By Kelly Benton on | No Comments
Planning a styled shoot with other local businesses or vendors is a great way to express your creativity, network with other business owners, get recognition for your own business, and practice your photography skills. But even the smallest styled shoots need an organized leader to plan and bring everything together.
Here are 10 steps to plan and complete your styled shoot from start to finish:
A good idea or theme is the foundation of a successful styled shoot. You should choose something unique (at least to the viewership you are aiming for) that will speak to your ideal client and excite and inspire any other vendors you would like to work with.
Every styled shoot should have an end goal in mind. You may want the photos featured in a magazine (local or national), or maybe a blog is a better fit. Perhaps you are doing the shoot for personal reasons (to flex your creativity or bulk up your portfolio). Or maybe you want to network with other businesses or reach a new clientele.
Are you a new wedding photographer? A styled wedding shoot is a fantastic way to build your wedding portfolio.
Having a clear vision of your goals will help your styled shoot to grow into everything you imagined, plus it will set realistic expectations for anyone else who gets involved along the way.
Before you get anyone else on board, it's a good idea to secure the location for the shoot. A theme often revolves around a specific location, so you should ensure you can use it before getting too far into the planning process.
Unless you plan on doing the shoot alone, now is the time to get other businesses or vendors involved. I find that a friendly email is the best way to solicit support for a styled shoot. Putting together and sending a written email will help ensure that all of the essential details are included and gives other business owners time to consider your request.
When you send your email, make sure to explain the vision and goal of your styled shoot. Be clear and upfront if you expect the vendors to donate their products or services for free, and tell them what they will get in return. I offer all collaborating vendors high-resolution copies of all images, which they can use for advertising or social media.
It’s also important to give them an idea of your level of involvement. Is this an equal collaboration where you expect them to bring creative ideas to the table, or will you dictate every aspect of the shoot and give them a more specific direction?
If you are not very creative when it comes to styling, consider getting an event coordinator, event stylist, or photo stylist on board as well.
Now that you have the logistics for your styled shoot lined up, it’s time to narrow down the focus.
I like to create a secret Pinterest board that mixes inspirational photos for the shoot and pictures of objects and props I already have that might work. I sometimes invite the other business owners to pin to the board to hash out ideas and ensure we are all on the same page.
Assuming you plan to have people in your styled shoot, you will need to get some models. If you want free non-professional models, you can advertise a “free photo shoot” on social media, then have people apply by sending in a photo of themselves and any other relevant information.
Sometimes, you can find professional models willing to work for free in exchange for the images, but your selection may be limited. Ask other area photographers for suggestions on models. It also doesn’t hurt to contact a model you like and offer what you can for compensation.
Some vendors or businesses may need more of your input than others. Set up meetings with any vendor that needs additional guidance, and set up a walkthrough of the shoot location to get your final vision pinned down.
This is your final chance to ensure everyone is on the same page with your styled shoot's theme, color scheme, etc., and know what will be expected of them.
If you borrow or rent items, ensure you get those selected, written down, and ordered. If you are doing a styled wedding shoot, schedule a meeting with the model at the dress shop to try on wedding gowns.
I find that the details are usually left up to me when it comes to a styled shoot. Once the flowers, furniture, and outfits are all taken care of, it’s my job to make sure everything flows together and doesn’t feel disjointed. This is the time when you should do any final shopping or crafting to create the look you desire.
What time is hair and makeup? When should the other vendors be there? When should the models arrive? What time will you start shooting? What time does the shoot end?
I recommend setting up a Google Document that everyone can view and edit. It's a great way to hash out the details and make sure everyone knows what they should bring and when they should arrive.
On the day of the shoot, bring a spare pair of shoes, water, a snack, and any necessary model release forms.
Before you finish shooting, ask the other vendors who are present if they have any specific photos they want you to take. Bring a notebook and write down how each vendor would like their business credited and what link they would like you to use, if applicable.
Putting together a styled shoot is not easy, but it can be rewarding for your ego and your business. Follow these steps, and you will have these businesses clamoring to work with you again and again!
Do you have any questions or comments about Planning a Styled Shoot? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Kelly Benton lives with her husband and two adorable dachshunds in Northeast Indiana, where she works from home as a Wedding Photographer. When she’s not photographing over people’s love, she’s a wannabe-rockstar triathlete with a penchant for funny movies and craft beer.