How to Create Your Own Styled Shoot
If you’re reading this, you are most likely interested in doing your own styled shoot commonly known as the "E-Shoot". When I design a styled shoot, I make it (what I consider to be) the best of all worlds. The one of the biggest reasons I encourage couples to do styled shoots is that it has been a great way for me to connect with the couples and get to know their story. This story helps in the design process of their wedding in creating memorable details. Here are some easy steps for you to get started.
1. Start With A Digital Mood Board
I keep a number of private Pinterest boards online that hold my inspiration, I treat them like my digital mood boards and I fill them with countless aesthetic images filed under abstract visual concepts like “Cendrillon” (French for Cinderella) or “Dutch Masters Florals”. I shy away from existing concepts of other couples, I feel it channels the mind into a tunnel and in only believing what you have seen is possible. Instead I base them off of amazing locations I’ve seen and want to travel to. Some ideas are inspired by art, or nature, really whatever you can describe as your passion and romance. I store these ideas and concepts on Pinterest boards because I’m an extremely visual person and like the idea of keeping abstract ideas safe until one is needed. Sometimes, we come up with new ideas and a new board gets created, which is always fun.
2. Make Sure Your Mood Boards are on Brand
The number one piece of advice I give to my couples and anyone else that inquires about styled shoots is this: The shoot needs to reflect your style and appeal to your audience. If you want to be shooting rustic, beautiful old barns in the country,or high end roof tops of the city the setting needs to reflect you. Too often, I see people questioning why they don't want to repeat the obvious and yet their mood board is filled with the opposite of what they want. If you take only one thing away from this blog post, let it be this: You must show what you want to attract.
I love France, I love flowing gowns, loose bouquets, and European-inspired venues. These are the top characteristics I’ve kept in mind while designing this styled shoot below. The concept consistency and strong knowledge of how to conceptualize ideas creates the dreamy moments.
3. Select your Dream Vendors
If you asked me back in 2016 who my favourite vendors to work with on e-shoots were, I probably would have a very long list. It wasn’t until I had created a few personal editorials that I was able to reach out to my core team in the industry who I loved and constantly wanted to work with. Working on countless projects together lends to a seamless workflow on the back end, so our couples experience the flawless execution. If you’ve never worked with your selected vendors, you likely won’t be able to open up about ideas until you set that as a goal or at least have repeat conversations.
Remember my previous point about Pinterest mood boards? I always include a solid mood board when approaching photographers, stylist or makeup artist about the shoot. Have a concept or idea. Have an idea of budget (if you have one). Be realistic; if it’s the middle of May and I want to shoot in June, many people you reach out to might say no, as it’s a busy time of year. Plan ahead and gather your visuals and ideas so that you can get optimal results for your investment of time and mind.
3. Set a Realistic Budget and Time When Possible
Budgeting is hard, and I understand most people don’t have much of one when they are considering wedding enhancement ideas. If you create your overall outcome and desire for the e-shoot, you can plan early and balance the budget. Go for it and treat yourself. This may be the only chance in life that you get to travel somewhere exotic, get dolled up and actually take professional photos. You are creating memories, practicing in front of the camera to become pros for the wedding and having a romantic getaway. It is a win-win!
Determine your vision. You should be designing the shoot to reflect your personality or story, otherwise, you’ll end up with non-cohesive images that may make you appear average.
Become inspired. Draw ideas from music, paintings (I spend a lot of time at museums), the landscape, or venues. Feel free to imagine and go a little wild, then scale back to what’s realistic. Don’t feel restrained during the creative process or you may find yourself becoming bored.
Research vendors you’d like to work with. Consider vendors that you’re inspired by or would like to do a real wedding with. You don't have to work with the same team you have for your wedding but building a positive relationship is a must!
Create your team. Reach out to vendors with a mood board, ideas, and a concept. Have a reason you want to do this shoot. Have general dates, budget, and know which parts are non-negotiable for you.
Shoot! Work with your team to get images for all of them. Be inspired by collaborating with others in the field. Be open to their ideas and concepts.
Show off images you’re proud of. Use your images to brand and tell a story.
I hope this helps you all who are hesitant or ready to jump into spending for e-shoots or not without knowing which direction to go. E-shoots should be the first investment of wedding planning, you just got Engaged or set a date! Celebrate it...
Biji Planners Couple: Jasleen and Bicky
Photo Credit: L'atelier Lumiere International Photographie
- content inspired by Mastin Labs.