Editorial Shoot 101 for Creatives

I recently spoke at the Athens Soundboard Marketing Conference, hosted by Perfect Pitch Concepts, with our Senior Planner, Candice Beaty. It was such a fun conference that focused on growing your small business in today’s market. Candice and I led a breakout session specifically on content creation. What is content creation? I asked myself the same thing 4+ years ago when I began this journey into the world of the creative entrepreneurship. I wish I had known then what I know now. Below is my journey learning content creation and best practices for creatives looking to boost their own brand awareness.

I started Chancey Charm in Denver, which was a great place for me to gain my bearings. However, after moving back to Atlanta, I began to feel completely overwhelmed. Who was I in this competitive market, swimming with other Atlanta Wedding Planners? I soon realized that my sketching skills and penchant for interiors would be my calling card. I felt so excited about my new identity but soon became frustrated as I lacked a way to communicate my new brand and identity to prospective clients. How was I supposed to attract luxury clientele when all the weddings on my site and in my portfolio were lower budget?

Then the light bulb went off. I partnered with a talented fine art film photographer, Odalys Mendez, and produced several editorial pieces that were curated for the high-end eye. Every detail, scene and moment was captured with Odalys’ eye for elegance and every element was strategically planned. As the images emerged in publication and on my site, so did a luxury clientele. It was amazing to see the complete 180 my company did with the right images, as well as the luxury branding from Jessica of Ecru Stationery. Content creation can do the same for you. Let’s dive into the basics of editorial creation and planning.

  1. Find a Venue or Location that will let you hold your shoot there and establish a date – Also schedule a tentative rain plan date the following day.
  2. Create a Pinterest Board – On your Pinterest Board for the shoot, make sure that you include not only photos of ideas you’d like to re-create, but also include color palettes and images that make you move.
  3. Create a Design / Inspiration Board – You can easily use keynote or PowerPoint to collect and arrange images in a nice format (see example below) and export to PDF for distribution to vendors. Having a design pdf or design board will really help other vendors get excited about your vision and get on board with your plan. It also communicates, “Hey, I know what I’m doing, and I’m serious about this!”
  4. Find a Photographer with the date available – I’ve partnered with a lot of incredible photographers looking to build their portfolio over the years. The key to a great relationship with the photographer with editorial work is asking for their advice on timing, lighting and the details as you plan. Think of them as a partner.
  5. Find a Rental Company or space that includes items like a great wood tables, chairs, etc.
  6. You may want to purchase or borrow a few special items as props. Think about the item or service you’re promoting via your shoot. What items are commonly found in the environment this service takes place or item lives.
  7. Find Other Vendors – Find vendors who would benefit from partnering with you on your shoot and will donate their items or services to make the shoot professional in exchange for the free publicity or photos. I often find that partnering with vendors who have the same target client works best.
  8. If needed, Find Models  – I recommend finding a modeling company and reaching out to the models listed to see if they are up for some free modeling to build their portfolio. It’s also fun when you can find a real couple or artisan and give them a gift card for their time.
  9. Details, what fun extra diddys do you want to include that will make your shoot unique? Any original concepts or ideas? Do you know a local retailer or vendor who could donate them for the shoot?
  10. It’s All In the Shots – Think about the shots more than just the overall scene, when finalizing your details and plan.
  11. I often send the photographer a detailed shot list before the shoot, with the design pdf, so that we are on the same page with shots that need to be taken to cover all the details and vendors.  (please see example below)
  12. Design Statement – Craft a design statement, that you can send with the vendor list to editors when you submit the shoot.  (see example below)
  13. Communicate – Clarify a timeline with the photographer and send the timeline, shot list and design board to everyone one to two weeks before the shoot to clarify the plan with everyone.
  14. Set up a scene day of that can be shot from all angles, 360 is always best..

Design Board for Editorial Photoshoot


Odalys and I were originally intrigued by the idea of capturing the light of multifaceted chandeliers delicately hung from the branches of mossy oaks, over a ceremony spot.  Old Edwards was the perfect spot to make this vision possible and it brought an obvious feeling of natural grandeur into play. I wanted to capture a truly whimsical evening fete and drew inspiration for the color palette from a recent trip to view Claude Monet’s paintings at MOMA. The light movement and life in his paintings is so evident, and I wanted it to be present in this showcase as well, so we all looked to his work for inspiration when creating the paper goods, florals, and linen choices.  As always, I enjoy juxtaposing soft, organic lines against simple modern arrangements and settings. I truly feel like we were able to capture the simplistic beauty of the atmosphere at Wormsloe, while incorporating some stunning softness. The spherical chandeliers added such a great modern touch, that really balanced out the more traditional shapes.


This is a list from an editorial shoot for a wedding scene. I also used this list to clarify who was responsible for each aspect of the shoot. You can easily tweak this list to fit your industry and use it as a guide to help you process detail shots for your own concept.

Wide Shots:

  • Tablescape
  • Ceremony
  • Stationery Suite
  • Models

Detail Shots:

  • closeup of individual table setting
  • linens
  • china – Bloomingdale’s
  • place card / escort card / menu
  • overall centerpiece
  • flowers
  • chairs
  • favors
  • picture of someone holding bridal shoes
  • picture of jewelry
  • cake / dessert
  • drink / beverage bar
  • bouquet
  • boutonniere
  • veil and any other hair accessories
  • purse
  • jewelry
  • both wedding bands
  • tie

  • Planning & Design
  • Photography
  • Florals
  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Sweet Treat
  • Rentals
  • Custom Sign
  • Makeup
  • Hair
  • Invitations or Paper Goods
  • Calligraphy
  • Jewelry
  • Dinnerware
  • Details – great resource
  • Wardrobe Styling
  • Bride’s Dress
  • Menswear
  • Models

To see how this shoot came to life you can see it here in our portfolio, view the images below or find it on The Celebration Society, where it landed the cover of their Fall / Winter 2013 issue!


Sarah Chancey

.Candid Photo, Editorial Photoshoot for Creatives
Old Edwars Inn - Odalys Mendez Photography - Sarah Chancey

Detail Shot, Tablescape, Editorial Photoshoot
Detail Shot, Editorial Photoshoot for Creative Businesses
Event Photo, Editorial Photoshoot for Creatives

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Vendor Highlight: Sarah Reed, Charleston Wedding Stationery Designer

We’re catching up with graphic designer and wedding invitation connoisseur Sarah Reed in today’s Vendor Highlight. As the founder of Dodeline Design, a boutique graphic design and stationery studio based in Charleston, South Carolina, Sarah has been impressing brides and clients in the Charleston area with her romantic and unique designs since 2009. With features in Charleston Style + Design Magazine, Southern Living and Style Me Pretty, Sarah has certainly made her mark on her hometown as well as the broader southern wedding community.

We couldn’t wait to learn more about her start in the industry, her favorite Charleston hangouts and her designs for future brides. For more of her stunning work, hop over to Dodeline Design. Cheers!

–The Chancey Charm Team

Charleston Wedding Invitation Designer Sarah Reed


Sarah Reed


Charleston, SC

What’s your area of expertise?

Invitations and Wedding Stationery

Wedding Invitations by Sarah Reed, Dodeline Design

What brought you to the wedding industry?

I was born in the right city for it, first of all! But kidding aside, I have always loved paper, and when I was 15, I convinced my mom to drive me to our local scrapbook store and apply for a job. I was hired to work there for the summer and after school during the year, and I got to see the beginnings of what the wedding invitation industry was like during that time. I went to art school at UGA afterward and worked at a scrapbook store there while completing my design degree. When I came home, somehow or another the idea struck me that I had a great background and the right skills / passions to dive into the wedding industry head first.

Favorite restaurant and meal in Charleston. 

Oh heavens, what a hard question! Probably Wild Olive, though. It’s our special treat place.

Rustic Wedding Invitations by Sarah Reed

A lesson you’ve learned the hard way in the wedding industry.

Oy…let’s see. I think as a designer and not just a wedding professional it’s a big thing to learn that I am not right for every client. While I love a huge range of styles and absolutely love creating unique and different things for each wedding, some projects just aren’t going to be the right fit for me, and that’s okay.

Favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

With my husband, just hanging out at home and around town. We don’t have to be doing anything special as long as we’re together.

Romantic Wedding Stationary, Charleston

Best piece of advice to someone new to the wedding industry. 

Price yourself correctly! It’s tempting to think that you can / should do everything super inexpensively, but it’s a hard lesson to learn that there’s a reason things cost what they do. Somehow or another, you learn that lesson the hard way.

Best piece of planning advice to a new bride. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff. You will not be able to control everything about your day as much as you want to (I get it, I’m a control freak too!). Just remember that your attitude about the whole thing is going to be the biggest determining factor in how it goes – smile and enjoy it, because no matter what happens, you’re married at the end of the day to the love of your life.

Photos courtesy of Paige Winn

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Boaz’s First Birthday Party

I am so thrilled to share a few photos from my little guy’s first birthday party here on the blog  for several reasons. First, it was a gorgeous and fun evening filled with sweet family and a few dear friends that feel like family. It was such a joy to come full circle from this time last year and celebrate the joy and life God miraculously gave us last May. If you haven’t read Boaz’s birth story / miracle, you can find it here (warning it’s not all roses and kisses, and can be a bit intense). I also wanted to share a few quick tips and insights I gained from Bo’s first birthday party planning experience for all you new moms looking to plan your first party.

I wanted Bo’s party to have a cute theme, but not go too overboard with it. As a planner, I really struggled to stay simple and not buy every cute striped straw and polka dot paper plate I found when planning his shindig. It’s kind of an all or nothing thing for me. Either I consciously choose simplicity or I find myself drowning in a pile of Hobby Lobby bags. So, I desperately strived for simplicity in every aspect of planning Bo’s first, in an effort to be there more for him than for myself.

We catered in the meal from a neighborhood favorite, Community Q (because everyone knows it’s enough for a new mom to just get the house clean with a lil’ one dragging every pot out of the drawers and taking an occasional dive into the toilet) and just added cupcakes and some fruit / veggies to the mix. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to not wake up to cook the morning of. I also kept the decorations to a minimum, focusing on the table with food, and letting the natural beauty of our backyard in May do the rest.  I also skipped the traditional “goodie bag” and opted for a book in the firefighter party theme instead. I think that was my favorite detail, knowing that Bo’s little guests would now have a cute book to read after the party was long over.

Again, these are just my thoughts and suggestions, I think my real heart behind this post is simplicity for all the moms out there. Boaz had the time of his life, and we didn’t have a single balloon!  Less is almost always more, as joy and love are the true heart of any celebration, and we had an overflow of that!  Deep breaths friends.


Sarah Chancey

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party Snacks

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party Cookies

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party

Firefighter-Themed First Birthday Party Cupcake

First Birthday Party, Smash Cake

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