Creative Engagement: “Pushing Daisies”

This week’s creative photographer spotlight goes to Jordan Weiland (www.JordanWeiland.com and on facebook) who I also met on the PhotoBiz facebook page and who is also a new COLOURlover, so say “hi” – jordanweiland!

This engagement session was based on the likeness the couple had with the show, Pushing Daisies. A well missed, short lived show dedicated to vibrant colour, textures and a whole lot of personality.

I wanted to pick Jordan’s brain a little on how she came about doing this session with all the little details and personality…so I asked her a few questions that might actually help you pick a photographer or communicate to your photographer about what kind of style you want for your engagement (or wedding) photos; or if you are an upcoming photographer, maybe grab some inspiration!

Me: Where did you get the idea for this particular session?

JW: I try to get to know the couple so that each session can showcase their personality. When I asked this couple about their likes and dislikes, they mentioned that they loved the look of the show Pushing Daisies, and that was pretty much it! I researched a few photos from the show and looked for bright colored props. I knew about this garden in St. Petersburg and thought it would be a good setting for the style of session they wanted to do.

Me: Did you tell the couple to wear a certain style of clothing for the shoot or did they naturally choose what they wore?

JW: They chose what to wear. I knew that Diane was searching for a bright, vintage style dress so that made me even more excited about the look of the session. I thought it would be perfect.

Knowing that they loved the aspects of the show [Pushing Daisies] Jordan and the couple planned accordingly. Definitely bring props being on either end – as the photographer or the couple to ensure you have fun details to pick and choose from. Jordan knew that Diane was going to be wearing a yellow, vintage sun dress – so appropriately brought the oversized sunflower.

Me: Did they bring any personal/meaningful belongings to include as props in the shoot?

JW: They did bring a blanket to sit on and a flower, although we ended up using sunflowers that I brought because they matched her dress so well and we loved the size of them. Of course, Diane’s engagement ring was meaningful and significant. I also brought the vintage books and the large red apple to showcase the ring.

Don’t be afraid to bring sentimental things like a favorite book you read together or an item from a favorite memory as a couple. The photographer can zoom in or incorporate them in to your photos to add some personalization. It’s those little things that can bring an “oh yeah…” smile when looking back at these photos.

Me: How do you go about doing an engagement shoot from start to finish (in general), getting something creative out of each session?

JW: I usually do some research on my own, think about the couple and what will work with them in particular and choose or help them choose a location. I write down a few shots that I know that I’ll want to take and then let the session evolve from there. Some of my favorite photographs always end up being the ones that aren’t planned. I LOVE sessions that have a loose theme to them because there’s a great opportunity to be creative. In October I’m doing a 50’s retro session that I’m already daydreaming about.

Me: Do you have any suggestions or tips to couples in search of a photographer for their engagement shots such as things to be leery of (red flags) and how they should communicate that they want a creative shoot, not just standard shots even if they don’t know what they want specifically?

JW: Hmmm… Well I would really check out the photographer’s work and make sure they have an assortment of types of sessions. You don’t want a photographer that takes the same ten shots every time they go out. If you have a few photographers in mind, contact them and just talk to them about what they do for their engagement sessions and how they plan them. See if they would be open to creative themes or if they have their own agenda. For me, the creative themes help me get outside of the box and really have fun taking pictures. It’s a bit stretching sometimes because you want to make sure that your ideas line up with what the couple wants but I think with good communication, it can definitely be a win-win situation.

Jordan makes some really valid points here. Don’t get photos done just because it’s a part of the process and you need engagement  shots – pick a photographer you are both compatible with. Ask people who’s opinion or style you value if they know of any photographers. And there’s nothing wrong with using an up-and-coming photographer either – as long as you view their work first (but do that with ANY photographer). Look at their website or portfolio, make sure it’s current and then schedule a consultation BEFORE booking a session (even if it’s just a chat over the phone). If you can meet them in person that is usually best because personality, attitude and style will be reflected which is highly important that you mesh well – because they are ultimately reflecting YOUR personality in your photos.

Me: How do you like to incorporate colour, patterns and texture in your engagement sessions?

JW: Details! Fabrics, clothes, props, location… Really it can be in everything. I love photographing the small details though, a hand on the shoulder, the shoes, the ring, etc.

Me: How does where you live and where you grew up affect your work/style?

JW: I think where you live can be a positive and negative thing. Right now, I live in Lakeland FL. There’s many great things about Lakeland, although culture isn’t one of it’s strong-suits. I have to be intentional of finding inspiring photographers and work from all over the US. I think where you live definitely affects your style in obvious ways like your location choices and your clients but I have learned that there are all types of people that live where you live. Don’t box yourself in thinking that “all the people that live here want this style”. If you want to do a certain style of photography, there are clients or photographers out there that will want it too, you just have to find them.

This type of shot is a popular style. It’s so random and let’s your focus leave the couple’s face. I love it.

(If you’d like to see more images from this shoot, you can visit Jordan’s post on her blog)

Author: Molly Bermea
Hi! I'm the COLOURlovers Community Curator. I come from a family with five imaginative kids. My mom instilled creativity to the max and you can usually find us scheming together, figuring out new ways to sew, craft or build DIY projects. The core of my artistic bone is in the art of painting.