Your need to collaborate is completely specific to where you are in your business. But, if you’re looking for all those styled shoots perks, you need to create, and put yourself and your brand (the two are synonymous!) out there. You have to jump in and connect with those like-minded people in your industry.
Note: Just because you connected with someone who is interested in putting a styled shoot together, does NOT mean you can’t say no. Even if you are brand spanking new. Do a little research. If the date works, place works, it’s in budget, the coordinator and you are vibin’, and the vision for the shoot sounds like a great opportunity, DO IT!
We consider these methods and online platforms the BEST way to connect:
H-O-N-E-Y-B-O-O-K. Specifically, the HoneyBook Creative Community (via The Rising Tide) is the number one place to start. You can sign up fo FREE here. HoneyBook is a project and client management software system that is used often in the wedding industry. The management software you pay for. But, creating a profile and connecting in their HB Creative Community is free!
Sign up, make a public profile, input your location, and search for opportunities in your area. You can select certain criteria so that it filters for anyone in search of x; you can choose "collaboration", "florist", "caligrapher", and so on.
In the community you will see opportunity postings from wedding creatives in the community that are in search of people for many things... and many of which are collaborations. You can comment directly on the posting to relay your interest and include your contact information so they can reach out with more info. Do this on any post that seems fitting! You can also "connect" with creatives that you work with, similar to following on IG or LinkedIn.
If you'd like to Network in person and also learn all things entrepreneurial from The Rising Tide Society, you can find a local chapter in your area and join a Tuesday Together meeting once a month! You can join Rising Tide and look for local chapters here.
Yep, The Gram. One of the greatest social media platforms that you can, find inspiration, build your following, share your portfolio, and (the relevant to us here part) CONNECT with local entrepreneurs. Not as quick to get started as HoneyBook, but you can make some meaningful connections that lead to great opportunities!
To start, you don't want an empty feed. While you are on the hunt for connections and looking for talented creatives, they'll want to see examples of your work just the same. Even if you're just starting out and only have 10 photos you love, upload those to get started. Now head down that rabbit hole that is IG and find some people to create with...
- Use #hashtags to look for wedding industry creatives in your area; use both city and state in the hashtag, depending on how far you can travel. For example: #marylandweddings #baltimoreweddings #baltimoreweddingphotographer #marylandweddingphotographer and so on. You can also follow these hashtags to see them in your feed.
- Anyone that has work that you admire and might want to work with, follow them! After you follow on their profile, you'll see suggestions for other profiles and can find people that way, too.
- From then you will see them in your feed, you can follow their stories, and possibly make that connection and interact via stories, posts, your stories, etc. Next thing you know, they hear of an opening for a florist for a styled shoot, then BOOM, suddenly you're on their list of recommendations.
Note: remember to be genuine in all your interactions social... nothing is more annoying than that clickbait, only emoji "thumbs up" comment... especiallyy on content you've worked countless hours creating. It's work to get in the community, but you're putting in the work to be successful.
3. Facebook Groups
Facebook is another social platform that can help you connect with creatives in the area. Similar to the search for hashtags, use phrases like "vendor" "entrepreneur" "wedding" when searching for groups. Local groups may pop up, but if not, include your city and state, too.
Join any group that seems to fit and be on the look out for collaboration opportunities. You can update your settings to receive notifications from the group if you're really itching to get in there. You can even post directly on the feed (as long as it's within the group guidelines) "in search of styled shoot near x area" and start the conversation going!
4. Good Ol' Fashioned Networking
Yeah yeah, it's a pain in the tush putting yourself out there with strangers. I KNOW. I consider myself extroverted, in need of social interaction to recharge my friend-o-meter... BUT, at the same time love spending the day alone and hate small talk with strangers. Call me a conflicted, Enneagram 7 (all the wings).
It can also feel intimidating if you're new to the industry and don't feel like you have a lot to bring to the table. With that said, it's extremely likely you're not the only person in that boat. People that are networking, have a purpose behind their networking... they are looking to build their connections. Entrepreneurs that have a crazy established network are either leading the event, supporting the leader of the event, or they're psychopaths. WHO would do this... (insert wink face emoji here)*.
Some of the easiest ways to find these events are the same groups listed above, 1 through 3...
- Search for your local Rising Tide Society Chapter and find out if there are any Tuesday Together meetings that are feasible; location and meeting time wise.
- Instagram and FB have accounts specifically geared toward networking. If you're a female entrepreneur, there's an even bigger flux of those awesome-sauce accounts or groups you can find. Many share networking events happening in your area.
As a general rule, if you want to network, attend any event that you see relative to your industry. Look for the person(s) hosting the event and do a little research. Does this person seem like someone you want to connect with? More than likely their followers are, too.
Coordinator & Designer: Creative Motion Events
Photography: Peach May Photography
Florist: The Rogue Petal Co.
Stationery: Simply Rosie Designs
Hairstylist: Amanda Fiorita
Cake & cookies: Save Room Desserts LLC
Desserts: Baked By Samuel
Chairs: B Lux Event Rentals
Models: Lee and Johna
Signage: Stephanie Gould
Stay tuned for more on styled-shoot etiquette and how to make the most out of the collaboration. If you have any comments or suggestions on future posts, be sure to comment below!