To do a styled shoot or not to do a styled shoot? Most people in the event industry have toyed with the idea of how beneficial a styled shoot would be to their business. There are legitimate arguments for both sides. A styled shoot is an investment, that depending on where you are in your business could be a lost or significant increase on investment.
Let’s dive into why and how I got started doing styled shoots. Last year, I was at a pivotal place in business to figure out how to start making a profit and to niche down. You might be thinking, “niche down” what is that? To niche means to find a particular area of specialty, interest to you, or establishing a mark on an untouched corner of the market. To focus on my niche, I realized that I truly enjoy wedding designs and that being a wedding florist would really elevate the overall design. It was on from there! I started taking floral workshops to sharpen this skill and learn more about this aspect of the business.
Time to present my re-brand to the world. I knew that clients may not trust me right away with handling something so delicate and as big as their wedding until I had proven myself. For planners and other event professionals to take me seriously, they needed to see my work front and center. It clicked that the most credible way to accomplish my footprint in the wedding floral arena and impress my potential clients would be through a styled shoot. A Styled shoot is a collaborative effort by various vendors to showcase their work through a simulated event (a wedding in my case). They truly show the talent and creativity of each vendor. Let’s be real, putting together a styled shoot is no easy task! First hurdle, estimating the cost and praying that it doesn’t break the bank. Second hurdle, finding participants that are willing to sponsor or charge a nominal fee to present your vision. A lot of event professionals don’t want to do something in which they are not seeing the profit upfront. Last hurdle, making sure that you have time to dedicate to this effort in between doing your scheduled weddings/events. Even with all of these hurdles, it didn’t stop me from pressing forward.
I first started with creating the vision and making a full mood board presentation. I’m a visual person and I needed to see the look of what it is that I’m trying to achieve. Also, I have something tangible to show to possible vendors. Now the search is on for a venue and if all goes well, I could be listed as their preferred vendor. Referrals are everything in this business and if I could get a venue to refer my company to a potential client, it means they are willing to invest in my niche. Next, I focused on arranging the group of vendors that would come together for this collaborative effort. Of course, start with who you know. So, I reached out to friends in the industry and wanted them to bring their specialty and expertise to the table. Most of them were onboard. Then, I went to up and coming professionals who needed content and wanted to make a name for themselves. Once I got everyone on board and a date, it was just a bunch of meetings until execution. Execution day of a styled shoot is no less hectic than a real wedding, but when it all comes together it is such a joy!
Our first styled shoot in July 2020 was a complete success! So going back to the initial question..is it worth the investment? To me, YES, if done correctly. The styled shoots that I’ve had this year were an investment of approximately $4,700. My bookings and sales since those styled shoots have more than doubled that amount. I also have content to keep engagement on my social media and drive more traffic to my website that in turn equal more bookings. Each of the styled shoots this year have been published in both print and online magazines. Again, this display of my creative work that is viewed by potential wedding clients (mainly brides), thus driving more traffic to get details about what my business can offer them which lead to more booking. Do you get where I’m going here??? Best of all, I have now expanded and developed relationships with professional vendors in the wedding industry. The old saying goes “Your network defines your net worth!” The cherry on top is that I now have full on creditability in the industry and with potential clients. Mission accomplished!
Check out our latest styled shoot published online for Black Bride Magazine:
Take a leap of faith, plan your styled shoot, and crush it!