By: Danielle Andrews and Tracey Manailescu, Co-founders of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada
“Styled shoots are everywhere these days. When you open a wedding magazine or look at a wedding blog, you are almost guaranteed to find one of these inspirational editorials for your viewing pleasure. Since they have taken off in a big way over the past decade, there are only so many that can get featured in a publication. The submission needs to stand out and make a statement. We are going to discuss how to make a standout impression.”
What is a Styled Shoot?
A styled shoot is a collaborative event put together by like-minded business owners in the wedding industry to create a story that imitates or mimics a wedding. All the wedding pros involved working together by contributing ideas, products, designs and whatever their specialties are to create a visual story where they have total control over the design, theme, and aesthetic.
Why should wedding professionals participate in a styled shoot?
A styled shoot is a wonderful opportunity for wedding professionals to let their creative juices flow and truly show all that they are capable of. It is also a great time to meet and collaborate with other wedding professionals that they have not had the chance to work with before. If there is something you have always wanted to do at a wedding, why not put it together to show your couples your ideas?
What are some key elements of a Styled Shoot?
- Having a Dream Team– A team that works well together and respects each others’ roles, and understands the direction of the shoot, will make it so much easier for all. Each contributor brings something special and photo-worthy to the shoot (whether it’s cake, jewelry, attire, photography, décor, planning, stationery, etc.)
- Showcasing Fresh New Ideas and Trends– Since the goal of the styled shoot is to hopefully get it published in a wedding blog or magazine it needs to stand out. Styles and themes that have been done over and over are not going to do that. It needs to have some unique elements and touches, while still being achievable and relatable. Couples planning their weddings want to see themselves having those elements at their wedding. It needs to create emotion and tell a love story.
- Ensuring a Cohesive Theme– The design, feel and aesthetic should flow and continue through the main theme of the styled shoot with the lighting, colours and style. Everything about it should feel like it belongs to the theme.
- Details, details, and more details– Instead of focusing mostly on the couple, a styled shoot focuses more on the details. This helps couples visualize themselves in the design scenario and see endless possibilities that they can share with their guests at their own upcoming weddings. Showcasing an over the top floral arch, upgraded specialty place settings (linens, chargers, flatware, glassware), introducing a live painter or band, or photo ops with live animals (puppies, alpacas, kittens), dancers or entertainers at a welcome station are all ways to create that wow factor that couples might be looking for.
Aren’t Styled Shoots only beneficial for those new to the wedding industry?
Styled Shoots are for every wedding professional. Often wedding professionals are limited by a clients’ budget or inability to imagine what the wedding pro is suggesting. Showcasing bold, unique, and interesting ideas not only provides the wedding professional with examples of their expertise but also helps couples to visualize the concepts that wedding professionals are proposing to them. When a group of wedding professionals collaborates to show their absolute best, the possibilities are limitless. Creating amazing concept weddings also provides opportunities for wedding professionals to get published in wedding blogs and magazines, where their real weddings may not.
Real couples vs Models
There are pros and cons to both. Having real couples’ for the styled shoot ensures a personal connection between the couple being photographed, and real feelings show so well and will make the reader feel the love between the couple. Models will get the angle and know how to showcase the dress, jewelry, hair, and makeup best for photos which can ensure a high-end look and feel. It really comes down to a personal decision based on what the team wants for the overall vision and feel of the styled shoot. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Try both and see what your responses are from your viewers. Your viewers are potential clients, friends and family and other wedding pros.
Getting your Styled Shoot published
Editors and producers are inundated with real and styled shoot submissions every day, so you need to be intentional in putting together your submission. Before submitting to a particular blog or magazine, you should have done your research to make sure that your shoot is a match for their publication. Pay attention to how the publication likes to receive submissions and follow those guidelines. Write a little note to the editor, tell them why your shoot is special, and thank them for taking the time to review your shoot. Be sure to provide a great story detailing the Styled Shoot, include your inspiration, a highlight of special details and design elements and talk about why this shoot would appeal to their readers and viewers. Provide all of the vendors, their websites and social media handles, do all of the work and make it impossible for them to say no.
Bonus for Planners and Photographers:
Things to include in your styled shoot kit:
- Acrylic or wooden flat lay styling blocks Ring boxes (assorted colours/shapes)
- Wax seals, ribbons, and wax seal stamp
- Styling cloth in various colours
- Wedding rings (novelty or fake engagement ring and wedding bands)
- Styling scissors
- Ceramic dishes
- FoliageStyling mat or boards, trays (antique/modern, silver)
*WPIC offers an in-depth course called, “The Art and Execution of Styled Shoots”. We offer this course both online, and in various cities and countries around the world! Check the website for when we are coming to you.