As a wedding venue, you may be familiar with having to filter through image after image of couple pictures in search of something that truly showcases your incredible venue. Perhaps you feel you’ve fallen victim to a vicious cycle of picking through images that just don’t represent you and your venue. Or, maybe you’re unaware that you’re even doing something wrong, feeling couple shoots are the only way to advertise your venue. Many spectacular venues often allow couple pictures to dominate their marketing and advertising imagery, a mistake that could be fatal in securing you the bookings you are capable of. And, while it is a good idea to utilise couples and their guests to demonstrate how your space may be used, relying on them to sell your venue for you can be a disastrous error. But, what if I were to tell you there was another way? A means of crafting and directing a photoshoot that allows you creative control of the styling and imagery, ensuring your venue will never have to be subject to just being a backdrop ever again. What I’m talking about here are styled photoshoots, something that can be one of your biggest assets in winning those bookings. You’ll see below that I have composed a step by step guide in perfecting the ultimate photoshoot, which should you choose to follow, will transform the way you and your clients view your venue.
STEP 1. Preparation
Before you begin embarking on achieving your perfect photoshoot, it’s important to treat the shoot as you would any other professional project. This means taking the photoshoot seriously and putting in the groundwork to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. Many successful shoots come from the ability to treat your wedding venue photoshoots as you would a real wedding, this way you have a detailed plan scheduling the entire shoot. To achieve this, preparation is vital. Don’t expect to turn up on the day having done no preparation yet somehow confident you will achieve a brilliant portfolio because I can assure you, you won’t. So, what exactly do you need to do to achieve the perfect photoshoot? A good place to start would be to get all of your thoughts and ideas all in one place, get your team together (and make sure it’s a well-trusted, capable team) and get yourselves started on a mood-board. Whether you prefer to work on your laptop, a pinterest board or good old fashioned pen and paper, getting your ideas out so you can share and discuss them is a crucial part in paving the way to the perfect shot.
If you find yourself stuck for ideas or unsure which direction you want to take your venue, think about upcoming styles and themes that would suit your venue and how this will help you focus in on your ideal clientele. Consider themes that will allow your venue to take center stage and emphasise any natural, hidden beauty rather than obscuring it. Remember, the purpose of this shoot isn’t to mask your venue and portray it as something that it isn’t, in the hope that you will attain more clients. If anything, this will be off-putting to prospective clients should they arrive and realise you have misrepresented and altered your venue. Rather than doing this, consider a photoshoot to be the perfect opportunity to embrace your venue, and do so wholly. It’s time to stop allowing your venue to be the backdrop in your photos and allow it the opportunity it deserves to excel, without being outshined by newlywed couples.
STEP 2. Collaboration
Once you’ve established the theme for your shoot, it’s time to contact suppliers and prepare fantastic collaboration. When reaching out to suppliers it’s important to ensure that your desired outcome for the photoshoot aligns with that of theirs – this way you can avoid any potential dramas or disagreements that might arise on the day of the shoot. As with your team, it’s important that you can place your trust in the suppliers you collaborate with and know that they have the photoshoot’s best interest at heart. In terms of sourcing your suppliers, try and do so on a local and ethical level. This has the potential to benefit both the shoot and your venue on many level!
First and foremost, the use of local suppliers will mean you are creating something that is unique to you and your venue. Rather than churning out the same recycled styles that have been tirelessly worn out, you will be making the creative decision to implement a shoot that epitomises the cutting edge of wedding style and wedding trends in your local area. Not only will this mean that you have created a mesmerising shoot, you will have done so using local talent and energy. This will be inviting to couples, as it showcases a sense of community; you are not just another venue who only cares about getting your bookings, you give back to your community and through doing so, collaborate on something that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. Again, this will spark interest from your potential millennial couples, who are increasingly mindful of their carbon footprint and deeply caring of the effect they may be having on the environment. Sourcing local talent is one brilliant step towards this, initiating a creative shift that it is beneficial to you, your venue, your suppliers, your clientele and the environment – what more could you want?
STEP 3. Execution
Now that you’ve put in the groundwork to make this shoot the best it can possibly be, it’s time to take care that you’re not falling short at the last minute. To avoid this, consider the benefits of hiring an expert to be on-site throughout the duration of the shoot. Although this might incur some extra cost, having a professional photoshoot coordinator present on the day is undoubtedly worth the price. Their speciality resides in their ability to effectively showcase your venue, knowing the best ways to provide you with the images you require. Not only this, but they will also help to ensure that your venue is the focal point of the day and will therefore guide the stylists, models, suppliers and the photographer in prioritising your look and theme.
It’s worth bearing in mind here that the majority of the people you will be working with on the day of the shoot are not used to highlighting a venue, as opposed to a wedding couple and so for some, it might even be a completely unfamiliar concept. You might find that without an expert to hand, the shoot begins to lose sight of the beautiful images you had worked so hard to achieve and instead begins leering back into tired and used tendencies of heavily focusing on couple imagery. Having an expert will benefit greatly in aiding you to prioritise the look of the venue, capturing every element of it at its very best. With some luck, it might even allow you a quiet minute to enjoy what you have achieved, rather than overworking yourself in trying to control every aspect of the entire project.
STEP 4. The Final Product
Now that you’ve finished your styled shoot, you should be fully equipped with a fabulous portfolio of images that finally demonstrate how incredible your venue truly is. Having such an impressive collection of images will prove to be invaluable, as they can be used across your advertising, website and social media, helping to boost your clientele all the more. It’s no secret that styled shoots won’t come together over night and that you will have to set aside time, energy and some investment to ensure its success. However, with a mindful budgeting and a little precision, your venue will no longer be a simple backdrop for someone else’s day, but the star of the show on every occasion. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to wave goodbye to those old, tired couple shots and invest some energy into achieving a perfectly styled, simply stunning photoshoot that will benefit you time and time again.