The styled shoot series: why do a styled shoot?

Welcome to the styled shoot series!


This is a 4-part blog series dedicated to the whys, hows, and wherefores of styled shoots. My experience is obviously that of a photographer, but I’m hoping this will be helpful to other vendors too. I’ll try to keep things general rather than too photography-specific.

Styled shoots definitely have a time and place. I think they can be incredibly useful if your intentions are clear from the beginning and you follow a plan. So let’s start with the “why.”

Why would anyone set up a styled shoot?



If you missed my “how to stay inspired” blog, one of the things I recommended was getting creative with a styled shoot.

These are a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and get outside your “usual.” Experiment.


Being published gives you authority

There’s something about saying that you’re published in a blog or in a print magazine that inspires trust. It tells your clients that your work is accepted in the industry, that you know what you’re doing.

There are definitely other ways to build trust, but this is a nice benefit of styled shoots (or real shoots!). Many vendors will only do styled shoots if the end goal is to publish.


Vendor relationships

Speaking of vendors…

In an industry like the wedding industry, knowing the “right” people has multiple benefits. For starters, once you work with other vendors,  you can confidently refer your clients. No one wants to recommend a florist to a client for a wedding only to realize you’ve recommended someone unprofessional or flaky. Work with other people! Get to know them and their style.

This also gives them a chance to recommend you.


Portfolio building

Whether you’re a new photographer, or you want to pivot into a different style, or add something to your repertoire, styled shoots are the way to go. It’s difficult for clients to trust you with a boudoir shoot if you don’t have any boudoir photos to show them. Set up a styled shoot with a few models (who don’t actually have to be models), makeup artist, maybe even a lingerie company if you want to work with them in the future, and go to town.


Safe place to try out new gear/techniques

You ever have an idea that you really want to try, but you aren’t willing to risk it with a paying client in case it doesn’t work? Styled shoot.

Or you got a new lens, want to try a new style of makeup application, haven’t tried writing on a non-conventional surface before… Styled shoot.

You can make this what you want, whether it’s a full-scale all hands on deck shoot, or just you and a model. The bigger it gets, the more pressure there is to deliver to the other vendors involved, so keep that in mind.


Make use of the down time!

September is to wedding vendors what April is to tax accountants. Busy busy busy. But once the holidays hit, things tend to slow down a touch.

Instead of bemoaning the lack of clients, take the time to recharge after busy season; work on some “back end” projects for your business that you didn’t have time for before; and enjoy the gap to experiment, refresh your portfolio, push your business forward, and work with people you haven’t had a chance to work with.

Don’t just sit on your hands.



Stay tuned for how to plan a styled shoot, what to do after, and a peek at one of my shoots from last autumn xx

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