Last week’s styled shoot post brought on a flood of emails & insta-questions about this very thing …
who pays for what in a styled shoot?!
In the world of editorial shoots, this tends to be the age old question. Everyone asks & no one really knows the answer. And guess what? I don’t either!
This will forever be a grey area in the wedding industry. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Every shoot I do is a bit different & every vendor I talk to may have a different answer! But I know that doesn’t help you very much, so here are a few things to think about when looking at the budget & who’s responsible for what:
Some vendors will completely volunteer their time, product & service to the shoot. I have done this before, and I’m sure some of you reading this have, too. Whether it be for marketing material, publication, portfolio building or a combo of all of the above, vendors will give willingly of their time & talent to bring a shoot together.
Some vendors will require payment & offer a discounted rate for a styled shoot. I have done this before, too, and I know I’m not the only one! Because styled shoots are expensive, I have created a Styled Shoot Package that allows for me to plan, coordinate, execute & style the shoot. I will also offer floral design services for a discounted service (typically I charge wholesale for the product & give freely of my time to design). Another example of this is a rental company who provides a discounted rate off of their rentals, or up to a certain amount complimentary.
Typically whoever initiates the shoot is the person responsible for payment for other vendors. Now remember when I said that every vendor may answer this a bit differently? Remember this is a gray area however in my experience the vendor who initiates the shoot is the one who is responsible for payment, if any, is required. For example, if a photographer reaches out to me about a styled shoot, I will send over my Styled Shoot Package. If they book with me, as the planner/coordinator, I will talk with them about their overall budget (just like I would a bride!)! This way I’m aware of those variables as I reach out to other vendors & begin to piece the styled shoot team together. ***There have been situations where 2 or more vendors all decide to collaborate on a shoot and there isn’t really a “lead vendor”. In this situation, I have split costs with all vendors involved or we have all donated our product/service to the shoot.***
Never assume the vendor is donating their time, talent or product/service to the shoot. “Money talk” is scary. It’s awkward & uncomfortable. If you dread doing it with your clients or potential clients, chances are you cringe when thinking about having to do it with a vendor! But remember this: it’s unprofessional & disrespectful to assume a vendor is willing to participate in a styled shoot for free. Think about how YOU feel when clients ask for a discount, or a vendor emails you assuming you’ll take their headshots for free? You probably don’t love that feeling, so let’s not make others feel the same way. You can tactfully & gracefully approach payment with vendors when emailing them about a styled shoot, and I urge you to always do so! Some vendors will happily agree to a “trade of services” or be willing donate freely to the shoot, while some will have a package/rate they request in order to participate. You never know until you ask, and when that vendor feels like you value their services enough to pay for it, it makes a world of difference!!
What is your experience with paying for styled shoots? Is it similar to mine?