There’s no denying it, quality photography sells, you can write a thousand words about your wedding venue, the ambience it creates, the features it includes and the type of wedding couple it suits but all of this and more can be summed up in just one or two perfect images.

A Guide to Styled Shoots

The way in which you market your wedding venue, positioning visuals in front of ideal couples needs to include the right type of photography.

You may have a portfolio brimming with real wedding images showing how a couple has incorporated their vision by utilising your space but remember, the photographer is focusing on creating images for the couple, not for you, they want to capture the emotion of the day not just your venue in its best light.

Styled shoots on the other hand are directed by you or the professionals you hire, and the images market your wedding offerings. A styled shoot can depict a whole new market for you, it accentuates your best bits and keeps you relevant with your best foot forward.

We’ve collated our checklist of questions to give you an idea if it’s time to book a styled shoot for your venues marketing needs, but firstly for some expert advice we chat to Annabel Candler of Weddings by Annabel, a specialist in venue consultancy and management to understand more about the how, why and when in terms of booking styled shoots specifically for wedding venues.

The benefits of a Styled Shoot

“The benefit of a styled shoot for your couples is to allow them to view inspirational ideas along with providing a strong list of suppliers that work well together at your venue. It’s like a tested style and plan for them!

For venues its the same. its testing the space, the ideas and generating a team of people to talk about your venue. Networking and word of mouth are the most powerful marketing tools. You can certainly use the shoots like a day long networking event!”

How regular should venues undertake styled shoots & when’s the best time?

“It’s easy for venues to jump on as many styled shoots as possible. I would first question the cost versus the gain. These events take up a lot of time and sometimes costs such as catering, power etc. The gain must outweigh this by double at least.

This could include exposure (price up using advertising rates to add a monetary value to coverage) or a booking. How much do you need from this to make it worthwhile?

The timing of shoots I feel are best when reflecting the seasons. This will showcase the site in each light level and weather for couples to view. It keeps the shoots varied and creative too. Don’t let the stylist get too carried away though, you have a brand to maintain.”

How to plan a styled shoot

“The team for a shoot is hugely important. I try to incorporate those I know, mingled with some new faces.

If you want to feature a food truck for instance, you have to get picky! If you need a certain style for lighting or florals, each business has their own brand and design portfolio. Also consider how well you get on with the faces behind the business. The day should flow, beyond the coordinators control. Kindness and consideration is vital. No one business is more important than another.

Styled by Weddings by Annabel | Photo by Gavin Powers

The right style for a shoot can be found in many ways. If you aren’t defining by season then look at current trends. What are couples looking at? Discuss what’s popular with other suppliers and if you are focusing on trend, move quickly!”

Tip: Think about suppliers you love that have worked at your venue before, and also look at others in the local area that would be perfect for your venue.

Go it alone or ask the professionals?

“Go it alone? Yes, it can be done of course. If a venue has the time, design and contacts then it’s very possible to put together a great shoot. I would suggest venues speak to someone like a marketing professional or just someone who has planned shoots before.

Getting advice on the structure of the day, possible costs and an achievable goal is certainly beneficial. If you decide to get a professional involved, they must be on the same page when it comes to the aim of the shoot and your branding will need to be in place to allow them to understand vision.

A professional will be able to take the reins and reduce your workload other than venue based tasks. They should also work with you afterwards to ensure you get the most results from your styled shoot. The hard work doesn’t stop after the photographer puts down the camera, the images need to be made visible in front of the right eyes.”

How can ‘Weddings by Annabel’ help wedding venues specifically with styled shoots?

“I can be the marketing help, the experienced organiser and the sounding board! It’s a process that I go through with each venue to ensure its not just effective and productive but enjoyable. I know how much work has gone into making a venue and the worries when inviting unknowns into it. I make sure you feel at ease and importantly have invested wisely.”

Styled by Weddings by Annabel | Photo by Gavin Powers

We recently Featured Weddings by Annabel! | Bold & Bonkers Styled Shoot

Wedding venue imagery checklist

Answer the following questions (and ask the rest of your team!) whilst looking through your venues marketing images. If you answer no to at least 2, it’s time to start booking a styled shoot!

  1. Were the photos taken within the last 2-3 years?
  2. Can you clearly see all the main wedding areas, buildings, sections of your venue from your collection of images including any new additional features?
  3. Do you have at least one full ceremony set up photo with no people present?
  4. Do you have at least one table set up photo, again with no people present?
  5. Does the wedding decor used in the images look relevant, would couples be using it for their upcoming weddings?
  6. Do your images really show off your venues USP’s be it the amazing countryside backdrops, the poolside terrace or the quirky bridal suite?
Action steps: Think about the aim of the shoot and how it can help showcase your venue, the produced images should be perfect for your website, social media, and brochures.

Send us your Styled Shoot photos

Marketing images should of course be aspirational alongside practically telling the story of your venues wedding capabilities and there is certainly no better way to do this then by a well thought out and photographed styled shoot. Find the right suppliers to work with and you’re already on to a winner, above all styled shoots are exciting, a way to visually portray your venue in a brand new way.

Don’t forget to send us your styled shoot imagery to ensure we update your venues profile in our portfolio, we’ll be sure to spread the visuals amongst our dedicated audience and our team may even choose to add your shoot onto our sought-after wedding planning guides page.

Guest Writer;