From The Inside Out: Onsite With The Pros at a Styled Shoot
Amid shots on my Instagram feed of baked goods, latte art, and national park adventures are styled shoots of gorgeous bouquets held by stunning ladies and gentlemen. Without fail, they’re dressed to the nines in interesting-hued pants, expensive-looking leather shoes, suspenders and bowties, with women in long flowy skirts and lacy shirts, with or without plunging necklines, never lacking the commanding confidence that comes as a result of the magic mix of professional photographer and social media.
While many of these shots are probably candid, genuine moments caught on film, many are styled shoots. What’s the difference anyway? How come the people, settings, and accessories are so perfect? Is this achievable in real life? What is the goal of these shoots?
The first week of February this year, Vintage Magnolia participated in what our industry calls a 'styled shoot'. It was a collaborative effort, with a wedding planner (Jeni, of Gemini Event Planning), hair stylist (Amber Livingston), makeup artist (Carrie Stockert), photographer (Shane McComber, Shane McComber Photography) and floral by Vintage Magnolia. Caitlin Caldwell, the owner of Vintage Magnolia, harbors mixed feelings regarding styled shoots in general. On the one hand, the aim with these projects is to be wildly creative, to let go of pre-existing notions of the possible, and to illustrate potential in floral design and industry collaborations. On social media, the viewers of the finished products are shown fantastical versions of events that are typically done in more traditional fashions. And for the designers and vendors, it’s kind of like a time to “play.” At the same time, however, styled shoots can (and usually do) lack a grounding in reality. After all, how many brides out there get married in a skirt made of pine boughs or wear full floral jewelry such as necklaces?
For the shoot, Caitlin wanted to showcase the winter setting in Colorado and did so for several reasons. Vintage Magnolia is a busy full-service wedding florist business, and we are open for weddings year-round, but the summer is our most active season. While our winter season does incorporate winter weddings, we think that since such a large part of the resort-town culture in the mountains is based on snow and the ski industry (not to mention it’s a gorgeous time of year here), Caitlin especially aimed, with the shoot, to introduce others to the wonder that a winter wedding can bring.
Leading up to the event, Caitlin and the VM team put their heads together regarding the floral product to be ordered and designed. They decided on a pine bough skirt with bloom accents, a floral and feather hat piece, a bright floral necklace, and a large bouquet. When the order came in from our wholesaler, all of us shop girls ooh’d and ahh’d at the vibrant hues and jewel tones of the blooms and greens that would be turned into works of art. We started the designing process in the shop, finishing the more difficult-to maneuver projects and adding florals to the skirt onsite.
Working with the professionals collaborating at the project, stepping outside our comfort zones (pine bough skirt?!?!?) and being onsite in the winter weather in Vail and Beaver Creek pushed the boundaries of the types of projects we typically participate in. The best part, however, says Emily, was seeing the photos that resulted. “To be honest, the day-of, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to turn out. We were walking through Vail Village at one point and there were people all over and the photographer wanted to get some pictures. With all the people in the background, I didn’t know how they’d look, but they ended up being some of the best ones.”
The model was beautiful, the day was perfect, and the magic of social media smoothed over any doubt, covered up evidence of challenges, and illustrated for viewers a whole new vision of creative design.