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The Beginning Steps to Organizing a Styled Shoot

For the Creative

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little bit about the styled shoot that my friend, Marlayna, and I put together. The time leading up to the shoot was exciting, frustrating, and - at times - overwhelming. But we kept pushing forward, because we knew at the end something great was waiting for us. We truly weren't expecting all of the hard-work and beauty that everyone contributed to this day. Even though our final images have to stay under-wraps for now, I wanted to start a conversation about the behind the scenes of the shoot. As I said earlier, there was a lot that Marlayna and I put into this, and I feel like there is so much that we can share regarding the process of planning and executing. I am totally aware that there is just too much information for one blog, so I'll be organizing my posts into the different parts of a styled shoot.

Organization is the key to staying sane.

If you are planning a styled shoot either on your own or with a fellow creative, please utilize a service like Google Drive. I cannot tell you enough how huge this was in keeping us on track and professional. The ability to have a cloud system that can share spreadsheets and documents is a total lifesaver. For our shoot, we started by creating a shared folder. Anything that we needed from that point was readily available in the form of a spreadsheet or a document. Marlayna and I both really excel at making lists and know that, without all of our obsessive list making, we would have been so frazzled.

I understand if creating the Google Sheets and Docs gets a little daunting, since information may be scarce at the beginning. The best advice I can give is to start with the type of vendors you know you will need: a photographer, a florist, hair, make-up, dress. You don't even need to have specific people to fill these roles yet, this is all just putting in words and getting organized. Once you have those, you can easily start hunting for your theme. For us, we knew we wanted a cake, even though we weren't sure what kind or even the look. Having it on our list and knowing that we needed to look for one made our search for inspiration much more focused.




Find a theme that is creative and you connect with.

Typically for styled shoots, there is only one photographer, but Marlayna and I work so well together we wanted to collaborate on a shoot. We really weren't sure if our individual dreams for this session would be cohesive, so we wanted to tackle the theme of the shoot immediately after setting up our general vendor list. Knowing that we needed to find something unique, we turned to Pinterest for all of our inspirational photo needs. Much like Google Drive, Pinterest is a site that has the ability to make your ideas shareable, which makes the blending of two styles flawless. We used our board to figure out the mood of the shoot and the general colors. Thanks to a shared board, deciding on our theme took maybe 30 minutes and we were able to return to our sheet and begin vendor research.



Use creative groups and personal relationships to assemble your team.

After you know what you need and you have your theme, you need to put this collection of colors and textures out into the world in order to find people to collaborate with. An initial choice is to type what you need into a Google search and then click on whatever links appear. But that gets to be extremely overwhelming, especially when you aren't sure if the people you are looking at are even interested. Marlayna and I tried doing web searches as well as scouring through Instagram for people that may fit what we were looking for, but we felt defeated by doing that. We knew we needed to present our theme, so we decided to turn to the Rising Tide Society. Almost immediately, we connected with individuals expressing their interest in the theme and wanting to know more.

We also used past experiences and friendships with vendors in order to bring our Pinterest board to life. Since both of our weddings were relatively recent, we both had a great list of vendors that were interested in participating. We also had friends that were more than willing to help, sacrificing time from work in order to make the shoot a success. I know a styled shoot can feel like everything needs to be out of this world, but if you are able to glance around at the people in your life, you may find something that fits your vision perfectly.




These three steps are just to get you started. There are so many more facets to a styled shoot that I cannot wait to cover in future posts. Without a doubt, the above processes significantly helped our session be a success. I would say the thing that made us believe that this was possible was having the ability to be 100% organized before diving into emails, meetings, and agreements.

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