How To Organise A Styled Shoot
Styled shoots sound so glamorous and appear to be something you can only dream of when you first launch your wedding business. Shrouded in mystery with terms like; ‘on location’, ‘behind the scenes’, ‘on set’ you could be forgiven for believing that only those with big budgets or huge global brands can even contemplate organising such a fabulous advertising campaign. Well the truth is you can do it. Yes you! There really is no better way to gain experience, showcase your creativity, network and collaborate with wedding businesses you admire. A good shoot will enable you to approach blogs and magazines with your professional and inspirational imagery. You’ll see your work published and be able to show your clients, get your name out there and build the brand you dream of. Continuing the relationship within the industry that you establish on the day, you will be able to continue to promote them, and in turn receive recommendations from your wedding tribe.
The road to a successful shoot is all about the planning, the team and the communication. Here are my thoughts to organising a blog and magazine worthy shoot.
Write your brief about why you are organising the shoot, what you hope to achieve, the look and the feel, what you want from the imagery and what style you would like.
Aside from the obvious of looking for and approaching the ideal venue or scouting for a suitable location, think where you would like to see the entire shoot featured. Look at the style and recent articles or posts and consider if your brief is a good fit, and not too similar to anything recently published.
This is as much about checking your diary as it is about the time of year, and when you plan to use the images. It could have a seasonal theme for Christmas or Valentines, or you could be hoping for a field of poppies, a woodland floor of bluebells, or a carpet of lavender.
Once you have a really good foundation and clear vision of where you are going and what you are hoping to achieve, pull together a Pinterest board that illustrates your vision in a visual way. Then as you begin to approach your dream team this will support your email. It will be really useful in explaining the end result you are wanting and will ensure you find the best fit, creating a group of complimentary suppliers who will go on to work well together.
Consider your target audience and your brief, connect with businesses you admire and compliment your style on social media. Approach people fairly new to the industry you would be happy to recommend and who are active and supportive online. Write a checklist of contributors to ensure you cover every element of a wedding. A shoot without cake or stationery may be over looked by your dream publication when you are looking for maximum exposure for your efforts.
Create a timeline, and a shot list to ensure every business receives the images they hope for. Remember not everyone who contributes will be on set so ask for everyones key images they would like well in advance avoids the mistake of missing anyone on the day. Document contact details with social media and website links, form a Facebook group, and allocate roles and responsibilities. Organise lunch, and small thank you’s if you are the initiator. Decide who will submit the shoot, when, and who will write the copy? Keep everyone up to date. Communicate the sneak peeks and behind the scenes coverage you are happy with. Often it is considered to spoil the full feature if too much of a shoot is ‘leaked’, but I believe that there are so many shoots featured and so many variations on themes that the more noise and excitement you can gain before launch the greater the reach it will receive. The internet is ridiculously fast paced and noisy, your fraction of a second exposure at anyone time is quickly replaced, so get it out there and never stop promoting work you are proud of.
Generosity is crucial. Never forget the effort, hours and cost everyone puts in. The photographer is protected by law and copyright remains with them. Discuss how the images will be received prior to the shoot, whether they will be watermarked and if the team are able to use them freely. Preparing a written document clearly stating how and where the photographs can be used in advance eliminates confusion and upset later.
A collaborative shoot usually involves businesses and individuals looking to build their portfolio. Getting professional imagery to build your brand can be costly and for photographers getting good imagery of beautiful venues, the latest styling and on trend details can be a challenge. If you are fairly new or can see the huge benefits in continuing to support other wedding businesses, or want to continue to develop your own brand then a ‘Time For Print’ shoot is without doubt the best way. This means every one contributes their time without charge. The cost of any equipment, hair or makeup used, prop hire, flowers, film, travel or examples of your work are provided at your own expense leaving you in control of your own costs. This does mean that shoots can be a costly exercise but if you plan to maximise the advertising, brand building, and networking opportunities I believe they are one of the best ways to allocate your marketing budget.
My final pieces of advice would always be, keep it simple; time runs away with you.
Ask for advice. Factor in breaks; a hungry and thirsty team do not produce the best results. Be supportive and keep in touch, learn from your mistakes and put them down to experience, they are how we learn. Credit the rest of the team as much and as often as you can.
If you would like to gain hands on experience our Style Challenge Course launches in May with locations across the UK. If you would like to pre register and get involved in a creative shoot please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget to comment with the link to your styled shoot below, we'd love to see what creative and wonderful things you have been up to!
Written by Pamella Dunn
Image credit: http://georginaharrisonphotography.co.uk/