Bridal inspiration shoots – what’s the point?

I do love a loaded question! Opinions abound on creative shoots – wedding industry friends and peers getting together to have a day out, a picnic, and a bit of a laugh. Is that all it’s about? Of course not!

the future of vintage inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog

The Future of Vintage! Click to see more. Photo Credit Jonny Draper Photography

Do you, as a bride or groom-to-be, think creative shoots are useful, give ideas, entertain or provide good eye candy?

Or do you look at inspiration shoots on wedding blogs and in magazines and wonder why wedding photographers, dress designers, florists, cake designers, stationers and jewellers seem to spend all their time on creative shoots?

Outdoor wedding inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog

Outdoor wedding inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog. Photo credit Mark Tierney

My thoughts on bridal inspiration shoots

I’ve heard lots of opinions on the subject of creative shoots. Engaged couples and industry insiders alike differ in their views. Some think creative shoots are a waste of time while others love the creativity they promote and explore.

For me, creative shoots can even drive the wedding industry forwards, promoting new ideas and concepts for wedding design. I love them. I feature inspiration shoots on English Wedding Blog – the photography and creativity inspires me.

Overall though, I see two types of creative shoot: those which provide inspiration for brides and grooms along a theme or style; and those which offer a creative opportunity for suppliers, a chance to push boundaries and try new techniques and designs.

Fearless Bridal creative shoot by Yolande De Vries

Fearless Bridal creative shoot by Yolande De Vries

What couples can get from a bridal inspiration shoot

There’s more to a bridal inspiration shoot than pretty pictures to enjoy. Shoots will often provide ideas for decorating wedding tables, accessorising dresses, and creating a cohesive theme in a certain colour or style.

Most inspiration shoots are collaborations between local wedding suppliers, and can be a great way to find suppliers in your area. Check your wedding photographer’s blog: have they done any recent shoots? Who did they work with? Finding a group of suppliers who work well together can be a blessing when it comes to everything running smoothly on your wedding day.

gothic wedding ideas inspiration English Wedding Blog

A gothic wedding inspiration shoot - click to see the feature. Photo Credit Alex Davies Photography

What wedding suppliers should get from creative shoots

Creative shoots can be a wonderful way to promote your business to potential customers. Especially if you’re new to the wedding industry or just beginning to get to know other suppliers, they’re a fabulous opportunity. But you only get out what you put in. Without good promotion a shoot can be a nice day out and little more.

Networking and friendships with local wedding suppliers

Knowing who excels at what they do means you can offer great advice to brides and grooms – and the wedding suppliers who meet you on a shoot can recommend you too.

It’s not just about business networking though (and I hate the word, by the way!) – friendships can grow from working on creative shoots with fellow wedding suppliers. Many of you reading this will know what I mean when I say what we do can be a lonely job at times.

Iscoyd Park wedding venue inspiration shoot by Ashford Daly Photography

Iscoyd Park wedding venue inspiration shoot. Photo credit Ashford Daly Photography

A cluster of blog and web promotions for your business

If ten suppliers are involved in a bridal inspiration shoot, and all blog about it, share images, namecheck the other suppliers and post links and comments on each other’s blogs – it’s an excellent bit of online promotion for your business.

BUT don’t underestimate the importance of promoting a shoot you’re involved in. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Don’t leave it at the bottom of your to do list.

If fellow wedding suppliers have given up their time I really feel it’s important to give something back: shout about the shoot and your new friends from the rooftops – if they’re amazing people to work with, then tell anyone who’ll listen!

Pink wedding inspiration shoot - sweet as candy Photography by Cristina Rossi

Pink wedding inspiration shoot - sweet as candy Photography by Cristina Rossi

More creative shoots can be an opportunity to explore new design ideas

For wedding stationers and jewellers, for example, a themed shoot can be a great setting to explore new designs and more outlandish ideas. With so many designers in our industry, it’s exciting to see something new and different – and that goes for brides and grooms admiring the shoot as well as those involved in its creation.

1950s wedding inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog

1950s wedding inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog Photo Credit Carla Thomas

Share your thoughts on bridal inspiration shoots

I’d love to hear your thoughts on bridal inspiration shoots. What do you think when you see a shoot on a wedding blog? Have you discovered great ideas from shoots, or do you feel they’re too far removed from real weddings to be useful? If you’re a wedding supplier, have shoots worked for you? Do you have any tips for other suppliers considering doing their first shoot? I’d love to hear from you!


alternative bridal inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog

alternative bridal inspiration shoot on English Wedding Blog Photos by Damian Hall Photography

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • chris hanley
    8 years ago

    Great talents in all professions practice, invent, try out, create, think, research, experiment every day. That is what makes them special and stand out from the average. Creative shoots, Inspiration shoots are the outlets for our industry. Practice Practice Practice makes perfect.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Great point Chris. The expert photographer’s point of view, and an interesting one about more creative shoots. Your creative shoots are amazing, and I love how imaginative they are: from our Vintage Twee and Nia Fiori shoot to your Erica Stacey bridal Cherish the Dress shoot.
      A mutual friend of ours once said to me that being involved in so many shoots wasn’t ‘working’ in a business sense: but I think perhaps it’s the type of shoot – some are playful and exciting; some are inspiring for brides and grooms. I guess it depends what you need to ‘get’ from an inspiration shoot.
      Venice looks gorgeous by the way – you really did research the light and sunshine!

  • Lucy Boyle
    8 years ago

    I couldn’t say it any better. This is why inspiration shoots are great.
    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.” Albert Einstein

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Nice comment Lucy / Albert!
      So it’s about taking the things you can learn from a creative shoot and applying them to wedding photography? I guess you never know what you can learn on an imaginative shoot, but it’s always worth seeing where the experiment takes you.
      I like it!
      C x

  • Lovely post Claire, really highlights the positives of collaboration for styled shoots. Excited to hear what others say!
    I have found styled shoots to be invaluable in building contacts and relationships with in the wedding industry. They also have given me stunning images to use on my website, blog, facebook and twitter page – and I wish I could just do them all the time! Speaking from my experience of organising them (including the Gothic shoot pictured above), it’s lovely to see all your hard work from the day come together with fabulous suppliers and then have these amazing images to use to promote your business. As you said, Claire, it also gives suppliers the opportunity to practise their skills and experiment with ideas and styles they may not necessarily get chance to do otherwise.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Hi Laura!
      I definitely had you in mind as I wrote the last part of this blog post: when you’d asked me to mention you’re always looking for new people to collaborate with. Shoots are so relevant in this age of social media – and more fun than networking used to be! (Also: more fun than twitter!)

  • Clayton
    8 years ago

    I am all out in favor of creative and inspiration shoots. They are the ones who help a lot in improving all areas of wedding. Although there are conservative people in the industry who believes in tried and tested formula, there are other who want to do something unique; a lot of couples love that.

  • Chrissi Holt
    8 years ago

    I find old school wedding shoots boring … I think we all need to be more creative and look for something original and of course for styles and themes that reflect the couples interests … i think that is most important … it shouldn’t just be about pushing boundaries (although i like the idea of that if it is more of a model / inspiration shoot) … hope that makes sense !

  • Mary Ashford
    8 years ago

    Hello Claire,
    Read through this post with relish and delight.
    You certainly match our views, and are on the same page regarding pushing, promoting and sharing – and Chris Hanley we agree, creating, researching and experimenting must be a part of the daily work mind mapping – it should be such a big part of any wedding supplier’s job role/business efforts today, and yes it is important for all involved in a staged photo shoot, not matter how big or small, to get on board with it, otherwise it can easily be a missed opportunity.
    We know from experience over the years that certain collaborations are more successful than others – that’s just the way it sometimes rolls.
    Some you do to ‘help or assist’ other suppliers. Some we do purely now for us to push our boundaries, test new equipment or showcase a new style of photography/service, and some we take great enjoyment in and entertain as the concept really grabs our attention and delivers excitement, desire, inspiration and emotion (we too need to feel this), or with some collaborative get-togethers we know we can ‘place’ the results, because we know they will have mass appeal and a real worth i.e. interest in the marketplace.
    Thanks Claire for sharing this discussion and for featuring one of our images above too.
    Our very best,
    Mary & Greg
    Ashford Daly Photography xxx

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