First- what is a styled shoot? Well to kinda briefly summarize, they are those Pinterest-worthy wedding photos without the actual stress of a wedding day. So all kinds of vendors, photographers, and even models (who are actually real live couples) come together and create amazing beautiful sets so we can showcase our craft to potential clients. They are a perfect opportunity for young business owners trying to enter the wedding industry or even experienced wedding photographers to attend to spruce up their current galleries.

This was my very ever first styled shoot to HOST, yes to plan, coordinate, and host. WHY? Well, I've been in the styled shoot community for a while as a photographer and have always loved each one I've been able to attend. I loved showing up early and helping the vendors out in any way I could and just connecting with wonderful people. Deep down, I know I would love to be more a part of the wedding industry in some shape or form as a photographer, planner, and even one day a venue owner. So I thought why not give it a shot and see what I could do I think I do a great job at organizing, DIYS, and have a good eye for visions. Also for a while in the community, I noticed that there wasn't enough diversity and inclusivity specifically with people of color and queer folks. I'm sure it is no one's ill intention for any reason, but I said why not highlight these different people with unique backgrounds? I'm both queer and of color, so I would love to be an advocate for these diverse souls! I started off by creating mood boards of inspiration and let me tell you honestly, truly. I am lowkey tired of seeing Rainbow used as a queer couple's only persona. NOW don't get me wrong, I am a huge proud fabulous gay man and will wave a flag but that's not ALL of me, ya know what I mean? Even when I Pinterest "gay weddings", all I see is rainbow this and rainbow that. Ultimately I decided, let's spice it up and do some color while doing some class-je themes. Once finalized my vision, I shared it with the community and started gaining interest quickly.

So this is the part where I had to pop my knuckles, open my laptop, and DO. MY. RESEARCH. When I tell you don't ever sleep on a wedding planner's talent because I was literally finding vendors, searching for couples, designing, networking, scheduling, budgeting, creating sets, and communicating with everyone, while doing so much more to the point I was consumed by this for a whole month in a good way but juggling every obstacle in my day to day life. To start off, I've worked with Camino's owners before and these two ladies are truly such a joy to work with because they made the whole process easy to use their venue. #ShoutOutJenAndNicole Then it was my hunt for vendors, and I was turned down by a handful because let's be honest, we wedding vendors have busy schedules so I completely get it but all prevailed as I found the dream team I was searching for. I had to be very clear and transparent with my team in what I wanted but also be flexible for them and what they would love to bring to the table. My whole vibe with my vendors is here's what I am looking for, now what do YOU want to do? From the jump all of my vendors were amazing, did fantastically, and I couldn't have asked for a better out with the end results. Lastly, I needed queer models as I wanted to showcase my rainbow community. This was kind of a challenge because styled shoots are hosted on weekdays because venues are busy getting other lovers married so we had to find people who could take the day off and be there from their 9-5s. Leading up to the day, there were some challenges with everyone's schedules and I had to pick up a good portion of the day's details which honestly I had no issue with but I knew I had a lot to prove so much on my shoulders. The big day came and I was beyond excited, but keep in mind Pride Month is in summer so we were working in 90+ degree weather at the venue I think I gave us a whomping TWO hours of setup and that was definitely not enough! 😂 #MYBIGGESTREGRET My florist, photographers, vendors, and even my partner had to jump onto everything and help finalize all the last-minute details because the time crunch plus weather whooped our mother trucking behind to the point I think I was a bit delusional from so much stress and sweat. And how I usually function is, something goes wrong, that's fine, move on and that was my attitude the whole entire time- something won't work, cool let's come up with plan B but there's something about planning, coordinating, designing, and trying to photograph afterward? I remember just being like, I am honestly here for the paaaaaaaarty! Lol

So the day happened, everything went great with real trials and errors like a $300.00 veil getting shredded in a fan, but we made freaking magic happen! (Yes I even brought a pride flag, because I love a good rainbow photo sprinkled into my gallery.) I wanted to be authentic and share my story of planning this event because I took on a lot, not knowing what would be entailed in hosting something like this but you know what I learned. I absolutely loved every single second of it, the feedback I got back reminded me "Hey I did this!" and it was honestly the best feeling ever. Do I now know 2hr setup time was a joke? 😂 Oh honey, you know I will never make that mistake again but we live to learn right?

So none less, I would love to present to you my pride and joy- my very first styled shoot at Camino Real Ranch. <3