Tips to Set Up a Styled Photoshoot
Whether you’ve been in business for years or are rookie looking to expand your reach, styled photoshoots are a great way to showcase your balloon talents with minimal costs involved. Sara Meyer of Wisconsin Balloon Decor has incorporated this marketing tactic into her business from day one, so we partnered with her to create inspirational designs featuring some of the newest Qualatex products. Below are some of Sara’s top tips for anyone looking to create a styled photoshoot.
What is a styled photoshoot & why should I do one?
A styled shoot typically involves several vendors working together to capture beautiful photos that can be used for advertising, social media or for magazine submissions. The goal is that every business involved will benefit from the experience. These shoots allow you to create a setting to promote a certain type of business to your customers.
Styled Photoshoot Guidelines
Always work with a professional photographer.
Since the goal of the project is to create lasting photos, make sure to leave that part to a professional. Photographers who are just starting out or looking to expand their portfolio will be the most likely participants willing to partner with you.
A good collaboration has a clear focus or theme but is open enough to allow every vendor to showcase their talents.
For example, a New Year's Eve wedding with a rose gold color pallet will allow for an easy collaboration but gives enough room for creativity. Creating a vision board and sending it to everyone involved is also a smart strategy. That way everyone involved has a feel for the overall shoot.
Steer clear of "influencers" asking for free product.
A styled shoot should not be an actual event. I've been asked to "collaborate" for baby showers, engagement parties, and special events. If anyone is making money from the event or inviting actual guests it's not a styled shoot. Even if they promise professional photos, stay away. They can hire you for that.
Keep it simple.
You don't need 20 vendors, a spectacular theme or an overly technical balloon design to wow your followers. Fewer moving parts and a well-executed, simple design will lead to a much more enjoyable collaboration. Remember that the photos are one goal, but being present and expanding your network of vendor connections is the other goal. If everyone is too frantic to enjoy themselves, the day will be a bust.
Managing Vendor Relationships
The photos are not the most important part! Even if you finish setting up your balloons and have nothing more to do, stick around for the duration of the shoot and make friends with the other vendors! I have found this to be one of the most valuable networking strategies. At first things may seem uncomfortable but by the end of the day you will all be laughing and getting to know each other. People are so much more likely to remember your services if they remember YOU and how great you were to work with!
If you are invited to join a photo shoot, make sure it's a good fit. If you only do large corporate events with a $500 minimum, but the theme of the shoot is "Backyard Birthday Party", there's no reason to be involved. However, if the theme is "Wedding" and you don't currently do weddings but would love to do more, that's the perfect opportunity to get involved.
Quick Tips for Stellar Vendor Relationships
- Serve the other vendors in simple ways during and after the shoot.
- Go on a coffee run for everyone.
- Snap behind the scenes photos of other vendors in action and text them. Photographers don't ever get photos of themselves taking photos! It's such a simple gift and it's as easy as sending a text. (And it's a very convenient excuse to get their cell phone number so you can stay in touch.)
- Offer to hold a light, sweep the floor, or fan the model.
- Any time you post a photo from the shoot, tag everyone involved.
Preparing for Your Shoot
- Instagram (IG) is the home of the styled shoot. If you want to grow your network and reach out to other vendors, you have to be on Instagram. End of story.
- Do a post or IG story simply telling people you are interested in collaborating and see what happens.
- If you would like to organize the shoot, start with vendors that you already have a good relationship with. I like to find a "vendor friend" to come on board first, then together we look for a venue and photographer.
- Keep it affordable. I like to use leftover product in my styled shoots to keep the cost down.
- Have an idea in mind, but be flexible. It's annoying when someone asks you to collaborate but then wants you to do all of the creative work and planning.
- Styled shoots aren't for everyone. Many vendors simply won't do them. This is probably because they have been burned in the past or it just doesn't make sense for their business at the moment. That's okay! If you reach out and get a no, don't take it personally.
- If you organized the shoot, pre-write thank you cards to hand out during the day.
- Don’t be afraid to go at it alone! If the thought of working with other vendors is too much, set up your own staged scenes and take the best photos you can. When I started doing balloons I set up three small scenes in my basement. I used glassware and linens I had in my home and I bought some cute cupcakes from the store. I made the only things I knew how to make...a set of columns, and a garland. Those photos filled my website and Instagram feed for my first six months in business until I started getting better photos.
QBN Exclusive: Downloadable Images from Sara’s Styled Photoshoot
Download images from Sara’s collaboration with Qualatex to use on your social media accounts or company website. When you sell the designs, be sure to use The Very Best™ Balloons!
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