Updated: Aug 26
Oh what a year can do for you! I know that I have posted a ton on social media from this styled shoot, but I never talked about the planning side, how it came to be, or what it really represented for me. As so many of you know, I kind of fell into starting my business, while it is a passion, it wasn't something that I was chasing at the moment. One year ago today I took on my first styled shoot and feel in love with the design aspect that working on a styled shoot created.
Kailee Taylor Photography:
While this shoot had 3 photographers, all the pictures shown below showcase Kailee Taylor Photography. Kailee has a warmer editing style that brought this November shoot out of the Texas summer look and into a fall vibrant moodier look. I love seeing that each of the photographers had very different editing styles and were able to capture each aspect of this shoot from behind their lenses.
Hidden Gardens Venue:
I was recently out of college and actively working at Hidden Gardens Venue, joining local wedding pages. Once I joined a page I saw a local photographer who was trying to put together a styled shoot, but needed help finding vendors and getting the ball running. I immediately reached out, took her vision board and was able to create something from it. Now this was my first time getting to be on the full planning side of an event, or even getting to reach out to vendors to request their services. I learned a lot after reaching out to the first few vendors ad I found that getting certain vendors on board was much more difficult than others.
I was already working with a venue, Hidden Gardens Venue, which gave me a location to host the shoot. Luckily, the venues owners also own the local florist shop, Lake Worth Florist, and were incredibly happy to create some spectacular pieces for the shoot. Working closely with both the venue and the florist was beneficial in not only planning this shoot, but in so many of my other endeavors. Hidden Gardens, while it is an old and historic venue, has only been a venue and owned by the King family for the last few years. The King family, the owners, have been in the wedding industry for generations owning Lake Worth Florist.
While I know that styled shoots can be as simple as a bride and groom, wedding dress, bouquet and venue, I knew that I wanted my first to be something that made a statement, turned heads, and showed what I could really create.
Lake Worth Florist:
For me, this is the picture that changed it all. I built my brand off this image right here. It was one of the sneak peak images that Kailee sent me and I about cried at the sight of it. I knew then and there what I had accomplished, that I made something good and something that was going to mean something, something that gave me confidence as a designer. Lake Worth Florist, created something magical. Bringing together bright florals including peonies, orchids, roses, straw flowers and so many others. They created arch pieces that were built from the bottom up, featured pampas grasses, bright florals, and mixed eucalyptus. Not only did they make the arch and a stunning chair piece, but also the bridal bouquet, table centerpieces, and the cascading bridal bouquet.
I didn't know that many vendors in the area still, social gathers and networking still wasn't really happening because of covid-19, so those that I knew were from the events that I had worked at the venue before. I knew how to network and reach out, but found that many was reluctant to work with me because of my lack of experience or fear that the shoot wouldn't amount to much. My biggest struggle was in finding a rentals business, which ultimately resulted in me investing and buying all of the tablescape needs. I bought the charger, runners, candle holders, candles, glassware, linens and more. I used the venues gold flatware and antique china to bring it all together.
Tap & Fizz:
As for the other vendors, I knew I needed a statement, something that went wow. I don't remember how I discovered Teresa, but I am incredibly happy that I did. Teresa owns Tap & Fizz, a speciality bar cart and trailer business and she is nothing short of impressive. Teresa brought out her small bar cart and did a stellar set up, she made drinks to match the theme and our couple, and the vendors at the shoot were able to not just see what she creates, but taste it.
Royal Hair & Makeup:
Hair and makeup was done by Royal Hair & Makeup artist Anna. I found her through Instagram and was immediately interested after seeing what she created and showcased on her social media account. Anna had complete freedom to create the look that she wanted, I was nothing short of impressed with this natural makeup look and loose curls. The florist made a flower crown that made the elegant dress com together especially when paired with the maroon pumps.
The original lead photographer had found an antique Oleg Cassini wedding dress at a garage sale, with a high neck, straight cute and covered in intricate pearls the gown was already cleared and not something that I had to track down. As for the suit, that took a lot of calls, but resulted in me finding Bonobos to partner and make a custom suit to fit the theme. The photographer had also already found a couple, needing a model to fit the dress, the couple was engaged in real life and was again one less thing to track down.
A styled shoot isn't complete without having a stationary designer. I sent over a vision board, made a few posts and quickly found CBB Paints and was able to bring them on board. I gave her complete control in what she decided to create, I recognized that it wasn't my area of expertise, so I trusted the designer. I was nothing short of impressed with what she created for this shoot.
Now since I had a lead photographer I didn't need another. Wrong, only days before the shoot, the lead photographer contacted me and let me know that she was positive with covid-19 and was no longer able to photographer the shoot. I quickly began reaching out and found a photographer who had just shot a wedding last minute at the venue and was able to bring her on board. I also found another photographer, one who primarily shot senior and family pictures prior, but was an incredibly addition and became a great friend, her name is Riley Wurm. Finally, the 3rd photographer I brought on board was also the speciality cookie designer, Stefanie, owner of Shane's Cookie Corner.
Shane's Cookie Corner:
Stefanie, mother of Shane, held the role of not only these stunning and very yummy cookies seen below, but also a photographer on the shoot. I gave Stefanie the color palette and then the freedom to create whatever she wanted. Tying into the cake, the vibrant colors and water color look helped create something unique. Using Isabel and Wolfgangs names were a special touch as she gifts the cookies to them at the end of the shoot.
I found the cake designer, Moria, had recently done a wedding at the venue. I brought her on board for this shoot and gained a friend that I would work with on many occasions between last year and this. She designer this cake that seriously made me keep saying wow. Alongside the cake, sat Shane's Cookie Corner cookie that were themed to match the shoot and reflected the couples name.
I couldn't ask for a better florist team, they created so many incredible works of art. Not only did they make beautiful arch pieces, but a stunning piece to shape the sitting spot. I wanted to create a spot that would create iconic portraits, be unique and different. Using one of the antique couches from the venue, I hung a chandelier above and helped the florist create a focal point for the shoot. I mean look at how much life is in this piece alone, it welcomes you, I can't help but to look at this piece and just smile and be incredibly happy!
Now one of my mistake was in wanting to create too much. I had a head table, the arch, a sitting spot, and the bar cart out front. I also had a sweetheart table down by the pond, which unfortunately was out of sight, out of mind. With only one couple and so much light, the spot wasn't photographed to my expectations, but allowed me to learn about time, light and managing the photographers.
One of my biggest character flaws is in feeling like I didn't do enough, that I somehow let everyone who believed in me down. But for a first shoot, I count this as a total win. I gained material that became the focus of what my brand is and represents, an image for me to market. I also gained friendships and found a passion to create, to enhance the "DESIGN" part of my brand. I built who I am off of this shoot because it was a monumental moment in my career, it was a moment that I realized who I am and what I could do and what my business could grow into.
While this shoot does look picture perfect it wasn't without its challenges. As I said above, some vendors were harder to get on board than others, and day of I seemed to be fighting time. I had never done a styled shoot before, so I knew that it wouldn't go perfectly. I am a profound believer in learning from every action and event. The first thing I learned is timing, I didn't think that a timeline would be necessary since I only had one couple modeling. I also thought one couple, the photographers could fairly share. I didn't realize the importance of giving each photographer individual time with the couple to capture them in their own unique way, however this was something that they discussed with me after the shoot and something that I changed for the next shoot I did. Another lesson, was in what I could realistically do in a crunched time frame and not over extending myself. I was lucky to have my sister available to help with the shoots set up or else everything that I designed may not have come together as it did.
Overall, the lessons learned have since made me a better designer. With another styled shoot under my belt and an upcoming shoot next week, each little detail has helped make me a better planner, coordinator and designer.
Overall, this styled shoot served as a turning point for me, it allowed me to grow and become the designer that I am today. I grew the confidence to become a better creator and came out of this shoot knowing that this is in fact that I am supposed to be doing.
This shoot would have never been half of what it was if I didn't have such a great vendor team to work with and the support that they offered to me. Not only did I have the support and confidence of the vendors that I was working with, but of friends and family who constantly offered me words of affirmation throughout the stressful planning process and then day of execution.
Photographer: @kaileetaylordye.photo - Kailee Dye Photo
Florist: @lakeworthflorist - Lake Worth Florist
Venue: @hiddengardensvenue - Hidden Gardens Venue
Floral Designer: @britruiz89 - Brittney Ruiz
Coordinator: @rmkeventsbyrachel - RMK Designs Events by Rachel
Designer: @rachel_mkimball - Rachel Kimball
Stationary: @cbb.paints - CBB Paints
Cake: @moracakesdfw - Mora Cakes (Cakes by Mory)
Speciality Cookies: @shanescookiecorner - Shane's Cookie Corner
Model: @thefashionweekender - Isabel & Wolfgang
Hair & Makeup: @royalmua - Royal Hair & Makeup
Bar: @tapandfizz - Tap & Fizz
Suit: @bonobos -Bonobos
Dress: @olegcassini - Oleg Cassini