What are they? Why do you do them? Are they important?
I know the wedding industry is very introspective, and can be hard to navigate even if you're a couple about to get married. Often when chatting to couples it becomes clear that styled shoots are a bit of a grey area, people that don't do them don't really 'get them'. Why do you shoot fake weddings if you can get paid to do real weddings!? Why waste your time? They may seem a little bit backwards, but they're something that I absolutely LOVE to do and I'll tell ya why.
Styled shoots for me, are about networking with other wedding suppliers, creating inspirational content, getting creative and collaborating.
Whilst I love wedding photography, self employment can be a lonely old gig. Shoots mean that I can not only chat to other suppliers, but get to MEET THEM (!!!). Yep, in real life and everything. Some of the suppliers I've met from shoots have been incredibly valuable to me, in the friendship we have, the work they produce, and being able to offer them as recommendations to my couples. It's really refreshing for me to be able to meet and chat with suppliers, and collaborate on a shared vision. Shoots are an opportunity for us all to get creative - for example, sometimes you just want to shoot and all black gothic wedding. Or there's a venue you really want to visit that you haven't shot at yet. or you want to try out all dried bouquets. Shoots give us an opportunity to try something completely different. In that vein, we then get to create content that inspires couples looking for something different! You as a couple might follow me on Instagram, see an amazing supplier from a shoot, love their work and then go follow them. It also broadens horizons, I think sometimes couples don't realise all the options and ideas available to them - shoots show something different and allow couples to get creative with their planning too.
The normal way styled shoots work is, someone will start with an idea, they'll then create a mood-board, and set to the task of recruiting suppliers that fit their vision. Everyone involved in the shoot provides their goods and services for free, in return for images from the photographer to use to promote themselves. This may seem a bit of a bum deal for the photographer? Well, maybe it would be if the shoot was a bit rubbish... But when we've had a hand collaborating/creating the content, then the images for us are worth their weight in gold.
Styled shoots get me really excited for my real couples - they give me the time to trial new techniques, test out new 'poses' and come up with new ideas. Most of them take place outside of wedding season, so they keep me from getting bored and rotting on the sofa/my brain turning into mush. They keep me sharp and get my brain cogs whirring! So, that's why I do em, and I think I always will do - I've got SO many coming up that I'm really excited about and can't wait to share. In the meantime, here's a couple of the shoots that I've organised/co organised recently that I'm super proud of - enjoy some inspo!
Eliza and Jordy
Above. Quarry Amphitheatre in Perth Australia. Co organised with the incredible Jenna at Wonderland Invites. We hand picked the best wedding suppliers in Western Australia, to bring this modern, boho chic meets industrial shoot to life.
I knew the absolutely gorgeous Eliza and Jordy from a trip to Perth 7 years earlier. A real married couple, and an absolute dream to photograph.
Stationary: Wonderland Invites, Dress: Bo and Luca from Noa Bridal Studio Florals: Rose and Bud Furniture: Maisey Collections Hair: Hadarah Hair and Makeup Makeup: Elona Commerell Cake: Sieve and Stone Graze: Graze With Jade Hair Accessories: Lilley Jewellery: Iron and Bone
Emma and Adam
Bashall Barn wedding shoot. Bashall Barn is easy one of my favourite venues in the North West to photograph weddings at. Light, bright ceremony and reception space, amazing staff and those gorgeous views. It was a natural choice for our White Ibiza countryside styled shoot.
Some of my favourite ever suppliers were on this - just look at those insane floral installations by Wild Fire Floral Co. Its always a joy to photograph Sam and Emilys floral creations, and even though they're based in the Ribble Valley, we're actually yet to have a real wedding together! I'll just keep my fingers crossed Lol.
We went with classic natural boho with the hair and makeup, and Saskia is an absolute master at that. I'm always obsessed with her work, especially the intricate hair styles she manages to create. Josephine was on makeup - Emma looked beautiful but still natural and like herself.
Dresses were Willowby Watters, supplied by the wonderful Jayne at Foxglove Brides based in Preston. I'm always blown away when I get the chance to visit Jayne's show room, and I'm always met with a smile and a brew. She has the most beautiful stock, from classic to Pronovias, to dreamy Watters.
Faye at Wild Calligraphy was on the co collaboration with me, and she also provided the beautifully delicate deckled place cards, table numbers, and the amazing seating plan. All calligraphed by herself! This Will Be Forever provided that incredible neon, setting the scene for the cool vibes of the shoot, and styled the tablescapes with her cutlery, crockery, vases, runners etc.
That beautiful cake was by Sugar Fancies Bakery, also based in the Ribble Valley. It matched the theme perfectly - I loved the two different shapes and subtle gold foiling.