At the end of June I had the pleasure of working with some amazing DFW vendors to put together a styled shoot at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. This beautiful space is an untapped treasure for anyone looking for a mix of modern and nature that doesn't want to break the bank. I thought I would outline a few of the details from the shoot as well as pass along a few tips for creative working on or thinking of planning a styled shoot. I am not a pro at styled shoot prep or execution, however I have been at the forefront of planning for both shoots I have been a part of this year and have learned a lot that might be helpful.
1. Get a Planner/Coordinator: If you are going for a full scale styles shoot, I recommend an event planner be involved. They are trained in being organized and keeping a timeline that holds everyone accountable. The first styled shoot I was a part of I planned and executed with only a few minor first-timer mistakes, however on this go around I had the help of a very organized and helpful (shoutout Kaitlynn!) event planner that helped bring my vision to life and let me focus on the more creative side and share the burden of logistics.
2. Keep a Google Doc or some sort of spreadsheet that contains everyone's information. The first time I planned on my own I wrote it all down and kept detailed lists, but could have input the information into a Google Doc once and allowed all of the vendors to have access to it, and saved myself a lot of typing and having to refer back to my notes in the long run. (Do keep detailed notes for yourself, just have a public reference sheet you can send to people looking for the information)
3. Make sure to have 2-3 vendors in mind for every role you need filled. We set the date for this shoot on Father's Day and it made it more of a challenge to find vendors who weren't out of town or occupied. Pro tip: just don't schedule styled shoots on holidays if you can avoid it, makes things a bit easier for all those involved.
4. Depending on the size of the team that is able to make it on the day of the shoot (not the vendors that contributed but weren't able to physically be there) make sure you have about 2 hours for set up. For some that might sound excessive, but by the time you unload, organize, decorate, and delegate, 2 hours is a very short timeframe for a very intricate set up I might suggest tacking another 30 mins to an hour on for safety. Remember, you can push back your time some, however the lighting for the photographer is important and you don't want to miss key shots because you didn't start set up soon enough. You will also need at least an hour for tear down.
5. Bring more than you need. This is in reference to florals, décor, place settings and the like. One of the keys to the gorgeous styled shoots you see online is how full the frame always is. If you don't need it, you don't have to use it, but I would never want to get there and feel like my tables felt empty or the décor looked sparse.
6. Think about the story and inspiration behind the shoot. If you are interested in getting your work published (who isn't?) your gorgeous images might be enough, however a good story with details can really give you a leg up and help grab an editors attention. Think of it like this. What sounds better? 'This is all pretty stuff and a nice color palette', or 'This shoot was inspired/based on ______ and you can notice the theme in details such as _____.'
7. Details make it great. Really spend some time thinking of unique details outside of your color palette, florals, and basic rental décor. Think of small things you can find or purchase that you don't often see that is cohesive with your theme. These can be 'wedding favors' outfit or hair details, dramatic shots with smoke bombs, sparklers, or confetti, or something as simple as statement jewelry.
Hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes sneak peek at the BRIT Styled Shoot I had the priveledge of shooting. Look below for a full list of vendors:
Venue: Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Event Planner: Kaitlynn Kiddy
Second Shooter: Opal and Onyx Photography
Florals: T&T Flowers and Gifts
Cake: Crème de la Crème Cake Company
Dress: Ava's Bridal Couture
Calligraphy/Invitation Suite: Made by Morg
Place Settings: May I Serve U?
Linens: SEAT by Design
Hair & Makeup: Kiss and Makeup DFW
Videographer: JWO Creative