1. Clear Inspiration and Aesthetic
When setting out to plan a successful styled shoot, you need to start with a creative vision or idea. Start with descriptive words and a color palette. Then put together an inspiration board on Pinterest or a mood board collage to help all of the vendors understand the inspiration. As creatives, most vendors are visual learners and really appreciate a visual prompt for the shoot. In addition, mood boards help make it easy for vendors to decide whether the styled shoot is a fit for them.
Beyond the general look and feel, choosing visual inspiration that highlights the most important visual elements of the shoot will go far to ensure successful styled shoots. For example, if a floral ceremony arch is the centerpiece of your shoot inspiration, make sure that you include more than one photo of arches to convey the importance and stylistic vision you’re hoping to achieve.
2. Shared Goals Right From the Start
It’s a good idea to ensure every vendor is on board with the ultimate goal of the shoot. Are you planning to submit it for exclusive publication? Then you need people to hold off on posting the images for a while. Or are you doing the shoot to create content for your brands and social media? If so, everyone is welcome to the use of the images right away. Being open about your goals for the shoot right from the start will prevent frustration later on.
For example, it was always our intention to have this Modern-Meets-Mountains inspiration shoot published. So, every vendor was thrilled when it was picked up by Wedding Sparrow.
3. Open Communication
In order for the styled shoot to go smoothly as you recruit vendors to your team, communication is key. As the person organizing the shoot, you’ll need to have conversations with each vendor partner to ensure they understand your vision and what you’re hoping for from them on shoot day, and vice versa. Are there any specific things or pieces of information they need from you? Do you have a budget for the shoot or are you asking everyone to donate their time and product? Etc.
It’s essential to provide regular updates, a timeline for the day, and directions for vendors when they arrive on site is essential. If items are borrowed (for example, a wedding gown or jewelry), make sure to clearly communicate about how those items will be delivered and returned.
4. Stay Organized During The Shoot
You’ll find that as you plan a styled shoot, the more vendors you have, the more organization is necessary to keep everyone on the same page. Sketch out a timeline for the day to keep the day moving and ensure each vendor has time to contribute their best. Additionally, as a photographer, I always appreciate having lots of time to shoot each scene, detail, and portion of the day.
Styled Shoot Planning & Timeline Spreadsheet
If you could use some help planning your styled shoot, then I have the perfect resource for you! I’m sharing my Styled Shoot Planning & Timeline Spreadsheet for Google drive. It’s the exact one that I use to plan my own successful styled shoots. And it’s great for staying organized and communicating with your team! The spreadsheet is SUPER easy to use and it’s shareable.
This google sheets template is pre-populated with essential info to keep you organized as you plan and execute a high-end styled shoot with your vendor team. Use the pre-populated vendor list and sample timeline to easily keep track of your vendor team. Then create a detailed timeline for the day of the shoot using the timeline suggestions and reminders built right into the document.