Why I Do Styled Shoots

Today, a styled shoot I participated in is being featured over on Every Last Detail. For those who may not know, a styled shoot is when a group of vendors in the industry get together to stage a mock wedding as design inspiration for brides and basically just a fun time to be creative and unrestricted by the confines of, you know, a real wedding day.

I have and will always have mixed feelings about styled shoots. Sometimes I feel like they give brides an unrealistic expectation of what their wedding should or shouldn't be. Sometimes I feel like vendors use those images as an unfair representation of their wedding work, when we all know how much easier a styled shoot is than a real wedding. I mean, duh. But mostly it's just the overall feeling of inauthenticity that bothers me. When I post a photo from a styled shoot, I want everyone to know that that's what it came from, that I'm not trying to mislead anyone. 

I'm not trying to bash styled shoots... please refer to the title of this blog post for that confirmation. I just want to be realistic about my feelings. Pinterest is a magical, unicorn land full of wedding designs that most couples can't afford or that just aren't feasible for a wedding with actual guests and timelines. Is it great for inspiration? I think so! I think the Our Quirky Love photo shoot on Every Last Detail today is fabulous inspiration for some affordable wedding ideas that fit a particular retro style. And styled shoots are great for that inspiration. I just don't want my brides, or ANY brides, to be overwhelmed by and expect the perfection of a styled shoot at their own wedding. Your wedding is perfect because of the MARRIAGE you're celebrating... not the decorations you chose.

So why do I do those styled shoots? Well, if you follow this blog you know that I am an introverted shut in who has to be forced out of my house and into social situations. This is true of nearly every facet of my life, include my professional life. Styled shoots have become my favorite way of getting to know fellow wedding vendors on a more personal, collaborative level. I love seeing other vendors at their most creative, away from the stress of actual weddings, and away from giant groups of clique-y wedding vendors. Every circle has its inner circles, and at a networking event it's always hard for me to break through those barriers. A styled shoot full of teamwork and camaraderie is much more my speed.

PLUS. I get so much TIME to photograph at a styled shoot. Oh, the luxury! Brides, if you're still reading, the greatest gift you can give your photographer at your wedding is time. I love thinking about what different lenses I could shoot a particular detail or portrait with to get a different look. I love trying new things and taking risks because I have the time to do it. It's inspiring and I can completely see why so many photographers participate in tons of styled shoots. 

I hope I didn't take this post too negative... I don't ever mean to do that, but sometimes I have to get these thoughts out. One of the key phrases I use to guide my business is "organic" so you can see why "styled" shoots are a mixed bag for me ideologically. You can also see why my husband tells me I overthink just about everything. It's true. I won't fight it. My brain is a hard worker. 

The other vendors and I would love your support over on Every Last Detail for our styled shoot. And I'll be posting some of MY favorite images soon, so don't miss that! :)