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  • Dana Hookanson, Owner | Lead Event Planner

Styled Shoots - wedding industry edition


Image by @amandamacchiaphoto


What to know about planning a styled shoot - wedding industry edition.


When I first decided that I was going to take the leap and launch Dana Marie Weddings & Events I knew that there were a few things that I needed to do to get my business off the ground.


Aside from creating what I wanted my services to be, creating a website, and establishing a presence on social media, there was so much more that would benefit us long term, if I started now.

Creating relationships with vendors and maintaining those relationships was something that I greatly valued. Being able to demonstrate my design experience, and building my portfolio were also very important to me. Having been in the industry since 2015, I had already started to build those relationships with other industry pros over the years, and I wanted to nurture and maintain those.


Six "Pros" of Styled shoots when starting your wedding planning business (that I found to be very helpful!) There are so many others too.


1. Networking

Styled shoots provided a networking opportunity and allowed me to see how other vendors operated and vice versa. This meant creating relationships with vendors that I either have never worked with before, or that I have worked with in the past, but not under my own company name. Working alongside vendors in the off season was a very helpful way to build and grow these in-industry relationships. Now, majority of my business comes from vendor referrals.



2. Building your portfolio

When you work at venues or work for other companies, the weddings that you work, you technically do not own the rights to. So, to build my portfolio and have content to post, create a website with, and create marketing materials with, I knew I needed to display my talent somehow. The photographs that you gather from styled shoots are truly priceless. All vendors included get some awesome marketing content and the photographer gets to have fun with it too! When vendors post and use the content from the shoot, all vendors get credited accordingly. It's a win, win!

Image by @Jennifer.manville

Image by @amandamacchiaphoto


3. Time to get creative!

Styled shoots give all vendors the opportunity to be creative! Usually this is a good

excuse to try out something they have been wanting to or a great way to get photographs of a new product or idea. Typically, all vendors donate their work and services for a styled shoot. In return, they all get exculsive use of the photos taken by the photographer. Styled shoots are a fun little creative "exercise" if you will.


Image by @amandamacchiaphoto


4. Establish and grow relationships with local venues

What is better than getting familiar with a venue at a “practice wedding”?! Having come from a background where I used to work for venues in the area, I already had some connections. But, doing shoots at various venues gets you connected with a venue, their sales team, whoever is responsible for their marketing, and gives you a great opportunity to work at a venue you may have not been to yet. This is always one of my favorite parts of planning a shoot, selecting the venue! Selecting a venue with a great indoor and outdoor setting makes for a very versatile shoot setting.


5. Explore trends

Love, love, love all the new wedding trends! Especially pertaining to fashion within the industry.

One of the shoots that I did back in 2021 was with a black wedding gown. I know, very non-traditional. So what I wanted to explore was creating this entire shoot around

black, white, and hints of gold. Mainly, the gown was the Inso for the shoot. Casablanca bridal actually sent us a brand new gown, right from the spring trunk show. The venue we did this specific shoot as was very bright and airy, lots of white with hints of gold. It was the perfect setting to explore a black gown, black wedding cake, black and gold lounge set up, and gold mirrors to accent the space perfectly with customized components.


6. Have fun with it!

Styled shoots are a lot of work. But, with that being said, they are also so fun and so

rewarding. They are such an incredible business opportunity and provide you with

some really great resources, but remember to have some fun with it too! It is not worth all the work, energy, time, and money, if you can’t have a little bit of fun with it.



Now, with all this being said, this is just my experience with styled shoots and some of the pros that I have found the most helpful to getting my business off the ground and to where it is today. Hope this was helpful!


Xo,

Dana










Image by @Jennifer.manville

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