Styled shoots are one of THE BEST things you can do for your portfolio.
However, if you don’t approach them with the right mindset, they can be overwhelming to say the least.
I planned my first styled shoot during my first year as a photog in order to get myself through one of the many lulls I experienced!
I honestly had no idea where to begin. Luckily for me, Reno (where I live) has an awesome entrepreneurial community for small local business owners. We have several local groups including a Tuesdays Together and a couple other small ones that have Facebook Groups that put together networking events. Some of the girls in one of the groups was mentioning their availability if anyone was up for planning a styled shoot and so I figured, why not? I was not super booked or busy at the time and I wanted to grow my business and learn.
This was not a simple task. It took reaching out to many different vendors to find the right fit.
So where do you even start??!
First things first….. Pinterest
1. Make a Pinterest mood board that represents the general feel of the shoot. What colors do you picture? What theme? These are all important to consider. Here is an example of one I put together for a styled shoot I did last year. I really wanted a garden/succulent/earthy feel.
2. Pick a date and time. During wedding season, it is best to plan these during the week as vendors are usually booked most weekends.
3. Make a list of all of the types of vendors you will need to use for the shoot to come together. Ie. Florist, Venue, Dress, Tux, Cake, Tables/Chairs, Hair and Makeup, Models, Decor, Jewelry and Accessories.
4. Now that you have an idea of the kinds of vendors you need to make the shoot a success, make a list under each category of a few local vendors you’d like to reach out to to pitch your idea. I usually stick to around 2-3 vendors in each category if I do not have a favorite in mind. If you do multiple shoots a year, it is important to switch up the vendors you work with in order to build relationships with multiple people as well as keep your portfolio diverse.
- I would make your priority list look something like this:
- Formal Wear
- HMU (Hair and Makeup)
- Decor + Tables/Chairs
5. Contact those vendors and present it in a way that appeals to them. People don’t like to work for free, they want to know how working together can be mutually beneficial. As a photographer, you are in a position of power. YOU HOLD ALL THE PHOTOS! If you take these well, the vendors can use your work in their personal portfolios and for marketing. Present it to them that way! Tell them, these photos are yours! Most vendors love the opportunity and exposure, especially when it comes to sharing on IG and Facebook.
6. Once you secure all of your vendors, it is important to follow up leading to the day. We are all busy small business owners and can forget things easily! Remind them! Check in a month prior, then a week before, and…you guessed it, the day before.
7. Make sure the day of, that you are well prepared and organized. Be there early to set up! Give all of your vendors a list of the others involved in the shoot, so when the images are posted to social media, everyone knows who to tag and acknowledge.
8. You made it!!!!! DO THE SHOOT! Thank your peeps! It could not have happened without them.
9. Edit and return the images quickly! People like to see quick returns on their investments. Give them a realistic date to expect the images and stick to it. Your word is your reputation.
10. Pat yourself on the back for organizing such a stressful event and then post the images everywhere! Update your portfolio and tell the world how awesome you and all your vendors are!
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Keep doing these because they promote healthy relationships, encourage local business collabs, and promote and drive local traffic to you and all your vendors!
Here is a list of some of my faves in Reno to work with:
Who do you like to work with in your cities? Comment below!