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2018: The year without inspiration shoots

Inspiration shoots have gained popularity over the years, and it’s easy to see why. Sure, they’re one way to expand your portfolio with a starting place when trying to get your business off the ground. But for 2018, I would like to challenge the industry to scale back on the number of these shoots. Why am I on team, “just say no to inspiration shoots?”

Cons for event pros

I limit myself and my team to one styled shoot a year, but I know vendors who are regularly asked to participate, and keep saying “yes” without realizing what they are sacrificing. Doing inspiration shoots takes my wedding planning team away from day-to-day tasks and the potential to book more business.

Some event professionals are giving away not only their time, but also spending marketing dollars on food, flowers or cake, with no guarantee that the photos will appear in a magazine or blog. Since these shoots have become popular, blogs are being more selective when saying yes to a submission, which means your time and resources could be wasted.

“Inspiration” vs. reality

When a client sees an incredible tablescape on Pinterest or Instagram, it’s inevitable that it will make it into the hands of their planner or designer. Their hopes are quickly dashed as it’s explained to them that this particular design will swallow up nearly half of their budget. Sometimes, the setup is unrealistic based on the type of event or food service they are having. When clients consistently see unrealistic depictions of events, it’s hard to bring their expectations back to reality.

How to turn the tables

As you consider your goals and practices for 2018, here are some tips on how to combat the styled shoot takeover. First, set a specific number to participate in and stick to it. Then, ask yourself the following questions: Is this a creative team you enjoying working with or want to work with in the future? Is this a look that is out-of-the-box and different for your company? Are there realistic and feasible ways to recreate the look if clients ask for something similar?

Instead, why not focus on submitting real wedding and party photos? If you have a good relationship with the photographer, ask if he or she can take a few minutes to capture specific details that will help with a submission and be sure to follow up for access to the photos.

So let's make 2018 the year of real wedding and events, giving our clients and fellow vendors more business (and less stress!).

Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere.

See Emily Sullivan at #Catersource 2018!

Emily Sullican will present "Surprise and Delight Catering" on Monday afternoon, February 19 in Las Vegas. Click here for additional information!

Emily Sullivan

Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere.