Styled shoot agreements are a great way to make sure you – and everyone else involved – are covered, and will cut down on people backing out at the last minute.
Typically, the person planning the shoot will have some sort of agreement for all involved vendors to sign. Even if you aren’t the planner of the shoot, you can absolutely have one ready to go for yourself to send to the planner to use. If you mention a styled shoot agreement, and the organizer isn’t interested, I would consider that a red flag and caution you against moving forward with that shoot.
Anyone can plan a styled shoot – florist, photographer, model, event planner, etc. In this post, I’ll be referring to whoever the styled shoot’s lead person is as “the organizer.”
What are the different types of styled shoots?
Exchange Product for Photos
In this type of styled shoot, you provide the flowers – or whatever your product is – and the organizer, planner, photographer, or some other vendor, keeps them.
You get photos from the shoot in lieu of payment. This means you are not only volunteering your time, but also all of the supplies you use. You also eat the cost if you end up having to ship the items for the shoot.
There are some shoots where there is a floral budget, to help offset the cost of supplies. Make sure an amount is agreed upon before you officially sign on – their budget might not be enough and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Remember that the money being paid to you is for the supplies, it is not meant to cover your time.
Trade for Photos (TFP – the most common kind of shoot)
Instead of someone keeping your flowers after the shoot, you get them back! You can then keep them as samples to use in the future, sell them, or take them apart to reuse all of the supplies.
If you need to ship the flowers to the shoot, shipping costs should be covered in your styled shoot’s agreement. Personally, I usually cover the cost to ship them, and the organizer covers the shipping costs back to me.
Selling Your Items for a Shoot
Selling your items to be used in a shoot is a lot less common than the previous types. This is pretty much just a regular order, so having a contract or agreement beforehand will be key.
If you sell your items without an agreement, it’s likely that you will not be receiving photos to use, credit for the shoot, etc. So make sure that everyone is in agreement with what, if anything, you will get back from the photoshoot.
Straight up selling your items for someone to use in a photoshoot puts you in a difficult position, so I don’t usually recommend going this route.
Now that you know which sort of styled shoots there are, let’s get into the whole reason you’re here: the agreement!
What should be covered in the agreement?
Every single vendor that is participating or contributing to the shoot in any way, no matter how small they/their contribution is, needs to be listed on the agreement & everyone listed needs to sign it. It doesn’t matter if one of the vendors is your husband, cousin, best friend, high school acquaintance, etc. They need to be on the agreement.
Sometimes pre-shoot preparations happen somewhere other than the venue where the shoot will actually take place. This could be a meet-up for vendors beforehand, or where models are getting ready, etc. So it’s important to know of and list all location details.
- All venue names
- All venue addresses
- All venue contact names (if there are any)
- Venue addresses for GPS (sometimes the GPS address differs from the listed address)
- Where, exactly, will everyone be meeting? Not just the venue name. List where to park, which entrance to use, what room everything will be in, etc. We don’t want anyone getting lost!
Get as specific as possible! Sometimes the agreement will have a start and end time and more specifically the timing is planned out as the shoot gets closer. That can work out just fine, but, if that’s the route you’re taking, agree to a date for a final timeline to be sent out.
- Date and time of the shoot
- What time will each person/vendor show up, and where
- When will the actual photographing be happening?
- Remember to meet about an hour before the start time so everything can be set up in time.
Scope of Styled Shoot
What’s the shoot actually going to be? For example: if it’s for a wedding, will there be a couple? A full wedding party? Just portraits, or a faux ceremony? Will there be a reception set up? Maybe there will be a flat lay or two? I think you get the point.
Everyone should have a very clear idea of what exactly will be happening and what kind of photos will be taken.
- Person’s Name
- Business Name
- How to Credit (Florist vs Floral Designer, Dress Designer vs Dress Shop, etc.)
- Phone number
- Email Address
- Instagram handle
- Facebook business page
Along with each person’s information should be a detailed list of everything they will be providing for the shoot, how, and when. Will the bakery drop off a cake? If so, how far ahead of the shoot? Where will they deliver it to? Who can accept it – does it have to be the planner, or can it be any other vendor?
- What is the timeline for photo turnaround – how quickly will you get the photos from each photographer?
- How many photos will be provided by each photographer?
- Make sure there will be photos of each portion of the shoot so that everyone has photos specifically showcasing their own contributions.
- If it’s ok with the photographer, provide a list of specific photos you want. Don’t expect them to just know you want photos of the bouquet handles, or some other detail.
- Images should not be watermarked. The point of the shoot is to have photographs to use for marketing and publication submission. Everyone will agree to credit and tag, so watermarks aren’t necessary – and I’ve never seen a publication of any kind accept watermarked images.
- Will the images sent to everyone be print-ready, web-size, or both? If you intend to use them on printed items like banners, flyers, etc. then they will need to be high resolution for printing.
- Model releases should be supplied and signed by all models involved.
- I would even say that all the vendors present at the shoot should sign model releases. Behind the scenes photos & videos (like this TikTok!) are really popular, and they will likely be in those.
- Commercial use releases should be sent from the photographer to the models and all vendors.
- Rule about cropping, adding filters, etc. should be laid out by/for each photographer. It’s generally accepted that no crops or filters will be applied to any professional photography ever.
Crediting & Tagging Vendors
This may vary from shoot to shoot. Many times, every single vendor will need to be tagged in every single post, using the information provided in the participant info section. Other styled shoot agreements might say, for example, only vendors featured in that particular photo need to be tagged.
Also, have a spot for people to choose how they want to be tagged on different platforms. For example: when posting on Instagram, should you tag everyone in the caption? Or would the models and photographer like to be tagged in the photo, too? Does the venue want to be tagged in the caption, on the photo, or be set as the photo location – or all three?
If you’re not sure what the differences are, check out the images below:
Sharing Photos and Videos
Behind the Scenes
- Are there any rules for anyone involved with posting behind-the-scenes videos or photos, or finished photos?
- Many times, shoot organizers don’t want anything shared by anyone until a specific date.
- Can behind the scenes photos and videos be shared? When? Should everyone be tagged in those, or just the finished photos/videos?
- When will the photographers send out the photo galleries?
Submitting for publications (which is part 4’s topic!)
- Will the shoot be submitted?
- Who can/will submit it?
- How will the shoot be submitted? If Each vendor will likely need an account on whichever website is being used to submit before the shoot can be submitted.
- What magazines, blogs, etc. will it be submitted to? This one is VERY important. Exclusive publications usually have very strict rules, so knowing where the shoot will be submitted is important to know beforehand.
- Who is leading the aesthetic and artistic choices for the shoot?
- What is each photographer’s editing style? Will their photos mesh well with the rest of your portfolio?
- How close to the inspiration photos will you need to make your items?
Knowing all of these things ahead of time will help you decide whether or not you want to participate in a particular shoot.
Some photographers edit with a very light and airy feel but your style is more “dark and moody” where others might have a “light and airy” look. If their styles don’t mesh with your ideal customer, maybe don’t participate in that particular shoot. Everyone’s styles need to be cohesive to get the best results possible.
Remember – just because there’s a styled shoot near you doesn’t mean it’s for you… and that’s ok! Having a styled shoot agreement that covers everything I mentioned here will be your best bet to get the most bang for your buck (or effort) going forward.