Hi friends! So I want to talk about something today that has become a little “dividing” in the wedding industry… Inspiration (aka Styled) Shoots. I don’t want to talk about whether or not you should partake in inspiration shoots, but I definitely want to talk about what they are, why they exist, and how they are beneficial.
You see, recently I had a friend on Facebook post a question asking why blogs feature inspiration shoots. Essentially, questioning whether or not blogs had enough Real Wedding content to feature or not. As the editor of a national blog with a focus on encouraging brides to hire professionals, I obviously had an opinion, so I commented… and ended up basically writing a blog post… so I decided to do just that! 😉
WHAT ARE INSPIRATION SHOOTS?
Let’s start with what inspiration (aka styled) shoots are. I myself use the term “inspiration” instead of styled because their aim is to provide inspiration. Now, there are some shoots that incorporate way more “styling” than inspiration (think fashion), but I don’t feature those, so that’s why I prefer to use the term “inspiration”.
WHY INSPIRATION SHOOTS?
You see, brides are turning to blogs and magazines for ideas and inspiration. If they see the same thing over and over, it will just result in them replicating the same thing over and over, and thus we have a vicious cycle of the same wedding over and over (mason jars anyone?).
With the advent of Pinterest, many weddings are starting to look the same. Brides are forgetting to infuse their personalities and story into their weddings, and just focusing on replicating what they saw on Pinterest. I actually reject a lot of weddings just because I’ve already featured weddings that look exactly the same. Publishing the same wedding over and over isn’t going to be inspiring or helping any brides who are turning to my site looking for inspiration and ideas.
Here’s where Inspiration shoots come in! Inspiration shoots provide INSPIRATION. They give brides visual examples of something new and different that they might not have seen before. They encourage them to think outside of the typical Pinterest box. They open their eyes to the possibilities that are out there.
[Sidenote: I know professionals who have done shoots have booked weddings because of a shoot- because the couple loved it, was inspired by it, and wanted to do something similar for their wedding.]
WHAT CAN THEY ACHIEVE?
Inspiration shoots provide inspiration to brides, but they are also a great way for a wedding professional to do something that enables them to spread their wings creatively and do things without having to stay within the confines of a bride’s budget and wishes. Doing a shoot is a great way to showcase a particular style that you aren’t booking yet but you want to book. It’s also a great way to network and work with vendors you haven’t yet worked with too.
Along the same lines of what I mentioned above, inspiration shoots can get you exposure when you’re not getting any with the weddings that you’re booking. Everyone has to start somewhere, and often times that means starting with weddings that might not be “publishable”. Doing an inspiration shoot can help you get additional exposure beyond what your existing portfolio can reach.
With all that said… if you’re a professional who IS booking the weddings that you want and getting the exposure you want with those weddings, then sure, inspiration shoots probably aren’t a high priority for you- and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 🙂
Quick tips for doing inspiration shoots
People always ask me what my advice is for doing inspiration shoots, so here are a few quick insights…
– Do something that will reflect your brand and the bride that you want.
– If you are an advertiser with a publication (or have a particular publication in mind) contact them to find out if they want something in particular and would like to team up on a shoot. Having guaranteed publication makes it a lot easier to get vendors on board.
– Don’t do something that you’ve already seen done multiple times.
– Keep in mind that the goal of a shoot is to provide inspiration to brides, so make sure you have fresh, new ideas and details that will inspire them!
Inspiration shoots are an awesome marketing tool, and something I believed in when I was a professional and still believe in as an editor. They take time and a lot of work, but the reward is usually worth it! They aren’t necessary for everyone professionally, but if someone chooses to utilize them as a tool, then that is great! 🙂
Have any questions about inspiration shoots? Let me know- I’m happy to answer!