Whilst we're all in yet another Lockdown, I thought it the perfect time to create a Mini Styled shoot in my garden! My weeks are usually full of weddings, editing, styled shoot planning and recently I've been feeling really uncreative and really missing working with amazing suppliers and taking beautiful pictures to share with everyone. My Pinterest is full of future styled shoot ideas, and they've been staring at me now for weeks and weeks and I just needed to blow of some styled shoot steam! With all the uncertainty and weirdness that has come with COVID, I think it is so important to make the most of special occasions, and making them as special and as enjoyable as we can. Every day can feel like we're living in Groundhog Day - sometimes the weekend feels no different to a weekday, and I wanted to give you all some ideas and inspiration for what you can achieve from your home this Valentine's Day as I'm sure we'll all be doing the same thing - being stuck inside!!
On a normal 'non-COVID' styled shoot, we would be working at a venue with several suppliers and models and we would all collectively be working together to create our vision, having a really good laugh and being creative! Styled shoots are a great way of working with amazing people and showcasing our talents and making our exciting concept come to life. I've never undertaken a styled shoot all on my own, so it was quite overwhelming trying to find all the bits and pieces I needed, and having to style them all too! It was certainly a different experience to any other styled shoot I've done, but was totally worth it and I am so over the moon with the final images. And I wasn't really on my own, I managed to rope my partner into helping me (which I don't think he'll choose to do again anytime soon!) and it was definitely a fun, albeit very very cold(!), couple of hours for us!
I had some amazing supplier friends post me some of their lovely items - Abbie from Abbie Worton Design sent me some beautiful stationery, Kezia from Little Added Touches posted me some lovely Valentine's wax seals and confetti, and Joanna from Balloons and Ribbons UK lent me some heart balloons, rugs and the gorgeous picnic table! Even though we couldn't all work together in person, it was still such a fun day, and felt great to be doing and focusing on something different on a Sunday for a change! Below, I'll be talking through all the decor and items used in the images, and at the bottom there will be a suppliers/items list where you can find links to all the items used in the shoot.
· Decor ·
So for the decor, I wanted to keep it very simple and elegant - I knew right from the start that I wanted to shoot the table outside, and I have always wanted to use a frame to hang things from on a styled shoot. I had the idea of hanging little vases from the frame filled with flowers just to add a bit of height to the images and something a little extra! We hung them from the frame with fishing wire, so in the images they look as if they're floating, adding some elegance and makes the overall table layout more fancy and luxurious. I think these frames are meant for tea-lights to hang from actually, but it is so versatile and you could hang whatever you wanted from it!
I searched for hours and hours for the perfect tableware and glassware - and at the end of it I realised one thing.. supermarkets do it best! Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda are absolute goldmines - the candlesticks, table runner and all of the flowers are from supermarkets' Home sections, and I always make sure to check Dunelm, Next and The Range before anywhere else for styled shoots. Always super affordable, and I can guarantee that you will always find something amazing! Also you always get lots of exciting post (one of my fave things about styled shoots)!
I got a lot of questions about the glasses - how gorgeous are they?! I was looking for the perfect Valentine's glasses and stumbled upon these beautiful red and pink tinted glasses and fell in love! They matched the hues of the other tableware and now I want to do pink and red styled shoots only so I can use these glasses every time!
As I didn't have a florist on board for the shoot, I picked up some beautiful flowers from Sainsbury's and Tesco - keeping it pink, red and purple themed and they worked out so well! I've always said if I wasn't a wedding photographer, I would have loved to have been a florist, and I had so much fun arranging all of the flowers!
· Food & Treats ·
Always the best part! I had so much fun picking the treats for the Valentine's Charcuterie board - I actually have a friend who does the most amazing charcuterie boards (_char.cute.erie on Instagram!) and so have had tons of inspo from her and I found loads of great ideas on Pinterest too! I honestly think that this was my favourite part of the day - it felt so great being creative again and I absolutely love styling! And no, we didn't eat it all (although we helped ourselves to a fair bit after the shoot was done), I packaged the leftovers into little treat boxes for my family and friends as not to tempt myself over the next few days!
The heart dish in the middle is actually the base from the heart ramekins from Next - I think the board needed a little extra something in the middle to make it a bit more 'Valentine's-ey' and not seem too cluttered. I found some amazing treats - I found heart shaped jelly-beans (also from Next), pink Lindt chocolates which worked amazingly, and red foiled heart shaped chocolates from Sainsbury's! I cut the strawberries into heart shapes - just by cutting a 'V' on the top - which adds a cute touch to them, and the other bits are quite simple - party rings, white chocolate covered pretzels (they do these in pink too but I couldn't find any!!) and french fancies. Obviously you can switch in anything you'd like, there are tons and tons of perfect Valentine's treats out there!
One of the best Valentine treat finds for me was at Tesco! For Valentine's Day, they are currently selling Love Heart inspired Krispy Kreme doughnuts! The perfect addition to any Valentine's table and very very tasty! These can be found in the Krispy Kreme cabinets at Tesco. I also found some beautiful pink macarons from Madmoiselle Macaron - I knew early on that I really wanted macarons for the shoot, and these were just the perfect size and amount! There's something just so classy and elegant about macarons, and add something different to the table. The little heart shaped and 'Love' and 'Hugs' cookies are from Teacups and Tandems - so so beautiful and were perfect as little additions to the stationery on the plates. They would work well for wedding/party favours too, which is what I've tried to display them as here.
· Drinks ·
For the drinks, I found a load of great photo inspiration on Pinterest! Pinterest is so amazing, and is the first place I go before anything else to to start planning a shoot. The glasses already had a pink/red tint to them, so you could fill them up with a clear drink, but I chose to fill them with 'J20 Apple and Watermelon Spritz' which was so delicious, and looked amazing in the glasses. For the cocktail glasses, I popped a few bits of heart confetti which I thought looked so beautiful (but you'd have to be careful when you're drinking it!), and for the highball glasses I put some raspberries and a sprig of rosemary in just to add some diversity in the drinks and the green from the rosemary matches the greens from the flowers.
I also stumbled across these gorgeous metal heart straws from Ginger Ray! I picked them up as soon as I saw them as I knew that I needed to have them for the drinks! I think that they are so cute and the best part - reusable! Such a great find and perfect for so many occasions!
At the top of the table I put a bottle of Rosé Prosecco, to give you the option of having alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, which would also look incredible in the glasses! Having the bottle in the background of the shots just adds to the 'party' feel, and makes it feel more like a special occasion!
After the shoot was done, I was completely zonked! Having no work on and having not done anything like this for a while, I was so tired! But I love the images so so much, and it was totally worth it! It was so great just to really focus on one thing, have fun and get back to some kind of photography work! It's great to have some new, fresh and relevant imagery to post too, and after popping some of these images on my Instagram, so many people loved them! Not only is it great for myself and for the other other suppliers who took part in the shoot to have new pictures to show, but for our couples and Instagram followers to engage with something new and see what they can achieve from home. There is so much negativity in the world right now, and a lot of it is on our Facebook and Instagram feeds and all over the news, and hopefully these images bring a little bit of joy to couples and some great inspiration for how they can make the most out of Valentine's Day.
This will definitely be a very different Valentine's Day for us all, but whether you're having a Valentine's, Galentines or Palentines Day, I hope you have the best day ever and I hope I've given you some inspiration on how to make it a little extra special. Sending you all lots and lots of love during these dark days, but there is a light at the tunnel and we'll be on the other side of it soon x
· Suppliers / Items ·
Stationery: Abbie Worton Design · www.abbieworton.com
Wax Seals & Confetti: Little Added Touches · www.instagram.com/littleaddedtouches
Balloons, Picnic Table & Decor: Balloons and Ribbons UK · www.balloonsandribbons.co.uk
Macarons: Mademoiselle Macaron · www.mademoisellemacaron.co.uk
Cookies: Teacups and Tandems · www.teacupsandtandems.com
Copper Frame & Pink Tealights: The Wedding of My Dreams · www.theweddingofmydreams.co.uk
Candlestick Holders: Not on the High Street
Heart Straws: Ginger Ray · www.gingerray.co.uk
Plates & Cushions: Dunelm (Online and In-Store)
Candlesticks & Table Runner (Similar): Sainsbury's (Online and In-Store)
Heart Dishes, Pom-Pom Placemats & Heart Ramekins: Next
Glasses: The Range