Today's Bride Pros

The Pros and Cons of Participating in a Styled Shoot

There’s no doubt that styled shoots have massively impacted the wedding industry. They’re a source of inspiration to both brides and vendors. However, they’re also a source of stress. Thinking about doing a styled shoot? Read up on the pros and cons beforehand.

Don’t know what a styled shoot is? Find out here!


Styled Shoot | Sabrina Hall Photography | as seen on

Sabrina Hall Photography

It gives you a chance to practice and perfect your skills.

If you’re new to the wedding industry, you can practice your calligraphy skills as a stationery expert or practice making fondant or sugar flowers for the cake as a baker. For those professionals who have been in the industry for years, styled shoots give you the chance to perfect a new skill you’ve been dying to try and allow you to learn and pick up tips from other industry professionals, as well!

It can serve as as guinea pig for new trends.

Not sure how you feel about copper instead of rose gold or torn paper cakes? A styled shoot lets you try out new trends you might be nervous about. Plus, you don’t have to worry about wasting someone’s deposit or ruining their wedding day, because it’s all fake. Show what a new photography trend – like a first look or trash the dress session – would look like. As a florist, experiment with flowers you may have never used before or create a new shape. Decor rental companies can pair together new inventory to find out what makes the biggest visual impact. Try new things that you may not be willing to  risk at a client’s wedding. The results may shock you!

Styled Shoot | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on

You can network with other vendors.

From the seed of an idea, throughout the planning process, to the execution, you’ll be working closely and communicating with these professionals. Because almost every aspect of a real wedding is recreated for a styled shoot – sans the music/entertainment, catering (sometimes), and transportation – you’ll be able to meet other industry professionals! If you’re new to the field, you can learn from their experiences and advice. If you’re a seasoned vet, it can be nice to meet up with old friends/colleagues.

You’ll get exposure.

You don’t do a styled shoot and then frame it in your office for no one to ever see. The purpose of a styled shoot is to show it to your prospects, get it published on websites and in magazines, and to get you more exposure! You’ll be listed as a vendor no matter where it’s posted, and you may even get access to use the photos in your own promotional materials like your website, pamphlets, social media, and more.

Want more exposure for your company? We can help!


Styled Shoot | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on

Genevieve Nisly Photography

It sets high (and unrealistic) expectations for prospective brides.

One of the biggest disadvantages to participating in a styled shoot is the effect is has on brides. Brides see these shoots and don’t realize all the work and money put into creating these scenes and hope to recreate it for themselves. They come to you with a small budget demanding for over-the-top centerpieces, lounge spaces, reception decor, etc. not realizing that it would cost double or even triple what they’re hoping to spend. While styled shoots are a great source of inspiration for brides, it also tends to set unrealistic expectations.

You’ll invest a lot of time and money.

A successful styled shoot usually takes months to organize and execute, so it’s not something you’ll want to agree to during the popular wedding months. It is also a huge investment of your product and services, which is why those with perishable items – like florists and bakeries – don’t always like to participate. Though you may get exposure from this investment, you should weigh the ROI. Is the cost you spent to make this styled shoot a reality worth the one or two brides you may get from it (who want you to recreate it for half the cost)?

Styled Shoot | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on

Genevieve Nisly Photography

It’s not an honest representation of your work.

When you’re part of a styled shoot, you have so much control. The photographer can spend hours adjusting to capture just one pose or bring in lighting to ensure the aesthetic is just right. Timing isn’t an issue like it is in a real wedding. Whether you provide flowers, are the photographer, stage the set, or provide the attire, your photos will turn out to be absolute perfection. Rather than a wedding party that is rushing through poses to get to the reception or a sky that can’t decide if it wants to be cloudy or sunny, these photos are, essentially, faked. While we definitely recommend using these photos on your website and promotional materials, they shouldn’t be the only photos that are in your portfolio. Instead, sprinkle them in along with photos from real wedding albums. The last thing you want is to mislead your clients and leave them dissatisfied with their results. That will only lead to bad reviews, and no one wants that.

You may struggle to use the photos.

Most likely, the reason you’re doing this styled shoot is to have it published on a website or in print. However, because the industry has been inundated with styled shoots, it can be quite hard to find someone willing to publish it. Again, it will take a lot of your time reaching out to different outlets to gain interest when you should be dedicating that time to meeting with brides and advertising your business.

If you’re not the photographer of the styled shoot, you should also double check that you will have permission to use these photos after the shoot. Don’t waste your time, money, and effort creating a stunning styled shoot and get sued for using copyrighted photos. Double check the agreement and make sure it’s in writing that you will have the right to use these photos in your promotional materials.

Styled Shoot | Rustic White Photography | As seen on

Rustic White Photography

Styled shoots can be a great way to perfect and show off your skills, work with industry professionals, and get quality photos to use. However, it has quite a few disadvantages, too. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether or not it’s worth it to you.

See some styled shoots here.

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