Bellingham & Vancouver Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer Mikaela Ruth »

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FAQ: Styled Shoots

It’s that time again…

Laurelyn asked the following question, and it’s a good one. It’s one I once asked too.
I’ve seen a couple of your styled shoots on your website and they are so gorgeous! I have seen examples also on bridal/wedding blogs and I think it’s such a fun idea. I’d really love to do one myself, but I realized I have no idea how they are arranged. I have a theme/idea in mind, but I’m not sure how to begin. Do you contact vendors and ask if they are interested in participating? Does it cost you (as a photographer) to have vendors participate? Hopefully you are able to describe the process just a bit, any info is very helpful. 

Getting to connect with other vendors in the industry is one of my favourite aspects of styled shoots! It’s so fun to collaborate with other creatives, and see that come to life. It’s a way to help push each other’s businesses forward.

I’ll begin with an idea. The main driving factor in my first styled shoot was to show potential clients what I was capable of. It’s hard to book weddings when you don’t have that experience under your belt. The other great thing about a styled shoot is that it allows you to appeal to your ideal client. So, I began with a few ideas in mind and then began approaching local wedding vendors. A stylist, a florist, a makeup artist, a venue and someone to bake some delicious treats. Once I sat down with the stylist, Colleen of Vintage Home, and the florist, Kari of Confetti Floral, ideas really began to flourish. It costs each vendor, yes, but we do it for our businesses; for marketing, for growing, for fun! As a photographer, it costs me in time, effort and any extra props or food that needs to be purchased. Each vendor pays for their own supplies (flowers, for example) and with their own time, efforts and talents as well.

For the lawn bowling photo shoot, I was really excited to work with gown designers!  The girls at Ellebay Bridal were excited to lend the gorgeous dresses once I presented them with my idea. After all, it’s a fantastic way to grow your name and your brand, so don’t be afraid to ask around for others to get involved. My wish was to do something different, photograph something different, and that’s where the lawn bowling came in. Jessica of Trove Vintage really brought the idea to life with her fun and colourful props. It was great to work with her, because (like the first styled shoot) as we brainstormed, we could feed off each others’ ideas and creativity. Kari once again wowed us with her amazing florals, my sister once again baked up delightful treats, and we had Melissa of Under The Veil do hair and Darcie on the makeup.

More thought and planning goes into a styled shoot than any other. One thing I would suggest, and need to learn, is to be as prepared as you can ahead of time. It can be a mad rush at the end to pull it all together. And then it’s over all too soon! Once absolutely all the details are photographed and the shoot is wrapped, I finish things off by editing, blogging (with credit to each contributor), and delivering discs of the images to each one involved.

I know I went into far too much detail…but I hope somewhere in there are a few helpful pointers! With each FAQ post I blog, it’s just my hope to help even one or two. Because I know how many questions can surface when you’re just starting out…hey, I’m STILL there, with many of my own questions too :)

Happy Friday!



  • Jennifer - September 16, 2011 - 7:29 am

    Thanks so much for this! Beautiful! And I love your work, in general. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amber - September 16, 2011 - 9:22 am

    This is perfect timing Mikaela! I so needed to read this before I starting packing to head down to the coast for our fun little session. Nails and a hammer just got added to my “must bring” list. ps you’re fabulous! :)ReplyCancel

  • Cecilia - September 16, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Wow! Fantastic styled shoots! Just preparing for my own tomorrow morning (collaborating with a few other photographers).ReplyCancel

  • Adriana Morett - September 18, 2011 - 3:03 am

    Thank you so much Mikaela, I really love your style, and also as a beginner I had NO idea how a stiled shoot was done. Now I’ll try to look up some people who might be interested and have one of my own!! ;) thanks a lot!ReplyCancel

  • colleen - April 14, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Does your vendor disc contain images with watermarks? What size are the images? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Mikaela - April 15, 2013 - 9:04 am

      Hi Colleen! I typically provide images sized for online and sized for printing, without watermarks. When working together on a project like a styled shoot, everyone is there to help each other out and give credit where credit is due :)ReplyCancel

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