Why You Should Consider Modeling For A Styled Shoot
So before I start let list off exactly why you should model for a styled shoot
- If you are doing this before your wedding, this is GREAT practice for your actual wedding
- Also this is a great way to test drive some vendors if you are still looking for your own wedding
- You can get professionally done photos with you and your SO all decked out in wedding attire
- You can use these photos as backup portrait wedding photos
- If you missed out on having photos for your actual wedding, this is not a horrible alternative.
So What Is a Styled Shoot?
A styled shoot is a fake wedding. Wedding professionals organize these to update their profile with new photos, and oftentimes specific photos to try and appeal to their ideal clients.
For example, I’m currently organizing a Harry Potter style shoot. I would love to work with more geeks just like myself, and I figured this was a great way to attract those types of clients.
So Why Are These Businesses Not Just Shooting More Weddings Instead?
Using my Harry Potter example above, I’d have to wait a VERY long time before a couple would reach out to me to shoot their geeky wedding. So running a styled shoot allows wedding professionals to essentially take a shortcut to getting the kind of weddings they want to work at.
So How Am I Involved In All Of This?
So you’d be the models of course! While wedding professionals have no issues with hiring professional models for these shoots, many of us prefer real couples because:
First off, we are capturing real love in our photos. While models can oftentimes do a fantastic job creating that feeling, real couples are better.
Second, ya’ll are cheaper to work with lol. Couples are perfectly happy with receiving a ton of backup wedding photos in exchange for helping us out. Professional models typically want to be paid for their time.
Ok I've Heard Enough, How Do I Get Started?
So if you live in the northeast of the U.S. you can join a group that I created myself!
Be sure to mention that you are a “real couple model” in the questionaire
But if you are not local, there are plenty of ways to get started!
- Join Facebook groups!
- Reach out to friends and family in the wedding business
- Send a message to local wedding planners and photographers
Joining Facebook Groups
So first off there are plenty of country-wide groups to join! Here’s a list of some of them:
If you can’t already tell the big search term you will be using to also find local groups is going to be “Styled Shoots”.
So be sure to use “Styled Shoots” in your search term alongside your local area. For example:
“Styled Shoots New York”
“Styled Shoots New York City”
Styled Shoots NY”
You also want to join in as many bridal/groom/wedding planning groups as possible! Wedding professionals oftentimes will post styled shoots and free sessions in these groups, so be sure to comment/message the individual if something pops up!
Reach Out To Friends And Family
This one is kind of self-explanatory, but if you have any friends or family in the business be sure to mention that you’d gladly grab your SO for any planned shoots!
But do yourself a favor and don’t straight up ask for free photos! Just mention that if they have any planned shoots coming up that you’d like to be included….getting free photos out of it is typically implied.
Just be sure to find out if the photos will be watermarked or not when they present an actual shoot to you. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, then be sure to let them know!
Send A Message To Local Wedding Planners And Photographers
Typically you want to lean more towards messaging planners since they are typically the ones orchestrating these shoots. But occasionally you will come across photographers that are planning these as well.
But it is as simple as sending a message to their business page stating how you’d gladly be a guinea pig for any of their future styled shoots.
Trust me…planners HATE trying to find models, your message might bring a tear to their eye.
So What Can I Expect To Get Out Of All This?
You will not have to worry about much honestly once you are booked. Most of the time planners will coordinate a makeup and hair artist to be on set so they will take care of that.
Plus bridal gown companies will either have you come in for a fitting, or will send multiple dresses for your size. For men, planners will often try to get you a suit, but most of the time you will have to provide your own (which you should have!).
Most of the time you should expect to receive edited photos from the shoot within 2-4 weeks normally.
If you are taking these photos before your actual wedding then this is PERFECT practice for your actual wedding!
Also having these photos are great in case if you don’t like your wedding photos! Consider these as backups.
For example, with all of the couples in this blog post, they received 4 sets of photos from 4 different photographers. So it would be pretty tough for them to end up with photos that they didn’t like.
This All Sounds To Good To Be True....What's The Catch?
It almost does sound too good to be true right?
Well surprisingly there’s only a handful of very minor cons to all of this:
You Have No Say In The Creative Process
In other words, you can’t have the colors or wedding dress that you want. But trust me, we want you to look good so we are going to give you things to look good in
Your Hours Must Be Flexible
These shoots are typically done on weekdays (in particular Monday-Wednesday) because wedding vendors work on the weekends. So you have to be available on weekdays, or at least able to schedule a day off.
If you can’t guarantee the day off within 2 weeks of the shoot, then planners will most likely try to find someone else.
Plan To Be At The Shoot For Up To 7 Hours
Yeah this is kind of a full day job. Expect 2 hours of hair and makeup, then 2-3 hours of taking photos, then time to break everything down and clean up.
But of course some shoots don’t take this long.
This Will Not Replace Real Wedding Photos For Everyone
So some backstory, but the couples in all of the photos here are real couples.
For Miranda and Paul (bride w/glasses and bald man) these photos will most likely not replace their real wedding photos. They don’t have family and friends at this shoot so they are missing that aspect of their wedding. BUT they did get great portraits.
But for Matt and Cassandra (Blonde bride and the man with the blue suit) these photos replaced their wedding photos. That’s because their original wedding was a small elopement style wedding. So being apart of this shoot was perfect for them because they got that real wedding look that they always wanted with their photos.
It Might Take A While Before You Are Accepted For A Shoot
Even if you start looking into it today, you may not find a shoot for a couple of weeks that you’ll like. It might even take a month or two. Also, some shoots are going for a very specific look so they may turn you away for that reason alone.
For example, I’ve done plus-sized women only shoots in the past and had to turn away models and couples on the skinnier side.
But if you are turned away don’t take offense! When it comes to these shoots you have to understand that you are essentially a model, and models go through this same process as well.
Not Every Photographer Gives Photos Away For Free
This varies from shoot to shoot, but some photographers will give the photos away for free, and others will charge for prints and digital files.
Shoots take a lot of time and energy (in fact more than a regular wedding at times!), so it makes sense for photographers to charge for photos. While on one-hand you did help out by modeling, but on the other hand they did organize the shoot, have make-up and hair artists available for those that need it, get dresses and suits, etc. So they may want to still be compensated for their time.
So be sure to check ahead of time!
So hopefully this convinced you to look into styled shoots. Wedding vendors are always running these and we are always hunting down couples that want to join, so showing interest saves us so much effort in the process.
Hopefully I’ll see some of you on set!
Matt and Cassandra
Miranda and Paul
during a styled shoot
I Hope This Helps!
Thanks for checking this out! This was written by Gary Pope who is the lead photographer and owner of GDA Weddings.
If you’d like for us to shoot your wedding reach out to us!