Creatives: Navigating Styled Shoots

One of my favorite parts of being a wedding stationery designer is Styled Shoots.  As a “behind the scenes” vendor, I’m not often in the mix with the “day of” vendors that tend to get center stage on the wedding day.  By participating in a Styled Shoot, wedding vendors are able to come together for a full day of creative preparation and networking in an effort to put together a mock wedding/event.

So what exactly is a Styled Shoot?  

That's a great question! A styled shoot is a collective, group effort between a variety of vendors coming together to produce a mock wedding or event. I've seen styled shoots for bridal showers, birthday parties, wedding receptions and everything in between! The idea behind a styled shoot is to showcase the talents of the vendors and to express their creativity in new and exciting ways while encouraging the current trends during that time.

Ways to make the Shoot work for you

There are so many rewards to participating in a styled shoot. Here a few recommendations and practices I use with my designer and planners:

  1. The sky can be the limit when it comes to creative arts, but those skylines can drop quick when your money and time is involved.  I have a standard 3-piece rule when participating. I only offer 3 stationery pieces to the planner/coordinator of the shoot. Since each vendor is typically financially responsible for their portion of the items and no compensation is gained, I like to keep a realistic expectation of what I can afford to offer.  With stationery printers, a minimum print run can be costly if you’re not in the business of printing in house. Be firm in establishing what you’re willing (and comfortable) to provide and not provide

  2. Require a minimum amount of photos.  Styled Shoots are a great way to obtain professional shots of your work.  As part of my shoot agreement, I require at least 5-10 images of my products that I’m donating.  I always feel this is a fair number and an even trade for both my time and the photographer’s time.  My minimum is based on the number of pieces I provide and the elaboration of the details and can fluctuate based on those needs.

  3. Give credit where credit is due.  I firmly believe that all participating vendors should credit each other when posting images and/or publications of the shoot.  There is no “I” in “TEAM,” and therefore everyone should be credited regardless of the pieces being displayed in that particular photograph.

  4. To go or not to go.  Most of the shoots I participate in are within an hour drive of my hometown, however these shoots take place during a weekday during regular business hours (not during the venue’s peak business times.)  In addition to stationery design, I also have a full time gig (whomp whomp!) that doesn’t allow me to be on set the day of the shoot. There have been a few occasions where I am able to be present. If you have the luxury to be there...BE THERE!  You know the best placement for your pieces as well as what works with paper - collaborate with the photographer on the best ways to accent and show off your craft! If you can’t be present, consider providing a mock-up of what you think works great!

As with any job you participate in, stand firm in your expectations and listen to your planner’s expectations.  Styled shoots are a joint effort and communal collaboration is key to a successful shoot!

Navigating Styled Shoots