Styling photo shoots

Today I am delighted to introduce one of our fabulous UKAWP member planners, Stacey-Marie Chalk of Cherry Topped Bespoke Weddings, who shares below some tips and insight into co-ordinating and styling photo shoots. Over to you Stacey-Marie …. 

As a new/ relatively new wedding planning business you might be trying to think of ways you can fill out your portfolio and experience to show and talk about with prospective clients. One way that you can add to your portfolio and experience is by coordinating and styling photo shoots. Photo shoots provide you with the experience of working with a venue and different wedding suppliers who you could recommend to your future clients. It also provides you with some images to use on your website/ blog and also in your portfolio to show potential couples.

 I have experienced a couple of photo shoots, two quite different ones, both of which provided me with various learning points and also opportunities to meet and network with different wedding suppliers. Here is a little overview of them both…


Bridal Photo Shoot

 The first was a bridal shoot, which took place last year when I was asked by Jo from Lovehair, a wedding hair styling and makeup artist company, if I would like to coordinate a bridal photo shoot for them. We went for styles that would be reminiscent of bygone eras.

Love Hair Collage

Cake Collection Photo Shoot

 The second photo shoot took place this year and was for Janet Mohapi-Banks Sculptural Cake Design, whose cakes we had as part of the bridal shoot. Janet asked me to style a photo shoot of her 2011 wedding cake collection. Each cake design has its own personality and were treated as individual ‘subjects’.

Janet MohapiBanks Collage

Sourcing suppliers

 My role in both photo shoots was slightly different, but generally the coordination and styling aspects are skills which we use in planning a client wedding. Selecting the dresses with Jo, sourcing and coordinating with the venue, cake designer, floral designer and prop supplier for the bridal shoot gave me insight into identifying suitable styles, venue and suppliers to meet the design aspirations.

Sourcing suppliers

Inspiration boards

 Bringing together inspiration boards which are then shared with all suppliers involved is an important part of the photo shoot process. This ensures, firstly that the ‘client’ is happy with your interpretation of the style they are imagining, and secondly so that all suppliers are aware of the design intentions so that all elements complement each other when they are brought together. We do this with wedding clients when discussing their wedding style and design, which we also communicate to relevant wedding suppliers so that they can understand and be involved with the look and feel of the client wedding. Below are some inspiration boards and final photos from the cake collection shoot.

Forget me Not



On the day coordination

 The execution and coordination on the day is similar to that of a wedding day in that you need some sort of order and timescales to work to. The bridal shoot was my first experience and it was quite a challenge to fit in 5 models and 6 dresses within 4 hours, so I would advise not having so many models and dresses, or alternatively have more time. The cake collection shoot took 6.5 hours to photograph 8 cakes both with styling and without styling. It is amazing how long it takes to get everything perfect, straight, free from any stray ‘bits’ and without any obvious ‘gaps’.

Behind the Scenes


 Photo shoots take time to coordinate and style, time which you are providing free of charge, just as all the other suppliers involved are. The day of the shoot requires intense concentration, just like a client wedding day, but it is all very rewarding when you see the final result! It is an exciting moment when you get to see the images (a bit nerve wracking too!). As well as the beautiful images, you have found some new lovely and helpful suppliers along your way, experienced working with them and developed some good relationships. You have also experienced bringing together design and style ideas, amending it if required to meet client requirements and then executing it on the day. It is also good fun and a great to get the creative juices flowing! Suppliers will also have enjoyed the experience and maybe taken it as an opportunity to try something new out, plus they will have use of the images for marketing purposes, with the agreement and correct crediting of the photographer. The venue could have an album for showing clients, as we did with the bridal shoot. There is also the opportunity to spread the word through blogs. The cake collection shoot proved very popular on various wedding blogs, which has been wonderful exposure for all suppliers involved!

 Should you wish to, you can view more images from the bridal photo shoot and the cake collection shoot.

 If you have any questions just give me a call or pop me an email.


Supplier Credits:

Lovehair Bridal Photo Shoot at Botleys Mansion – images courtesy of Captive Photography, with dresses supplied by Amante, flowers provided by Wild About, cakes designed by Janet Mohapi-Banks and props supplied by the Vintage Tea House.

Janet Mohapi-Banks Sculptural Cake Design Cake Collection Photo Shoot and Behind the Scenes – images courtesy of Sugar and Spice Photography, flowers provided by Woods Florist and stationery provided by Ivy Ellen.


Inspiration Board Credits:
Forget-Me-Not – Blue favour bag, yellow ribbons and yellow floral table setting from Martha Stewart; Forget Me Not sign from Not on the Highstreet; Forget-me-not flowers from Flickr and blue bon bons by The Retro Tuck Shop
Addison – Table setting, bouquet, buttonhole, dress detail, drink and napkin from Martha Stewart; Floral pattern fabric “Meadow” by Clarke & Clarke from Illusion Interiors; Dotty material from Simply Living; Wedding ring cushion from lyubove.
Bubbles – Button bouquet from Flickr; table setting, drinks and floral bouquet from I Take You; sweet favours and books from Martha Stewart.


  1. Lloyd Dobbie on 26th May 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Very well thought out and comprehensive piece, Stacey-Marie.

    I would just add that when putting together a team for these shoots it’s so important to get the best and most creative people you can gather. All the elements have to be as strong as possible.

  2. Stacey-Marie Chalk on 1st June 2011 at 11:07 am

    Thank you Lloyd! : )

    Yes absolutely! For the bridal photo shoot I was responsible for sourcing the flowers, cakes and props which were to add to the environment and styling, they were wonderful suppliers to work with. For the cake collection photo shoot Janet already had suppliers in mind, so my role was more to do with the styling than supplier sourcing, but making sure all involved were aware of the styling and their creativity mirrored that. I have been asked to style another shoot by a photographer, which will be lovely if we ever get time to get it off the ground : ) I would also like to arrange one from scratch myself : )

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