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.
HOW TO EXECUTE YOUR FIRST EDITORIAL SHOOT
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”
- 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.
- Find a Rental Company or space that includes items like a great wood tables, chairs, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- It’s All In the Shots – Think about the shots more than just the overall scene, when finalizing your details and plan.
- 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)
- Design Statement – Craft a design statement, that you can send with the vendor list to editors when you submit the shoot. (see example below)
- 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.
- Set up a scene day of that can be shot from all angles, 360 is always best..
EXAMPLE DESIGN BOARD
EXAMPLE DESIGN STATEMENT
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.
EXAMPLE SHOT LIST
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.
- Stationery Suite
- closeup of individual table setting
- china – Bloomingdale’s
- place card / escort card / menu
- overall centerpiece
- picture of someone holding bridal shoes
- picture of jewelry
- cake / dessert
- drink / beverage bar
- veil and any other hair accessories
- both wedding bands
EXAMPLE VENDOR CHECKLIST
- Planning & Design
- Sweet Treat
- Custom Sign
- Invitations or Paper Goods
- Details – great resource
- Wardrobe Styling
- Bride’s Dress