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MY 10 POINTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL STYLED PHOTO SHOOT

Styled photo shoots and personal projects are very important for portfolio building for photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists and other creatives. For Instance, styled wedding photo shoots play an important part in running a wedding business and attracting new clients.

This year I decided to put more effort in creating fresh content and updating my portfolio with new wedding and fashion photos. I approached my friend who has wedding gowns in Dubai and Serbia and asked her to lend me one of her wedding dresses. It was a win-win situation since she will also use the photos to promote her wedding gowns/dresses. I also borrowed one of many amazing evening dresses made by our friends at Viktoria Fashion House. Below are the list of all the amazing talented people who contributed to our recent styled photo shoot. I also attached some behind the scene and final photos.

Wedding dress/ gown: Jelena  https://www.facebook.com/jelena.kojic.568

Evening dress: Viktoria Fashion House https://www.muslimahdivine.com/

Hair: Dreams Salon https://www.facebook.com/dreamsalondubai/

Make up: Roxana  https://www.facebook.com/thefaceartist/

Model: Ana Flavia

Photography: www.saiidelghazal.com

What is a styled photo shoot?

The idea behind a styled photo shoot is to tell a certain story or present a certain idea through photography. Wedding styled shoots are slightly different because you’ll have to showcase the services, products and skills of all those who contributed to the shoot. They are complicated to plan because weddings and the business of weddings involve many elements, services, and products.

In the section below, I’m going to share with you my 10 points for a successful styled photo shoot – may it be fashion, product, or wedding photography related.

1. COME UP WITH AN IDEA

The first step is to have an idea or concept for the shoot. What is it about? Why are you doing it? Who is your target audience? What elements do you need to put together?  and what kind of vendors/creatives you need to join? These are few question that will help you create a concept for the shoot. 

2. BUILD YOUR TEAM

You may need a makeup artist, hair stylist,  florist and maybe a fashion designer. How will you find these creatives?  Go on Instagram and/or Facebook and look for those who are in your city. In my case I will search for models and other artists who are based in Dubai and available in areas close to mine. Search for them using hashtags or keywords and check their website or portfolio before asking them to join your project.

Do you all have similar or compatible style? Do they have a product or skill that can enhance and add value to the shoot? Do you all have similar target market? If the answer to most of these questions is no then go and search for someone else.

3. ASK OTHER CREATIVES TO JOIN

It is not easy to attract people to join your project. Some creatives will hesitate to join due to lack of clear explanation from your side and maybe they need to spend money or time to prepare.
It happened to me where some people declined and didn’t join because the mood board didn’t provide a clear explanation to what was going to be shot. My personal advise it to write a detailed plan for the shoot, create a mood board from magazine pages or a Pinterest board so that your team can visualize your ideas. You can list in details what is everyone expected to contribute to the project and what they will receive back from such contribution. If they say no don’t take personal, maybe you are not meant for each other!  

4. CREATE A MOOD BOARD

The mood board can be either a physical file where you can view pages from different magazines or a digital like a Pinterest board. Add around 15 photos or more to the folder which will cover the style of the dress, the color scheme, the mood, lighting, location, and theme.

5. FIND A LOCATION

Choosing the location is as important as choosing your team. If you like a certain venue or location, it is advisable to go and visit the location at the same time of the day you are planning the shoot. This way you can check the location of the sun at that time and the direction of the light and any other elements that might affect your shoot. If you are planning to shoot outdoors it is advisable that you keep a “Plan B” indoor location just in case the weather decided to play games on you.

6. SELECT YOUR MODELS

Models are the most important element in the shoot (at least to me). If your model is not experienced or weak in front of the camera then everyone’s effort will go to waste. My advice is to contact modeling agency and if don’t have money then it is better to spend some time searching for models with experience and with the right look for the idea that you have in mind.

7. SHARE A TIME PLAN

After you choose your team, model(s), location, and having all other details sorted, provide your team with a detailed time plan for the day of the shoot. The plan will list the team members’ names, phone numbers, social media handles, email addresses, who is doing what, when they start and when they finish, etc. Send this plan days in advance to your team so they can read through and be prepared before they meet at the location.

8. PUT TOGETHER A SHOT LIST

This is different from the mood board. The shot list will be used to stop you from getting carried away and wasting time during the shoot, to remind you of all the shots that should be covered throughout the day, and when you get home you won’t say “OH, I wish I have taken that shot”.

9. EDITING AFTER SHOOTING

As soon as you reach home or office, transfer your files from memory cards to one hard disk or more, switch off your computer, and forget about the photos for 2 days. After 2 days you will return to them with fresh eyes and it will be easier for you to select the ones to edit and those to bin. After the initial selection, go through the selected photos and bin the ones that might be repetitive or you simply like them less than the remaining photos. Avoid choosing too many images that are similar and try to have a balance between wide and close up images.

10. SHARE THE PHOTOS

Once your images are edited and ready to be seen by the world, go and do the obvious, SHARE THEM!
Share the photos in a blog, a Facebook album, or an Instagram post/Story. Make sure you tag your team members in every photo on your Facebook or Instagram posts. I share all the photos with the team on Dropbox so they can post them, tag the rest of the team, and use them for their portfolios.

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