When you’ve got some space between wedding bookings (or, I don’t know, a global pandemic cancels every wedding in your calendar), a styled photoshoot is a great strategy for connecting with local wedding vendors, growing your portfolio and keeping your skills fresh.

A styled shoot can run from a short session with two models playing the role as your bride and groom, to a grand affair as elaborate as an entire wedding!

Either way, here’s some quick tips to get you started on planning your next styled shoot.

Offer photos in exchange for time

Generally, photos are offered to all participating vendors in exchange for their time and efforts during a styled shoot. I always offer photos with a commercial use license, with the caveat that wherever possible, they acknowledge me as photographer, don’t sell the photos (for instance, to stock websites) and don’t enter the images in competitions.

While we’re talking contracts: Don’t forget to get a model release for everyone who appears in the photos.

Don’t miss anyone

Work quickly and efficiently at the shoot. Make sure you haven’t missed photographing any of the vendors who have been involved.

In addition to their styling, flowers, etc., photograph them doing their work so they have assets to use to help their clients put a face to the name! It’s a great strategy to include a second photographer in your vendor invitee list to get some photos of yourself, too.

Share and backlink

When you deliver the photos, include a list of all the vendors’ social media handles and websites, and instruct everyone to use these when sharing. Ask — and give instructions — that all photos added to a website be backlinked to your website. Backlinks are critical to SEO: Ask for vendors to use text such as “Photos by Sunshine Coast wedding photographer, Icefeatherwind Photography” and link the entire phrase, to give your website a search engine boost.