As many of you know, I am currently planning a Styled Shoot in Austin, TX! I’ve gone to styled shoots before and had so much fun as an attendee but this time I wanted to take the lead on a shoot and make my personal vision a reality! I’m so glad I took the plunge because everything has come together even better than I imagined and I had the opportunity to open the shoot up to other photographers so they can participate as well. I’m learning so much about networking and collaborating and in general having a blast! I thought that with the Austin shoot coming up in just a few days, today would be the perfect time to share some tips for those looking to set up their own styled shoots!
1. Mood Board
The first thing you want to do before you contact anyone about setting up a shoot is to create a mood board! This can be done most easily on Pinterest – see mine here. When you have a mood board for the shoot, other creatives that you reach out to will be able to decide if it’s in line with their style as well. It will also ensure that the shoot is of a consistent style when it all comes together. People need to know what you want and in this business showing visually is the best way.
The next step is to find a venue and pick a date. Most venues will charge you a fee to rent out their space for the shoot, especially if it’s indoors. You want to make sure that you secure the venue before you get other vendors involved. You can definitely have your shoot outside but just remember to have an indoor place close by for the models to get ready and for storage of things like flowers. My upcoming shoot is indoors at One Eleven East. I love this venue because it has beautiful white walls and a large open room for us to set up in. I worked with them to find a date that worked for both my schedule and their availability. I got lucky and they had a Sunday open, but many venues will be booked for weddings on the weekends so keep this in mind! Also remember that when you book a venue, you need to allow for plenty of time to set up, shoot, and clean up. Setup can take anywhere from 1-3hrs depending on how intricate your shoot is. Make sure you consult with your the vendors who require setup time and also your planner (if you have one).
Once you have you venue and your date, it’s time to start finding other vendors! Typical vendors you need for a shoot include: models, dress designer/boutique, florist, HMUA, calligrapher/graphic artist, planner, rentals, and baker. You may choose to include fewer or more than this depending on the shoot. For my styled shoot I’m including all of those vendors as we have multiple stations and a pretty large setup. You can find these vendors in many different ways. I met a few of my vendors in person at a Rising Tide Society meeting and mentioned to them that I was working on a shoot. They were more than happy to participate! Meeting your vendors in person is a great way to build relationships and help everyone with their portfolios. For vendors that I didn’t know personally, I reached out directly through Instagram DM or email. I also posted in local Austin Texas Facebook groups for styled shoots to see if anyone I didn’t know was interested in joining the shoot! This was also the way I found photographers who wanted to join. Through these various methods I was able to put together a great team of vendors excited to work on making this shoot a reality!
When you have your team together, make sure you communicate with them regularly. My planner has done an excellent job of communicating with the vendors and answering their questions about logistics and timeline. She has also kept in touch with the photographers who will be joining us as well. That way everyone is on the same page and knows exactly how the shoot will flow on the day of the event! Then all that’s left is to enjoy the day and make sure you take beautiful photos for everyone’s portfolios! The vendors you work with are contributing their time and expertise to make your vision come to life so that they will have high quality images to market their products and services. So make sure you treat this like a normal session and edit it in a reasonable amount of time and share it with ALL of the vendors who participated. Also be sure you credit them for their hard work in whatever posts or publications you submit. It’s your method of “payment” for their time and delivering will ensure that you have a good relationship in the future.
That’s all for today! My step by step guide to setting up a Styled Shoot and working with vendors. I’m so excited to share my upcoming Austin styled shoot with you all soon!!