As a follow up to last article, touching on styled shoots a little bit, I thought I would go deeper and explain my perspective on styled shoots. What are styled shoots? It’s a way for a team of vendors to do a mock setup and perhaps even a mock couple and stage it so it’s the most eye appealing to brides who look through Pinterest and Instagram, etc. It’s about the networking value as well. And for each to credit the other, which doesn’t always happen. I’ve done one. It was worth it for the magazine feature. But I don’t use it in my wedding photography portfolio. Why? Because it’s not at a wedding. I feel that doing so can be misleading and disingenuous.

What are styled shoots to the engaged couple?

This is something a prospective client shopping for a wedding photographer has to be diligent about. Sure, looking through beautiful softly lit photos is eye appealing. But if you don’t see the presence of guests or a wedding party, or other elements of the wedding day, something should click. If I look through a wedding photographer’s portfolio and see nothing but stuff that looks like it could be from a styled shoot, it’s misleading to the consumer. Any photographer can take lovely photos of lovely things. That proves nothing as far as their ability as a wedding photographer and being entrusted to capture critical moments. Too many unrealistic expectations are created as a result.

What are styled shoots to other vendors?-

It can be a great way for a florist / caterer to get professionally shot displays of their work. Which sadly they don’t always get from real weddings. Plus the networking value. For photographers more focused on fashion and style aspects of wedding photography, they have their place. For me as a documentary wedding photographer, they’re not useful for my portfolio because I focus on human emotion. That’s what I do best and that’s what I sell to couples. It would be a rare instance like above, that I would ever participate in one. But I’d have to see that other vendors involved are active bloggers and credit other vendors involved. If not, there is no benefit.