How to Be Inspired by a Styled Shoot

INspirational Wedding Photos from a Styled Shoot

Where does wedding planning begin?

As a newly engaged couple, you will likely start by scouring magazines, blogs, and social sites seeking inspiration for your own wedding.  Invariably, you will stumble upon a series of photos that look so perfect you wonder, “Could this even be real?”  The answer to that is both yes and no.  It’s likely that you’ve come across a styled shoot.  Often featuring one or two statement pieces and full of details, these editorial projects are common place in the wedding industry, and beloved amongst wedding professionals.  Styled shoots give wedding planners and event designers the opportunity to explore creative ideas that they have and work with new teams in a relaxed environment.  These shoots become inspiration for couples planning their weddings,  but translating what you see in a shoot to real life can be challenging.  To apply the inspiration to your own wedding, try the following:


Don’t start with the stuff you see.  Instead, focus on how the images make you feel.  When you look at a shoot (or any published real wedding) what emotions come up for you?  Do you get a sense of glamour and opulence?  Or is there a sweet and romantic sense to the images?  Is the couple styled in a cutting edge, fashion forward manner, or are they classic and elegant?  Identify the emotions an image evokes, and decide how you want to feel on the day of your wedding, and when you look back at your photos and images.


Styled shoots are full of details that often get overlooked by couples during the planning process.  At any given time, a tablescape can have as many as 100 individual elements on it.  These pieces come together to create a cohesive look and presence.  How many chargers are set at each place setting?  Did the designer use in house glassware, or did they bring in color and gold rimmed pieces?  Are the flowers set high above the table, low to the base, or are they mixed.  Try working through an image and listing every individual piece, from place cards to menus, the number of candles, and all the different shades and tones that come together.  Use this list as a guideline when working with your planner and designer on your concept.  


The way in which a space is lit alters every element in it.  Most styled shoots are planned and documented during the day, and with good reason.  Bright white light is gorgeous to photograph, and allows every individual piece to shine.  At an actual wedding, however, you will likely want to bring the room down for a more intimate feeling during dinner, and then again for dancing and the afterparty.  I believe that every real wedding should be shot twice; once in white light, and once in ambient lighting.  This allows the wedding professionals to get the most beautiful images, and gives the the couple an opportunity to look back on the progression of their day.  It tells a better story, and in the digital age there is no reason not to get as many detail shots as you can.  You spent months deciding on those menus; it would be a shame not to get a gorgeous photo of them.


Each of us has a good side, and an angle that makes us look our most beautiful.  We also have looks and expressions that we hate.  Models are experts at presenting their very best side to the camera, and know how to find the light so they glow in their images.  Study the way the brides and grooms are posed, and then practice standing, sitting, and smiling.  Engagement photo sessions provide you with a dry run, and give you an opportunity to work with your photographer, ensuring that you are comfortable in front of the camera on your big day, and that they know exactly how to approach you for the most beautiful images. 

Take the time to study a series of shoots.  As you do, you’ll begin to see a pattern in the emotions, details, color, and style that you as a couple are drawn to.  Bring these notes to your wedding planning meeting, and then give your team the opportunity to surprise and delight you with personalized elements and unexpected details that will have your real wedding looking like it was hand crafted for a magazine!




Wedding Planning and Event Design: Andrea Eppolito · Photography: B Freed Weddings · Floral: Javier Valentino Designs · Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals · Linens: BBJ Linens · Lighting: LED Unplugged · Draping: Bliss Events · Dress: Viero Bridal · Jewelry Everly Rings · Beauty: Sona Cox · Model: Diana Bliss