Good Graces - 4 Tips For Maintaining Good Relationships With Vendors

When it comes to styled shoots - or ANY shoot, for that matter - it is important to maintain a good relationship with all vendors involved. Here are some tips on keeping everyone happy, and ensuring they’ll be excited to work with you again!

  • Proper credit given on social media.

I’ve had so many conversations with my friendors (vendor-friends) about this - TAG ALL THE VENDORS! And be thorough, because one person being left out is awkward. On Instagram, tag them in the caption and again on the photo itself (and don’t layer your tags - space them out so people can read names when they tap the image).

Sometimes at weddings, it can be challenging to get all the contact info for each vendor. Try to get names from your clients beforehand, or reach out to a planner before posting to ensure you aren’t missing anyone. If you want to post quickly and can’t get the names, just don’t forget to go back and tag the minute you have the information!

  • Treat every vendor like a client.

At styled shoots, it is TRULY a collaboration, so don’t forget that. Ask your vendors what shots they would love to have, and get them! A cake may be all-over beautiful, but that baker may specifically have spent time learning that trendy technique and would appreciate some detailed photos of it. Your planner will want shots of everything, but ask if there is something in particular their portfolio can benefit from.

At weddings, this may be different - your CLIENT is your client. But every vendor was chosen for a reason, so take time to document everything you can. For the venue, get a wide shot of the layout of the room. For the florist, get clear photos of the arrangements, the bouquet/boutonniere, and not just a super zoomed in photo of a flower. For the DJ, get pictures of them working themselves OR of people dancing - they’re the reason the party is bumping! For the makeup artist, stay out of their light but do get some action shots - and if possible, get a beautiful portrait that showcases the makeup! A bride looking down at her shoulder shows off lashes like crazy.

  • Be timely with delivering images.

With styled shoots, everyone contributing is done when the shoot is over - except you. It is understandable if you have paying clients waiting on images, and those will always take priority, but don’t forget that other people poured their hearts and souls into creating something beautiful! Give everyone some images to share!

  • Communicate your expectations.

If you plan on getting the shoot published, make everyone on your team aware of this. Some sites won’t publish if an image from the shoot has been shared, so keep that in mind BEFORE shooting. It won’t be your planner’s fault for posting a photo and preventing you from getting published if you don’t communicate to everyone involved that that’s the intention.

Regardless of publication plans though, have a detailed timeline for the day so that everyone can be prepared to make the day flow as smoothly as possible. For example, I have a styled shoot coming up here in a few weeks, and this is what our timeline looks like (we do not have a planner for this shoot and therefore I’m doing a lot of set-up of table layouts and whatnot).

Day Before: Photographer picks up gown from Boutique. Photographer picks up Invitation Suite from Calligrapher.

9:00am - Venue opens. Photographer arrives, sets up vendor snacks.

9:30am - Hair and Makeup team arrives. Models arrive. Glam prep begins. Photographer sets up Tablescape Shots.

10:00am - Florist arrives, begins Chapel Install. Baker arrives, begins Cake Setup. Photographer begins Invitation Flat Lay Shots.

12:00pm - Florist completes Chapel Install, begins Outdoor Install. Baker completes Cake Setup, Baker free to leave. Photographer begins Room Shots, Cake Detail Shots and Floral Detail Shots.

1:00pm - Hair and Makeup complete Prep, Hair and Makeup free to leave. Photographer and Models begin Chapel Shots.

1:30pm - Wrap on Chapel Shots. Florist completes Outdoor Install, begins Chapel Transition into Reception Install. Photographer and Models begin Outdoor Shots.

2:00pm - Wrap on Outdoor Shots. Florist completes Reception Install. Photographer and Models begin Reception Shots.

3:00pm - Wrap on all photos, everyone free to leave.

With these four tips - giving proper credit, treating your vendors like clients, being timely with your turnaround, and communicating expectations - you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression with your vendors, and ensure they’ll be referring you out and working with you more on future projects!

Cortnie Davis