I recently attended my first Styled Shoot. I knew about them for a long time before I decided to give it a try. I waited as long as I did because I thought they were just not authentic enough, but now that I've given it a chance, let me tell you why I think it's a great idea for photographers and vendors.
What to Expect when you're a Photographer at a Styled Shoot
If you've never been a part of a styled wedding shoot before, it can be hard to know whether or not it's worth the cost. So many questions come to mind.
Will there be too many photographers there? Will I even be able to get good images if there's so many other people around shooting? Do I get time alone with the models? Is the time given really enough? What if the lighting is bad? Can I use a flash?
The answer is...complicated. It depends on who is organizing the event. In general these type of shoots will be at a Wedding Venue with some local vendors who are looking to benefit from all the posts that will follow from having tons of photographers there. They'll likely get more publicity from a styled shoot than from any one wedding. At our shoot there were rentals, a florist, makeup artist, hair stylist, wedding dress lender, jewelry maker, cake maker, invitation designer, etc.
For the shoot I attended there were four stations with 4-5 photographers at each station at any given time. We rotated every half hour, totaling 2 hours of shooting. I personally thought this was perfect and never felt like I needed additional time, but that's just me. I was also lucky to be in a group of four.
The couples are typically real couples (best in my opinion) but can sometimes be models. Sometimes there are just singles posing as a bride or groom. Sometimes there are he + she couples, and sometimes there are he + he and she+ she. You'll have to find out beforehand if you're wanting a particular couple represented on your website or social posts! That also goes for any kind of representation.
I personally preferred when there was a couple to work with because they can focus on each other and will likely feel less self conscious. They also have more posing options since they have each other. Don't get me wrong, you can get some amazing work with a single person, but I personally find myself more inspired when working with couples. You might be different!
How to Choose the Right Styled Shoot
I recommend doing your research. Look at what others have done and ask them these questions:
Were you happy with the event organization?
Did they keep the number of photographers to a minimum?
Did they choose high quality vendors?
Were the models responsive to your direction?
Did they provide ideal lighting?
Did you feel that you were given enough time with the models?
What kind of couples did they have?
Any other things that are important to you!
So is it Worth it, Rachel?
In a word, yes! The shoot I attended was fairly local ( I only had to drive about an hour) and so the cost was just the price of the ticket. Tickets can be anywhere from a couple of hundred to several hundred. I have not been to a multiple day shoot but I think it's fair to say you get what you pay for! I think that is usually true when it comes to all things photography!
I chose an affordable option for my first shoot since I had no clue what to expect. It's not for everyone. I will say the biggest benefit for me was that it was FUN! I loved getting out of my cave in frigid cold Minnesota and being around other creatives. I had so much fun getting to direct the models and tell them what kind of mood and emotion I was going for because in a real wedding I take a more documentarian approach and there's so much real emotion to capture that I don't usually need to direct them this way. It was different and it was really enjoyable. I took the opportunity to test out a new camera and a new method of shooting I just learned so it was a great way for me to experiment with great subjects in a low pressure situation.
Shout Out to those who made it possible! Find and follow them on Instagram!
Event Coordinator: @bluemaestyledshoots
Rings + Jewelry: @humbleandspark
@babydiamond15 @fosternicole @johnpneumann
And of course, follow me on instagram here: