How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot

If you are a wedding photographer and new in the wedding photography industry planning a stylized wedding shoot will be so helpful for your business in so many ways.

  1. You get to practice and practice makes perfect!
  2. You get to connect with other wedding vendors in your community
  3. You get beautiful images to add to your portfolio/website

To plan a stylized wedding shoot the first thing I suggest is coming up with a theme or style.  I always like to think a few months ahead of time as I like to submit my wedding shoots to wedding publications and blogs.  They like publishing wedding shoots that are in season.   Once you figure out the season and style, I then suggest going to Pinterest to get more wonderful ideas .  The great thing with Pinterest is you can create a new board full of your visions and ideas for your upcoming wedding shoot.  The great thing with a Pinterest Board is that you can easily share it with the other wedding vendors involved.

Once you have your style planned out, the next step is to start reaching out to wedding vendors in your community.  I suggest going to their place of business so you can introduce yourself and the idea that you have in creating a stylized shoot.  Make sure you let each vendor know how this will benefit each of them.  Let them know that your goal is for each vendor to walk away with a connection with other wedding vendors and beautiful photos they can also use for their portfolio and websites. When you do connect with other wedding vendors make sure you go prepared with business cards and a simple postcard with a few photos from your vision board and a link to your Pinterest board for them to see.  This is so helpful  for each vendor as they can then visualize what the end result will look like. If you are wanting to connect with a vendor that does not have a place of business, I suggest calling or an email in which you can share your idea.

Here are some of the different types of vendors I like to work with for each of my stylized shoots.  The more vendors you work with the more vendors you get to connect with and help.  Also by having more vendors the stylized shoot becomes that much more amazing!

  1. Wedding Venue (Hotel, Winery, Country Club, Farm/Barn)
  2. Wedding Rental Company (Tables, Chairs, Linens, China)
  3. Bridal Boutique (Some bridal boutiques also have suits for men so make sure to ask)
  4. Florist
  5. Themed Rental Decor (This is a vendor who rents out themed decor and helps stylize weddings)
  6. Bakery (Wedding Cake & other treats)
  7. Stationary Store (Invitation Suite, Table #’s, Place cards, Mr & Mrs signs)
  8. Make-up Artist
  9. Hair Stylist
  10. Fashion Boutique/Jewelry Store (Wedding Jewelry)

After you have the vendors you will be working with, the next step is to find a couple who would like to model as the bride & groom.  Before deciding on your models make sure to ask the bridal boutique what size their sample dresses are.  Your model might have to be a certain size and height to fit in the sample dress the boutique will lend out to you.

Now that you have your vendors and models, this is where the fun begins.  I don’t know about you, but I have fun planning weddings.  I always said if I wasn’t a wedding photographer, I would become a wedding planner!  This is when you get to start working with each vendor letting them know what you want for your stylized shoot.  You might even have to go into some of these businesses to pick out colors, fabrics, place settings, florals, styles of stationary, etc.  You can even go with your models to pick out dresses and suits…so much fun!!!  Just remember, the more you have on your Pinterest Board the easier it is for the other vendors to visualize the style you are going with.

Now that you have the details of planning a stylized wedding shoot, I want to share that each wedding shoot I plan takes about 3 months beginning to end.  So if you are wanting to plan a spring styled wedding shoot, I would start planning in January for a March or April shoot date.  That way if you have your shoot edited by the middle of March you can then start submitting your photos to publications for a hopeful April or May feature.  If you do decide to submit your wedding shoot, make sure not to share the photos online before hand as publications require exclusivity which means they don’t want photos that have been featured on other blogs or have been all over the internet.

I also want to share that on the day of your stylized wedding shoot you will want to block out your entire day and get help from a few of the vendors or family.  You will be busy taking photos so you will need someone to help you set up.  The time goes by so fast as you will want to get so many detailed shots to feature each wedding vendor, by the time you realize it the sun will be setting you you will be running out of light.  Below is a list thats shows my ideal wedding shoot timeline…

  1. Pick up dress and suit from bridal boutique in the morning
  2. A few days before you can usually pick up stationary & jewelry
  3. Meet vendors at wedding venue (usually around 10am)
  4. While vendors are setting up, take detailed photos of dress, suit, jewelry, bouquet, boutonniere, invitation suite, etc.
  5. While models are getting ready and dressed, take photos of decorated table with place settings, floral centerpiece and cake table.  Make sure to get up close shots of each vendors work.
  6. After you get all the detailed shots then I start taking photos of bride and groom with decorations as the back drop.
  7. As the afternoon comes to an end I usually let vendors know they can start taking down decorations so they can then leave.
  8. Then it will be just you and the models at the venue in which you can really start getting some great shots of your couple with sun starting to set.  Just make sure the florist leaves the bouquet for your model to hold.

Lastly when you have all your photos edited and hopefully your wedding shoot was featured, this is when can send all the vendors and models their photos.  Make sure when you do send the photos to also send a big THANK YOU to each vendor who was a part of your stylized wedding shoot.  Also make sure when you share photos via Facebook or Blog that you list each vendor and links to their sites.  This is such a great way to market for your fellow wedding vendors in your community!

I hope this blog post will help you as you plan out your next stylized wedding shoot!!!

Thank you!



Here are some of my favorite photos from some of my past wedding shoots…

Spring Stylized Shoot… How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1001 How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1000

Summer Stylized Shoot… How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1005

Madona Manor Wedding_Healdsburg Wedding Photographer_Sonoma County Wedding_Sonoma COunty Wedding Photographer_Wine Country Weddings_Manor Styled Wedding Shoot_0099

How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1006

Fall Stylized Shoot… How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1003 How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1002 How to Plan a Stylized Wedding Shoot_Sonoma Marin Napa Wedding Photographer_1004


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