In recent years, there has been an extensive push for ﬂorists and ﬂoral designers to participate in style shoots. If you’re not familiar with these shoots, they’re usually geared toward the wedding/event industry, where a team of creative individuals partner to showcase a particular design concept. There are no restrictions, limitations on color palette, theme or creative direction that can be featured. The sky’s the limit, and these shoots are really geared toward inspiration as developed by the team as a whole.
Some can be on a smaller scale, with only a handful of vendors, while others are extensive productions with more than 20 vendors. Almost always, these shoots are not funded. This means that every participating vendor contributes his/her own time, products and labor on a complimentary basis. Before you decide to participate as the ﬂoral partner, or decide against participating, here are some points for consideration.
Designing Outside the Box
Creative style shoots are a fabulous way to challenge yourself as a designer. It may help stretch you in a direction of design that you are not accustomed to or have had the opportunity to showcase. If you are interested in showcasing something different than your usual designs, these shoots just might be the place for you. Todd Kjargaard, owner of Jackie O, a wedding and event specialist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has done a few shoots. He ﬁnds that “in the age of social media and Pinterest, designing has become more of an interpretive process. The days of out-of-the-box, start-from-scratch creation are no longer as frequent as they once were because visual inspiration is everywhere.”
Always conﬁrm your participation after you’ve been informed of the design concept. This ensures that you have the opportunity to decide on your involvement based on your interests and skill set. Kjargaard feels that “style shoots allow the team to collectively come up with the creative direction and bring out the very best of the individual participants. They give back the freedom of choice and open possibility that is not as common as it once was.”
Current trends in weddings and events showcase a theme – color, culture or whatever comes to mind – so this might be one avenue for creative direction. A lifestyle-focused shoot would also work out well such as bohemian, vintage, eco-friendly or whatever inspires you. The trick is to ﬁnd something that the entire team can get excited about producing together. From Kjargaard’s perspective, “When you are able to let the creativity in, the result is always an emotional and heartfelt outcome.”
Access to Images
Another beneﬁt for ﬂoral designers/retailers, when it comes to style shoots, is the access to professionally photographed images. Some shoots may even have a videographer as part of the team, so there may also be a video clip of the shoot. These images can be used in an array of outlets. Social media would absolutely be a perfect choice: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIN, WeChat, WhatsApp, and the list goes on.
You can also use these images for promotions, blogs, newsletters, ﬂiers and other avenues to target your audience. You will also want to feature these images on your own website in a gallery or portfolio section or even to freshen your website with new content. Mark Volman, owner of Tropical Expressions, a specialist in bonsai, air plants and succulents in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, remarked, “The expertise of the photography and videography added value to our website by artfully capturing our products as display pieces.”
One of the most common challenges is waiting with anticipation for the release of images. Should your team decide to submit the shoot for publication, there will be a waiting time before the team has access to the images. Almost all blogs, publications and media channels will want ﬁrst rights to share the images. Therefore, depending on the media outlet, this could translate into several weeks or months before the images will be released to the team to use.
The quality of photography can vary between professionals. It’s always best to see a few samples of the photographer’s work before settling on your involvement. You will want to ensure that the style of imagery is congruent with your branding. Mark found that “the exchange of product placement for fabulous images was more than a fair exchange. It was mutually beneﬁcial for my business as well as the team as a whole.”
Publicity and Exposure
Once the style shoot has been featured, it’s a great time to highlight your work on your website, social media, blog, etc. This is the time to garner as much attention as possible for your efforts as well as the team’s. According to Kelly Robinson-Gojmerac, of Ooh La La Designs Event Floristry in Niagara, Ontario, Canada, “Style shoots and collaborations are one of the best ways to show your potential clients the diversity of your portfolio – whether it be a wedding or lifestyle focussed shoot.”
Some ﬂoral partners may sometimes feel that they are doing all the “heavy lifting.” Robinson-Gojmerac shares her experiences that “ﬂorists often shoulder large expenses for a style shoot. Therefore, ensure that you have a clear and concise outline on deliverables. They can range from installations, headpieces, mock ceremony and large tablescapes.” However, try and keep perspective about the proportion of contribution. If you contribute a few hundred dollars of product(s), will one event cover that amount of initial investment? Based on correlation, a smaller contribution by another creative vendor will likely yield them a smaller return as well. Please remember that typically it’s the ﬂoral and décor pieces that take center stage in these shoots, so make it a priority to publicize your work as much as possible.
In terms of etiquette or protocol, always provide the team credit and acknowledge everyone’s contributions. The shoot’s success would never be as well rounded without each individual’s efforts and talents. Robinson-Gojmerac states that, at the onset of the planning, “all participants should agree to tag and link all businesses in the caption section of social media.”
Importance of Networking
Style shoots are a great way to be introduced to many new vendors that you might never have had the opportunity to work with before. If you are not particularly comfortable with small chitchat, a style shoot, with its common purpose and goals, is a great way to be able to converse with new individuals. There’s generally a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. People are usually upbeat and quite friendly on the day, as well as post-shoot days. These opportunities can be a great way to forge new working relationships.
Jessica McEwen, owner of Periwinkle Flowers, a brick-and-mortar ﬂoral shop in Toronto, recently started participating in style shoots. She said, “I can’t believe I waited so long. Styled shoots are the perfect opportunity to explore creative ideas and work together with creative teams that are excited to design the perfect day. I’ve met some truly wonderful industry friends simply by taking part in styled shoots.”