Why I’ll Always Shoot Styled Shoots

Two words for you:

I recently photographed a styled shoot organized by the amazing women over at Bristle + Bride that included a dream team of vendors. When I got the email inviting me to be a part, I was so excited to see my name among some of Atlanta’s most fabulous creators (and perhaps a little terrified because I desperately wanted to do all of their amazing work justice). The end result was beautiful, and I can’t even explain how thrilled I was to be involved.

However, before I dive into chatting your ear (or… eyes, since this is on the internet…) off about how much I love styled shoots, I wanted to share with you what exactly a styled shoot is. To say that a styled shoot is just that, a shoot that is styled, is pretty vague. As photographers, all the shoots we do are technically styled since we help our clients curate their wardrobe and location with style guides so we can make the most of our time together. The main difference is when you set out photograph a “styled shoot”, your focus shifts from working with your specific clients in the environment they provide you, to working with other vendors, and the sky’s the limit in terms of possibilities.

After completing this shoot, I was left feeling so inspired by the artists and models involved that I wanted to share with you all my biggest (and honest) takeaways from the process and why I think all you wedding photographers out there should be taking advantage of this practice.

Styled shoots are often referred to as “inspiration shoots” – and for good reason.
Styled shoots have become really common with wedding creatives. The connectedness we experience now through social media has allowed us to come together in ways we haven’t experienced before. When you have a brave, beautiful idea, it’s not hard anymore to find the perfect team members and vendors to help you execute your goal. Because of this, I encourage anyone looking to do a styled shoot to really push the boundaries. For instance, in the styled shoot featured below, the floral designers at Amanda Jewel Floral + Design created unique pieces for each model, and none of them were bouquets. This detailing was meant to be inspirational and push boundaries. Shooting an “inspiration shoot” means not being bound to practicality or norms. And in that vein….

Styled shoots give you a chance to push yourself creatively.
In discussions about weddings I see so often all around the internet is that one of the biggest traps we wedding photographers can fall into is our tried and true habits, poses, and shots that we know work but are predictable. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve left a wedding wondering if I pushed the boundaries enough – if I made new photographs that I haven’t made before. When there is only 12 minutes for couples portraits and you’re operating under a strict timeline, it’s often difficult to summon the creativity (or the courage) to try new things. We want to give our clients the best possible images in the short timeframe, so we fall back on what we know works. Styled shoots give you the time to push yourself creatively and try new ideas that you haven’t before.

Styled shoots are great for networking with other creatives.
In our industry, success is often defined not just by what you know but also who you know. Vendor contacts that I’ve built and nurtured throughout my career have opened SO many doors for me, and often in the most unexpected ways. Collaborating with other artists in this way is a great way to create relationships that lead to future referrals and other creative opportunities. I’ll also say that in addition to just being good for business, it personally inspires me so much to work alongside creatives, like florists, dress and jewelry designers, and hair/makeup artists who are great at what they do. That inspiration fuels me to be a better artist myself.

Styled shoots give you a way to inspire your future (ideal), clients.
Styled shoots should be done with your future, ideal clients in mind because it will show them your creative potential in a way that resonates with them. There are always things I would love to try with my wedding clients that may be bizarre or out of the box, but styled shoots give you a way to show off those ideas to then give your own clients permission to use them on their wedding days. It also gives your clients a way to see just what’s in that beautiful, artistic brain of yours when you aren’t hindered by timelines or budgets.

Before I get to the images below from this most recent styled shoot, I just have to gush and say thank you to the amazing creatives who came together to make these work. Thank you, thank you Raina, Jessica, and Theresa at Bristle + Bride for organizing such a successful shoot. It was such a beautiful day of creating and the end result was just beautiful. Check out all of the vendors here:

Hair + Makeup team – Bristle + Bride (@bristleandbride)
Venue – Atlanta History Center, Swan House (@atlantahistorycenter)
Makeup – Theresa Stone (@theresadstone)
Jewelry – Tassels Jewelry (@tasselsjewelryatl)
Dresses – White Magnolia Bridal (@whitemagnoliabridal)
Florals – Amanda Jewel Floral Design (@amandajewelfloraldesign)
Models (in order of appearance) – Harrison White (@giltyaschgd), Emily Hertz (@bornonfifth), Chandler DeHart (@candidlychan), Nakeisha Turk (@nakeishaturk)



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