Your Guide to Planning a Styled Shoot as a Florist
As an event florist new to the industry, part of my business plan included planning my own styled shoot to build my portfolio, network with other vendors, and create opportunities for my work to be published. (Learn more about if a styled shoot is right for your business here.) I quickly realized that a styled shoot for floral designs requires a lot of planning to be successful—which can be overwhelming! So I’ve listed here the documents and creative tools in planning order so you can have a road map when you plan your next shoot!
I started with a highly developed statement that determined the direction, feeling, and ultimately the purpose of the shoot. This statement allowed me to clearly define exactly what the final result should look like, feel like, and convey to my audience (hint: my clients). Starting with a clear direction was critical for decision-making that occurred later in the process—so don’t gloss over the importance of a clear vision! (Learn more about conceptualizing your design here.)
Selecting a Venue
The next step was identifying what venue would be a good match for my concept. This is a critical piece of the puzzle. If the site you want isn’t available, you may need to postpone your shoot or change your concept until the venue and concept line up. Don’t be tempted to “make it work,” or you could end up with a disjointed shoot that will not translate well on camera.
TIP: Make sure you do a site visit! (And take measurements!) Looking at photos online will not show you those hidden spots that have been missed by other photographers or logistical issues that could affect your set up time!
Layout YOUR Schematic
Once I had confirmed my venue, I made a rough floor plan of the room we were using for our shoot. (This is where the site visit came in handy because I had measurements for scale!) Using this rough sketch, I was able to determine which angles we could shoot from and how my shots would line up, which led me to change my initial plan for table placement to get the maximum variety of angles for the photographer.
When I had a clear design concept and shooting plan, coming up with a complete props list was easy because I only had to identify which props coordinated with the concept. This, in turn, made choosing vendors an easier process because I had already eliminated any vendors whose aesthetic or inventory don’t match my idea!
This list builds on everything before it. You know the aesthetic and the props you need, so it is relatively simple to search vendors to match. Make sure to have a few options, especially for photographers. It’s bad form to ask any vendors to put your shoot ahead of their business, so if a dress isn’t available or a photographer is booked, you may need to think about changing your date or see if another vendor may be an option for you.
The next step is to think about the shot list. This is a list of photographs and poses you would like the photographer to capture. While a styled shoot is a good time for the photographer to stretch their creative muscle outside the pressure of a real event, you also want insurance that you won’t forget a critical shot. Experienced photographers may not want a shot list at all. You should still have one for your own reference.
TIP: Be sure to ask your other vendors if they would like a specific angle or shot of their product. For example, horizontal “hero” images for web pages are always in demand!
Think carefully about how much time (and extra hands!) you will need to execute any installations or set up any special rigging. For my shoot, I wanted a large window installation; however, time constraints meant setting up the day before was the only option. I’m so glad I did! I was able to focus solely on styling, working with the photographer, and directing the models instead of rushing to finish an installation.
TIP: I made sure to get feedback from the vendors on how much time they needed to execute their tasks, then I added at least an hour as a buffer. A shoot is supposed to be a time for creativity and fun, and a tight schedule will derail that mood in a hurry.
I decided to be over-prepared and create a contract for my shoot. The contract detailed who is responsible for publication submissions and how photos can be used as well as set expectations for professional behavior on shoot day. It also spelled out my responsibilities—such as ensuring that product was well cared for in the absence of the vendor—and provided protections for all the vendors if photos or property were lost or stolen while on site.
Model Release Contract
Every individual who appears in a photograph or video must sign a model release. If you are using the photos for your business, make sure it is a commercial release which will allow you and the other vendors to use the images for business purposes.
Vendor Information Form
I created a basic form asking for business information, contact information, and a phone number for the day-of photoshoot contact. This allows you to check in if there is a problem or call if someone has not shown up.
Make sure to have a document that lists all of your vendors in order of contribution. Make two lists: one with their Instagram handle and another with their website. This will make it easy for your fellow vendors to copy and paste into their Instagram post or blog post and decrease the chances of photos posted without proper credit!
TIP: Standard practice on Instagram is to tag any fellow vendors whose product is in the photo and post the full credit list in the caption or comments.
Don’t forget to leave enough time for your floral designs! I ended up enlisting the help of a wedding planner (who is also credited on the shoot) to handle the administrative tasks like keeping track of model releases and contracts. That way, I made sure I had enough time to design!
So that’s my styled-shoot planning process broken down by lists and documents in the order that I needed them! I hope this process is helpful to you as you plan your next styled shoot; I can’t wait to see what you create.