How to Create a Styled Wedding Shoot: A Guide for Photographers
The essence of a styled wedding shoot is all about inspiration, creativity, and showcasing your skill set as a photographer.
It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your vision, control every detail, and produce a cohesive collection of images that tells a story. With the evolving trends in wedding fashion and varying client preferences, creating a styled shoot requires thorough research and meticulous planning. Let’s delve into the process and touch on the do’s and don’ts of curating a breathtaking styled wedding shoot.
Traditional & Trending Wedding Fashion
Do stay updated with bridal magazines, wedding blogs, and fashion shows. This will give you a clear perspective on both time-honored styles and contemporary trends.
Don’t blindly follow trends. Instead, try to integrate them seamlessly into your shoot, ensuring that they align with the overarching theme.
Do understand your target audience. Whether you’re targeting boho brides, luxury weddings, or intimate elopements, ensure your styled shoot speaks directly to that clientele.
Don’t attempt to cater to everyone in one shoot. It’s essential to have a clear focus to avoid a confusing or incoherent final gallery.
VENUE AND AESTHETIC: THE MAKE-OR-BREAK FACTORS
The choice of venue and the aesthetic direction can heavily influence the overall vibe of your gallery.
What’s wrong with this photo?
Although the florals are really pretty, they are placed smack dab in front of a black building beam. The florals are really beautiful, but lack originality and are focusing on a luxury trend that was popular a few years ago. For a much more elevated look, taking away greenery would have been amazing or adding different height to the stems. You can also add fabrics to chairs, runners, etc.
Trust your florist, but give them direction to what you want to accomplish.
The Chuck Taylors were trendy about 10 years ago. The shoes gave a cute nods to the couple’s playfulness. However, with the more luxe vibe of the florals and mono chromatic theme, they don’t fit. These shoes were showcased with a bride model wearing a cheap looking short dress one would pick up for $12 (I am all about the short elopement dress, but know your fabrics, fit and model body type), and pair of heart shaped sunglasses that scream over done. It was a Wild Card Look, which…. see below:
Wedding attire should match the venue. Making sure the clothing fits the models (add appropriate undergarments) is key to creating a publishable photo.
If the couple has character and chemistry, that’s also what sets the difference of a successful photo shoot vs. a dud. Hiring professional couples who know how to pose is also insanely important. I have attended several shoots where the couple was married, but she was over posing and he was just a pile of nerves. I have also attended shoots where the individual models are hired to be connecting for romantic photos… A total nightmare on the chemistry factor.
multiple looks is really great– it helps give portfolio diversity. BUT, I have attended shoots that they feel a “wild card” look is necessary vibe.
Girl, F*ck No!
Either it makes me think you didn’t have another model that fit the shoot esthetic or you ran out of wardrobe. The wild card look will not get you published. It also will not help your portfolio on developing a consistent look. Don’t waste photographers time and money if you’re hosting a workshop. Having unique points is really important, but dedicating time to something that doesn’t even tie into your shoot is pointless.
1. Overcomplicate the Setup: Remember, the primary focus should always be the couple or the showcased fashion. An overly ornate setting can distract from this.
2. Neglect the Natural Surroundings: If the venue has unique features, such as a cascading waterfall or historic architecture, incorporate them into your shots. Make sure things like a building structure beam isn’t throwing off the balance of your set up. The rule of thirds should be taken into consideration when setting up, just like when you take the actual photo.
3. Forget the Logistics: Ensure easy access for everyone involved, check if permits are required, and be aware of any restrictions that might affect your shoot.
Complement Fashion with Venue: If you’re showcasing a vintage wedding gown, an antique mansion or historic site might be a fitting backdrop. For boho dresses, think natural settings like beaches or forests.
Scout the Venue in Advance: Visit the venue ahead of time, during the same time of day as the planned shoot, to understand the lighting conditions and potential challenges.
Incorporate Props Thoughtfully: Props can elevate the storyline of your shoot. For instance, antique furniture can enhance a vintage theme, while macramé and dreamcatchers can highlight a boho vibe.
Stay True to a Cohesive Color Palette: The colors you choose should be harmonious and reflect both the venue’s natural palette and the mood you’re aiming to evoke.
The end goal of a styled wedding shoot is not only to showcase your abilities as a photographer but also to tell a captivating story through your lens. By staying informed about both timeless and trending wedding styles, understanding your target clientele, and meticulously choosing the venue and aesthetic, you’re well on your way to crafting a gallery that speaks volumes about your vision and expertise. Happy shooting!
Happy planning and shooting,