If you’ve ever been on Pinterest or Instagram, chances are you’ve seen a photo from a styled shoot. Read on to learn more about them and the top five reasons why creatives should be doing them!
What’s a styled shoot?
A styled shoot is a planned photo shoot where a group of vendors come together to create a specific vision. Usually, someone has an idea for a shoot and connects with other vendors to help execute their idea. Typically, it’s mutually beneficial for everyone involved, and all services are donated in exchange for photos that can be used on your website, social media and in your portfolio.
Why do a styled shoot?
1: Get gorgeous, professional photos…for free!
Usually, everyone donates their services / items in return for photos from the shoot. I am no photographer, and while my iPhone can take a decent picture, an actual professional photo REALLY stands out compared to what I can do on my own. Styled shoots are the perfect way to get some pictures of your work that you can use on social media and your website that look amazing! I like to share a photo here and there from different shoots to help my Instagram feed look more professional and cohesive.
2: Grow your portfolio
Maybe you just started your business recently and you don’t have a ton of weddings under your belt (whether you’re a photographer, florist, designer, planner, etc). Styled shoots are a great way to get work to share and show potential clients examples of what you can do! And, this is important - styled shoots are NOT just for wedding vendors. Any type of photo shoot can be a styled shoot. Some ideas to help you think outside the box:
If you crochet baby clothes…maybe some little booties or a baby outfit could be included in a styled maternity session
If you make ceramic mugs, bowls, etc… maybe your work could be used as part of a tablescape or in detail shots (i.e. a ring dish)
If you make jewelry…maybe some earrings or a necklace could be used in a styled engagement shoot, or a styled lifestyle session
If you’re a makeup artist…your services could be used for just about any shoot!
3: Network with other vendors
This is a really big one…I can’t tell you how many connections I’ve made from doing styled shoots! It’s the perfect way to collaborate and create with your peers. Other vendors may even recommend you or put you on their preferred vendors list based on your work together in a styled shoot. Put yourself out there and meet other local creatives - you’ll be SO glad that you did! Those that you work with may even become FRIENDors :) A tip - many styled shoots happen in the winter when business is slower for those in the wedding industry. Plan accordingly, so you can connect with more creatives!
4: Attract your ideal client
Use styled shoots as an opportunity to work on what you want to work on! Maybe you’re a planner and your clients are really into rustic barn weddings, but you’re itching to plan a super sleek and chic affair. For me? I love using pointed pen to write out vows and address envelopes, but at this point in time, I’m getting more requests for signage from my clients. When I participate in a shoot, I like to include more pointed pen work when I can. Use the images on your social media to help curate your feed and show off the work that you want people to hire you to do!
5: Embrace your creativity!
Styled shoots give you the chance to go out on a limb in a low-risk way and try something new. Last year, I really wanted to make some acrylic wedding signs with a painted back, but none of my clients wanted the painted back, just plain acrylic. I made a painted-back sign for a styled shoot and got some really pretty photos of it. Since then, I’ve been able to make quite a few painted back signs! (Plain acrylic is still more popular, though!) Use the shoot as a way to challenge yourself and try something different that you haven’t had the chance to.
Cover photo & pin photo by Rakoteet Photography.