I've talked about how important it is to do a styled shoot in your first few years of business. You can read about the reasons why here. I know a lot of photographers still have questions about HOW to go about planning a styled shoot. I know it seems scary, but you have to do your first one at some point, just like you had to photograph your first session or wedding. Here is what you need to do to successfully plan a styled shoot.
What is going to be the theme? Styled shoots are best with they have an ongoing theme and/or a color palette. Pinterest is a great place to start to gather all of your thoughts and ideas.
Once you know what you want to create, you need vendors. The first vendor you should connect with is a wedding planner and the second is the venue. For a photographer, a wedding planner and a venue are usually chosen before the photographer. Networking with planners and venues is great for helping you get business in the future.
Connecting with a wedding planner before the venue is best. This way you can find someone who can help bring your idea to life, and also help you in the search for the perfect venue. If you start hearing no, don't be discouraged! It usually has nothing to do with you and your business. There are a lot of vendors who do styled shoots and only take a certain amount each year. Different vendors have different busy seasons, so the timing might not be right for some of them.
When you've found a list of venues that work, contact your top pick first, and then continue down your list until you found the perfect match. If you can't find a venue that has availability, using a public area like a park or a beach could work just fine!
Go with your planner to the location and start discussing your ideas in this location. Pay attention to where the sun is and where it's going to be when you do your shoot. Check with the rules of the venue or location to make sure that your timing works.
From there, it's time to lock in your remaining vendors! Having a planner is great, because you can split up the task of finding vendors between the two of you. Important vendors to find are, hair and makeup, wedding attire and florals. You can pull off a successful styled shoot with these vendors, it will be a small shoot, but it can work. If you're more comfortable with only a few vendors like this, go for it!
The other vendors that can make your styled shoot much bigger and look amazing are - a baker, furniture rentals, invitation designer and a calligrapher. You can use the furniture and flatware rentals for pretty tablescapes, the cake can be photographed on the table and with the models holding it, and the invitations and calligraphy can photographed in a pretty flat lay with ribbons and flowers.
All of these shots you get from the styled shoot can be used for much more than your blog. They can be submitted to national or local blogs, they can be used for your business cards and website, and best of all, for extra content to share on social media for months to come!