We have been blessed to have our Earth Angel Styled Wedding Photo Shoot featured on Storyboard Wedding!! The Earth Angel shoot was one of the largest and most elaborate we have produced so far, in February of 2019. Held at the Glidden House in Cleveland, Ohio, and photographed by Stephanie and John Uptmor of Imagine It Photography, it was a wonderful day, filled with fantastic models and vendors collaborating to create amazing art. Enjoy!
An antiquated wedding styled shoot always has a few of these essential components: brushed, aged metallics; muted colors seen in florals or other design elements; and baubles scattered throughout the aesthetic. More is always more when it comes to vintage editorials, and we couldn’t help but realize that this is so on par with moody wedding inspirations. The design concepts for both are almost always luxe and glamorous, with an element of very slight modernity. These two styles absolutely adore their trinkets and their attention to detail, but you’ll also find contemporary styles like geometrics or sharp lines and crisp colors thrown into the mix. Love, Laughter, & Elegance’s moody vintage wedding inspiration is a divine example of these awesome vendor teams taking the now-often-seen vintage wedding trend into the current age.
Event planner Kimberly Lehman was inspired by seasonal transitioning and wanted to showcase it by bringing “heaven on earth”. We are besotted with this color palette: dusty blues, steel greys, lavender, blush, peach, and gold. It’s such a striking line-up and to follow up with that, the florals by Celestial Blooms were so stellar and lush. Large installations were created for the ceremony and reception concepts, respectively. The bridal bouquets donned a variety of blooms like lavender and blush roses, white hydrangea, silver dollar eucalyptus, protea, wheat, pampas grass, albino peacock, and white ostrich feathers. We also get to see a fun idea of having two brides with two different looks, and then outfit changes to give more variety to the viewer. Undoubtedly, after checking out the photos, this inspiration was a labor of love and we completely commend everyone on such a job well done.
Recently, my husband Mark and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary. We rarely have pictures taken together, and never in a formal setting. Since I produce several styled wedding photo shoots a year, I thought why not create one that represents my hubby and I. This was a fun one to put together. I sent the photographer’s gallery right over to Shafonne Myers at the Pretty Pear Bride blog, and she loved it! I want to thank all of our wonderful vendors who helped us celebrate. We could not have had a more wonderful evening! Enjoy!
Today’s styled photo shoot is in celebration of the 20th wedding anniversary of Kim of Love, Laughter and Elegance Wedding Planning with her husband, Mark. They decided to have it take place in a location that means a lot to them: Spring Hill Historic Home in Massillon, Ohio. This venue has been the setting of several of her styled bridal photo shoots, and is a treasured location in their hometown. They chose a vibrant color palette of purple and orange, as those shades represent their individual high school colors, and added lavender, pink and gold to complement. Everything turned out so amazing!
What was your design inspiration: My husband Mark and I recently celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary, and we wanted to have some new photos taken for the occasion. We wanted an elegant, formal look. We sat down together and decided on the color palette of purple and orange. These are the colors from each of our respective high schools. They are bold colors on their own, so to soften and balance the look, we added lavender, pink, and gold. We also wanted to have the photos taken at a location that is special to both of us. Spring Hill Historic Home, in Massillon, Ohio is one of the original homesteads in the the town of Kendal, which later became the city of Massillon. This estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was also a stop on the famous Underground Railroad. Mark grew up in Massillon, and I have produced several styled bridal photo shoots at this venue. We love it there. It is an amazing place to visit.
Describe Your Flowers: Our florist Kristi, of Precocious Petals, created some amazing floral designs for our photo shoot! She created a large rustic arbor piece, with hanging jars, moss, bright flowers and tealight candles, that we used as the space to renew our wedding vows. She also created a several small bouquets that we placed in front of the arbor for a soft, finished look. On our cozy dining table for two, there was a circular hooped centerpiece that was just darling. On our cake table, we placed Kristi’s pretty two-toned domed rose centerpiece. My bridal bouquet was a lush delight of blooms in oranges, reds and pinks. My husband’s boutonniere was comprised of a rose and berries, and tied with a thin gold ribbon. Kristi used Gerbera daisies, leather leaf fern, salal, Ming fern, hypericum berries, snap dragons, a few succulents, and lots of gorgeous roses in her designs. We loved her work so much!
Describe your cake: When Sarah asked me about the cake that I envisioned for this occasion, I gave her the colors we were working with, and told her to let her imagination run wild. She created a gorgeous 3 tiered confection that took my breath away. The cake was iced in a delicate shade of lavender. The bottom layer was covered in lavender and gold ruffles, and at the front of the top two tiers there was a molded decorative piece that was brushed in edible gold. Along the side of the cake, cascading from the top to the base, was a waterfall of flowers to match our color scheme. Our cake topper was made by Power Laser Cut, of a black acrylic that read, “Cheers to 20 Years”. We also had a tray of beautifully hand decorated cut-out sugar cookies, made by Heather Kay, to match our “”Cheers to 20 Years” theme. Everything looked too beautiful to eat!
Tell us about your attire choices: My husband, Mark, has always looked great in a suit. I wanted to make sure he was looking very dapper for our anniversary celebration. He wore a dark charcoal grey suit, with a subtle light blue pinstripe. We added a silvery grey dress shirt, bright orange skinny tie, purple and orange argyle socks, and classic wingtip shoes. Mark wore his own wedding ring. He also wore custom made cuff links that read “Cheers to 20”. Those were provided by Over the Moon Bridal.
I wanted my overall look to be glamorous, rather than bridal. I chose a floor length, deep purple ballgown, with an empire waist, and ruched bodice. It even had pockets, which I loved! Since I am not very tall, more of a fun-sized woman, if you will, I chose darling lavender suede heels with dark purple trim to go with the gown, and give me a little height. So cute! My jewelry included my own wedding rings, a long necklace with gems in shades of dark pink and purple, a bold bangle bracelet with stones in the same colors, and delicate purple earrings to match. In my hair, I wore a silver comb, that was decorated with silver leaves and white floral beads. I have to also thank Aimee Alessi and Kassidy Haubold for their awesome hair and makeup skills. I felt like a princess!
Please describe your DIY, handmade or personal details: One of the prettiest pieces that we used in our anniversary shoot, was the custom laser cut charger plate, from Power Laser Cut, that read “Mr. & Mrs. Lehman”. It was too nice to put under a plate! So we held it up between us during our photos to show it off. We will be displaying that piece for years to come in our home!
Describe the tablescape elements: We had two tablescapes, one for our cozy dining area, and one for our beautiful desserts. Our dining table was set up on the porch of the Spring Hill home. I covered the table with a floor length lavender tablecloth, and added a dark plum table runner and a length of sheer gold tulle for some sparkle. The tableware was a lovely combination of old and new. The gold glass beaded charger plates are my own, but I layered two antique china plates with different decorative floral patterns that belong to the Spring Hill Estate. The flatware and heavy white embroidered linen napkins are also part of the Spring Hill treasures. The water glasses are from my personal collection, as are the purple and orange champagne flutes, We had custom menus, place cards and a table number made by Emmy Anastasia designs, to enhance the look of the table. The centerpiece by Precocious Petals was a gold circular hoop, surrounded by lush blooms, succulents and greenery. We added a few votive candles, in orange and gold, to set the mood.
Our desserts were placed on a large antique round table in the parlor of the Spring Hill home. I covered the table in a dark plum cloth, and layered a sheer orange scarf, that was embroidered with silver sequins in a floral design, on top. Our gorgeous three tier cake and silver tray full of had decorated sugar cookies were placed on the table, along with my personal cake cutting set, I also added several orange and silver votive candles and a beautiful arrangement of two-toned roses from our florist Kristi to complete the very lush and romantic display.
A short time ago, I was asked by Valerie Pritt, founder of the Engaged Wedding Planner Academy, if I would write a guest post for the blog about how to plan a styled bridal photo shoot. I happily agreed, as this is a subject I am quite passionate about! (If you would like to check out some of my past photo shoots, please feel free to hop on over to my media page.)
In this article, I outline the different stages of planning and producing a styled photo shoot, from a planner’s prospective, and my personal process. Please feel free to comment or ask questions relating to styled photo shoots. Enjoy!
Today we have Kimberly, founder of Love, Laughter & Elegance Wedding and Event Planning, giving us great advice on how to do a styled shoot. She has planned and participated in over 14 styled bridal photo shoots since 2016. All of her styled bridal photo shoots to date have been published, both in print and online. If you have plans of doing your first styled shoot soon, this article is a great place to start.
HOW TO DO A STYLED SHOOT
Styled photo shoots are not a new concept. Photography has long been a huge medium for commercial business advertising, as well as creating aesthetic artwork. Newer photographers are highly encouraged to participate in and host photo shoots, as a way to develop their skills, and create content for their portfolios and social media outlets. Not every photo shoot has to be elaborate in subject matter and style.
WHAT IS A STYLED SHOOT?
A photo shoot could be as simple as a pretty little girl, twirling in a princess dress, in a park setting. Or, one may shoot a romantic picnic setting with an attractive couple. Often, a single female model is the subject, clad in a stunning outfit, with hair and makeup professionally done. The model might carry an oversized picture hat, or a lush bouquet of flowers, or an adorable puppy. The options for choosing what, where, and when to shoot photos are endless. Our world is a continually evolving source of inspiration for photographers, and videographers, to capture and create appealing images. In turn, the need for appealing images especially applies to the event, entertainment, and hospitality industries, who in turn use those images to attract customers.
As a wedding planner with more than twenty years of experience, I have a sincere appreciation for amazing photographs of a beautiful wedding or event. I love to look at magazines and books, as well as online at blogs and social media sites that feature gorgeous weddings, styled photo shoots and parties. Having worked with numerous talented photographers over the years, I have learned about different styles of photography, such as moody, vibrant, and light and airy.
I understand the differences between candid photography, portraiture, and photojournalism. I know that shooting photos in natural light is vastly different from shooting in a studio, or indoors in a venue that might require additional lighting methods. Also, that editing photos correctly, and consistently, takes considerable time and effort. I love it when I receive galleries full of stunning photos from a photographer, from a recent wedding or styled photo shoot, that we worked on together. I greatly appreciate photographers, and their hard work. This is not only a job or career for them, it is a passion, and a labor of love.
Photographers are obviously key players when planning a styled photo shoot. But what about the other vendors? What roles do they play in the process? In all honesty, planning a styled wedding photo shoot is much like planning an actual wedding, just on a smaller scale, that involves other creative professionals. As a wedding planner, when I am organizing a styled photo shoot, I come up with a game plan.
HAVING A GOAL
First, I determine what my goals are for producing a styled photo shoot. Usually, the goal is to submit the professional photos for national publication, both in print and online. When the photos are published, this creates exposure, not only for myself, and my planning business, but for all of the creative entrepreneurs that contributed their time and talents to the event. Exposure, in turn, will drive traffic to the websites of the vendors and models involved, and will generate inquiries and bookings for their services.
Another, secondary, goal is to create something unique and beautiful, just for my own personal creative aesthetic. I have to admit, once one has planned a styled shoot, it becomes quite addictive. Especially if you love to see your work published, as I do, being shared with thousands of people.
CHOOSING YOUR DESIGN
The next step in my planning process is to create the overall aesthetic for the styled photo shoot. I take into consideration several factors, such as the time of year for the shoot, whether I want to hold it indoors or outside, potential locations, theme, and colors. I think about the potential available models and creative professionals, and any special elements I might wish to incorporate, like a vintage vehicle, or certain types of flowers.
Then I start looking online for photos that might work well together to reflect the overall theme. Pinterest is a great resource for putting ideas together, as well as Canva, and sometimes I use Google Images for additional inspiration. Then I compile all of the images I really like into one inspiration board, and that becomes my reference for the styled photo shoot. I share the inspiration board with my models and vendors, so that they have a clear idea of the overall look I am trying to achieve.
PICK A LOCATION
Setting the scene is the next step. Everyone always says, “location, location, location”. It is very true. The location selected for a styled photo shoot, can, in part, determine if a submission will be accepted for publication. That is not to say that you cannot take a “blank canvas” of a venue, such as a plain party hall, or a warehouse space, and absolutely transform it. It is done by professionals, every day, in the event industry.
If, however, you select a location with historical value, interesting architectural details, or simply gorgeous landscaping and scenery, you increase your chances of having your submission accepted. I try to create a list of potential venues that would work with the theme of my styled photo shoot. Then I contact those venues, and give them a range of calendar dates, to see what might be available. Once an agreement has been made with a venue to use their location for the styled photo shoot, I will begin to contact vendors and models to feature in the photo shoot.
FINDING THE RIGHT VENDORS
Finding the right vendors and models to participate in a styled photo shoot can be a challenge, sometimes. Everyone has busy lives and crazy schedules. Many vendors have families, or other careers, that will take precedence over my request for collaboration on my current project. As I have been involved in the wedding and event industry for over twenty years, I have built an extensive list of vendors that I love to work with and refer.
I am also always open to meeting and working with new vendors, both established, and those that are just starting out. This is where networking skills come in handy, to connect and collaborate with vendors. Sometimes I have trouble finding an available vendor or two to complete my team for the styled shoot, like a florist or baker. I will reach out to my other contacts, for referrals and suggestions. Most of the time, people are happy to help, even at the last moment. Even if we do not have a team member available for every category, like hairstyling or specialty linens, many of my vendors are talented in other areas, and will pitch in to fill the gaps.
My team always comes together to produce an amazing styled shoot. It is often recommended that contracts are to be used when working with vendors and models. My team members work with me on a voluntary basis, and I am upfront with my expectations from each vendor, what their role is in the styled shoot, and what they will receive in return, which is professional photos of the styled shoot to use in marketing and social media. They will also receive credit and promotion when a styled photo shoot is published and shared through print and online media sources. I strongly believe in “community over competition”. I want my vendors and models to enjoy working with me and want to continue to assist me in producing beautiful, inspiring content for everyone to enjoy.
PLANNING OUT THE DETAILS
Once I have my creative team in place, the next step is planning out the details. The details are the elements of the styled shoot that reflect your vision of the event. The big elements will include the cake, the flowers, the models and their attire, and of course the venue or outdoor setting. As important as it is to have those components in your styled shoot, for me, it’s the little details that tell the story of the event.
I will start sourcing small items like jewelry, décor, tableware, vintage greeting cards, fabrics, and accessories. Sometimes I will purchase clothing items specifically for a shoot. I will also look for unique items on websites like Ebay, Etsy, and Facebook resale groups. Local thrift stores are my favorite spots for great deals. As I have planned out my styled shoots, I have discovered that I have a personal style that I deem “vintage with a twist”. I absolutely adore vintage items, and I try to use some in each shoot. Vintage items could be a pretty handkerchief, or a pair of cufflinks for the gentleman.
Sometimes the items are personal to me and my family. I have used my grandmother’s wedding rings and vintage fur stole, my mother’s artwork and hand painted keepsake box, and even my own china and glassware that were given to me as wedding gifts. I often use the same items in different styled shoots. For example, I have used different sets of charger plates in several shoots, my own personal tableware, and linens. Votive candles, jewelry, accessories and attire have also made multiple appearances in my shoots. I try to carry at least one decorative element over from one styled shoot to the next. It creates a consistency in my overall style and branding, and collective body of work.
LEARN TO BE FLEXIBLE
When I have decided on and collected all of my detail items for the particular styled shoot, it is time to plan out the schedule for the day. This is very much like the way I create an itinerary for a wedding or event for my clients. The only difference is that for a wedding weekend, certain events must happen in a particular order: rehearsal, ceremony, social hour, reception, etc. Within a styled photo shoot event, I have more flexibility in the schedule.
HAVE A TIMELINE
I always state that the schedule is a proposed timeline of events, subject to changes as needed. If a vendor happens to be running late, or if one of models cannot be at the venue at the same time as the other, I can rearrange certain parts of the setup and shooting schedule to accommodate those needs. As with any event that I plan, I am working with multiple vendors and moving parts. It pays to be open minded, and flexible. My goals on the day of the styled shoot are to make sure all of the people and items are in the places they need to be, to do whatever is necessary to keep things going smoothly, and to try to stay on schedule as much as possible. All of my vendors and models understand this concept, and graciously work together to produce amazing results.
SHOOT DAY PROVISIONS
On the day of the styled shoot, I am always the first person on site, besides the venue owner or designated representative. I make sure I have all relevant paperwork, like contracts, contact and social media information for vendors and models, and lists of items and services being provided for the event. I also have a copy of the schedule, and sometimes a list of specific shots that I would like the photographer to take during the shoot. Depending on the location, and time of the styled shoot, I do try to provide bottled water and some snacks for my team. Sometimes the venue will provide those items for us, and that is always a blessing. There are also times that I will mention before the shoot that each person attending will need to be responsible for their own meals.
I usually have my personal supply kit handy at each styled shoot, the same as I do for weddings and events. I include basic toiletries, tape, scissors, pens, lighter, paper products, and trash bags.
Pro Tip: I often bring extra items for styling, like different kinds of ribbon, scarves, silk flowers, candles, and small printed signs. Photographers usually like to pair these items with stationery suites and wedding rings for detail shots. I have seen so many gorgeous layouts, or “flat lays”. These types of photos really help to tell the story of the styled shoot.
DAY OF SHOOT
Finally, we get to work on the day of the styled shoot, setting up décor and putting the models in gorgeous gowns and stylish suits. The shutters of the cameras start clicking, and the models are posed in endless ways, pausing only briefly to change outfits, or to touch up hair and makeup. For as much time and planning that goes into a styled photo shoot, the actual day of the event goes by quickly, and it’s over before you know it. The anticipation of receiving the finished gallery of images from the photographer is sometimes overwhelming.
When I receive the images, I am always blown away from the depth and excellent quality of the stunning photos, and the talent of the photographer that took them. I love working with my talented team members and praise them for all of the help they so lovingly and freely give of themselves to bring my visions to life. I know that I cannot do this alone, and I am exceedingly grateful for everyone that has contributed to my projects, and I love to return the favors by helping others with their projects. Community over competition is a wonderful concept. Please share it with others in our industry. Keep on dreaming and creating!
Kimberly Lehman is the founder of Love, Laughter & Elegance: Wedding & Event Planning in Canton, Ohio. She has been enthusiastically planning weddings and special events for over 20 years. Her personal experience and extensive knowledge make her a resourceful expert within the wedding and special events industry.
We have been blessed to have our Audrey Hepburn – Funny Face Movie Inspired styled bridal photo shoot featured on the Southern Celebrations Magazine website! This feature was also recently published in Vol. 8 of the print edition.
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire are Hollywood Icons. Funny Face has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember. The fashions (House of Givenchy), the music, the scenery (Paris and New York) are just incredible. I highly recommend watching this classic film! Here is my tribute to them. Enjoy!
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn
Featured in Volume 8.
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognized as a film and fashion icon, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood, and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
We have been blessed to have our Gorgeous Baby Shower styled photo shoot featured on the Southern Celebrations Magazine blog! This feature was also recently published in their print magazine, Vol. 8. We had such an awesome team of creative vendors that collaborated on this project! Enjoy!!
(Disclaimer: Mature content in post. Please, no readers under 18 years old.)
Several months ago, I asked Virginia Buckner, the editor and owner of Southern Celebrations Magazine, what type of features she was looking to promote within the next volume of the magazine (Vol. 8). This issue is currently available to order, by the way (insert shameless promotional plug here). She mentioned that she was looking for a styled photo shoot featuring a bridal boudoir theme, and an accompanying article about this particular genre of photography, and why it would appeal to brides. This got my wheels turning. What my team of models and vendors worked with me to create is nothing short of absolutely and amazingly gorgeous!! So please enjoy!!
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! There are many events that will take place during your engagement and wedding planning, and one of them might include a bridal boudoir photo session. What is a boudoir session, one may ask? It is a photo session, in which you are posed by a professional photographer, wearing pretty lingerie. Often, professional hair styling and makeup are also included in a boudoir session. This photo session may take place in a photography studio, hotel room, or one’s own home. Sometimes photos are taken in outdoor, urban, or unexpected, non-traditional settings. The photos are then often given to your future spouse as a gift before the wedding, or as an anniversary gift.
That’s the basic definition of boudoir photography. But it is so much more than that! Photography is an art form, no question about it. Boudoir photography is that same art form, elevated. It is sensual, soft, cozy, romantic, lush. It can also be edgy and raw, blatantly sexy, and badass. As Patrick Swayze once said in a famous movie, “it’s a feeling, a heartbeat.” Nothing could be more true about this artistic medium. An experienced boudoir photographer can pose you in ways that will bring out curves that you never thought you had, and will show your inner goddess off to perfection. It will leave you feeling glamorous, sexy, and empowered in a way that will keep you (and your significant other) smiling for years to come.
So, what can you expect to happen during a boudoir session? During your initial consultation with a boudoir photographer, you can discuss what you like to wear, whether it is lacy and daring, or soft and sweet. Some of the best boudoir photos I have ever seen have been with the model in an oversized, slouchy sweater, with one bare shoulder, and a pair of warm and cozy socks that reach above the knee. You may prefer to don the bridal undergarments that will be worn on your wedding day. Add your veil for a soft, timeless romantic look. If you or your intended are sports fans, why not go for a playful look with a favorite team jersey? Perhaps you would prefer a button-down shirt and a tie for a classic, professional vibe. Or would you like to go for an all-out bombshell look? The options are endless, as are the wardrobe choices. Play around with different types of looks to see what complements your figure. Don’t forget to consider the shoes, stockings, jewelry and other accessories that will complete your ensemble. A few props can also enhance your photos, like an antique hand mirror, or a soft blanket that feels amazing against bare skin. If you want to feel like a queen, by all means, bring along a tiara. It’s your day! Anything goes!
During your consultation, your photographer will also talk about posing, and how many settings and wardrobe changes you will utilize. You will want to schedule your photo session a few months before your wedding or anniversary, so that your photographer has enough turn-around time for editing your photos, and to place your order for prints or an album.
It’s perfectly natural to feel a little bit nervous about an intimate photo session like this. You will relax once the camera starts clicking, I promise. If you would feel more comfortable with having a gal pal to accompany you to your session, definitely ask. Perhaps they would like to participate in a session as well. Always more fun! Also, go easy on the alcohol and salty foods a few days prior to the photo shoot to prevent bloating. Be sure to drink lots of water, to stay well hydrated, and set your skin to glowing. Enjoy being pampered by a hair stylist and make up artist prior to your photo session. This is your moment to shine, and revel in all of your womanly glory.
I highly encourage all women to schedule this type of photo session for themselves, at least once in their lives. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or size. All women are beautiful in their own unique shapes, and skin tones. The overall experience is amazing, and one that you will never forget! You will come away with quite the boost in self-confidence. You will feel very empowered, and ready to take on the world, in this next chapter of your life. Enjoy!