Behind the Scenes of Styled Shoots
Just how every wedding is different, the same can be said for styled photoshoots. Many factors go into the equation to create a unique experience. What is a styled photoshoot you ask? A styled photoshoot is a staged wedding, event, or design scheme for vendors to showcase their talents, create beautiful images, and most importantly, inspire future clients to enhance and beautify their wedding. Most clients don't realize just how creative wedding professionals can get and just what type of out of the box ideas we have. The focus is to show them what we can do for them. But back to how a styled shoot is different from a wedding... Aside from the pure scale, a shoot includes most of the same elements from a real wedding. Just as each real wedding is different from mood, atmosphere, and design style, so do photoshoots. From photography style, friend models vs. professional models vs. actors (yes, actors!), floral design, stationery, itty-bitty design details, linens, venue, and many other very important factors, photoshoot to photoshoot can vary significantly. So lets chat about 2 very different photoshoots and why we loved creating them; Industrial Warehouse Wedding Inspiration vs. Safari Glamping Wedding Editorial.
The Industrial Shoot was urban and modern, filled with vibrant colors and textures. On the other hand, our Safari Glamping Shoot was organic and natural focusing on a free-spirited and bohemian vibe in an outdoor environment. We love both shoots equally, but as you can tell, they are very different from one another. Before I continue, let's us say that the main focus of our styled shoots revolves around creating fresh and unique ideas for our ideal clients... adventurous couples interested in creating an out-of-the box experience. Honestly, the majority of our real weddings are either in industrial spaces or outdoor gardens and our couples are also so free-spirited and laid-back, interested in creating a "feeling" rather than keeping to the uber formality that comes with some weddings. Although very inspirationally diverse, both of these shoots appeal to our style of couple. Now is also the time to say that it takes a village. Weddings take a slightly larger village, but styled shoots incorporate many if not the same amount of vendors, just on a smaller scale. Creating the dream team is no easy task. It involves a lot of inspiration board creation and sharing of ideas, countless meetings and walkthroughs, and a very different type of collaboration than a wedding. Wanting to ensure that the shoot captures all vendor's interests, it can be a challenge to ensure that everyone's unique visions are on the same page when there is so much flexibility. We truly take the time to create a dream team that will reflect the style of the shoot down to a "T."
But back to these shoots... I'm going to explain the different elements to consider in a photoshoot, why it is important, and what I learned from assisting with both of these shoots. So much comparison yet so many things to take into consideration!
One of the first things I noticed between the shoots was the difference between photography style. While both were professional and talented, it was easy to see how one picture would differ from the other. Each had their own photo-capturing process, personal style, and editing choices which helped me realize how important it is for couples to discover and choose a photographer that they mesh well with. For the Industrial Shoot, our photographer Krista Mason had an active interest in how the couple looked in each setting. She spent a lot of time capturing sweet moments between the couple that reflect how most couples feel and interact on their wedding day. She was also really good at bringing out natural expressions and body positions. When it came to detail shots of the accents or flowers, she also spent a lot of time setting up the shots, capturing many different angles of the same focus, and watching lighting constantly. She was very interested in the composition of creating each artistic photo. In comparison, our Safari Shoot photographer, Shelly Anderson, was very quick and detail + design oriented. Of course she spent ample time with the couple capturing the romantic poses (which was actually quite easy because they were a real couple who also happen to be photographers themselves), but also because this shoot was filled with so many gorgeous details, she knew how important it was to not neglect them. The small pieces that sometimes get over looked, such as our specialty glassware rentals and vase + lantern decor, was something she focused on up-close. We always appreciate it when these minuet details get noticed because that is a reflection of our work and what we bring to the table with real weddings. Being quick and focused, she took a relaxed and organic approach to capturing the day without staying strict on the timeline. The entire shooting time was over within 1.5-2 hours, half of which was focused on the "bride and groom." We love both photographers and their styles, truly, but every photographer (and vendor for that matter) works differently. Getting to know this process (before the shoot as well as before the wedding day) is immensely important in ensuring a smooth flow and consistent style.
While working with the two different couples, I noticed differences in personalities and comfortability that affected each styled shoot. Our Bride & Groom for the Industrial Shoot at Howl, although were not a real couple, knew exactly how to look the part (our "Bride" is a professional model and our "Groom" is an actor). They were great to work with because they were having fun having known each other already and open to the experience. They asked questions about how we want the shoot to "feel" was I found that really impressive that they wanted to represent appropriately. Our photographer captured beautiful shots of them together and it wasn't hard to give direction. On the other hand, our Safari couple have actually been married for years and are photographers themselves! This shoot was much more romantic since the couple were already relaxed and comfortable getting intimate together. It was easy to capture candid loving looks and romantic embraces. Also, because of the vast open space of our venue, we had more landscape to work with allowing them to get a little bit more adventurous with different angles. Which brings me to the last important thing I learned while experiencing these shoots...
Location is everything. The venue is obviously a huge aspect when it comes to a wedding, and that is no different for styled shoots. The location's atmosphere should be used to reflect the personalities and styles of the couple and design. The first shoot at Howl was in a historic building that had an modern industrial vibe through the exposed brick, pipes, barn doors, and large windows which gave the shoot a modern vibe. With the area already having a lot of character, although simple, our goal was to accentuate the environment with our design. The organic accent pieces and vibrant florals accomplished that goal. The second shoot was held at the San Diego Safari Park in their new African Plains Overlook venue. This area is full of natural beauty with stunning views of the pond, trees, and of course, exotic animals. Being surrounded by so much nature already meant that we didn't need to go overboard. Understated bohemian accents leant a romantic vibe to the ceremony space without being in conflict with the environment. Many venues have photos of their venue spaces already, but where the styled shoots help is with visualization. Looking at a picture of an empty venue is not always helpful, because some couples need to see how the space looks when decorated, or how to best utilize the space. A blank canvas isn't always ideal, and we love doing styled shoots to show off the possibilities of what your event could be.
Assisting Nicole with the design and production of both of these photoshoots was an eye opening experience and helped me to understand this business in a more "behind the scenes" way. I appreciate styled shoots so much more now because not only are they fun to create something new and unique, but it is inspiring to see the creative vibes just flow between everyone involved. It is so natural when you bring together a dream team open to other's ideas, but also have the same goal: creating a visual experience that highlights our talents and what could be. Styled shoots encourage unique themes, out of the box decor, and color palettes that are outside of the typical wedding to inspire couples to branch out more. Custom and unique weddings are always more fun, don't you agree? Check out both our awesome styled shoots through the links below!
You can find our Industrial Warehouse Wedding Inspiration featured on 100 Layer Cake here.
You can find our Safari Glamping Wedding Editorial on Ruffled here.