Ever spent hours designing, curating and styling a shoot only for one of your suppliers to let you down? Flowers not turned out the way you expected? Final images not quite portraying the atmosphere you wanted? Struggling to get featured in the magazines and blogs you were hoping for?
Styled shoots are the lifeblood of the wedding industry, providing inspiration for brides, content for magazine and blog editors and the opportunity to promote your creativity and skill as a wedding professional. But they can also be time consuming and frustrating – especially when things don’t turn out quite the way you hoped.
Over the past six years as editorial stylist and founder of blovedblog.com I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a successful shoot – both as creator and publisher.
So, in May I finally hosted my first wedding styling workshop, The Art of Styling, to share my stylists secrets with a group of up and coming wedding planners, stylists and creatives wanting to up their shoot game. As well as learning what it takes to create a beautiful shoot concept, how to put together an epic shoot team and the key to getting your work published every time, my students got hands on creating their own shoot, assisted by myself and my team of expert wedding professionals (read more about the team below).
MY TOP 5 TIPS FOR CREATING STYLED SHOOTS:
1. Start at the end
Think about your dream bride and work back from there. What publications are they reading? What kind of shoots do they feature? Now create something they’d LOVE to share.
2. Be Unique
If you’re using Pinterest as a source of inspiration, PLEASE STOP! Pinterest is amazing for finding the images you need to communicate your vision, but if you’re using it to find ideas you’re just going to end up repeating everything else that’s out there. Likewise, trends are an important part of the wedding industry, but when you jump on a trend bandwagon you run the risk of not getting published. Why? Because unless you’re the first to release your Pantone Greenery / Modern Geometrics / Blush & Marble shoot you’re going to be one in a long line of suppliers waiting to get published. By all means incorporate current trends into your shoots, but find a way to be fresh! The best way to be unique is to look outside of the wedding industry for inspiration – to nature, fashion, interiors, the crazy amazing world inside your head!
3. GET CLEAR ON YOUR VISION
I use a two-stage approach when explaining my concepts to suppliers. Firstly, I send an email pitching my idea and the benefits of collaborating on a styled shoot along with an initial concept board. This is a single page of images which explain the overall look, feel and palette of the shoot without giving too much away. Once a supplier is confirmed I send a full look book, this breaks each element of the shoot down (flowers, tablescape, bridal look) to give each supplier a clear direction.
4. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Nothing frustrates me more than vague supplier call outs on Facebook. This is a sure-fire way to be disappointed with how the shoot turns out (unless you get very lucky). To bring together a cohesive concept you need suppliers who fit the look and aesthetic of what you’re trying to create and understand the client you’re trying to inspire. So do your research! Don’t be scared of reaching out to suppliers who are ‘too good’ or ‘too big’. You might just be surprised when they say yes! Learning to identify which suppliers have the right style and aesthetic for your shoot will transform your work – and your publication success rate.
5. YOU’RE IN CHARGE
This one took me a long time to master, but as stylist, curator and art director it’s your job to deliver the creative vision you had at the beginning of the process. It’s what you’ve promised your suppliers and the result you need to ensure you get your work featured in your target publication. So ensure that each supplier gets fair coverage of their work, coordinate closely with your photographer to ensure they’re capturing the images you had in your head, and be firm when it comes to making decisions that will affect the outcome of your shoot!
Pssssst… you can see the results of the styled shoot workshop on blovedblog.com!
The Art of Styling Workshops are hosted bi-annually at the B.LOVED Hive, with the next workshop on Wednesday 4th October 2017. This time, I will be sharing my secrets with photographers who not only want to learn about capturing the details editors will love, but also the chance to build their portfolio with a series of vignettes styled by me. The investment for this workshop, including a beautifully designed goody bag and delicious styled group lunch is £495 per person, only six places available.
WANT IN? PRE-REGISTER FOR YOUR PLACE NOW & GET EXCLUSIVE EARLY-BIRD OFFERS AND BONUSES WHEN TICKETS GO ON SALE IN AUGUST.
Workshop team: Styling & Venue: Louise Beukes at the B.LOVED Hive | Photography: Hannah Duffy | Floral Design: Bo Boutique | Bridalwear & Accessories: Luella’s Bridal | Shoes: Charlotte Mills | Rings: The London Victorian Ring Company | Ring Boxes: La Petit Box | HMUA: Alison Jenner | Tableware: Prezola | Silk Runners & Ribbons: Kate Cullen | Cakes: Claire Owen Cakes | Stationery: Oh Wonder Calligraphy | Furniture Hire: The Toast | Model: Sherise Louw