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5 Ways Styled Shoots Can Help Build Your Photography Business

I’m just going to put this out there: I LOVE styled shoots! Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, a styled shoot is a collaborative stylized photo shoot that could serve as inspiration for a wedding, engagement, anniversary, bridal shower….you name it! I’ve done several styled shoots over the past few years, and try to make it a point to do at least one every year. Styled shoots are a lot of work, but they’re totally worth it! Why?! Well here are five ways styled shoots have helped me build my business, and how I think they can help you too!

  1. Build your portfolio. Especially when you’re in the early stages of building a wedding photography business, it can be tough to build a portfolio! You can (and should) of course build your portfolio through assisting and second shooting for other photographers, because it’s an amazing way to learn and work closely with someone in the field you’re going into! But, when you’re only working for other photographers, photographing their clients, it can be hard to develop your own style. Styled shoots allow you to have full control over the style, concept, images, etc. This also gives you the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a lead photographer calling the shots and making decisions! It’s great practice, and gives you lots of portfolio images that fit your style and that you can be proud of!

  2. Attract your ideal clients! Piggy backing off of number one, when you start to build a portfolio that fits with your own
    distinct style, you’ll start speaking more directly to your ideal clients! When your portfolio showcases images of all ballroom weddings, you will be attracting brides who will have a ballroom wedding. And when your portfolio is showcasing lots of barn weddings….you guessed it! You’ll be getting inquiries from brides who want to get married in a barn! When your portfolio is built mainly of second shooting or assisting work, you don’t necessarily have the opportunity to speak to the brides you want to be speaking to! When you put on a styled shoot and can control the location, the couple that’s modeling for you, the decor style, everything….you can carefully craft each of those elements to be speaking to who your ideal client is. When you start highlighting images on your website and social media that jive with your ideal client, your target audience will start to see those images and respond!

  3. Get published! Blogs are always looking for fresh new content to help inspire their readers who are planning their own weddings & events! Getting your work published is a great accomplishment and something that’s super exciting for all the vendors who take part in a styled shoot. Of course doing a styled shoot doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get published, but if you take the opportunity to dream up new ideas and get creative, one of the end goals of your shoot should be to submit it to publications! Having your work published helps to build credibility with potential clients, boost your SEO by creating new links to your website, and helps your work to be seen by the publication’s readers…aka potential clients!

  4. Build relationships with vendors!!! This might be my favorite benefit of doing styled shoots! When you do a styled shoot, you get to choose the vendors you work with. If there’s a florist out there whose work you really admire, reach out to them! If there’s a makeup artist who services clients that are similar to your ideal clients, reach out them! Or a videographer in the same stage of business as you are, reach out! When you get to collaborate on a creative project, you start building meaningful relationships! Everyone who collaborates in a styled shoot should be able to use your images for their portfolio too, so it’s a win-win for everyone! These relationships also help everyone involved with their business, because you can refer each other to potential clients who are looking for someone with your skill set, personality, or style! And probably the greatest part, is that a lot of times you can get some really great friends out of it. 🙂 One of my best friends I met at a Rising Tide meet up a few years ago, and I just asked her if she wanted to do a styled shoot together…here we are three years later, and I couldn’t picture my life without her.

  5. Flex those creative muscles! I love styled shoots because you can really get creative! You can dream up just about anything for a styled shoot! You can use a styled shoot to try out something new or highlight something you think isn’t getting enough attention in the wedding world! And I don’t know about you, but when I have the opportunity to work with other creatives to make something beautiful it recharges me! I get energized and fired up all over again to keep doing what I love, and look at it with fresh eyes. Creative collaborations are good for the soul. 🙂

I want to hear from you! Have you done a styled shoot before? Did you find it helpful to your business? Have you been avoiding doing a styled shoot? If so, what’s holding you back? I’m here to help and encourage you along the way! If you haven’t done one, I highly recommend doing it! And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! I’ve got another blog post coming soon to help you get started! 🙂


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