I just shot Felicia’s senior portrait in Scottsdale, Arizona, and her sister Jillian was along with her iPhone, documenting the experience. Well, it turns out she has the iCrack App on her iPhone, which adds the most realistic looking cracks to every photo she takes.
We had a blast on the shoot. Stay tuned for some of my favorite images from the shoot.
Senior Portrait Photography by Jared Platt
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona.
Cracked iPhone still works. Amazing.
Shayna and Beto were married at Troon Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a beautiful day for a wedding. Here are a few of my absolute favorite images from the wedding day.
Shayna did a great job with the dress hanger. Rarely do I see a bride pay attention to the dress hanger. It is usually an ugly plastic hanger. I have never understood dress shops who sell these fantastic dresses for thousands and thousands of dollars, knowing they will be photographed and yet they deliver them on an ugly white plastic hanger. Well, I have to hand it to Shayna for seeing that issue. For those brides out there who are peeking in on this wedding and making notes about your own wedding. Bring along a pretty hanger that says something about you.
So, we took the dress out of the closet and hung it up on this large painting in the bridal dressing room and I was composing the shot when one of the young ushers walked through the shot. I have two shots that are essentially the same of this dress, one with and one without. I can hardly look at the one without the boy in it. He completes the picture. I suppose it is because this boy took my controlled shot and added a bit of reality to it. Sometimes I am tempted to stray from reality and control it all, but the chaos always pulls me back where I belong.
I think the florist was a bit nervous when she saw me with the flowers out in the sun before the wedding. She even made a little comment about the flowers being prone to wilting in the heat. But, I’ll bet she’ll love this image of her beautiful flower arrangements. And I am happy to report the photo only took a few minutes and the flowers were perfect throughout the day.
This next series is one of my favorite getting ready sets I have taken. A lot goes into the shot of putting on the dress. Providing a nice backdrop for the effort is a major part of that. But also, there is just a lot of fortune that goes into getting the shot as well. I think all things conspired together for an opportune shot. And then I have to say that the muted color treatment on the shot really finished it off well.
This moment made everyone laugh. There is a whole series from this set, but these are the two crowning moments. The littlest flower girl got cold feet and was not even going to go down the isle, much less, throw the flower petals. So the older flower girl went back to get her and was trying to show her how to throw the petals, which upset her, I think she intended to keep them all for herself. When the older flower girl realized this, she thoughtfully moved on with her duties and the little one stood in the isle and silently pouted over the loss of her flowers. It was the cutest moment.
I was taken by the canopy of branches in the background, so I asked Shayna to pose for me as the guests and wedding party chatted. Often times the un-planned portraits and scenes that catch my attention at the moment are the very best.
I simply love this image of the bride. I love the contemplative look, I love the way the hair is blowing. The veil being set against the dark on the left of the frame is wonderful. I love this shot.
I looked at this image in color and thought it looked fine, but when I took it to black and white and started aging it, I felt as though it became what it was meant to be.
This shot was taken as the sun dropped over the horizon. There is no better time of day. I love the reflection on the water, the movement of the dress as she walks. I am very pleased with this image. As dress images go, it is a great description of the dress.
These two little girls were constantly providing opportunities for great photographs. Here they are waiting to dance with the bride during a dollar dance. Everyone was dancing with her, and they wanted their chance, but I don’t think they knew how to approach it. Where to they get the money, how do they get her away from all those other people. I think they were sufficiently mesmerized with the bride and equally unsure of how to proceed, so they stood on the sidelines for quite a long time, until the maid of honor saw them and gave them some money and explained how to get a dance with the bride. Even now, thinking about it and about my little girl, I get a little emotional. You can just see the wonder in their hearts. The older is thinking thoughts of being a bride someday and the younger is simply awe struck by a princess. There is an entire thesis in their expressions.
The joy of sparklers. You can’t help but be happy. It was a great wedding and party, people were having a lot of fun. I was glad to have been there. Thanks Shayna and Beto for trusting me with your wedding day. Congratulations.
Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Justin Hewitt, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Wedding Location: Troon Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona
Megan and Caitlin are both wonderfully talented musicians, so when we were planning their senior portraits, I wanted to make sure that we included their musical talents in the photo shoot. For Caitlin, this was as simple as bringing her cello along, but Megan just happens to play the piano. I am used to carrying pianos into strange places from my portraits of Kevin Burdick, but it’s never fun. Fortunately I had some help lifting that thing. All pianos are heavy.
Here are a few of my favorite images from Megan and Caitlin’s senior portrait photo shoot.
I love the line of telephone poles down the right side of the frame, and with all the dirt and such, it needed to be altered to feel much older.
Even though they are both smart and talented, Megan and Caitlin’s personalities are as different as their hair. I love the differences in style and stance… even facial expression. But still there is a solidarity that you expect from twins.
This was the absolute golf light of the evening. Moments before the sun went down. I love what is does to the sky, to the tracks and the way is traces the girls.
This is what I envisioned when I thought of bringing the piano to this location. The Groves is a strange little group of trees. I love it most in black and white. I had no idea what Megan was bringing in the clothing department until we got to the location, but the hat was absolutely perfect.
How’s this for sun flair? Megan has a fantastic smile and while it is very genuine, can be delivered perfectly on demand. How many of you can say that about yourselves?
It was such a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Megan and Caitlin and their parents. I love my job.
We stopped on our way from one location to another and did a few shots of Caitlin in her soccer gear. This was my absolute favorite of those images. She just looks proud and powerful.
And then to compare the above soccer pose to this next image which is as soft as can be. There are two sides to every coin.
Senior Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Fisher, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Location: The Groves in Gilbert Arizona
High School: Hamilton High
A Wedding on Top of the Mountain: Dan and Krissy’s Wedding on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona
We were at Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona at sunrise. The weather was perfect, a little chilly, but perfect for a serious hike. It’s a good thing, because that’s what we were in for. Krissy and Dan planned their wedding on the top of that mountain. Well, not on the tip top, but pretty high up there. My associate, Eric Greenhaulgh and I spent a good 15 minutes deciding what gear needed to come and what gear could stay down below. Any photographer knows exactly what I’m talking about. Equipment is heavy, so you don’t want to take something you are not going to use, but you would hate to be at the top of a mountain and need something that is in your car at the bottom of the mountain.
First, we made sure not to duplicate anything. We did not bring any duplicate lenses. Between the two of us though, we had a full compliment of lenses. A Canon 16-35, 28-70, 70-200 and a 50. I carried my 1D Mark IV, he had his 1D Mark III. We had one small hand held post with a Canon 580 EX flash and a set of Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 radio slaves. It is important to have your hands free, when hiking up a mountain and shooting others who are hiking up with you, so we couldn’t take reflectors and such with us and not self standing light poles, etc. Everything strapped nicely onto our one backpack (which we alternated carrying up and down) and we had only the gear that was necessary in the backpack, although Eric was a little over zealous about what he was willing to carry up the mountain. My backpack was a small one and I was still able to fit a bottle of water in mine. I had to convince Eric not to take everything he owned up the mountain. The truth is, I didn’t want to have to take my turn at carrying it. Maybe I am lazy, but I prefer to call it “smart.”
Opportunities for challenging wedding photography are wonderful. I enjoy them because they force me and my crew to work and think differently about the job and how to accomplish it. We still need to get great images, but we have to think differently and sometimes find ways to capture them with less. Granted, I have done entire weddings with far less gear than we had here, but it was a very bright, sunny day, so we definitely needed some kind of lighting solution to match the sun and shadow sides of faces. Also, because of the wide variety of opportunities for a great shot up there, and the limited options for the photographer to stand (we were on a mountain with cliffs and cactus etc.), I needed a good compliment of lenses to be able to capture the images on my terms.
A Native American flutist meat us at the top of the mountain. As we neared the ledge, where he was playing, Dan (for whom this was a surprise) thought it was just great luck that on the day he was getting married, a Native American flutist was up on top his the mountain playing his flute. Krissy had lots of little surprises like this throughout the day.
It was a good hike to get to the wedding location, but is was indeed, a beautiful morning.
Getting ready occurred at the top of the mountain. The guys took on side of the hill and the girls took the other side. I did appreciate that the groomsmen all work black hiking shirts and shorts. Those were their tuxes. That was cool. The only two that dressed UP for the wedding were the bride and groom. Otherwise, dress code was very casual.
Here is the bride’s room. And quite frankly, I think it was one of the most beautiful and well decorated bridal rooms I have ever seen. Most of the time, the bride is getting ready in a hotel room, or a sitting room. Which, even if decorated nicely, can’t match the grander of the top of a mountain. They just needed a sheet to sheild Krissy from the onlooking hikers and photographers. Oh, wait, I was one of those, but I had a press pass.
Surprise 2: Krissy took all of Dan’s love notes and poems and printed them out on origami style paper and made her own bouquet out of love poems. I really enjoy an original and personal bridal bouquet. I love it when brides put more of themselves into their wedding details. This was a great surprise for Dan.
I love a good wedding on a cliff. Up to now, I have only done cliff weddings at the Grand Canyon, which has some magnificent cliffs. It was nice to witness a cliff wedding closer to home.
For the photographers out there, you can see that the sun is shining very bright now on the bride and groom. You can see the crest of light on her dress, and on his face. But you will also notice that the grooms back is not in complete deep shadow, the bride’s face is lit, as is her dress, etc. But you can still see the direction of light from the sun. There is a clear direction of light here. This is the use of the Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 with a Canon 580 EX Speedlight although now you can use the 600 EX. We set it on a rock and I just turned on and off my TT1 transmitter when I needed or didn’t need the flash. This was an indispensable part of capturing this wedding. Without it, we would have extremely dark shadows or blown out highlights. The light is set to fill in from the left of the frame at one stop less than the ambient. If we had set it to equal the ambient light, the flash would have attempted to equal the sunlight and thus eliminate all the volume in the shot.
This is the entire wedding watching the ceremony. I love a small wedding. I really do!
Here are some of my favorite images from the portrait session after the wedding.
Yes, Krissy is an amazingly gutsy bride! If that doesn’t look safe, it is because it is not. I think Dan was a bit worried about her, but Krissy was game for anything. I wasn’t worried about Dan, he’s a police officer. He’s a tough guy.
Dan is also sorting a boutonniere made of his own love poems.
I was working on this image and my wife came in and commented on it. How tiny is she?
I don’t always pre visualize and image at the shot; meaning that I don’t always know exactly what I want to do with an image in post-production before I shoot it, but in this next series of images, I knew what I wanted to do before I even started shooting the photos. We were stating back down the mountain and the bride and groom were going to be walking by me at any moment. I knew I wanted this image to be extreme selective focus, I wanted to make it look like it was taken at the end of the 19th century. So I opened my lens all the way up and made the appropriate exposure adjustments (which can barely be done because at f 1.2, at 100 ISO, you have to expose at 1/8000 of a second). Anyway, I rattled off a bunch of shots with this concept in mind and I was pleased with the result. I am always more pleased with the results when I pre-vissualize the end from the beginning. I suppose it is more satisfying to know I pulled it off, but I also think that if one can see the end from the beginning, it makes every step in the process more valuable to the final result.
I thought this was just a great comparison/contrast.
Down the mountain! At times, Camelback Mountain is a bit steep. For a girl in a wedding dress, it seems even steeper.
This is one of my favorite series of shots. We got a few grumbles from a team of repellers that wanted the cliff all to themselves, but if they only knew what we were accomplishing in the two minutes we were imposing ourselves on their rock, I think they would have been much more supportive. I really like this shot.
This is my official wedding attire for all super casual hiking to the top of a mountain weddings. It’s quite frankly the most comfortable wedding attire I own.
Krissy and Dan, thanks for letting me be a part of such a wonderful wedding. It was a pleasure.
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Location: Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona
Slideshow Music by Daniel Ho, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Courtney, her sister, her mother and I all headed out into the desert for some cool senior portraits. Here are a few of my favorite images from the photo shoot.
We started fairly early in the afternoon by lighting standards which means that the sun was high in the sky and very bright. But with a fantastic camera (the Canon 1D Mark IV) and the best software (Adobe Lightroom) and a good understanding of lighting, harsh lighting does not have to be a problem.
You will notice that in many of those shots, I have Courtney facing away from the sun so that her face is in her own shadow. This means I have a “north light” studio with a very strong hair light. Then, with a little off camera fill light, matching the exposure is simple enough. I prefer to keep the flash (a Canon Speedlight 580 EX – no longer available – instead try the new 600EX-RT) in manual mode so that I am getting the same flash output every time, but in these bright lighting conditions, that requires shooting well above the camera/flash sync speed, and that can only be done off camera with a set of Pocket Wizard radio slaves (TT1 and TT5). With a speed light and a set of the pocket wizards, I can keep my flash in manual mode, but still have it operating in high speed sync, which makes matching the subject (flash) and the background (ambient) possible.
I do have to say that I am excited about the new Canon flash (600EX-RT) just released this month which may make the pocket wizards unnecessary. But I will be testing those very soon and I will let you know how well they work.
This is another example of using the off camera flash and high speed sync capabilities in a bright sunlight situation. I couldn’t have done without the flash on this shoot and I didn’t have my assistant, so I am so glad the set up is light weight and portable.
Here, you will notice there are no catch lights in the eyes. No flash was used. But since I was not placing her against the sky, I could get all the exposure latitude I needed from the camera without a flash. This requires attention to the highlights (making sure I do not over expose them) which makes the entire photo seem a bit dark. But, since I am shooting RAW, I can then brighten up the mid-tones in Lightroom 4 and I end up with a perfect exposure in the end. This is what Ansel Adams referred to as pre-vissualization. Were Ansel Adams shooting today, he would be using Lightroom. And no, that’s not blasphemous.
I will always love open shade best. And this is my favorite photograph of the day. Courtney’s hair frames the photo nicely and I really enjoy the treatment of the photo. I have always loved the look of film, digital can be too perfect and too smooth. In fact, I have found myself purposefully shooing higher ISO shots on my digital cameras even when I have abundant light just to get a little more grain into the photo.
I love the composition on this shot. The repeated lines in the skirt mimicked by the white picket fence is nice as well. One particular part of the composition that I love is the way the porch windows frame her head and shoulders. And I and so pleased with the faded black and white film look.
Ah, the good earth…
Courtney just looks fantastic in this shot. And I love all the texture in the collar. This shot is taken just as the sun dropped below the horizon. My favorite time of day.
If you like the photo treatments on these images, check out my Lightroom 4 preset collection, especially the Film Pack, at www.jaredplattworkshops.com.
Senior Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Location: Desert south of Chandler, Arizona
My wife and I have known Allie since she was in high school. Neither one of us thought that there was a man out there as cool as Allie, but of course Allie had to prove us wrong . . . . and found the lid to her pot. I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Allie and Tyler in a grove of pistachio trees in Gilbert, Arizona. Here are some of my favorite images:
Note to self: buy mirror sunglasses.
I had a great time playing with the colors in this photo. If I were 14 I would say it looks “chill” even though it is warm.
Long before he fell in love with Allie, Tyler fell in love with the outdoors. Not one to shy away from a little competition, Allie drummed up this little number to catch her man’s eye. I was laughing the entire time we were shooting. Which is problematic because laughter creates camera shake. But I kept it under control.
In today’s world of social networking we have all at one time or another written up a personal profile – a brief description of who we are and of the events that have occurred in our lives to make us that way. I told you that I have known Allie for a long time. Her personal profile is full of strength, hard work, optimism, and survival. I am so pleased with this next shot of Allie. It does what photography does best and provides a visual representation of that description of who we are and the events that have made us that way.
Is it possible that Tyler likes her even better without the antlers?
As the sun set, I opened up the aperture on my 50 mm 1.2 lens all the way to 1.2 which gave us this extreme limited depth of field. I told Allie and Tyler I was going to be making some extremely grainy old looking photographs. They were excited about the idea. I think they turned out well.
This is definitely on of my favorite shots of the day. The grain, the encircling branches, the soft light. It is all there.
Ever the hunter!
Tyler brought several deadly weapons to this photo shoot . . . and I just brought my camera.
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Location: The Groves, Gilbert, Arizona
Slideshow Music by Fisher, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.