For wedding suppliers: 5 Basic Rules of Editorial Shoot Etiquette!

Usually it’s me who ruffles occasional wedding industry feathers – but it’s been a while and today’s feature is a reminder to me that I should never lose that particular edge! Let’s not forget that our industry, while it’s an amazing place to work, has a few faults here and there. I’ve been lucky to be involved in some incredible styled shoots this year, and I’ve been blessed with the fabulous suppliers I’ve met.

Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (14)

So has lovely San from Sanshine Photography – and she’s on my list of people I’d love to work with one day! In the meantime though, this needs saying…

Wedding suppliers take note! 5 basic rules of editorial shoot etiquette

By San Shawe

The other week I had the pleasure of meeting some awesome people from the wedding industry at Genuine Cakes in Watford. The meet up was designed for us to network over a cup of coffee and a delicious piece of cake and exchange news and ideas, however towards the end of the session our pleasant chat turned into a passionate discussion on the topic of styled shoots. It has quickly become apparent that quite a few wedding industry professionals won’t even consider participating in styled shoots anymore because they got so badly burned before…

Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (1)

Hearing styled shoot horror stories makes me sad. I love inspiration shoots, love working with other creatives and putting gorgeous wedding concepts together. But these shoots do seem to have a bit of a bad reputation because of how some participants tend to behave at such projects, to the point where all of the positivity from the shoot becomes completely trampled by poor collaboration experiences.

The simple truth is that despite often being done on a pro-bono basis, inspiration shoots should still qualify as work, and should be approached the same way as any other paid job that your reputation and career depends on, but somehow it would seem that it’s not obvious to everyone, which, in turn, results in the many horror stories surrounding styled shoots.

Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (6)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (3)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (4)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (5)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (7)
So, I’ve decided to summarise the things that my colleagues have said into these

5 Basic Rules of Editorial Shoot Etiquette:

1) Be reliable.

How many times have we all heard: ‘We had it all planned and ready, and then our [insert pretty much any wedding-related profession here] dropped out the night before the shoot!’? There isn’t a nice way to say it, so I’ll just say it like it is: if you let people down once, you will not be fully trusted ever again. And not just by the team you’ve done it to, but quite possibly by most creative teams out there, because these things don’t go unnoticed in the wedding industry, trust me. And if after you’ve let people down, you find yourself not being invited to shoots anymore, then please remember – it’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not about ‘holding a grudge’ or ‘not wanting to understand your circumstances’, it’s simply about wanting to work with people we know we can trust. The amount of havoc a drop out can cause is incredible, and nobody would want to repeat that stressful experience!

2) Be honest.

Don’t lie and don’t make promises you’re not intending to keep. If you say you are borrowing a dress for a photoshoot, don’t shove it into a bag and ship it to a different city for a wedding show without the designer’s knowledge. You will get caught! If you are planning an outdoor shoot in December, don’t lie and say it’s going to be in a studio just so you can get a model on board. Your model will be within her/his rights to refuse to go outside if that wasn’t the initial agreement. Don’t say you’ve worked with someone when you haven’t, don’t pretend you know something when you don’t – it’s okay to be starting out and it’s okay to still be learning or to be unsure of something – we’ve all been there! If you’re talented, professional and willing to learn, you will always find someone who will give you a chance, but if you pretend to be someone you’re not, you will most likely regret it. Be open about who you and your plans for the shoot are – you can’t go wrong with that.

3) Respect other people’s work.

Regardless of how creative you may be, please don’t go altering other people’s work for your own benefit without their consent. Dress designers don’t like their dresses worn back-to-front or incorrectly laced up, make-up artists don’t like their carefully selected make-up colours to be completely re-coloured in Photoshop, and photographers feel physical pain every time they see Instagram filters over images they spent days perfecting and colour-correcting. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever adjust things and show your creativity – just please ask for permission first. Go about it the same way you’d go about borrowing someone’s precious item – they probably won’t mind if you ask nicely, but could consider it rude if you do something with it without their permission!

4) ALWAYS credit your team whenever you share the shoot with your audience.

I can’t stress this enough. A good editorial shoot can’t happen without a great team, so please take time to credit everyone who helped the magic happen! Your stylist, your models, your hair and make-up team, the florist, the cake-maker, every single designer who provided their carefully designed pieces for the shoot, your photographer, the venue that allowed you to shoot on their grounds, the list can go on. Trust me, everyone will notice and appreciate it. And likewise, they will also notice if you DON’T credit anyone, taking all of the credit for yourself and receiving praise for something they’ve helped you with. Nobody likes a spotlight thief – it’s selfish and silly and it will damage your reputation. On top of that, the images are ultimately produced with the purpose of spreading the word about every suppliers’ business – by not crediting them you are robbing them of potential opportunities. Just credit. It’s not that difficult.

And finally,

5) Be nice.

This might sound obvious, but it is crucial that we all get along and have respect for one another. Please be polite and respectful to other professionals, their businesses and their contribution (no matter how small) to the shoot. It takes two to tango, and it takes a whole bunch of us to create editorial magic – so just be nice to your colleagues. A good positive attitude will go a long way. Plus, surviving, let alone succeeding, in the highly saturated creative world of weddings is very difficult. So since we’re all here and we’re all contributing to a common cause, let’s get along, shall we? And let’s all have a great time creating beautiful wedding inspiration together!

I hope you found these rules helpful. If you have any suggestions or think I’ve missed something, please feel to contact me.

San ‘Sanshine’ Shawe

Sanshine Photography

Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (8)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (9)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (10)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (11)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (12)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (13)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (15)
Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (16)Tips for taking part in a styled bridal shoot by Sansine Photography (2)

Images in today’s feature are all by Sanshine Photography at Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club Stylist: Miss Munro Styling assistant: Paul Garratt Hair & Make-Up: Jo Adams and Rachel McCully Fresh flower headpieces: Josy Posy Floral decor: Indeco Invitations & stationery: Paper Tree Design Cake: Lorna’s Cakery Tablecloth: Magpie Décor Silk veils: Ann Guise Birdcage veil: Maggie Mowbray Millinery Headpieces, combs and jewellery: Donna Crain Bridal salon: Churchgate Porter Bridal Wear Models: Roisin Acraman & Danielle Latimer

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.



  • liz inigo jones
    4 years ago

    Great piece and well written – all so true xx

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