What is a styled shoot blog post feature image by Charleston bridal designer Edith Elan
The Inside Scoop

The Truth Behind a Styled Shoot

March 23, 2016
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What is a styled shoot? And what purpose does it serve?

What is a styled shoot blog post feature image by Charleston bridal designer Edith Elan
This post was updated June 22, 2021

In the midst of working on new collection pieces, gowns from previous collections are packed up and sent around the country. Some go to trunk shows, while others go to styled shoots. If you’re not familiar with what a styled shoot is, don’t worry because most people outside of the bridal and wedding industries aren’t familiar with the term either!

What is a styled shoot?

In simplest terms, a styled shoot, specifically a styled wedding shoot, is a mock wedding. Like a fashion editorial in a magazine, a styled shoot tells a story through photos. However, styled shoots are more than telling a story; they showcase the skills and services of wedding industry pros. Depending on the shoot, you’ll find work by florists, cake decorators, event planners, stationers, etc. It’s a collaborative effort amongst many creatives that share a common goal of creating a stunning, inspirational wedding. The mock wedding is photographed in the hopes that the pictures will be featured on prominent bridal blogs, social media, and/or in magazines.

Fun Fact: The very first styled shoot featuring Edith Élan wedding dresses was also published on the Ruffled Blog. It was a Kate-Spade-New-York-inspired shoot that took place in Vancouver, Canada. The striking contrasts of the black and white against the pops of hot pink and gold were certainly eye-catching!

What’s the purpose of a styled shoot?

The purpose of a styled shoot depends on whether you’re a vendor or a bride. As an indie bridal designer, it’s a fun way to market the Edith Élan brand while networking with other creatives. It also doesn’t hurt that the photos provide social media content, but that’s beside the point. As a bride in the midst of planning, the photos are meant to serve as inspiration. Even if the shoot isn’t published, the photos don’t lose their ability to inspire. This is why photos from past shoots are under the “Inspiration” menu tab. Like it was mentioned before, styled shoots are inspirational and even aspirational. They’re not always meant to be realistic. And that’s okay because their purpose is to inspire.

Behind the Scenes

Now, what you don’t see when the shoots are published is everything that happens behind the camera and behind the scenes. For starters, in order for a shoot to go off without a hitch, a lot of planning has to happen. Sometimes months of planning. The day of the shoot starts off a little chaotic as wedding vendors set up their goods how they want them photographed. All the while, the model (or models if there are multiple) gets their makeup and hair done. Once the model is ready, the dress goes on! Depending on the vignette and the photographer’s vision, behind the camera there are people assisting with wedding dress trains, holding bouquets, etc.

For as glamorous as the final pictures make it seem, the reality is that styled shoots are hard work. Even though they’re a mock wedding, it really is almost like planning a micro wedding. Luckily, putting together a great team of vendors eases the load.

Once the day is over and everything is packed up, vendors then wait for the photographer to edit the photos.  And that timeline all depends on the photographer’s workload. It can be weeks or even months before the gallery is released. Even then, it can take up to a year for a magazine or blog to publish the styled shoot. The waiting game is no fun, but it comes with the territory. And when the pictures are finally in our inbox, the work was worth it!

Looking for wedding inspiration?

Head to our wedding galleries page for a styled shoots full of wedding and bridal inspiration!

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