3 Lessons Learned from Planning My First Styled Shoot
Before committing to get into the wedding industry, I had never heard of a styled shoot before nor knew that they would become a regular part of my gig. As I explored more about what they meant and entailed, I quickly figured out that planning and executing a styled shoot is a lot like doing the same for a real wedding. The difference between the two was that I was finally able to plan something that was reflective of my personal style. During my planning process, I learned a few things.
1. Mood Boards are necessary for conveying the master plan hidden inside your brain.
Like most, my early stages of brainstorming came from scouring Pinterest to see what sparked my interest. I began dumping fun ideas into a board, and before I knew it, a theme began to form. However, at this stage in my career, I had no idea what a mood board even was. In case you aren't part of the industry and are curious, a mood board is a collection of photographs which visually explain the theme, color palette, and story you're hoping to achieve in the end. It doesn't need to be an exact representation, but it should have enough information to get the idea across. Ultimately, you don't want to copy the ideas that you've used for inspiration.
As I contacted vendors to join my team to see this vision come through, I realized I tried to hard to explain what I was going for without any photos for them to visualize any of it. Even the pins in my board didn't suffice to capture my goal. I'm thankful that each person that chose to collaborate with me had enough faith in what I tried to explain to take the risk.
That being said, I'm still torn about how I feel about the use of a mood board. Yes, they are so useful for that initial glimpse of the overall vision, but if the ultimate goal is to create something new and unique, it's important that mood boards aren't used as a way to confine or restrict creativity. Besides, it's kind of hard trying to let someone in on what is fully going on inside your brain. They are, ultimately, a great place to start, though.
2. Allow each vendor to focus on their strengths.
When I start to put together a styled shoot, I like to pick vendors whose style & branding already match what I'm hoping to achieve. After reaching out to them and presenting my ideas, I always stress that I want them to run with the idea. They're the experts in their field. Without fail, I've been blown away by each person's interpretation of the overall vision, and when it comes together, it's better than I ever could have imagined.
For example, when I reached out to Alisha from For the Love of Floral for my first shoot, all I touched on was that I wanted to create something that highlighted foliage and greenery without using any actual floral blooms. The bouquet, centerpiece arrangement, and installation she put together surpassed my expectations. I'm so thankful that she made it her own, as she has her own set of strengths that played off my own.
3. Music, snacks, and laughter are key ingredients for a successful time.
On the day of a styled shoot, it can be stressful working with time constraints and the pressure to achieve something incredible. However, I've noticed that when there's mood-lifting music, easy-going attitudes, and a little something-something to nibble on, things seem to go a lot more smoothly. Now, I'm not saying that a shoot won't be done well without these, but the time spent together with the other vendors doesn't need to be awkward nor miserable. What a great opportunity to make new friendships, learn more about someone else's craft, or blow some steam by telling a few jokes! I've definitely noticed the difference in the outcome of a styled shoot when those involved weren't "clicking" as well as hoped, and I believe that these things can help aide things along.
I've included a handful of images from my first styled shoot below. It was truly the best case scenario for my first experience. It felt like a family affair, to be honest. I'm blessed to be surrounded by so many talented individuals that I didn't have to search far for who to include in this project. I learned so much from this styled shoot, and I continue learning more with each one planned and executed. They have become an integral part of being a wedding & event planner as they help me network with other amazing vendors in the industry, push my boundaries and challenge me to be creative in new ways, and ultimately, they serve as inspiration for future couples getting married to help them envision what their wedding can also look like with my help.
Photographer | When She Knew
Venue | The Elkspace at the Sentinel Hotel
Models | David Popa & Shawnie Fortune
Hair Stylist | Hanna Blazer
Makeup Artist | Eye Shine Beauty
Florist | For the Love of Floral
Paper Goods/Signage | Eunice Rairdon
Chocolatier | Inka Chocolates
Rentals | Vintage Meets Modern
Event Design/Planning/Custom Tables | Kamea Events