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  • Writer's pictureNicole Sharma


Before I ventured into the world of fashion, beauty and creative direction I worked for a large retailer managing more than 100 people. My focus was leading while ensuring our collective actions resulted in something amazing. My organizational skills and management skills have lead me to successfully execute and conceptualize quite a few styled shoots! Styled shoots are a very integral part of growing our skills and exposure as entrepreneurs.

If they aren’t managed and planned properly the execution can end up being a nightmare. Since all the vendors invest time, resources and money into these collaborations it is best to make sure you have all the details covered.

Let’s start by defining what a styled shoot is. A styled shoot is usually a collaborative effort of multiple vendors and/or creatives that come together to produce content that can express or showcase their talents. Instead of being limited to creating only what a customer wants, the shoot can be used as an opportunity to create new ideas and concepts without limitations. This can help a business create new market needs and/or showcase their skills and capabilities.

Participants can use the shoot to translate their visual concept onto film and photo. The vendors can then submit the images to magazines for further exposure or simply use them on their social media accounts and websites as content.

The most important part of this process is to keep in mind is that all of this costs money. It is best to be upfront about how the costs will or will not be shared. I recommend being honest to all participants from the start to avoid disappointments or conflicts. The most successful shoots are those where everyone is on the same page and happy with the major decisions like cost, theme, etc. Once all the major roles are decided it is best to work in an organized manner and account for all aspects of what may come up on shoot day

I have put together my top 5 must haves when organizing a shoot!

1. Creative Director/Organizer: These are 2 most important duties in order to get things moving and on track. You will need to have a point person that takes the lead in organizing and communicating everything as well as co- coordinating with all the vendors/creatives.

The person who has the initial idea usually initiates the process of planning the shoot. However, if they are not comfortable or confident with leading and managing it is best to get a planner or a shoot director on board.

Before contacting anyone to collaborate, be sure to have a mood board that has various aspects of the shoot incorporated. Be sure to keep the mood board as a guideline to inspire you to create some fresh and new content. At the end of the day you want to showcase your talent and creativity and not just mirror someone else's work.

2. Shoot Documents: There are 3 must have documents for a shoot. The first one is what we call “shoot bible”. It is a shareable, google document with all the information on the shoot. The Vendors that have been confirmed, their contact information, other confirmed details like location, duration, etc. The second is the detailed mood board. Last but not the least is a styled shoot contract. It can be simple or complicated depending on your shoot. There are many different versions available online. Pick one that suits your shoot the best. The contract serves as a huge stress reliever as it holds people accountable to deliver what they have promised.

3. Communications: Apart from the three documents, it is imperative that the lead person on the shoot has effective communication to the team throughout the process. Some examples are;

A) Connecting with the different participants

B) Communicating progress

C) Organizing any food or refreshments needed for shoot day ( follow up on dietary restrictions if you are the one providing food)

An itinerary for the day, list of things to bring or important site information such as parking or access should be effectively communicated ahead of time. This way all participants can work collectively to keep things on track.

4. Plan B: Always have a plan B outlined as part of your contract. It is also wise to have it listed in the shareable Google document as well. Have a back up option for example:

A) In case it rains, and it is an outdoor shoot. Does the venue have an indoor option?

B) Is there is an issue with the date? If so, can there be a back up preferred date that all the vendors can agree to?

C) Is the itinerary coordinated to make the best use of the time you have. For example, plan for the hair and makeup time to co-ordinate with set up time for decor.

D) Leave lots of space in between itinerary slots in case of delays or other unforeseen issues.

E) Its always good to have an emergency kit on hand, double sided tape, a sewing kit, steamer, iron etc. or whatever else you think you could possibly need for the shoot.

5. Let the Magic happen: On the final shoot day try to enjoy the process. Make connections, let creativity flow and try to be flexible if things are moving well but not exactly to plan. The best results come when organization is met with passion.

These are my personal top 5 must haves. Do you have any? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

* All images are from our shoot featured in Wedluxe magazine that was co- created by myself and Prerna Kumar from Prerna & Co. List of all other vendor participants is listed in the feature. Check out the feature at

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