How to plan a styled shoot - photography tips - wedding photography education

It has been 1 year since I planned and executed my first styled shoot! I have done a few more since then and want to share some tips I have learned along the way!

Are you a photographer that has been wanting to plan a styled shoot but just don't really know how to go about doing it!? This is for you. Often times, photographers are the ones that start planning a styled shoot for reason like boosting creativity, building their portfolio, and connecting with other wedding vendors. 

Here are 5 things I have learned after planning a few styled shoot of my own.

1. Decide: Decide a theme/mood before you start reaching out to vendors. Have a mood board or pinterest board you can link to. It is important to share this with them as you reach out to one, make sure the style is a good fit with them, and two, be looked at as someone who to be frank, has their shit together. If you reach out to vendors and just say "I want to do a styled shoot, do you?" with no intention, no ideas. It may not resonate as something they want in on! So- make a Pinterest board with an overall theme, create a moodboard to send over with your email!

2. Find your peeps: Okay, what I really mean is find vendors and REACH OUT to them! Don't be afraid to send a quick email, insta DM, or something of the sort tell them about what your planning and ask if they would be interested in collaborating with you! Here are a list of vendor types to reach out too, and I usually reach out in this order; Planner/Designer first. Collab with them to see THEY have any vendors they think would be interested. Then; Venue, Florist, HMUA, Rentals, Calligrapher/Stationer, Model(s), Jeweler, Baker/Cake, any extra details you might have idea for that you need find someone to collab with! One thing I want to say about collaborations, some may require being paid or for the product and they give their service away for free. Take a florist for example, they have to go out and buy those flowers to use, and they are not super cheap. So work with your vendors in your collaborations, some may want to be involved and will spend the money, some may want some compensation. Figure out whats most important for your shoot and find a compromise that works for both you and your collabs. 

3. Location, location, location: You have to find a location to fit the mood and theme of your shoot. I said venue in my last point, so do some searching for venues with what you are imagining. Or find a public area you can set up your shoot at, the beach, the woods, the mountains. Or look into studios you could rent out if that can me molded to the style of your shoot. 

4. It's all in the details: Planning and executing a styled shoot can be done for various different reasons. When you are first starting out as a wedding photographer, you might be doing it for portfolio building. You might also being doing it simply to boost your creativity and imagination and maybe submit the shoot for publication. But within all of these reasons, the details you put into the shoot are so important. 1 - for portfolio building you want to portray your shoot as a real life wedding, 2 - if you are submitting to a publications, it is all about the details! 

5. Plan & Execute!: Have a plan going into the day of your styled shoot, map it out, and even write down poses/actions you want your model(s) to do. Styled shoots are a time to let your creativity soar because you don't have a super strict time limit like on a wedding day. So take advantage and take some risks! Plan what you are going to photograph first and how, the bridal details, maybe the model doing a "faux getting ready" shot. For portfolio building this is an excellent idea. Plan it out, meaning write it down!! Have a plan so that other vendors know what is happening and when. Maybe the florist needs some time to put something together so plan do be doing the bride/couples portraits during that time. There are a lot of things that go into the day. If you have a plan in place, the execution will be the east part!

Have Fun!! Take a look at the gallery of images from a few shoots I have planned!