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How to Plan a Styled Shoot

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What is a styled shoot you may ask? A styled shoot tells a story through photography. While this may sound simple, they are typically quite complex. The premise behind these shoots is to showcase the skills and services of the wedding business. But because there is so much involved that is what makes it complex.


In this post I am going to break down exactly what it takes to put together a successful styled shoot.

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1. Come Up With Your Concept

The first step of every successful shoot should be to come up with a concept, or theme. Do you want it to be rustic, modern, bohemian or classic? You should think about what type of grooms and brides you are trying to attract. 

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2. Keep Your Target Market in Mind at all Times

You should remember who you are targeting and keep this in mind at all times when working on your shoot. You don’t want to accept work on a project if it is extremely far off from your target customer. 

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3. Establish Your Goals

Every styled shoot should have an end goal in mind. Maybe you want the photos to be featured in a magazine, or maybe it’s just for a blog. It could be for personal reasons, or even to network with other businesses or reach a new clientele.

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4. Secure a Location

Before you bring anyone else in or on to your project, you need to secure the location. Typically if you have a specific concept, the location is very important to how you style it. 

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5. Contact Other Businesses

Unless you are planning to do the shoot alone, after securing your location you will want to get other businesses or vendors involved. A nice email is the best way to go about soliciting support. Make sure to explain your vision and the end goal of your styled shoot upfront. If you want vendors or businesses to donate product or services for free you need to explain to them what they will get in return. 

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6. Find Models

Assuming your styled shoot revolves around people, you will need to find some models. You can always advertise for free models in exchange for the images to use in their portfolio, but it may be a limited selection. Ask other photographers for suggestions on models. 

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7. Work on the Details

Make sure that all the little details that goes into the shoot are taken care of. From the flowers for the little girls hairs, to the props for the furniture or display around them. Are there any crafts or shopping you need to do in order to get the desired look?

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8. Plan Out the Shoot Schedule

You should absolutely have a schedule set for when everything will be and when. What time is hair and make up? When should the vendors show up? What time are you planning to start shooting and when are you expecting to be done? Definitely get it set up and share with everyone to organize it and keep everyone on track. 

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9. Shoot! 

On the day of the shoot be prepared with anything and everything. Spare shoes, water, a snack, any model release forms you may need. Make sure to find out if any of the vendors have specific photos they want to take. Bring a notebook or make a note on your phone and make sure you are noting how the vendors want to be credited for their work.

Styled shoots are not easy but they are rewarding – both for you planning it and for your business! If you follow these steps you can have a successful styled shoot!