Part 1: How do you find them? (So, you want to do a styled shoot? Series)
(Photo by Koncept Visuals, with models)
Photo by Still Meadow Photography
First things first: what is a styled shoot?
While wedding styled shoots are most common, they can really be anything: lifestyle, birthday party, bachelorette party, baby shower, whatever works best for your service.
Vendors come together to stage an event. With styled weddings, there may be one – or multiple – couples, and they could be a “real couple” (no modeling experience), models who aren’t in a relationship, or models who are in a relationship. Sometimes there is even a “wedding party” that’s featured.
Bachelor/bachelorette parties will have models playing the parts of the person getting married, as well as the party guests/attendants. Showers and birthday parties may or may not have models. Some shoots are just to show the setup. Plus, finding models is usually the most difficult part of planning a shoot.
Now that you know what they are… how can you actually find styled shoots?
Photo by Maria B Photography
There are nationwide groups like Styled Shoots Across America, Styled Shoots USA, and Styled Shoots and Workshops by Brehant Creations Events where you can find shoots happening all over the country, but they’re a lot more competitive.
Within those groups, scroll through some posts and see if any strike your fancy. Otherwise, you can try creating your own post with a few pics of your work, your location, and what sort of shoot you’re looking to join. That way, you’ll have other vendors coming for you instead of you searching them out!
It might be a bit easier to find shoots if you use styled shoot Facebook groups that are specific to your area. To find those, try searching for things like:
- “styled shoots + your state”
- “your state + wedding photography” or “your state + wedding photographers”
- “TFP + your state” TFP means Trade for Product, which means you’d provide the florals in exchange for photos
- “your region + styled shoot” such as “midwest styled shoot”
Once in a group, make sure you read the rules on what you are allowed to post. Every group has different rules, and some offer warnings while others immediately boot someone out for breaking them.
Also, be sure to have your Instagram and/or website filled with your work, so the other vendors can get a strong sense of what you’re capable of.
Decor for a styled bachelorette party shoot:
Photo by Imagine Foorever Photography
Google + Instagram
Search for wedding and event planners, photographers, stationers, etc. in your area on Google and then find them on Instagram. If they have a website, Instagram will likely be linked either at the top or bottom of every page and/or on the contact page.
Give them a follow & engage with their posts. After you’ve commented a few times, over a few days (or weeks), send them a message! Introduce yourself, your work. After chatting a bit, you can ask if they have any upcoming styled shoots.
Getting your foot in the door with local wedding planners by working with them on a low-stakes event like a styled shoot is a fantastic way to get onto their lists for their future couples.
You can turn on post notifications to be notified whenever they post something new. Being one of the first accounts to like and comment on their new posts will definitely get their attention. But don’t be creepy! If they post 3 times a day or something, feel free to like them all, but I’d only comment on one or two – unless the post really grabs your attention.
Photo by Bleeding Heart Shots, with a real couple.
A quick rundown of what Clubhouse is: It’s a new-ish, audio-only app that’s sort of a combination of a conference and a podcast. You can join rooms and just listen in, or raise your hand to speak/ask questions. All of the rooms are happening live, so it’s a very conversational, community-building app.
Joining local clubs, wedding/event vendor clubs, etc. will get you connected to multiple people in your industry. Just like finding them on Google, go to their Instagram and follow the same steps as above. Luckily, Clubhouse makes it incredibly easy to find people on Instagram; most people have an IG link in their Clubhouse bio, just scroll to the bottom!
In your Clubhouse bio, be sure to explain what you do, where you’re located, whether or not you ship your items, anything else that will help set you apart from others who do what you do. You can even mention that you’re actively looking for styled shoots to join. Also, make sure you also have your Instagram linked in your Clubhouse bio, so other vendors can find you!
These methods have worked for me numerous times. I hope that they’ve helped prepare you to go out and find styled shoots to showcase your services and products!
So, you want to do a styled shoot? Part 2: Benefits of Styled Shoots
What are the benefits of styled shoots & what do you get out of them? Part 2 answers those questions!