8 top tips for planning a successful styled shoot

Styled Shoots are the perfect way to create new, beautiful content for your wedding business, get PR and develop relationships with other wedding business owners. When it comes to styled shoots, I see business owners making the same mistakes all the time – it’s time for that to stop!

Today floral designer and stylist Sara Carlin from Queen and Eden shares her 8 top tips for planning a successful styled shoot.

1. Have a goal

When it comes to the shoot, what are you trying to achieve? Ultimately it needs to be about bringing you business. Shoots can be a great way to start attracting your ideal client – so before doing anything pinpoint exactly who your ideal client. Consider what images you need for your portfolio and never lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. You need to inspire by being fresh and innovative. Shoots can be a great opportunity to try out new products and ideas whilst being diverse and inclusive.

2. Find the Ideal Venue

Be strategic when choosing the venue for a shoot. It’s a great way to build up a portfolio of images that associate your business with the venue. Approach a short list of venues that you aspire to work with. Use the shoot as an opportunity to build relationships with the venue staff. Ensure you communicate clearly with the venue and communicate exactly what they will get out of being part of your shoot. Consider which areas of the venue you would particularly like to capture and note them down.

3. Find on brand suppliers

It’s important to find the right team to bring your vision to life. Start by researching and following suppliers you want to work with on social media. Reach out to them and try and meet them in person.  Try to avoid ‘social shout out’s for help on shoots as you can end up with a mismatched group of suppliers who don’t meet your brief. Only use shout outs in groups if you have a very specific request and make sure you tell them the style and vision for the shoot. If someone replies to your post make sure you research their business before just saying yes!

4. Get agreements in place

Once your suppliers are on board make sure you start to get agreements in place. I advise working with your photographer to create a contract for participation in the shoot. This should include where you are hoping to publish it, timescales, what can and cannot be shared on their social media and what credits must be included. Give clear direction to your suppliers but also allow them to be creative in following the brief. There are time and costs involved for everyone, so they need to get what they need out of it too. If you have researched your suppliers and they are on brand with you, you will all be looking to achieve the same vision.

5. Have a clear mood board and vision

When planning the shoot select a few colour tones, perhaps 4-5 to give people to work with. A Pinterest board can be a great place to collate images and ensure everyone is working to the same brief. Ensure you send a couple of images to each supplier to help them plan and communicate which areas of the venue and what scenes you will be creating. Always keep communication open  – good communication will ensure the shoot looks great when you come together.

6. Create a well thought out schedule

A shoot will run smoothly if you have thought ahead and planned a schedule. Write down clear times for what is happening when (including set up times) and stick to it. Ensure you schedule in some breaks as rest and food will always help the day run smoothly. Ask each supplier what shots are important to them ahead of the day so you can factor them in to your schedule. Everyone loves behind the scenes shots for their portfolio so try and leave time for these too. Try not to take a full day and remember people may have other commitments. Ensure you work around the times people can and can’t be present when creating the schedule.

7. Have fun

Styled shoots are work, but they don’t need to be too stressful. Enjoy the day and take the chance to get to know the suppliers you are working with as well as the venue. Networking is one of the best parts of any shoot. It’s great to get together and have a laugh with likeminded people, especially when you work along a lot, that’s why shoots can become addictive. As you work on more shoots you will build up a list of trusted suppliers that you can work with over and over again. Don’t forget to keep your phone handy too for Instagram stories and sneak peeks!

8. Thank everyone

Make sure you thank everyone that has helped you and always return any borrowed items promptly. Look after all items and return them in the state you received them in. Ensure you thank the venue and leave it in the condition you found it, don’t leave any mess! Why not give the bouquet to the model or venue to say thanks. Once the day is over keep your suppliers in the loop and let them know where you are pitching the shoot to. You can also reflect on what worked and what didn’t so you make the shoot even better the next time.

The shoot is about everyone – so share, tag and shout out all your suppliers as much as possible and encourage them to do the same.

Styled shoots can be a huge amount of work, but they really do pay off when you get them right! If you have recent shoots that you would like to see published send them over to becca@engageweddings.co.uk and we may be able to publish them on the Engage Weddings Blog.

Article by Sara Carlin, Queen & Eden

Photo credits:

Photographer: Becky Harley Photography

Florals and Styling: Queen and Eden

Venue: Coltsfoot Country retreat

Dress: Lisa Lyons Bridal

Hair Accessories: Rachel Sokhal Bridal

Hair stylist: Barberella

Makeup: Michelle Nash Makeup

Stationery: Olive & Millicent

Becca xo


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