Styled shoots are pointless –
Yes, I said it. Styled shoots are pointless for actual wedding photographers. Now that I have your attention, I will go into greater detail. I understand styled shoots are designed for vendors to come together to photograph decor, models wearing dresses and menswear, invitations and stationary, flowers, table settings, etc. in a controlled environment. For the sole purpose of showcasing the work of each vendor. Of course also mutual website linking, social media and blog cross promotion. It all sounds good in theory. But what good will styled shoot photos do for an established wedding photographer? Really none.
Though my style is documentary and I focus on natural human emotion and interaction, I photograph some details on the wedding day too. In the end, what each provider can deliver on the wedding day is what counts most, right? That’s what separates the pros from those who can’t work as well under pressure. I have no problem offering florists and other vendors photos from the event, and if they link me as I ask them to and I do the same for them, I’ll always provide for them. It’s not always that easy.
Here is what’s happening. Styled shoots are contributing to the reality show mentality and causing couples to have unrealistic expectations. They’re also losing sight of the fact that their wedding is a story of them, their love, and their loved ones. Not style and trends being the primary attraction. All of which are trends and temporary. Wedding blogs mostly only want this eye candy too. They’re not weddings.
Many newer photographers are using styled shoot photos as wedding portfolio material. It’s not at all the same, and that doesn’t qualify one to be a wedding photographer with its timelines and critical moments. Also ever changing conditions and lighting conditions. Anyone can take a pretty picture of a pretty thing, or pretty models in a controlled setting. No problem, wait for the sun to go down and get out the reflector, touch up the model’s makeup and put the fake couple together. Get the soft bokeh at the golden hour. Anyone with a camera and moderate skills can do that. It’s like hunting cattle. Yes, those photos are eye candy for brides. Using styled shoots for a wedding photographer’s portfolio is misleading and disingenuous. While styled shoots are pointless for representation of actual wedding work, I don’t speak against them for any other reason than lacking integrity and an honest representation of wedding work.