Styled Shoots: What Planners Want You to Know

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Why We Love Them

We love to design things from the very beginning, and that includes styled shoots! We adore that it’s a creative outlet for us, and something we get to create for ourselves. Being a Designer, it’s especially hard to sometimes feel like you’re not designing what you truly want to design. After all, our job is to put our client’s wants and needs above our own. As much as we love creating for brides and/or grooms, it’s nice to implement designs we personally love.

It’s easy to feel burnt out creatively as a Planner. Styled shoots are not only a time to get creative, but to work with some of our favorite vendors! These shoots basically act as a form of advertising, while also letting us flex our creative muscles. We really do think that for us, they’re SO important for our creativity and to continue to feel inspired! Some think shoots showcase to brides unrealistic expectations of weddings – we say, you just haven’t found the client that wants to invest in that type of awesomeness yet.

The Jacksons Photography

Why & How We Choose Vendors for Shoots

For us at Events Held Dear, we (yes, just us alone, from our EHD bank account) spend anywhere from $1-2k on shoots. This includes things like venue rental, tables, chairs, linens, flatware, assisting with floral costs, assisting with film costs, hiring models, hair and makeup, and on and on and on. It’s basically a mini wedding! This is the average amount we invest even if our vendors are donating their time and talent. Our goal, always, is to get the shoot published, so we don’t skimp on anything. And because of that, we are VERY picky about who we work with.

As much as we adore our close vendor friends who donate their time, we are also firm believers that everyone deserves to be paid. Styled shoots not only cost significant amount of money if done well, they take time. That is time away from your clients, your family, partner, personal time, you name it. At the end of the day, even if as a form of advertising and if it’s benefitting your business, it’s your livelihood, and everyone deserves to be compensated for their time.

We Choose to Work with Vendors Who:

1. Value our time and talent in return.

2. Desire being published, and because of that, put in the effort to do so and make that happen.

3. Whose branding and aesthetic fit our own.

4. Are vouching for us any time they interact with a client. Believe wedding Planners/Coordinators are just the Hired Help? Think we’re an unnecessary expense? Then you won’t find us teaming up together or referring you to our clientele.

5. Are kind, hardworking people. It’s a small circle, the event industry, and we want to work with people whose values align with our own.

Like any professional relationship, and especially one that takes up so much time and money, it’s a two-way street. Planners want to work with vendors who will scream their praises from the rooftop. After all, we’re the one bringing so many of you business, putting together new publish-worthy designs and making your life easier when it comes to the day of the event or shoot.

Pro Tip: If you’re diving into a shoot with vendors that don’t fit your branding, aesthetic, or speak to your ideal client, you need to ask yourself WHY you’re doing it at all.

The End Goal

To be published, always. We know this isn’t every Planner or Designer’s goal, and that’s okay! Our team at EHD personally loves constantly striving to be the best in the industry, and the best get published. It’s a way we push ourselves, but it’s okay if you’re a Planner only putting together shoots for the networking or personal advertising.

We want the vendors we’re working with to know we value them and their talent, time and ultimately, we want a lasting relationship with them! We also want to show our current and future clients that investing in the design of your wedding day can be a game-changer. These are all things we keep in mind when curating a vendor team and coming up with the design concept for a photoshoot.

Anna Laero Photography

We Wish…

We wish other vendors would stop posting about shoots in social media groups, asking for just anyone. Example: “I need a florist, who is available?!” This sounds harsh, and we’ve even touched on it on our blog post about what we really do as wedding planners. We’re not saying it can’t be done sometimes if you’re in a bind, or just starting out. But, you can tell who the business owners are who are doing that over and over again.

If you aren’t handpicking the vendors for your styled shoot, and you don’t have direction or a “story” to tell (your shoot needs a STORY!) then it won’t come together in the end, and publishers will see that. By casting out a wide net and hoping for anyone to jump in, you have right away forgotten the goal and vision of your shoot.

We wish vendors would value their time, and our time, more. As a small business owner, time is money! This goes for events, too, just as much as styled shoots. As a vendor, believe us when we say Wedding Planners take note of who is constantly trying to do our job vetting and sourcing vendors for their clientele, instead of vouching for us, referring us and cheering us on! By consistently jumping in and acting as a Planner to your clientele, you might not realize it, but you’re secretly diminishing our value to those around you.

We Love…

We love when other vendors say thank you. As a Planner, we’re in such a “giving” field (and it’s ok, we love it!). But, we’re constantly giving advice, giving YOUR names to clients, giving feedback on YOU, and sometimes “thank you’s” are scarce. As a Planner, we are more involved in our clients’ days than any other vendor, so if we’re taking the time/money to plan a shoot, it’s because we really want to work with you. Every project we take on takes away from serving our clients. It might be surprising that Thank You’s are rare, and we really aren’t moping around about it. But it means the world when we feel our hard work and countless hours of work before an event or photoshoot is appreciated.

Jenny Haas Photography

We love when vendors share our work and are clear on who planned AND designed it! We’re handpicking each vendor, creating the design board, sourcing all the items, but it’s weirdly common to be overlooked or not credited. Planners and Designers put so many hours into an event, and we want it to be clear who planned AND DESIGNED the shoot! Just as much as a photographer’s work is their piece of art, that shoot/event and its’ design is ours.

We love when vendors are persistent with us. I know, we’re busy! We don’t always have the time or finances for all the styled shoots we want to do! Stay with us, and be all up in our inbox (respectably speaking, of course). Hang in there. We can only do so many a year, but we’re so flattered when you make it clear you really want to team up with us.

Advice for Vendors Who Want to Work with Us

Let’s get coffee first, shall we? Or wine? 😉 We get an influx of Instagram and email messages all the time, asking to do shoots, and we feel like they often don’t care about creating a relationship. Friends, with love, how about introducing yourself first? After all, we are the one recommending you to clients! We DO want to know you!

Nicole Clarey Photography

Don’t be insulted if us Planners/Designers charge for our time if we haven’t worked with you before. Or, even if we have! As we’ve said, shoots are EXPENSIVE, and if we aren’t sure the images you’ll produce are images we can share with our clients, get published, or ones that enhance our portfolio, we may charge. And THAT IS OKAY. Again, time is money, especially when running your own small business. Even if we have worked together, at the end of the day this business is just that: a business, NOT a hobby. Dollars pay the bills, not Instagram posts (well, not for us, anyways).

Styled Shoot Planning Advice, for Non-Planners

Don’t plan a whole shoot, pick all of your vendors, finalize your designs and then ask a Planner to jump on board. For us here at EHD, we don’t participate in any shoots unless we have almost full design and vendor control. Otherwise, when you bring us in on the tailed end (or even halfway through) we feel a little used, and almost like an expensive decor-purchaser, in a sense.

There were so many shoots we did when we first started out where we would spend hundreds (at the time) of dollars on decor/rentals for a shoot, only to not enjoy it! We would put the shoot together, then at the end of the day say to ourselves “What the heck? We don’t even like how that turned out. And we didn’t even really plan that…” We were the ones footing all or most of the bill. Trust us on this: giving your Designer creative control will work out better for everyone in the end. It’s what we’re great at!

Feelin’ the Love?

Are you feeling a little hurt as a Non-Planner? Were we a little harsh? Not feelin’ the love? We really don’t mean to be stern, or come off as snobby! We genuinely hope if you’re a florist, videographer, photographer (especially the many of you!) or any other event professional, you take this as friendly advice. There are many of you we adore and want to work with and keep working with! Our goal is to assist in elevating the wedding industry, especially in Columbus, and we’ve got a way to go.

Nicole Clarey Photography

The midwest has some work to do when it comes to Planner-vendor relationships, and we hope this helps you navigate them. We have SO many wonderful Planners, Designers and Coordinators in this city, and trust us: We all want to hear from you. We want to be valued just as you do. And we want to team up together on that next beautiful styled shoot or killer client wedding. So, email us for coffee, will ya?


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