a whole other level, check out these automation strategies that are a game changer for your social media workflow!