The bridal designers' guide to photo shoot collaborations: 4 things to know about styled shoots

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall.

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall.

Styled shoots, editorial photo shoots, marketing campaign shoots - whatever you call them - if you're a bridal designer, you've probably been approached about one (same goes for accessory designers, bridal salons, pr agencies, etc.) If you haven't, the more you market your brand (especially on Instagram), it's only a matter of time before you'll get a request.

In my opinion, styled shoots can be a fantastic way to get a lot of content for social media (especially visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest). Styled shoots are also a great opportunity to get press - planning, styling, producing and submitting photo shoots is a service I offer by the way! I also believe there is tremendous value in bartering with other vendors for mutual benefit on projects such as these.

As with any project, a creative director or brand manager has to address a number of points about a photo shoot to decide if it's worth it. In my experience with bridal photo shoots, I've found four important points to address before jumping onto a vendor list.

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall. Wedding dress from Celia Grace. Shot at Steam Plant in Dayton.

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall. Wedding dress from Celia Grace. Shot at Steam Plant in Dayton.

CONTRACTS
I HIGHLY (notice the capital letters) recommend having a contract between you and the photographer, borrower agreement and a model release at the absolute minimum. Contracts hold everyone accountable to an agreement, and also outline all of the details about the project (i.e., how brands will be credited, who is responsible for what, what happens in the event of damaged goods, etc.) Save yourself any potential trouble and questions and put together a contract. I've used RocketLawyer for contracts, as well as written my own. 

COST
Even getting photographs at no cost, styled shoots themselves are not free. Whether it be materials, damages, shipping or otherwise, there has to be an obvious benefit for me to say yes - this is in terms of quality of vendors, press features, turnover time, etc.

USAGE
In the event you're participating in a styled shoot for publication, understand the images may be kept private for weeks, or even months. If a photographer sends a 'sneak peek' make sure you're clear on if you can share this publicly or not. Finally, be sure that images can be printed, used in marketing or otherwise before anyone in your marketing department adds them to a catalogue, alters the photo or invests in vinyl signage. 

EXPECTATION VS. REALITY
Research the vendors participating in the shoot (most importantly photographer, model(s) and beauty/artistry team.) If the mood boards scream top-notch service but their own website, social media or portfolio are amateur at best - you can bet the team can't deliver the inspiration. A harsh dose of reality: anticipate damages on your laces, silks, your wire-worked accessories and delicate items. Always inquire if there is a stylist on hand for quality control.

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall. Wedding Dress from Celia Grace. Accessories from Kata Banko Couture. Shot at Steam Plant in Dayton, Ohio.

Flower arrangements by The Flower Man, decor from Something Old Dayton, planned and styled by Perry Rose Media, and photographed by Chelsea Hall. Wedding Dress from Celia Grace. Accessories from Kata Banko Couture. Shot at Steam Plant in Dayton, Ohio.

I hope this quick list of important thinking points helps you make strategic choices on who you choose to collaborate with for visual communications. If you'd like to learn more about my editorial production services, you can get in contact with me here.

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