Tips to help you ask, evaluate, and protect yourself in the process
Collaboration is the name of the game in the wedding industry because no wedding is made possible without a talented team of pros. There are collaborative meetings during the planning process and day-of timelines that are nothing short of a magical dance and, along the way, you really start to realize how important the people around you are not only to your success but your creativity as well. So, at some point you might want to work with them on a project that is just for you (with all the freedom you need to create something without restrictions) and you dream up a concept for a styled shoot. The thing is, while styled shoots are exciting, coordinating one that is the right ask to the right people at the right time can be its own magical dance. Today, we wanted to share some advice to help you pitch your concept, evaluate the opportunity, and make sure everyone is protected in the process.
When you’re asking others to collaborate
Asking other wedding professionals to collaborate on styled shoots happens for a few reasons. Oftentimes someone has an amazing idea they want to bring to life (and the right client hasn’t come along just yet) so they call up their closest vendor friends to see who wants to make it happen. Other times, someone might be just starting their wedding business and they want to plan a styled shoot in order to kick start their brand so they see this as a networking opportunity—regardless of what the impetus is, pros ask other pros to collaborate a lot.
But here is the thing, styled shoots always cost something (time, hard goods, expertise, and cash) even if you aren’t paying for it, so it is important to make sure you pitch your idea in a way that makes others see the same value you do. So, before you sit down to draft your next do-you-want-to-work-with-me email, consider these tips:
- Personalize the email with the vendor’s name, tell them why you think they’d be excited about the opportunity as well as how it aligns with their style or goals (sending a mood board with your pitch is always a good idea)
- Be crystal clear about the scope of your ask and clearly list out what you are asking for as well as how much time might be involved
- Offer to pay for the services in your initial ask or outline a potential trade
- Outline what is in it for them in a way that helps them understand the benefits. Is this an opportunity to work with people they admire? Is the project pre-accepted for publication? Is it a chance for them to create something you know they have been wanting to?
Pro-tip: Learn more about networking with intention in the wedding industry for more tips to help you make the ask.
How to evaluate if it is worth it
Getting asked to collaborate on a styled shoot is always fun because it means there is a chance to create more freely, network, and collaborate with people you admire. But, when you are trying to decide whether it is the right opportunity (or time), there are a few things you should ask yourself before hitting reply.
- What are you actually getting out of the collaboration or what do you need to get out of it in order for it to be worth your time, money, and effort?
- If you are contributing your time and talent for free or as a trade, can you confirm you’ll receive images that you will get a lot of use out of?
- What is it really going to cost you to participate and can that time or money be more impactful elsewhere?
Whether you receive your very first request or your hundredth, not every one is going to fit into your schedule or fulfill your needs—and you don’t have to say yes to everything. When you do find yourself unable to commit to a collaboration, be sure to thank the person who reached out to you for the opportunity and let them know whether you’d like to be considered again in the future (if you would!).
Why you need a styled shoot collaboration agreement
When you decide that a collaboration is a good opportunity for you or the person doing the asking, it is important to have everyone sign a styled shoot collaboration agreement (read: contract). Even if no money is being exchanged, outlining expectations, deliverables, turnaround times, etc. will help ensure everyone executes on what they have committed to as well as receives everything they expect to get—it is just smart to put everything down in a simple agreement that everyone signs.
Pro-tip: Lawyer and WeddingPro Educator, Kunbi Odubogun, has a great styled shoot collaboration agreement for purchase in her contract template shop.
The collaborative spirit of the wedding industry will continue to be one of the things that makes it great and styled shoots can be a great way to connect with other pros or create something unique for yourself. So, next time you are excited to ask another pro to collaborate with you (or are asked to), take a moment to make the ask as thoughtful and fruitful as it can be.
Photo Credit: Lauren Ford Photos