In my last blog post, I shared 10 Tips to Opening a Successful Creative Business, and one of the tips I touched on was participating in styled shoots! They are an excellent way to grow your business, network with other like-minded vendors, and receive professional photos of your work in exchange for your time, products, and/or services! For the next several weeks, I am going to walk you through a styled shoot, and share some information on how they can be successful for your business, and why I think they are worthwhile!
So, what IS a styled shoot you ask? A styled shoot (or editorial), is when a group of vendors come together and collaborate on a staged shoot of a specific theme or event (most often in my case, a wedding), to provide inspiration and flex their creative muscles! This can be as simple or as elaborate as you would it to be, but the more detail-oriented and original the shoot, the more likely it will be picked up for publication (which I will discuss soon!) It's important to clearly understand the theme and purpose behind the shoot before you commit- most vendors will create a Pinterest or design board so potential collaborators can get an idea of the vision for the shoot! I encourage you to select a styled shoot theme and purpose that closely aligns with your business and ideal client, but also stretch your creativity and try new things!! Thinking outside the box and generating unique ideas will lead to a wonderful shoot.
Selecting potential vendors to collaborate with is the next step to creating a beneficial styled shoot. Reaching out to vendors that have a similar aesthetic and clientele is an important thing to research before asking them to participate. Another thing to note is that not all vendors can work "for free" for styled shoots. For example, vendors such as florists provide a perishable item, that once used for a shoot, die a few days later. With the high costs of flowers, it's not uncommon to spend upwards of $300-$400 on styled shoots! It's always polite to ask vendors what their cost of participation is, and to never assume that they are donating their money or time without compensation. Styled shoots can get pricey, but when done correctly, they are SO worth the investment and time!!
Styled shoots can be a wonderful way to also collaborate with local venues. Unless you are marketing yourself as a destination wedding professional, chances are high you probably want to do business within your state, and close surroundings. For example, my business is based in Richmond, Virginia, so I like to do shoots relatively close to my location, such as the Hampton Roads or Charlottesville area! Choosing a venue that you want to work with on a styled shoot is a good way to highlight your location, and provide options for venues that local clients could choose to host their wedding at! After the shoot, maybe the venue will share some social media posts with your photos of the day, which could reach even more potential clients! When selecting a venue, make sure it's a place that you would love to return to for future work opportunities, and treat the staff there with respect, and involve them in the shoot if possible!! If you are a easy-to-work with vendor, you will definitely stand out as someone they would like to work with again.
Coming up soon, I am going to chat more about styled shoots and how submitting for publication can increase visibility and credibility for your creative small business! So my question for you is: Have you ever done a styled shoot before? If so, did it lead to new opportunities and clients? I would love to hear about your experiences!