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Planning a Successful Concept Shoot

By Diana Elizabeth on October 17th 2012


Concept shoot as seen featured on Wedding Chicks

The purpose of having a mock shoot, also known as a concept shoot or stylized shoot, is for photographers and other businesses to show off what they are capable of capturing and creating.  Sharing a concept shoot is an opportune way to stretch yourself creatively, or take your business to another direction, attracting a different clientele if you are finding you aren’t getting a specific client you are looking for.  If you so happen to capture a great concept shoot, it’s also an opportunity to get published on a blog if you have not yet had the perfect wedding to share.

Concept shoots are great because there is little investment other than time for a photographer, and by rounding up some creatives you’re able to bond, network and share images to reach similar clients.  If you are a photographer who is new to weddings, perhaps up and coming, it would be beneficial to find other up and coming talent to work with.  I enjoy shooting them every so often just to showcase what my friends can do and to mix it up from the weddings and portraits I’ve been shooting.  Concept shoots are great to plan during the off season just to get inspired again.

Concept shoot as seen featured on Ruffled blog

Tips to successfully plan and execute a concept shoot:

  1. Pick your event designer. It all starts with the vision which your event designer will make come to life. Let her do her job – that’s finding vendors, the dress, the invitation designer, furniture rental, conception of the colors, the look, the feel, and perhaps the location and wardrobe even.  Feel free to give her your list of recommendations for each vendor if you prefer (you want to select vendors who you hope to work with in the future).  Since you both should be on the same page in terms of style (you like her style, she likes your photographic style), then you should both be flexible on location and who to work with.  If you really want to work with a specific vendor, tell her.  This vision between you and the designer should be shared.
  2. Help with the selection of models. I am always completely in charge of the model selection.  While the models do not have to be professional, it help.  However as a photographer, you are still in charge of how those images turn out  – how you pose them, and work with them.  Since your regular clients will most likely not be professional models, you should already know how to get spectacular images with couples, get what I’m saying?  Also have ready printed model releases since you will be sharing these images with all vendors involved.
  3. Create the timeline.  Since light is important for photography, you can control how much time you spend on portraits, and details.  You should create the timeline of the day, also telling those involved when florals and set ups should be completed.  I create a wedding timeline for my wedding couples even if they have an event planner, so you can bet your bottom I’m also creating the timeline for my own concept shoot.
  4. Execute effectively and efficiently.  If you can find help, you’ll need it!  If there was someone who you need to spend more time getting to know or watch work for you, give that person the opportunity so you can see if you’ll be a great fit if you need their help down the line.  Interns or possible second shooters make wonderful assistants.
  5. Try to get your images published.  Wedding blogs enjoy featuring creative concept shoots.  Discuss with your event planner where you both wish to see these images.  As the photographer you are in charge of your images, sizing and submitting them unless your planner has a direct in to a specific blog.  Either way, I always suggest photographers make their own relationship with blog editors since the submission process in the future will most often be in the photographer’s hands.

Additional hints:

  • Make sure every vendor with appropriate links are included, don’t forget yourself.
  • Remember who you are shooting for, it’s not just for yourself.  Photograph the jewelry, invitations, bridal gown, and event planner’s details.  Concentrate on each detail that has been submitted so each vendor has an image to share of their specific work.  The above image focuses on the table card hanging from the umbrella, not the couple, an image taken specifically for the invitation designer.
  • When you publish on your own blog, email the vendors included so they can share your link. This helps draw readers to your blog and see your work.
  • Just like a wedding day, the photographer controls a lot of the timeline, therefore you should control every entity of the flow of the concept shoot and not waste any shooting time.

Diana Elizabeth is a Phoenix-based wedding and portrait photographer who specializes in personalized, creative, and uniquely styled sessions. Visit her website at www.dianaelizabeth.com.

4 Comments

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Good tips.

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  2. Ed Rhodes

    great tips

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  3. 3 Ways To Benefit From A Stylized Shoot

    […] [REWIND:  Planning a Successful Concept Shoot] […]

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  4. Sheila

    One of my goals is to do a stylized shoot in the next 6 months – thank you for the tips!

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