Not too long ago, I came across a post describing the lies that Pinterest perpetrates to brides. We see these amazing and stunning weddings that we just have to have! What we don’t know, is that the wedding that we are sitting there drooling over, actually had a $100,000 floral budget. Or was captured by the most elusive to get photographer on the planet. So that made me think. In the age of the styled shoot, what types of lies are we (as photographers and wedding professionals) portraying to brides all over the world? Well, I hate to say it, but there are quite a few. So here we go.
8 Lies that Styled Shoots Tell:
- There are a smaller number of things (i.e. bouquets, tables, centerpieces, etc.) Usually with a styled shoot, we are only setting up one reception table. At most, there will be two and one of those is most likely a sweetheart table. Sometimes, there are no tables at all! Fewer tables mean fewer centerpieces. And what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that there can be a great expense for just that one table. So it can be overflowing with huge floral centerpieces. Unless you have a really gigantic floral budget, that is probably not practical for even ten tables (100 guests) much less 25 tables (250 guests). Also, when you are only creating one bouquet and one boutonniere, the same principle can apply. You can spend much more on making one bouquet amazing than you would be able to if you needed nine. This gold shoot is the perfect example of that.
- The weather tends to always be perfect: Let’s face it. No one really wants to get married in the rain. Even though some of my favorite weddings have been in the rain like this one. I talk more about rain weddings on this post and on this post. And for styled shoots, unless we are at an indoor venue, rain pretty much puts the brakes on the whole thing. So what do we do? Well, we reschedule for a day with better weather. Can you reschedule your wedding day for a day with better weather? Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. So whether its blazing hot, freezing cold, raining cats and dogs, or blowing hurricane force winds, the show must go on (FYI, I don’t really recommend getting married in a hurricane, but, hey, whatever floats your boat).
- We take hours and hours to set up and take pictures of a relatively small setup: Literally. Hours and hours. We make sure very little detail and nuance is ABOLUTELY perfect. It would take days to make that happen for a real wedding. The time that I spend just photographing the bride and groom from a styled shoot would have to fit in first look, bridal portraits, bride and groom, and bridal party on a real wedding day. And the time I spend photographing details? Well, let’s just say it’s a fraction on the wedding day that it is during a styled shoot.
- The cakes are fake. No joke. So all of those cool images you see on Pinterest of brides holding cakes? Most likely they are all fake.
Sooo. . .why can’t you hold your own cake at your wedding? Well, fake cakes weigh just about nothing. Your own cake will likely weight 30-50 pounds. Sometimes more. And they aren’t exactly the most stable things to hold on to. This gold cake? I can’t even imagine how heavy it would be if it were real. Because honestly, it was a pretty heavy fake cake.
So unless you are willing to take that risk of ruining your cake, I might just leave this one to the styled shoots. . . Although, I do have to say that if you are having satellite cakes or a small cake at your wedding, this is still a fun shot to do. I wouldn’t recommend it with a real cake over two tiers. The below cake is real and we were VERY careful during this shot.
- The people are usually models. And that size 2 girl would be able to put on any dress in the store and look amazing! I hate to say it but we all know it’s true. And she has a handsome, fit “groom” that would look great in any slim fit tuxedo that he put on. Most of us out here in the real world have something about ourselves that we aren’t going to like in pictures. Hey, it’s life. I’m not saying that everyone isn’t beautiful because we all are. But some people are just gifted in the body department more than others. Oh to be a size 6 again. . .Wait. Was I ever a size 6? Probably not.
Also, models KNOW how to hold themselves in front of the camera. They have studied which angles flatter them the most and they know how to operate in front of a camera. In this vein, it’s not a bad idea to do some practicing of your own before the big day. That is one reason why an engagement session with you photographer is so important (here are some more reasons). And it shouldn’t be any photographer, it should be the one that will shoot your wedding. So that engagement session you had with your friend that likes to take pictures? It doesn’t count. Sorry.
- Nobody goes wandering off (groom, groomsmen, etc). Nuff said.
- The photographer (usually) has complete control and sets the shot up to be absolutely perfect. And I mean in complete control. I can wait 10 minutes on clouds to pass. I can go and shoot something else while the bride is getting her hair and makeup touched up. These are all little luxuries that you don’t have in the craziness of a wedding day because you are on a major time crunch. Also, for me, my favorite time of day to shoot is the two hours before sunset (also known as the golden hour). All of my styled shoots are set up for the golden hour. That is how I can get amazing sun flare in them.
But most weddings, especially those that occur in the summer and fall, are already well under way by the time the golden hour happens. So that means that 95% of the photographs have already been taken. Which brings us to a good point. Please please please consider the golden hour for me when planning your wedding if you are getting married outdoors. I know that when you are not a photographer you think as much sun as possible is great. Really though, a ceremony at 3pm is going to come out really harsh unless it’s cloudy. You and your groom are going to be squinting (and most likely sweating) and there will be very harsh shadows on your faces. This makes your photographer’s job extremely hard. And you want those memories to be the best that they can be! Now, if you are getting married indoors, by all means, please get married at 2pm. The more natural light I can get, the better.
Most of the ladies are wearing a lot more makeup than you think. It’s true. I promise. You would probably think they look like a Vegas show girl if you saw them in person. And that brings us to an important point. You can either look natural in person or natural in pictures. Not both. On your wedding day, it’s okay to wear more makeup than you do on a regular basis. You want to look special that day. You don’t want to look the same as you do when you head to work on Monday morning. I talk more about the issue in this post.
So there ya have it. Yes, styled shoots are amazing for inspiration. They are incredible fun and they are incredibly fun to look at. But while you are planning your wedding, keep these little lies in mind and don’t be too hard on yourself or on your wallet.
And since we mentioned it, go and have some fun perusing these styled shoots. . .