Engagement photos. They bring to mind images of cozy afternoon picnics, romantic strolls on the beach and couple’s lovingly staring into one another’s eyes. And how can anyone forget wizards, mad tea parties, light sabers, slithering snakes and flesh-eating zombies! Right?
Say farewell to holding hands and frolicking into a picturesque sunset because nothing quite says, “I love you” like killing a zombie and braving the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
“Engagement shoots are starting to branch out of traditional norms. Couples are discovering that they don’t need to do the standard or typical. They can do something that really brings out their personality,” said Diana Rush of Diana Rush Photography, who most recently finished an Indiana Jones e-session. “If you’re a couple who totally geeks over Star Wars or Star Trek, why not incorporate those elements into an engagement shoot or wedding?
And so if you’re a geek, odds are that cliché and predictable photos with you and your honey posing stiffly against a studio backdrop simply won’t do. Just ask Los Angeles photographer Amanda Rynda who captured couples Ben and Juliana Lee fighting off a zombie– a shoot that quickly infected the web and went viral.
“Juliana and Ben are total nerds! Juliana came to me with the idea saying, "We want to survive a zombie attack and then hug because we're in love." I thought that idea sounded like so much fun,” said Rynda. “They let their guards down and were themselves – quirky and all! And who doesn't love a little honest portrayal of love? Especially when it beats the crap out of some hungry zombie.”
It’s couples like Ben and Juliana who are redefining engagement photos– saving family and friends from having to browse through a set of, though cute, uninspired photographs.
Newly engaged and self-proclaimed nerds Jake Hall and Valerie White share that when it comes to capturing the spirit of their relationship, they’ll be ditching boring for outrageously geeky.
“I met Valerie at Comic Con three years ago and the rest is history. I can’t imagine anything nerdier than falling in love over superheroes,” laughed Hall. “We’re going to run with an epic superhero themed engagement shoot. It’s something special for us, and I think it’s important to show our love as we see it.”
Couples are now more than ever expressing themselves in a no-holds barred way that is creative, deliriously silly and loving all together, according to Rush. Love simply isn’t one-size-fits-all and when it comes time to capturing a pair’s love onto photo, the new trend is embracing, well, you!
“We both live and breathe geek culture and connected over that right away. You have to know how to have fun and have a sense of humor about it,” said White. “As a bride-to-be you can get lost in what tradition and magazines tell you, but it’s important to stay true to who you are as a couple. It’s your love, nobody else’s and that’s what matters.”
Some may think Storm Troopers or Wizards don’t have any place in love, but geeks will tell you otherwise when it comes to the matters of the heart. Their idea of romance might be quirky, but breaking conventional barriers has never been sweeter or more endearing.
“Instead of lighting a unity candle at their wedding, Ben and Juliana made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of their family and friends to show their unity. Nerdy? Yes. Adorable sentiment? Also a big yes!,” said Rynda.
Overflowing with whimsical touches and rich details, nerdmances have found inspiration in everything from fairytales, videogames to movies. And the key connection has always been the passion for those interests.
“Nerdy-type couples are a little different than your norm. They invest whatever particular passion they have directly into their relationships. But it should be that way,” said Rush. “The more nerdy couples are actually easier to photograph because they’re really confident with themselves and know exactly who they are. They know what they want and that’s always refreshing for a photog.”
And when it comes to passion, nerds have one of the most unapologetic hearts for what they love, and therein lies the value of a nerdmance. They’ve grown up with their fandoms of choice and just as they intend to with their sweetheart, they want to grow old with them. Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say… live, long and prosper.
It’s been Rush’s experience that nerdy couples retain a sense of wonder unhindered by society’s expectations.
“Love needs that simplicity. Love is about new beginnings and accepting the heart of person,” said Rush. “When a kid goes to Disneyland, they have magic in their eyes. I think childlike love is the best - it brings freshness into love as well as life. It’s a constant reminder of why your partner is so special and unique.”
So set phasers to love, cause love truly does conquer all. Even zombies.