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Styled Shoots: Why We Don't Do Them

May 6, 2017

 Have you ever been flipping through your favorite bridal magazine and it made you stop in your tracks? The wedding pictured is PERFECT. The cake, the dress, the hair, the couple... you get all. the. heart eyes. You obsess over all the little details and you wonder how a wedding could look that perfect...

I was one of those brides. Before I was a wedding photographer I had no idea that these weddings were **fake** … I'm not sure why I whispered that. But seriously! Unless it actually says it's a real wedding in the article, what you are viewing is a huge collaboration of vendors for a staged wedding called a “styled shoot.”

Styled shoots usually revolve around a theme like “Travel Inspired Garden Wedding” or “Bohemian Elopement in the Woods.” They're coordinated by a vendor (usually a planner) that reaches out to other vendors that can contribute their services (ie. bakers, florists, calligraphers). They use their time and resources to make everything look perfect. Some even have models that act as the bride and groom or part of a wedding party.

So why write this blog? And why don't we participate in styled shoots?

This article isn't intended to bash vendors who work on styled shoots. I think styled shoots for other vendors (non-photographers) are kind-of brilliant. Hair and makeup artists, florists, rental companies, calligraphers, graphic designers, bakers and more get to show off their talent and creativity. I am in awe of what some of these vendors come up with.

But as a wedding photographer, it's kinda cheating. Styled shoots are basically fake setups where you can control exactly what's happening. If you've ever been in a wedding party, you know that weddings are notorious for being unpredictable. It's easy to photograph a model couple with the perfect details. But that. isn't. real.

Shawn and I love being wedding photographers because we love capturing raw emotion. We love little details because we love the sentimentality behind those details. Everything at that wedding represents that couple and tells their story. And how can you recreate the tears that come when a groom sees his bride for the first time? Or the laughter when grandpa busts a move on the dance floor? Those are the reasons we're wedding photographers. Those are the reasons that keep us going to wedding after wedding. We feel it's a real honor to be a part of a day so personal.

All of the photos on our website, albums, and welcome magazine are of real couples. Those photos demonstrate our ability to capture a wedding with real people and real emotions. Which is what you want in a photographer, right? You gauge a photographer's ability by his photos of past weddings. After this blog, you'll never have to wonder if our past weddings are real or styled shoots.


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