Marketing Yourself through a Styled Shoot
For new and experienced event planners alike, there are many ways to market your services to the public. The more unique and creative your marketing efforts are, however, the more attention you’re likely to get from prospective clients. One of the most eye catching ways to actually showcase your skills is by doing a styled event photo shoot. The photos from this shoot let the public see your work in action, but in a more intentional way than simply using candid photos from your most recent event.
What is a styled shoot?
Styled shoots are an opportunity for event planners to deliberately showcase their best work in a visual way. You’ll work with a professional photographer and some willing vendors who have donated their services in return for the advertising opportunity to be featured in the shoot. Together, you will create a staged event that shows off your most high quality planning techniques. Being able to actually view the beautiful results gives prospective clients a small taste of what you’re capable of before they hire you. Staging the shoot, instead of just using candid photos from past events, lets you ensure that your skills are presented to the public in the way that you want them to be. Essentially, you are granted creative control over how you and your services are marketed.
Key elements of a styled shoot
Your styled shoot should show prospective clients several things about you and your abilities in order to catch their attention and interest them in your services. Make sure you set several goals before you begin, in terms of what you’d like your photos to portray and how you’d like your skills communicated.
1. Turn inspiration into reality
Most styled shoots are inspired by a simple idea. Your ability to create an entire event based on one unique thing communicates to clients that you have a creative eye and can really bring their vision to life. Whether it’s a season, a picture, an idea, or a beautiful item that you stumbled across, take the thing that sparked your vision and turn it into an entire event. Make sure that clients can easily identify where the in the photos your inspiration is featured and how you incorporated it into the styled event.
2. Display your practical skills
Your styled shoot should clearly show prospective clients how skilled you are at pulling together all the essential elements of an event by working with vendors and other professionals. As the planner, your responsibility is to coordinate each piece of the puzzle into place in order for clients to enjoy themselves with as little stress as possible. If client can see from your styled shoot that your venue, décor, food, and other things are all well coordinated, beautifully placed, and representative of the original inspiration idea, they’ll feel confident in your abilities.
3. Give credit
Styled shoots are wonderful promotional opportunities for both you and the other professionals that you’re working with. To really take advantage of the marketing potential, make sure that you include a list of vendors and state who provided each service when the photos are published. This shows professionalism, benefits each party involved, and allows each vendor (and yourself) to gain new networking contacts when new clients or other companies come across the list and like what they see.
Where do the photos go?
Besides being promotional materials for you and your featured vendors, the goal with styled shoot photos is to have them published where prospective clients might see them and contact you about using your services. One of the most effective places to have your photos published is on a popular event blog. Blogs have a wide reach and notable ones have large viewership, so the size of the audience viewing your photos increases than if they were only posted to your own business’s Facebook page. To interest blogs in featuring your work, however, you’ll have to offer the types of pictures they prefer. Do your research before the shoot and look at what else your blogs of choice have featured. Are the shots mostly of the models or ‘marrying couple’? Are they mostly décor and detail oriented? Is there a prominently featured style of photo? Don’t abandon your own ideas based on what you see on the blog, but do consider which types of shots might be most versatile for publishing. Also remember that many blogs prefer exclusivity in the photos they post, meaning that it’s frowned upon to submit photos to more than one blog at once for a specific shoot. Wait to hear back from a blog about whether or not they’d like to feature your styled shoot before submitting to another.
Working with photographers and vendors
With the exception of perhaps a venue fee, you shouldn’t have to pay much money to organize and carry out a styled shoot. Generally, event planners, vendors, and photographers come to the agreement that no payments will be exchanged and services will be provided in return for the opportunity to also advertise their work in your photos when you use them for marketing. As long as you give clear credit to the photographer and to vendors for the different displays or services featured in your pictures, you will likely find that other professionals are willing to collaborate voluntarily. This is called cross-promotion. The dynamic will be much like that of an actual event. You will organize and plan how you want the event to look and feel and what you’d like it to feature, and the vendors will work with your vision to the best of their ability. What’s brought to life between you will be photographed and clients will be able to see how well you’re able to take an inspiration or idea and work with other professionals to bring that idea to life in beautiful ways. Styled shoots are a mutually beneficial way for several event-oriented professionals to work together and market themselves at once.
Learn more about marketing your skills!
Styled shoots are just one of many ways for event planners to present their skills and market their services to the public. Learning about various marketing methods will help you diversify how you communicate your image and your business to prospective clients.