As creatives, we tend to need outlets. Whether you’re a full time photographer or you still have a day job and devote all your weekends and evenings to photography, we still need an outlet. Once upon a time, photography was my outlet, until I made it into a business and lost that passion for a while. When I began doing personal creative projects in my spare spare time (as I was doing photography work during my “spare” time and then working full time), I started finding my passion for photography again.

[REWIND: 3 Ways To Benefit From A Stylized Shoot]

Photographer Jeramie Lu has always known the importance of setting aside time for creative personal projects and so once a month, he would make a goal to gather some vendors together and collaborate on a photo shoot. I had a chance to chat with Jeramie and videographer Roman Hartze of Appleseed Stories about his latest creative project, an adorable styled wedding shoot starring some very cute kids.

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How did you get started doing creative projects?

Jeramie (Photographer): One of the aspects of photography that really drove me at the beginning was being able to create what I wanted when I wanted. I was never good at any other type of art so when I found out that I would make things happen with my amazing DSLR I took it in full force. Moving forward a few years I found that I wasn’t creating what I really wanted. Yeah I was busy with amazing clients and my work load was the best it has ever been but I had nothing that I felt was portfolio worthy. So I made a goal for myself and stuck to it. Every month I would do a creative project for myself. Start with an idea I had and build it with some amazing vendors who I had worked with or wanted to work with. We all put our time into and share the glory.

Roman (Videographer): Producing creative shoots is one of the very first concepts that Jeramie introduced to me when I started filming. Something about the fact that no money is exchanged allows me to unleash creativity in new ways.

[PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: The Wounded Soldier Premium Tutorial – Casting, Lighting, Shooting, and Editing a Creative Photo Shoot]

Lavender Crush 1 Lavender Crush 2Where did the idea of “Lavender Crush” stem from?

Jeramie: I am known in the Reno, Lake Tahoe area as a wedding photographer. I was noticing a lot of the same shots were happening from wedding to wedding and I wanted to do a spoof on that. You know these shots… Bride holding flowers at belly button, groom kissing his Bride’s forehead as they long for each other and of course amazing first looks. So instead of bring all that forward again in this styled shoot I wanted to minimize it all… literally. Kids getting married!

Roman: We shot Lavender Crush as a way to let out our ideas for the month, as well as experiment with new techniques in a pressure free environment. By reaching out to other vendors for aspects like flowers and make-up, we were able to build a very fun team and make new connections. As for the kids, we really wanted to portray the flowery feel that comes with lavender. This was definitely a learning process, but working with the kids on this shoot helped me develop my directing skills in some pretty hilarious ways.

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Tell me a little more about this darling shoot

Jeramie: This is the cutest shoot I did and it starred my girls as the Bride, Maid of honor and Pastor. My amazing assistant’s boys as the groom and best man. We took this to the extreme with having amazing local vendors work up the décor, location, food, cake, flowers, dress, hair and make up! I created a timeline that we could rock in 3 hours for a full wedding. It did end with a very sad groom getting a cupcake to the face. In all it was an amazing success.

Roman:  We used our venue, a lavender farm, as the inspiration for the entire shoot. From ward-robe to make-up, everything had to fit the image of the farm.

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Why should photographers consider doing more creative projects?

Jeramie: As photographers, our creativity will become limited if we don’t shoot for ourselves. When we are paid for a project our full input is usually not recognized so it becomes tough to show what our styles really are. I got to shoot amazing portraits and weddings but I am limited to what my client has in their minds. When we shoot for ourselves we get to release and build on our creativity. And when clients see this they trust us even more.

Roman: Shoots like this have become something I look forward to every month. At the end of the day we made amazing new friends, and we walked away with photos and a video that people are going to adore.

Lavender Crush 8 Lavender Crush 9 Lavender Crush 10Jeramie, tell me about your gear:

For this shoot, I used:

Canon 5d mark III
Spider Holster
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS
Canon 85mm f/1.2
Canon 50mm f/1.2
Canon 100mm
Undfind Lens Bag
Thinktank Airport 2

[PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Newborn Photography Workshop Collection and Lightroom Presets]

Here is the ‘Wedding film’ from the shoot:

To see more of Jeramie Lu’s work, check out his website, blog and Facebook.

To see more of Roman’s work at Appleseed stories, visit his website.

Additional Vendors involved in the Lavender Crush photoshoot:

Lindsay Lu Styling and Makeup Artistry, 
Creative Coverings, Inc., 
Lavender Ridge, 
Appleseed Satellite Stories
, Green Apple Events,  
Cherry Bomb Catering, LLC,Pink Apple Cache
, Silpada

CREDITS: All photographs by Jeramie Lu are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.