“That’s so pretty, but what’s up with all these fake-me-out photoshoots?” was an actual comment someone left on a blog that posted a mock-wedding photoshoot. The comment really got me thinking about the recent preponderance of photoshoots. So, here’s whats up.
According to some source I can’t remember, 80% of brides today rely on the internet to plan their wedding and only 20% on print media, while just five years ago 80% looked to wedding magazines as their main resource and 20% to the internet. A quick google search of the term “wedding planning blog” reveals over 6 million results. While startup costs for a print magazine can be prohibitive, it’s very inexpensive (even free) to start a blog, which explains the abundance of wedding blogs. Of course you have your top ten or so blogs, but really there are tons, all competing for your attention, and all constantly in need of new content. Enter the photoshoot.
No one is trying to fake you out. I promise! Although wedding blogs may have started as a way to feature actual weddings, since they’ve become brides’ main source of planning, their role has become more that of a magazine. Blogs feature photoshoots just like magazines do, and generally use the term Real Wedding in the title of posts featuring, well, real weddings.
Photoshoots present a wonderful opportunity for wedding professionals to showcase their work. As a cake designer, I get to challenge myself, try out new designs and techniques, work with new people, and get professional photographs, all without the pressure of an actual wedding. The person styling the shoot gets to pick the team and have a real hand in the creative process. Photoshoots are also a good way to realize concepts that you can’t explain to clients without a visual. The bookshelf alter in the photographs below is a good example. Megan, the designer, conceptualized it but couldn’t explain it to her clients. Now she has professional photographs to show them just what she means.
This was featured on 100 Layer Cake. (And yes, it’s a photoshoot.)
Design, concept and styling: Megan Gray of Honey and Poppies
1/ Formulate your idea. Gather ideas for inspiration and create a mood board. Go to your local hardware store and collect paint chips in your color palette. Clip photographs from magazines that contain elements you want to incorporate. Have a clear, concise, fully fleshed out concept.
2/ Assemble your team. Contact people whose work you admire and want to be associated with. Be careful and be selective. A good team can enhance the best attributes of your work, but a team that’s unprofessional, inexperienced, or untalented can make your work look worse.
4/ Meet often with your team. Make sure that everyone understands his or her role and is on the same page.
5/ Don’t forget the small stuff. It’s the stuff that no one wants to do, but will ensure a successful shoot. Create mock-ups of the design before your shoot, and leave enough time to make changes or corrections. (What’s worse than arriving at the shoot only to realize that the invitations say Staurday instead of Saturday?) Make a timeline. Have a backup plan. Communicate often with your team.
6/ Have a critical eye–but not too critical. We’re all our own worst critic, and it’s important to be objective. However, you want to show your best work. So, before you submit your work anywhere, be sure to proofread it and have others proofread it as well. Properly credit anyone involved in the shoot. Ask friends, family members, and other wedding professionals to look at your photographs and critique them. Choose the 30 or 40 photos that best represent your work. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you are ready to submit to blogs.
7/ Be selective and patient. Think about your target audience and market, and create a list of blogs that best meet your needs. While it might be nice to get published on one of the bigger, mainstream blogs with a nationwide following, if you’re after a different clientele, it might not be your best choice. Most bloggers want original content, so submit to your first choice first. If they reject your submission, go to your next choice, and so on. I don’t advise submitting multiple blogs at once.
Good luck. I look forward to seeing all the brilliant, creative, and inspiring ideas you come up with.