I've realized over the past couple of years, as I've integrated myself into this community of "creatives", that leading a creative life and running a business go hand-in-hand. It is impossible to make a living in a creative field without embracing it as a business. Without a business, an artist becomes a modern day Vincent Van Gogh, receiving zero recognition for their work during their lifetime and having zero recognition guaranteed once they've died. This doesn't matter if you only ever plan on using your DSLR to take pictures of your kids, or are only ever going to pair a picture for your living room wall, or the only wedding you're ever going to plan is your own. Those are all wonderful things. But if you're really going to make a business out of your creative outlet, it has to become a business and no longer just a creative outlet.
This has been such a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around and once I realized it, it's been even harder to implement. My mind is often all over the place; I'm a terrible organizer; I'm always late; numbers and accounting do not come naturally. But it's worth trying to learn and get better at all of these things so that I can do what I love: creating and curating beautiful things.
I had never heard of a styled shoot until early last year when my local Tuesdays Together group organized one. The idea behind a styled shoot is to create a controlled environment in which vendors can showcase their best work, document it, and then hopefully use it for marketing purposes or, if nothing else, learn from the experience. (Fellow creatives comment below if you have a better way of describing it! I'd love to hear your perspectives!) Styled shoots can literally be on any subject and from any point of view.
After much deliberation and changing directions entirely mid-prep, we ended up deciding to do a staged wedding with an early 20th century, art nouveau theme. The gorgeous venue that hosted us - Windsor Manor - was built in the 1920's and has recently been restored by the owner. We wanted elements of blush and rose gold to accent the stately homed surrounded by nature. It was actually a bit of an adventure finding appropriate period pieces for this shoot because they are officially antiques. An "antique" is defined as anything older than 100 years; anything more recent than that falls into the "vintage" category. And for some reason, when a book or piece of china or whatever hits that 100 year mark, it seems to automatically go up in price.
The Little French Bake Shoppe created a super yummy and gorgeous cake for Waiting on Wildflowers to customize for the shoot!
There is typically no immediate monetary payout from a styled shoot. All the vendors contribute their craft and generally come out of pocket to participate. As the Vintage Stylist, that meant paying for things to style with if I didn't already have them in my Etsy shop or my own personal collection. This may sound like a drag but really I took it as permission to and an invitation to purchase whatever beautiful things I needed. Lucky for you, most of those things are going to end up in my Etsy shop anyway! This shoot was the first time in my whole life that I've bought an entire set of matching china. I bought gorgeous glassware, a needlepoint chair, gold plated flatware, and a theater program from 1915. I bought a vase with gold birds painted on the side and made in Germany just because I thought it would fit the style. The icing on the cake for me was a set of four swirled, pink glasses that I had purchased online thinking that they were wine glasses and opened day-of to realize that they were actually mini cordial glasses! I couldn't stop laughing at my mistake and they ended up actually being the ideal way to showcase the many macaroons that were contributed by some of our fabulous vendors!
By far the best part of a styled shoot is the culminating day. All of these brilliant minds come together, a florist, models, a wedding planner, a photographer, bakers and on and on and this gorgeous product comes to fruition after months of brainstorming, planning, and working. I spent about 12 hours on my feet that day and only managed to snag a few film photos. It's non-stop work but worth every moment. I pinned the model into her dress, worked on styling tables, and did a lot of running around in circles trying to do three things at once.
I cannot wait to see the final slew of photos from our photographer! She is amazing and I know she captured everyone's work so beautifully! See the vendor list below and know that if you are ever in need of a hand-letterer, florist, model, the list goes on, I highly recommend any one of these people.