with Courtney Slazinik
Intro to Styled Photography Shootouts
Intro to Styled Photography Shootouts

I love the idea of a styled shoot. Creative themes, beautiful locations, fun clothing, willing models? Um, yes, please! All things that make my photographer’s heart swoon.

You know what I don’t love? How little time I have to really focus on things like that. Life is BUSY! I know I am not alone in that struggle. Enter shootouts!

I love the idea of styled shootouts! Read - "Intro to Styled Photography Shootouts"

Read more: 5 Tips For a Successful Styled Shoot With Your Child

At a shootout, you’ll often have two or more photographers collaborating to come up with a theme, secure the location, clothing, models, hair and makeup artists, and props that tie it all together. And because all of this costs money, the hosting photographer(s) will offset the cost by opening the shoot up to a handful of other photographers, allowing them to essentially “pay to play”.

While this might not be for everyone, it totally works for me! Someone else has done all the time-consuming stuff, and I can just show up, hang out with friends, and take pretty pictures. No stress, and it’s fun!

It is important to note that not all shootouts need to be super extravagant or expensive. It can be something as low-key as a handful of local photographer friends coming to together to shoot each other’s kids among the cherry blossoms in the spring.

These kind of collaborations encourage community over competition, which this industry can always use more of.

And sure, you might see participants posting similar photos because multiple photographers are snapping away at the same subject at the same time. But it’s also fascinating to see how different photographers can interpret the same setup by utilizing different lenses, perspectives, and editing styles to make the image their own.

Last fall, I was beyond thrilled to learn that a couple of my friends were going to be hosting a styled shootout right here in the NY/NJ area. Both are amazing creatives and I knew whatever they put together would be fabulous!

The first day was a sweet farm shoot, followed by a funky 80’s themed shoot in Brooklyn the following day. I’m so grateful that months later, I still have tons of images I can go back and edit fun images when I have free time.

Styled photography shootouts are a great way to meet other local photographers, learn new skills as well as an opportunity to shoot beautifully styled images. Have you ever planned or attended a shootout?

Read more about styled shoots:

5 Tips For a Successful Styled Shoot With Your Child

10 Tips for a Stylized Photo Shoot

1 Comment
  • Sara Ell
    May 8, 2017 at 8:48 PM

    This is brilliant. When I was studying photography, groups of us used to get together to shoot projects because models were in short supply—and we would always have had an absolute blast—but I’d never considered doing it on the regular for this kind of shoot! The results are evocative without feeling stilted or posed. Kudos!

    Love the emphasis here on learning from each other rather than getting stuck in the ridiculous rat race of the industry. Almost all of my most useful skills were picked up by watching and collaborating with other good photographers, and training myself to “see through their eyes” for a while. Kind of silly that we let money and reputation get in the way of that development.

    Is there a “sweet spot” for this kind of gathering, in terms of group numbers? I’m thinking that too many people together might crowd the space or put the models off their game, while too little might not build up that sense of community in quite the same way.

Leave a Comment