Brides and grooms – one of the most important questions you can ask potential wedding vendors, especially wedding photographers, is if certain images in their portfolio are from actual weddings or styled shoots.
I’ll just come out and say it. Styled shoots are bad for the wedding industry. Even more, they’re bad for the bride and grooms looking at potential vendors for their special day. Here’s why.
I was recently asked by an event center to participate in a “styled shoot” for promotional material for all the vendors involved. It seems innocent enough. However, it sets very unrealistic expectations for the bride and groom. Wedding blogs, magazines, Pinterest boards and more have been filled with fake weddings that have no chance of actually happening on a wedding day.
I understand that a styled shoot shows the potential of the vendor and the potential of what’s possible on the wedding day. But when one table took roughly 90 minutes to fully set up at this styled shoot it hit me that this would never happen at an actual wedding.
Another example, and I’ll use myself, is this image. This was a wedding portrait taken at this styled shoot:
I’ve received raves from all the vendors involved in this styled shoot. But in reality. This portrait took me about 20 minutes to set up. I had to completely clear out a room of all the extra furniture, flowers and everything else involved with the reception. I had to use a special technique to capture it in HDR. I had to clean out their offices to get my camera far back enough to get this specific look. No other photographer will reproduce this portrait at this wedding venue. It’s possible. But it’ll take up too much time on the wedding day. We’ll be in everyone’s way.
I say all this to set expectations of wedding vendors. In the era of the styled shoots nearly completely fulling up blogs, magazines and boards, couples can become frustrated and disappointed their wedding vendor didn’t live up to their expectations…because the vendors set themselves up to fail you.
So when looking at wedding photographers and you find one you love, ask them specially if this was a real wedding. If not, just be cautious.
Better yet. Ask them to see a full wedding sample for you to view like this page here. Josh Fisher Oklahoma Wedding Photography Samples