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December 10, 2020

Styled Shoot Success

Styled Shoot Success: Why I don’t believe in paid shoots

I’m going to tell you something real about styled shoots.

The wedding industry is flooded with them. Fact: some editors are even starting to shy away from styled shoots, and looking for other ways to showcase fresh ideas to their readers.

For a long time, larger outlets that had the resources produced their own ‘Editorials’ – basically professionally produced styled shoots. Think Martha Stewart, etc. Now, more and more blogs are starting this as well, instead of showcasing vendor-led shoots. Why?

Because we are forcing them to.

That’s right: I think we, wedding professionals, are to blame for the saturated market of styled shoots. Specifically, I’m referring to a segment of the industry that preys on newbies: Paid Shoots and Photographer Shoot-Outs. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then good for you. These are where people put together a styled shoot with the sole intention on making money off photographers (and sometimes other vendors) by having them pay to attend.

Some of you may be asking, ‘What’s the problem with that?’ and thinking that everyone has to start somewhere. That might be true, but these shoots have on average 8-10 photographers taking photos of the same things, then using them in their portfolios and trying to get them published. So, in essence – editors and clients are seeing the same work everywhere. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that benefits no one.

And there’s an even darker side to this: sometimes vendors are asked to join these shoots and give of their time without proper compensation, on the grounds of ‘getting their work photographed and published’, when in reality sometimes they are never given the photographs promised and the shoots are never actually published. That’s problematic to say the least.

What I’m saying is that the only way to both ensure your work is seen in the best light and to stop the influx of duplicate and substandard shoots is to ensure that you doing it the correct way. The ‘Styled Shoot Success’ course goes into even more depth as to why these shoots kind of shoots are damaging to our industry, and how you can design + plan or join a shoot that will have real, lasting value for your business.

Photo credits from top: Christine Sara Photography, Studio Casterillo