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How To Set Up A Styled Shoot In 7 Steps

One of the best ways you can grow in your creativity is through collaboration with a styled shoot. There are so many reasons I love planning styled shoots. Styled shoots not only showcase your talent and give you an opportunity to try new things, but they also expand your reach as a photographer because you get to partner with other industry leaders that will share your images with their works of art as well. The point of these shoots is to tell a story, but also showcase the skills and services of wedding businesses.

I know we can go a little pin crazy on Pinterest when looking for inspiration, and sometimes these shoots, though extremely beautiful can also look effortless, but they are actually quite a lot more complex to put together than people might think.

Here is a quick step by step guide for you to set up a styled shoot.

1. Create Your Concept
This often comes to us, rather than us going to look for it. It could be when we’re daydreaming in the shower or we’re out on a walk in nature. For me, my ideas tend to come to me at the strangest times. I recommend keeping a folder in your notes where you can drop these ideas or concepts into as they come to you. This way you have a bank of ideas to pull from.

2. Build Your Team
The second step is the most important. Compile a list of elements that will be required for your shoot and go ahead and match those element up with the vendors you’d like to work with. One of the best things about doing a styled shoot, is getting to collaborate and connect with other wedding vendors. I do recommend reaching out to vendors you already have some sort of relationship with and that also have a similar style or target audience.

Remember, for some wedding vendors, a styled shoot can be a really big expense for them so if this is your first time planning one and you approach someone who says no, don’t be discouraged. If it’s someone you REALLY want to work with, you can also consider offering to cover some of the cost.

3. Create Mood Board
This is the fun part. Collecting and pulling inspiration is a great way to communicate with other vendors the overall look and vision of your concept. It’s also a great tool for collaboration so everyone can lend their creative genius to the shoot.

4. Find Models
Having the right models is SO key because you can have all of the perfect details but if someone isn’t comfortable or extremely confident, it will affect your photos. Make sure you take the time to find the right models.

5. Make A Schedule
There can be a lot of moving parts on the day of a styled shoot. I mean, you’re basically setting up a wedding! You’ll want to make sure that everyone on your team knows all of the details, like where they need to be and when. If you’re collaborating with a wedding planner, then this may not be something you’ll need to manage but if you’re heading up the shoot, make sure you take the time to be organized and communicate to everyone involved so you don’t have any set backs.

6. Shoot With The Publication In Mind
If you are planning a styled shoot for the purposes of getting your work published, it’s best to pre plan which publications those are so that you can be more intentional with what you photograph (details, models, venue etc) but also how you shoot. Make a detailed shot list based off of the popular blog publications that you’re hoping to submit to. Pay attention to the kinds of photos they publish so you can replicate the appropriate shot list for your shoot day! The images from this blog were featured on the White Wren. To see more of this editorial, click here!

7. Thank your vendors!
A great way to thank the vendors who you collaborate with, is to gift them with branding photos. I love grabbing some behind the scenes shots and headshots so they can use them on their website and social platforms. Styled shoots make the perfect backdrop for updated branding photos! I also like to send my team sneak peaks so they can see the fruits of their labor. Of course, if you are hoping to have your shoot published, then the images will have to stay under wraps until you hear back. A lot of publications don’t want these images to be published anywhere else before they hit their website or blog but it’s still fun to show your team their work! Thank you notes are always a nice touch, and make people feel loved and cared for. Be sure to take the time to thank your team for their efforts. A little goes a long way!

I hope this was helpful! If you ever have any questions about styled shoots feel free to reach out. I also offer one on one mentoring sessions to new photographers looking to grow their businesses. You can email me at or find me on Instagram at @jennyjeanphotography

Happy Shooting!


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