How to Photograph a Styled Shoot

June 4, 2017

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I recently drafted a few posts about planning a styled shoot, but today I wanted to share a few tips on how to actually photograph a styled shoot.

Don’t be afraid to make a shot list. I know, I know. We all avoid wedding day shot lists because it can kill our creativity, but I’ve found that styled shoots can be so hectic with so many moving pieces. There have been times where I’ve envisioned images in my head for weeks, but when it came to the actual shoot, I got caught up and forgot to capture those images. It doesn’t have to be an extensive one, but if you’ve got an idea that you don’t want to forget, write it down.

Style the invitation suite ahead of time. You don’t have to take the “real photos” ahead of time, but I like to fiddle around with the placement of the invitation / envelope and snap photos on my cell phone to remind myself of the layout. Styling invitation suites can be so time consuming, so if you can have a few layouts preplanned, it will save you some time. Of course, a stylist may be taking care of this for you, but I like to be prepared when I can be if their hands are busy setting up something else.Shine Wedding Invitations

Styled by Amber Veatch Designs, stationary by Shine Wedding Invitations, as seen on The Perfect Palette.

Make sure you get plenty of images for every vendor that participated. This is an important one. You asked these vendors to help you pull this inspiration together and they are expecting images that they can use to market their work and products. You should definitely have a list of vendors and take photos for each one involved. Again, these days can be long and crazy, but make sure you get what you need to. This comes down to every last detail, like the bracelet, earrings, shoes, etc – both a product shot, and on the model. The linens, the chairs? I’ve even been asked to take photos of the legs of farm tables. Yeah, you’ve got to get close up photos of them too, even though you may not normally take close up photos of those on an average wedding day. I work my way from one end of the table to the other, taking a photo of every element along the way (except for duplicate place settings). The candles. The centerpieces. The silverware. The name card. The plates. The wine glasses. The runner. You get my point. Wedding at the Acre Orlando Purple and copper wedding inspiration How to photograph a styled shoot how to plan a styled shoot Wedding at The Acre

Venue: The Acre, rentals: Wish Vintage and Emily Grace Designs, table runner: Over the Top Linens,  planning: Tickled Pink Brides, florals: Arrangements Floral Studio, as seen on Ruffled.

Don’t forget a photo for the hair and makeup artist. Sure – those are displayed in all of the model shots – but I’m talking about a “back of head” shot to really show off the hair (those photos do so well on Pinterest) and a looking down photo to really show off the eye shadow.

Bridal hair and makeup inspiration || The Ganeys

Image on the left: Planning: Bourbon and Blush Events, venue: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, gown from Isabel O’Neil Bridal Collection, florals: Hannah’s Floral and Events, hair: Hair by Hannah Armstrong, makeup: Makeup by Emily Ann, as seen on Glamour and Grace.
Image on right:  Designer: Jessica Sloane, venue: The Cordelle, dress designer: Elizabeth Dye, hair and makeup: Amanda Gros, workshop: See Sessions, as seen on Artfully Wed.

Bonus points if you can take vertical and horizontal photos (ugh, I’m so bad at remembering to do this) for each vendor – as some vendors need horizontal photos on their websites.

Also consider having the models interact with each vendor’s product. Have the models sit at the table. Have the couple hold their vows that were hand-written (don’t just take a photo of the vows on the ground with the rings on it). The bride can hold a centerpiece. Just remember that each of these vendors contributed to the shoot for a reason, and they’re going to want to share their contribution from the shoot with the world – so the more you provide them, the greater chance that they’ll share your work.

Trudy Melissa Cakes Tampa bakerStyled by Amber Veatch Designs, cake by Trudy Melissa Cakes, florals by Andrea Layne Floral Design, dress from The Bride, hair and makeup by SMP Makeup, dress designer: Daalarna Couture, as seen on The Perfect Palette.

Don’t forget detail photos of the venue. The venue is also doing you a huge favor. Take some photos that really show off the character of the space.

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Venue: Aristide Wedding Mansion, as seen on The Perfect Palette.

Give yourself extra time. Make a timeline. Give yourself enough time to get through all of the “stations” as well as the portraits. Stations can take longer than expected to set up. Be ready to help out and get your hands dirty.

Make sure you communicate with the team about the expectations for the images – when they can expect them – when / how they can share them. Most publications are okay with a few sneak peeks before the shoot get published, but they want to be the first blog to share the full feature. Ensure that all of your vendors are on the same page, and if you’re keeping the images from the vendors until the feature goes live, at least send updates from the publication when you receive them.

Provide vendor credit when sending the final galleryNot everyone was at the shoot and they may not know everyone else that was involved. Be sure to send out the gallery with full vendor credits (websites, instagram handles, and facebook pages) to the team can credit each other appropriately.

Thank your teamA thank you note goes a long way!

Ready to get your work published? Read some of my tips here. 

Do you have any other questions? Shoot me an email at!

Tampa wedding photography Tampa fine art wedding photographerStyling by Stefanie Miles, florals by Bows and Arrows, venue Chateau St. Julien, rentals from Posh Couture Rentals, taken at the Kayla Barker Workshop.