1. Choose a theme for your shoot
Before you dive too deep into planning this event, you’ll want to get clear on the concept or theme of your shoot. Make sure to keep your ideal client in mind as you go about planning. Will it be a romantic lakeside shoot, or perhaps a woodsy elopement shoot. Having a clear direction for your shoot will make the planning process a lot easier.
2. Make a mood board
Once you’ve got your theme for the shoot, you’ll want to make a mood board or Pinterest board filled with inspiration to help as you plan your shoot and to keep in mind when you’re actually taking the photos. You can also send out this mood board to the vendors you will be working with to give them a sense of how to cater their services.
3. Choose a date and location/venue
You’ll want to select a date (or two) that you can block out for this styled shoot, especially if coordinating with other vendors for pick up and services. You also want to select a location or a wedding venue that fits the theme of your shoot, so make sure to choose carefully so you can get the best images possible from this shoot. You may even want to visit this location or venue prior to the shoot to get a lay of the land.
4. Select and reach out to wedding vendors
Now that you have a theme, date, and location in mind for your styled shoot, it’s time to gather a list of wedding vendors you want to work with. Make sure to choose a team of vendors that can bring your vision to life, while keeping in mind that vendors may be too busy or not interested in contributing free services, so have some back up’s ready just incase. When reaching out to vendors, make sure to include information about your vision for the shoot, and what this might entail.
5. Choose your model(s).
Models are a very important part of your shoot, so make sure to choose models that fit well with your style and theme, whether that means finding the right look, experience, or personalities. If you’re on a budget and aren’t able to hire a model, a good idea is to collaborate with an Instagram influencer or find a couple willing to have some fun and free photos in return.
6. Plan and coordinate your day-of timeline
Now that you have your dream team together, you’re ready to officially coordinate with everyone and plan out the day of your styled shoot. Make sure to include when vendors will need to drop off, pick up, or perform their service(s), who will need to be at the location and when, and the general event(s) happening throughout the day. Remember that if you are initiating this styled shoot, unless you have a designated coordinator working with you, you are the coordinator! You’ll want to share this day-of timeline with all vendors and individuals involved in this shoot.
Make sure to send a beautiful gallery of your best images to all vendors involved, including information on who to tag when posting images on social media. You may also want to submit your images to publications, so before sharing the images make sure to check if the publications you have submitted to require exclusivity. Once you get the go-ahead or if you aren’t submitting the images, share your images to your social media, website, and blog! Don’t forget to thank everyone involved for contributing their services to your shoot.