My background is in wedding photography, and I still shoot a few weddings each year. My favorite FAVORITE favorite part of wedding photography is capturing the design of the day, specifically how all the special and unique details are incorporated into the overall experience.
If you’ve planned a wedding (or are planning one now) a lot of the images you see online and in magazines are from styled shoots, not actual weddings. I’ve ranted about this before on my old blog, but I want to address this quickly from a branding perspective.
first: what are styled shoots?
Simply put, a styled shoot is collaboration of sorts between a bunch of different vendors to create images for marketing use, sometimes it is a paid commission by one specific vendor, other times it’s a group effort - each shoot is different. The images I’m using in this blog post I captured during a styled shoot I helped my friend May with. Details about this shoot are at the bottom of the post.
second: why are we talking about styled shoots?
If you’re engaged and you’re planning your wedding based on styled shoots you might be in for a rude awakening when your wedding day comes. Styled shoots are not very event-friendly. During a wedding your photographer doesn’t have the control over location, lighting, and design that they do on a styled shoot. They can’t always spend as much time shooting details as they do during a styled shoot. Seriously - scroll down about half way through this older blog post to the Styled Shoots vs. Real Wedding section.
This post isn’t for the couples of the world, though, it’s for vendors and small businesses both inside and outside of the wedding industry because styled shoots aren’t wedding specific. We all know that we live in a social media world and that quality photographs are important for your brand to be respected by potential clients. Making time to do research into branding photography just sits near the bottom of the to-do list, though.
If you’re a designer, creator, builder, maker, seller, or looking to up your personal branding then styled shoots are what you’re looking for - and it’s not as difficult as you might expect.
third: whats the process of a styled shoot?
1 - Planning & Design
Discuss the look and feel for the shoot & create Pinterest moodboard
Select vendors / businesses / models, etc.
Create a shot list
Select a location, time and date
2 - The Photoshoot
All parties arrive at designated times and contribute their designated part
Images are photographed
3 - Image Delivery & Sharing
After the shoot images are edited and provided to the parties involved along with (depending on the type of shoot):
Credit list - who to tag / credit in social media posts
Details on copyright - how images may and may not be legally used
fourth: how much do branding styled photoshoots cost?
Let me start by saying this: you can have exactly the number of and type of images what you want, exactly what you’re dreaming of, but it is going to cost you. I love doing completely customized shoots for clients, but everyone has a budget and that budget will determine exactly what you do and don’t get.
About 85% of my job as a photographer is setting realistic expectations as most people haven’t been a part of a photoshoot before and don’t know all the little details that have to be sorted out before we even get to the photographing part. This is part of the Planning & Design process. I can’t outline for you exactly what the shoot in your head right now will cost, but I can give a few different situations.
Group Branding Shoot
Price: $ | Control: 25%
Imagine a group of creators all coming together to contribute to one shoot.
A jewelry creator, a boutique shop owner, a hair stylist, makeup artist, and model.
Everyone contributes to an agreed upon look and feel for the shoot and shares expenses.
Images are created for each contributor from the collaborated look and shoot, and everyone leaves with a few fresh images for their marketing needs.
Group Branding Shoots are perfect if
You need beautiful images but don’t know where to start
You only need a few images
You are just exploring branding
Personalized Branding Session
Price: $$$$ | Control: 100%
Imagine planning a shoot that is designed to create images specifically for your needs.
Carefully selected models, makeup artists, hair stylists, designers etc. are hired to create the images you’re commissioning for your branding and marketing needs.
Images are created specifically for you and the involved parties may not find them useful in their marketing work.
Personalized Branding Sessions are perfect if
You know exactly what different types of images you need
You need more than just a couple images
You’re ready to invest in your brand
fifth: how do i get started?
Reach out! Message me on social media or e-mail me and let’s figure out what you need! If you don’t know the first thing about branding / marketing I’d suggest following me on Instagram, I post a lot there about different aspects of branding and the role photography plays in it.
It can feel weird messaging someone you don’t know for the first time (trust me, I’m always nervous when I reach out to models / cool brands I haven’t worked with yet, I feel you) so feel free to stalk me on social media for a hot minute first if that helps!
About the Images in this Post
This was a styled shoot specifically for The Vintage Bouquet Bar as they launch The Vintage Bouquet, their design and wedding/event services. All images in this post were taken by me, however the shoot was organized and hosted by May Carlson Photography. We did this photoshoot in May’s studio and her work from this shoot was featured on Style Me Pretty! It’s gorgeous and totally worth checking out.