Last year I attended countless styled shoots. They help to build your portfolio, to refine your style, network and break into the market. I met many wonderful fellow photographers and vendors in the wedding business. All the details are planned, everything looks pretty and you just appear and start shooting away. I was very grateful for each of them.
One thing I didn’t like,
having too many people in your groups so you didn’t get what you were hoping or planning for. Especially if you are not as experienced and established yet, sometimes other photographers would take over and give you a hard time to get your shot. I also felt a little intimidated in the beginning because I couldn’t pose my couples as fast as others. I then started to question myself and my work. Lack of self-consciousness is the worst for a styled shoot. In a fast-paced environment and with a set time limit it was hard for me to get creative. Even today I need time to fully unfold my potential.
Since you are not in charge
or part of the planning there is always a chance of running into a certain styling part you don’t like or care about. You usually see a mood board beforehand but the actually shoot can differ. So, for example if you don’t educate your models, they might show up with undone nails and then you realize that you will either spend hours in photoshop, fixing nails or just simply can’t use any of the shots. And believe me that’s really frustrating.
With that being said, I started to dream of creating my own styled shoot and being in charge of every little detail. But where to start? I was still fairly new to the business, so I had no idea what to do. Last year I made a couple attempts to partner up with a planner or photographer – to make me feel a little more secure – but it never worked out. One of the biggest things in this business that held me back was the unreliability of many vendors. This trait is HUGE for me. And realizing that a lot of people are not reliable at all made me push the idea of a styled shoot aside for a while. It scared me to set something up and then have one important vendor or even the model back out at the last minute. On the other hand, I didn’t have the funds to fully pay each vendor as if it’s a real wedding…
What’s my vision?
That was the big question. What’s the mood and style I want? People always tell me about their inspirations and ideas but I simply had none. I felt like the most uncreative person on earth. No matter what, I couldn’t think of anything unique. Of course, I could simply go with a typical southern luxury styled theme with huge oak trees and Spanish Moss like everybody else does. But that’s not me… That’s been done a million times already in Charleston and nothing that sparks joy in me 😀
One night Martin and I drove through the old naval base in North Charleston. Just for fun and to discover the area. This area is everything but what you would picture when thinking of Charleston. Old, abandoned homes, buildings that look more than ruins than magnificent mansions, a closed hospital paired with an industrial feel. No trace of the high end pretty and luxury. Don’t laugh at me but this was kind of refreshing to me — it has its own unique beauty. We were there right at golden hour and the mood was so unique and beautiful… I was literally drawn to this run-down area and at points I couldn’t believe I was still in Charleston.
And you know what? There it was!
My vision, my inspiration… It was right in front of my eyes and all of a sudden I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to create something that is not Charleston but still in the Holy City! Something different. That was the day everything stated rolling and a couple days later I met Laura. I immediately liked her. And I also could tell that she was reliable!
We set a date for our shoot and started organizing. And don’t get me wrong. We ran into difficulties and things that didn’t turn out the way we liked. It included me chasing after our model to talk her into the shoot, many unanswered messages from uninterested vendors, last minute location changes and so on. But in the end we worked with the most amazing and sweetest vendor team I could have ever imagined and I am so thankful for each of them. I couldn’t believe how perfectly fine everything came together and once again I am so glad I just did it.
Location | Downtown Charleston
Assistance | Raia Episcopo
Model | Lisa Mosow
HMUA | Helen Barfield HMUA
Gown | Mount Pleasant Bridal
Stationery | Tiny Shindigs
Headpiece | Emma Katzka Bridal
Jewelry | Dee Ruel
Ring | Loy Harn Jewelers