Destination Weddings

Engagement Sessions

Hamilton High School Senior Portrait Chandler Arizona

Senior Portraits

Photography Education

Commercial Photography


Portraits from China:: The Liu-McGee Family

This is my second post of portrait sessions from Shanghai, China.  You will see, we are in a different spot for every photo session and all of them are very unique, as are the photos themselves.  I try not to follow too much of a pattern when shooting sessions.  I want them all to have their own unique flair…

Karen Liu, mother of three great kids and an aspiring photographer, booked a photo session as a learning experience.  So, we shot a little less and spent a lot of time learning.  I took her through my thought process for shooting and lighting on the street with both natural light and additive flash lighting.  We also talked about compositional choices and selecting the appropriate camera settings.  All things I will be teaching in my upcoming free workshop at CreativeLIVE on December 6-8, 2012.  We got to the market in Shanghai, China early enough to avoid the throngs of shoppers and pedestrians that make this place a purely claustrophobic experience during the business hours.  This also gave us great light, since the market is a canyon of traditional Chinese style buildings (I say that with absolutely no understanding of “Chinese architectural styles” but when you look at the images you will understand what I mean).

In this first shot, we had 360 degrees of choices for the shot, but one gave us the best lighting for a complete existing light portrait.  Notice that the strongest instance of sun is coming from behind the kids which gives us the rim light coming from behind them.  Behind me is a large building with a light wall which is reflecting indirect light onto the kids, so, we have beautiful soft light coming forward on them.  So in an instance like this one, all that is required is the correct exposure at the camera.  No additional light is needed to get a nice shot.

As we got further and further into the morning, it got more and more crowded.  I love crowds for portraits, because you get all sorts of additional people in the shot.  If you wait for the “right” person, you get get juxtapositions.  I love this one.  Karen (mom) also loves this street photography style work, so I suspect she will love this one as well.

We stopped for a Chinese snack after the shoot.  I am not this good at chopsticks!!!

This is one of my favorites from the session because I identify with it!  My kids hang on me whenever I am shooting and they are around.  I am sure any of you parents out there with small children experience the same situation.  I think they do it because they know you are not paying attention to them.  Hanging on you seems to force the attention their direction.

Incidentally, I have the same problem when I am traveling with adults.  I get to taking photos and all my attention becomes focused on the shot.  So my wife and all the other adults with me tend to get annoyed with my lack of attention.  So, if you have a photographer in your life… just know that they still love you, even when they seem to be ignoring you.  Want their attention?  Take the camera out of their hand.

Children’s Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Shanghai, China

Slideshow Music by Nancy Falkow, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Subject: Photographer Karen Liu

Portraits from China: The Sloan Family

Today starts a series of Portraits taken in China.  I will be posting once each day for the the next few days.  Today, I will introduce you to the Sloan Family.  We went to the Former French Concession in Shanghai, China for a walk with the family.  The Former French Concession is unlike anything else in Shanghai.  Enormous trees canopy the streets and you feel like you are on a street in Europe, except that there are an awful lot of Chinese nationals running around…

The kids were great to work with.  They are extremely expressive and are pleasant children.  So, they make for easy subjects.  Something I had not accounted for, though, was the Chinese people’s fascination with blonde hair.  The boys are all ultra blonde, so these kids are a hit everywhere they go and attract a lot of attention, so we had a lot of people staring.  Fortunately, they were less invasive of our personal space since we looked all official as we shot the photos.  But, it is a common occurance to have the Chinese people run up and take their photo next to your child if you have a blonde child…  Anyway, that is one thing I could have never anticipated about the cultural change between the US and China.

This first shot is pushing the composition, but I really responded to it.  It has a lot of energy and movement in it.  I had to include it as one of my favorites.

I seem to recall some question when we first met being raised about her blouse.  Was it a good choice, etc.  I liked it and now I see why.  That soft pink matches her so well.  You can see that same shade highlighting her cheeks and in her lips.

The light here was quite perfect too.  Everything was soft.  Shanghai is an extremely hazy city (due to it being very polluted), but that works well for portrait light.  Then, the buildings, keep any direct light from hitting the subject and the canopy of trees keeps the light from the sky from being too bright (creating raccoon eye shadows).  So the main light source is reflected and filtered light coming from the street to her right and from behind here.  This puts the shadow of her face forward, creating an alternating light pattern on her face shadow, light, shadow, light.  In this case, it is simply about seeing the right light as it exists and exposing for it.  No other lighting necessary.  It’s simple light, but very pleasing.

There’s the curly blonde hair that is the ultimate stand out in China.  I have a shot or two with his head up, but I love this shot.  I think a lot of who we are comes from our hair, when we have unique tops.  I am completely bald.  That is quite identifying and I tend to wear that proudly (as I wear most things).  So hair like this is also worn with pride, and makes a major identifying mark on a person.  I’m pretty sure he loves his hair.  Who wouldn’t!

There are the trees.  Minus the all the cars on the street, this was a perfect place for photos.  I had to constantly re-frame to avoid too many cars and people.  I love the look on his face.

Talk about expressive.  The youngest boy is great.  I know Mr. and Mrs. Sloan were a bit worried that he was getting out of line or that he was not being cooperative, but sometimes a character like this has to be set free so you can get those great shots.  And it’s not all just about the funny faces.  It’s about all of the expressions you will see in this post.  Taking a photo of a child is an art in and of itself, and the art is based in knowing how far to push and when to let go of that control.  There has to be a good balance of discipline and freedom to get the expressions and still maintain control over the photo shoot.  The Sloans had the balance and it shows in the final results.

Now that is a shot for the wall!

I love the light on this image and the texture.

This is the Shanghai sky line on one of the only clear days we had in the city.  So we had to take the opportunity to shoot with the skyline in the background.  The first day we got there, we came to this spot and could see only the shadows of the buildings through the smog.  I’ll post those photos later this week.

The light on this shot is simple.  I exposed for the ambient light from the sky and the buildings in the background, but that leaves the family in dark shadow (not silhouette).  So some additional light was needed.  A Canon 600 RT flash does the trick.  It is off camera right just above head level.  That provides all the light needed to match the exposure of the buildings.  Notice that I put the flash to the side that mimics the direction of light hitting the buildings.  You can see this best on the tallest building in the city.  The shadow is on the left, the highlight on the right.  The same is happening on the family’s faces.  Highlights on the right, shadows on the left.  Put the flash on the other side and it would start to look a little strange.

And this is The Bund.  Look a big like London?  That’s because the English built this part of the city.  I like this photo as well.  It’s shot at 6400 ISO f2.5 at 1/125 of a second with no flash.  This is a risky shot.  You don’t always get it right when you play at low shutter speeds and wide apertures.  But it worked and I love the shot.  The thing is, like everything in life, if you always play it safe, you get predictable shots that are good enough, but the truly fantastic shots come from accepting some risk and accepting some failures to achieve the great shots.  Did I get every shot in this series?  Not even close, but I got three from it, that I liked.  Is everyone tack sharp?  No, I’m shooting at f2.5 at 1/125.  But the photo is strong, there are a few people in the focus plane and the rest become supporting actors in a very cool documentary shot that I love.  I’ll have to see whether the Sloans love it, but I suspect they will…

 

Family Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Shanghai, China

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Ilyas & Sheena: A Beautiful Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Sheena and Ilyas were married at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  They live in New York, but Sheena’s family is here, so the wedding was on a beautiful day in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Sheena and Ilyas were both raised in Hindu homes, but have been living western lives so, both cultures were very important to them, so the wedding included both culture’s wedding rites, which made for fantastic photographic opportunities.  It was like I was shooting two weddings on on day.  My team and I had a great time.  And thanks to the efforts of the many wedding professionals (led by none other than Jennifer Thinnes from Outstanding Occasions) that put the wedding together, we had a beautiful backdrop for some fantastic images.  Here are some of my favorites.

And let me say, if you are planning your wedding how important it is to have a wedding planner on the team for both the pre-wedding planning and for the day of the wedding.  The girls at Outstanding Occasions come up with such great ideas and do such an amazing job executing the wedding plans, they are worth their weight in gold.  And having them there to keep everything moving smoothly is absolutely indispensable.  After a wedding like this, I have to put a little plug in for wedding designers, planner and coordinators.  If you look at this wedding and think, “that’s amazing, I want a wedding like that and photos like that…”, then you need great professionals, with experience and creativity.  They make weddings better in every respect.

So, on to the photos.  Enjoy…

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (1)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (2)

I absolutely love the henna hand painting in the Hindu culture.  In Sheena’s hand paintings (by Darvina), you can see her and Ilyas in the paintings.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (3)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (4)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (5)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (6)

Even though the couple saw each other before the wedding, the tradition is to place a veil between the couple at the beginning of the ceremony and then there is a reveal, where they see each other for the “first time.”  It was tricky getting my position  correct on this shot to be able to show them both and not be in the way of all the guests, but as I reached the correct vantage point, Ilyas glanced at me with the greatest expression on his face.  I love this shot.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (7)

Oh, and have I mentioned the colors!  I am the kind of photographer who puts a lot of black and white into my weddings and portraits, but almost every photograph in this wedding so full of color that I couldn’t help but show them all in color.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (8)

I love all the rituals.  There are so many opportunities for beautiful and meaningful photographs.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (9)

The yellow rice is fantastic.  I love these shots.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (10)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (11)

The runner was fantastic.  I love the printed logo, it was designed by Idieh Design.  The programs, the place cards, everything was perfect.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (12)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (13)

I heard it in a the maid of honor’s toast, that Sheena’s laugh is infectious, but really it’s more than that.  it is her natural cheerful nature.  She is constantly full of happiness.  I like photographing her very much because that joy shines through.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (14)

This is one of my favorite images from the day.  The bride is kneeling before her parents (her’s and his).  There is a reverence for family in the Hindu culture and therefore in the wedding rites that is not common enough in America.  And as much as I like a non-traditional wedding that breaks the mold, there is something very special about tradition and lasting culture.  It says a lot when a young couple continues the heritage of their parents.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (15)

The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort stands on the north edge of Scottsdale, Arizona and it’s back yard are the desert mountains.  It makes for a very beautiful location for a wedding.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (16)

An absolute home run for Avant Garde who designed the Mandap.  You will see more shots of it throughout the this blog post.  They really did a fantastic job designing and building it.  But I have seen their work before and I expect no less than the best from them.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (17)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (18)

I will let you in on a little secret.  Although the bride and groom planned to see each other before the wedding, things were running a little behind with getting ready, so we didn’t have much time for portraits before the wedding, and since the wedding had both a traditional Hindu ceremony and a western style ceremony, it ran a bit long.  And after the wedding, the couple needed to change from their wedding attire into their reception attire.  So… that means the sun went down and there was no time for portraits after the wedding with the help of the sun.

No problem.  That’s why I always come prepared.  Boy scout.  As I saw the time slipping away from us, I shifted gears and assigned assistants to get to the vehicle and grab the heavy gear (big flashes).  After the wedding, as the couple was changing, we created a very large studio set outside on the lawn of the Marriott.  I’d say it turned out extremely well.  Wouldn’t you?

While we were shooting, I couldn’t see a thing, so Ryan, my assistant would run up to Sheena with his iPhone and hold it near her face so I could focus on the iPhone.  Then he had to run out of frame.  Lots of running…

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (19)

With no more light outside, we moved into the hotel (which has a lot of great interior locations).  Sheena turned model on us and we got some great shots of her.  This is my absolute favorite.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (20)

Sheena and Ilyas made their grand entrance through the fog.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (21)

We put up a couple additional flashes in the back of the room to accentuate the fog and the crystal trees.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (22)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (23)

Dr. Prakash, Sheena’s father designed and built the cake stand for the wedding.  It’s quite beautiful.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (24)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (25)

Event design, floral design, lighting design… compositional design.  Put it all together.  This was simply a beautiful wedding for the greatest couple.  And there are so many people to thank for making it so perfect.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (26)

Thank you Sheena and Ilyas for trusting us with your wedding.  And thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make their wedding such an incredible experience.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Planning and Design by Outstanding Occasions

Location JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Floral Design by Avant Garde

Stationary Design by Idieh Design

Officiant: Scott Morgan

Hair: Revive

Makeup: Amanda Osadchuk

Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Photos and a Game of Golf: Mattie and Riley’s Engagement Portraits

When I have to get up early in the morning, I set three alarms.  My body and mind are not pre-disposed to the idea.  But I do it fairly often, because the sun doesn’t wait for anyone.

Mattie and Riley were in town for a few days and we needed to photograph their engagement portraits.  It’s hot in Phoenix (for those of you who don’t know this little fact) and every minute that sun is in the sky, it get’s hotter.  So the first image here, is not sunset, it is sunrise.  This means, we had a few hours of warm to warmer temperatures to shoot before it got deathly hot.  So, we all woke up extremely early, and while I never enjoy waking up that early, once I get out there photographing, there is nothing like it.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (20)

I had a friend photographer ask me once, “why don’t you just meet your clients before sunset?  This way you don’t have to get up early and there is a definite finish time, when the session must end because there is no more light.”  First, when it is hot, it is too hot in the evening.  Second, I enjoy shooting and I enjoy my clients, so I’m not trying to get out of the session, to be done with it.  Third, early morning has a very beautiful quality of light.  So when my clients can make it in the morning, I push for that time frame.  That doesn’t mean I like waking up… but once I am out there, I enjoy every minute of it.

I love the early morning light, when the sun is still raking across the landscape, but it is still blocked by buildings and trees.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (19)

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (17)

I love this photo!  This has to be on of my very favorites.  OK… there are a couple more later in the post that are also my favorites.  So, I can’t say this is my actual favorite, but you have to love the warmth on this shot.  It’s almost all natural, with a little help from me in post production.  But, it is close enough to reality for me…

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (16)

Once the sun got a bit higher in the sky and was causing more grief than it was worth, we took cover in my favorite grove of trees, which were apparently being pruned.  Branches were strewn about the groves so thickly that we could hardly get through, but it made the grounds even more interesting, so we waded through the downed branches and clippings and got some cool shots.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (15)

This happens to be another one of my favorites.  The light falling down on them from the hole in the tree cover causes a bit of glare on the photo, but that gives the photo its soft quality.  However, the shot isn’t possible with available light only.  I have a Canon Speedlite 600RT flash off to the right filling in the couple to keep them from going too dark.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (14)

I love the color on this shot.  And you may think that I produced this color in post-production, but that is not the case (I admit, I helped it along).  It is a natural color that comes as a result of the light and glare situation from this particular angle under this large hole in the canopy of the orchard.  The image had this coloring naturally, and I was inspired by it, so I went along with it.  I tend to do that.  Rather than fight the natural lighting and coloring and contrast of the shot, I tend to go with it.  More often than not, inspiration is the internal reacting to external conditions, a kind of game of call and response (Marco Polo).

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (13)

After the portraits were finished, more or less, we headed off to the golf course.  Mattie and Riley are a golfing couple.  And I grew up golfing since I could hold a club, so we went to Ocotillo Country Club (which has water on almost every hole) and played nine holes.  They continued on after that, but by that point, it was so brutally hot, that taking photos was no longer worth while.  We were all beat red and sweating.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (11)

I spent most of the time taking photos, but I played a bit too.  It’s just nice to have an excuse to pick up the ball when you are really doing poorly and pretend that you’re just picking up because you need to take some more photos.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (2)

Mattie is better than me or Riley, I think…

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (1)

What a great morning.  Early, but full of great photos and a good round of golf.  Thanks Mattie and Riley.  We’ll be shooting again before you know it.  The wedding will be here before you know it.

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Kevin Burdick, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Location: Chandler, Arizona.

Black and White Infant Portrait for the Mulligans

I photographed Meghan and Hugh’s wedding a few years back and was thrilled to drop by to meet the newest mini-Muliigan.  Wylie is a serious boy.  Or at least he was serious about our photo shoot, which I think makes him look quite handsome.  Here are some of my favorite images from the photo shoot at the Mulligan home in Phoenix, Arizona.

I loved the shirt.  Had to get that into the shot for sure.

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (8)

 

I ended up with very few color images from this infant portrait shoot.  I am a  firm believer that color should only exist in a photograph if it is driving the photograph.  I thought that the majority of the images were better seen in black and white, which also makes those left in color stand out even more.  I am pleased with the results.

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (7)

 

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (6)

 

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (5)

 

Wylie has a very cool nursery, filled with cute little monsters and a large chalk board wall.  He’s going to enjoy that when he becomes aware that drawing on walls in most homes is a bad thing…  Not in the Mulligan house.  Hugh is a graphic artist.  So…

 

This is by far one of my favorites.  Not only is it a favorite of the photo shoot, I think it is a favorite of images like it.  The difference between the father’s hands and the baby’s foot is quite stark and the rich black and white contrast helps to push that concept even further.

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (4)

 

Here are Wylie’s little monster friends.  That is a colorful photo.

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (3)

 

That is a big baby, born on a very good day!  Father’s day.

infant portrait in phoenix arizona (1)

 

Infant portrait photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, courtesy of Cherie Call.

Location: Home, Phoenix, Arizona

Ashley and Cameron’s Engagement Portraits in San Diego CA

Cameron and Ashley’s Engagement Portraits in San Diego, California from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Time to take some engagement portraits with Cameron and Ashley, but it’s hot in Phoenix.  But, they were traveling to San Diego on vacation so we decided to take their engagement portraits there on the beach in La Jolla.  San Diego is one of my favorite places, so I was thrilled to spend the evening on the beach with Ashley and Cameron.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot.

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (12)

We had a great time on the shoot.  I enjoy the casual nature of an engagement shoot and this was no exception.  Ashley and Cameron are a fun couple and La Jolla beach is a beautiful place to spend an evening.

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (11)

This is one of my favorite images from the shoot.

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (10)

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (9)

And this one… Ashley looks absolutely fantastic.

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (8)

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (7)

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (6)

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (5)

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (4)

It was a great photo shoot.  Thanks for hanging out with me, Ashley and Cameron.

Engaged couple at the beach in LaJolla California in San Diego (2)

Engagement Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Location: San Diego, California

Lindy’s Senior Portraits in San Diego, California

Meet Lindy.  Senior, class of 2013.  She’s a all around great girl with a great attitude.  I love to meet high school students who have perspective and can see the big picture.  Sometimes a teenager who is wise beyond their years can be a bit too serious so they aren’t super fun, but Lindy has a lot of energy and spunk, but still sees her world in realistic terms.  That’s important.  Well, I can’t say enough good about her and we wish her the very best during her senior year and out into her future.

We took Lindy’s senior portraits in San Diego at Mission Beach.  We arrived at the beach early in the morning, so the beach was fairly empty which gave us plenty of room to work.  I love the over cast day.  So many clients worry when their photo day or wedding has clouds, but when it comes to photos, I couldn’t ask for anything better.  I love the soft light.  It gives me a nice even exposure to deal with.  Then, if I want to sculpt with light, I can add a little light wherever I want to see it.

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (9)

Lindy brought along a hat, which I completely loved, so that stayed with us a lot during the shoot.  While in this next image, it is merely a prop, it finishes the photo in many of the images.

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (8)

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (7)

This is where the hat really makes the image!

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (6)

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (5)

This next image is very important to me as a photographer.  Catching a subtle and important aspect of a senior’s personality in an image is important to me.  And this image, speaks volumes to me about Lindy.  That strong determination is a big part of how I see her.  I suppose I can be wrong in my read of personality, but when I am photographing someone, I think I get a good read on people.  And with Lindy, because she is a good friend to our family, I think I can say with confidence that this one is very accurate.  But, I suppose you’ll have to ask her mom.

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (4)

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (3)

We did a few shots of Lindy looking at the camera next to her 2013 numbers in the sand, but I liked this one the best.

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (2)

This is a great example of the process of sculpting in a subdued and flat lighting condition.  I am using the ambient marine layer lighting to get the basic exposure accomplished, then with my Canon Speedlite 600RT flash off camera to the left and behind the subject, I am adding the crest of light on her nose and cheek-bone, etc.  This gives the photo great deal of volume with very little effort.  Normally, the sun would fill in as the backlight, but when the sun is held up behind a thick cloud, you have to create your own sun.  The nice thing about this manufactured sun (a flash), the power is completely controllable.

Senior portraits by Jared Platt (1)

Lindy, thanks for trusting us with your Senior Portrait.  May every year ahead of you be a success!

Senior Portrait Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: San Diego, California

All That Matters: Tyler and Allie’s Wedding in Phoenix, AZ

I am writing this post conscious of the fact that my wife will read and re-read it and will scold me if I do not do present this one exactly right.  You see, Allie, the bride, was my wife’s high school student a number of years ago.  Allie was one of those 17 year old girls with 30 years of wisdom.  She is one of the most impressive young women we have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  So when she told us of the news, that she and Tyler were getting married, we were thrilled.  We would have been at the wedding anyway, so when Allie asked if I could photograph it… well, how could I not.  Allie is the type of person that gives so much to everyone, personally and professionally, that everyone around her can’t help but want to give back.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (17)

Allie’s wedding, though would be an interesting one.  It was planned for a Monday evening in Pine, AZ (a tiny little town) where the beautiful forests of Northern Arizona would have been the backdrop.  We all had our little hotels and bed & breakfasts staked out and were ready to head up the hill, when I got a text from Allie’s good friend and wedding coordinator.  Everything was on hold, as Allie had been rushed to the hospital back in Phoenix for an appendectomy.  She and Tyler had arrived in Pine, but she began to feel a pain in her side and decided to head to the emergency room in Payson (a slightly bigger small town in Northern, Arizona).  Allie is tough, so when she decides to go to the emergency room, something is wrong.  They then sent her back to Phoenix to have her appendix taken out.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (16)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (15)

Having her appendix out, meant that she needed to keep it simple.  So, Allie spent a lot of time sitting down and relaxing, which is what I think brides should do more of anyway.  But with the sitting came this shot, which is one of my favorite images from the day.  The room where she got ready was her friend’s scrapbooking and craft room.  It was perfect for the shot.  For those of you interested in the techniques used to get the photo, it is not as simple as it may seem.  There is no window to the right as you might assume.  I have created the window light by bouncing a Canon 600 EX RT Speedlite off of a a wall.  The exposure was set for the ambient light in the room, which gives her the warm glow and generally lights the room.  Then the large light source (the bounced light coming from a wall) on the right gives her the three volume that makes the shot so successful.  Also, keep in mind that the blue and taupe walls are complimented by the mixture of light between the warm incandescent light in the room and the cool blue light of the flash.  I almost always set the ambient exposure first and use flashes to augment the light that already exists because in most cases, the light we see around us is close to perfect as it is.  It can sometimes just use a little help.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (14)

I can only imagine the roller coaster ride Allie went through.  And I understand there were times when she talked about postponing the wedding until she got better, but it was reported to me that Tyler said “by the end of this week, I will be your husband.”  I’m paraphrasing, of course.  We all waited to see how she would do after surgery and she set the date for a simple backyard ceremony on Wednesday with a small reception for friends and family on Saturday.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (13)

Tyler is a good man, I love this shot of him looking out into the back yard, where the ceremony will take place.  This is another one of those ambient first, and add a little fill flash bounced off the dealing above and to the right to fill in the shadows just a little bit.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (12)

This is one of my ultimate favorites from the day.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (11)

As is this one.  I purposefully added additional film grain to these images.  I thought they felt very classic, so they deserved classic grain to them.  Besides, I love film grain.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (10)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (6)

This is one of the most precious moments during the day.  I can’t get enough of the relationships between a father and a bride.  I hope, when my daughter is married, someone finds a moment or twenty like this for me.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (9)

And this.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (8)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (7)

One thing I enjoy about an extremely small wedding is the closeness of the ceremony.  Everyone sits or stands very close to each other to witness the marriage.  And that includes me.  I get a lot closer shots during extremely small weddings, and it has been said many times, “if your images are boring, you’re not close enough.”  It’s nice to be in close to the action and small intimate weddings like this one, allow for that to happen in a very non-intrusive way.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (5)

I loved the bride’s bouquet.  It was simple and had a very wild flower feel to it, with a few accents of roses.  It was well done.  I especially loved the broach on the stem wrap.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (4)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (3)

Allie, you are a beautiful bride.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (2)

Like almost every little girl, I am sure Allie dreamed of her wedding and had it all planned out (she’s a planning kind of girl), but plans change, sometimes at a moment’s notice.  The wonderful thing about marriage is that no matter what circumstance does to our plans, whether it is rain, or mixups with a vendor or a trip to the ER for an appendectomy, the most important part of a wedding is the commitment, the I Do!  And Allie and Tyler said “I Do.”  And now they have the rest of their lives…  and no doubt, they have a great wedding story to tell.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (1)

The reception on Friday was every bit the party and a party always seems to come with a feathered headdress.

 

I loved this moment between Allie’s mother and father.  Some of these moments happen so fast that I have to take the moment I am given.  I wanted so much to be about 8 feet to the left, but I saw the moment happening and had to take the shot while it was there.  I then moved to the better spot, but it was gone by the time I got into position for the “perfect” shot.  This is what we call stalking the moment.  When we see a moment developing, we take a series of shots and try to improve upon the moments as they build by getting into an even better position, or waiting for the moment to make its crescendo.  Sometimes, the moment falls apart before we get the “decisive moment” we are after, but we still have a  pretty good one.  So the lesson is: when you see something that may be great, start shooting now, and stalk that moment, because if you wait for the vantage point to be perfectly aligned to the moment before you shoot or for the moment to become great, you may miss the very good shots.

This was a brilliant gift for everyone.  Take home a stack of yummy recipe cards for the cookies at the wedding, which I understand were made by Allie…  and they were yummy.

I can’t cook, nor can I bake, but I can eat cookies.  Which reminds me, I should have my sister make some cookies…

It was a wonderful wedding to witness.  Allie and Tyler, thank you for trusting me with your wedding day.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, Courtesy of Cherie Call

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Collins: An Infant Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

I’m in my office, listening to music, posting images of Collins, the beautiful new baby to Pat and Laney, who are were married about a year ago.  My own family is traveling, visiting family, and I just received a phone message from my little girl.  Someday soon, Collin is going to be leaving her daddy goodnight messages an breaking his heart with her cute little voice.  Right now, she is melting his heart by sleeping in his arms.  I love my work.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (4)

I was fortunate enough to be in town and available when Laney delivered her baby, so I was able to come to the hospital and see them.  These are some of my favorite images.  Day one is a miracle beyond belief.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (1)

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (2)

I always love the little hats on the first day.  Maybe the baby’s don’t love them.  Not sure we’ll ever know.  One of these days, a baby is going to start talking on day one and we’ll get the full scoop.  Until then, we’ll keep putting hats on them.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (3)

A few weeks later, we shot her official portraits.  She was exhausted right from the start.  Everything was shot in her home.  I loved the textured wall paper in the family room, so we put together a little photo op for her there.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (5)

She looks so peaceful.  I enjoyed the ruffled tutu in the foreground.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (6)

Now, that is a well styled dresser.  Cute items and a cute little baby.  That blanket is super soft.  We worked on Collins’ position a bit, but she likes to sleep a little more spread out.  I think she looks quite comfortable.  In fact, I would have taken a nap there, but the dresser would have tipped over and the piggy bank is too fragile to fall that far.

Oh and a great composition.  For the photographers out there, notice how every frame edge is playing with the shape of the dresser.  On the top and left, the negative space is creating great shapes.  On the right, the frame is toying with the center support for the shelves and on the bottom, the frame is interacting with the opened drawer.  Framing is very important to every photograph.  I can’t emphasize that enough.  When you are shooting a photo, pay attention to all four frame edges before you take the shot.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (7)

I enjoyed watching Pat with his daughter.  This shot is a pretty good description of that relationship.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (8)

If you are going to catch Collins awake, this is the time to do it.  I was so glad to grab this shot.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (9)

I always love seeing a baby’s nursery.  It ways a lot about the mother (usually – sometimes the father is involved).  Collins’ nursery was decked out!  This wall was great.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (10)

The pink and the grey is a great color combination and I love the bling encrusted mirror.  And there is sleeping beauty again.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (11)

Little fingers and little toes.  No matter how many times I take a shot or look at a photograph of them, I am always amazed by the miracle of these tiny little things!

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (12)

Thank you for including me Pat and Laney in this wonderful event in  your life.  She is beautiful.

An infant portrait in chandler arizona by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (13)

I’ve enjoyed looking at these images.  So many great keepers.  What a life.

Infant portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, courtesy of Cherie Call.

Location: Chandler, Arizona

The Newest Day: An Infant Portrait in Gilbert, Arizona


Many years ago (not that many) I photographed a beautiful wedding in Sedona for a great couple, the Day’s.  I have been photographing their family ever since.  This time I get to show a little progression.  On kind of a last minute shoot, we went out and photographed Amaris’ maternity portraits, but since it she already has a little girl, it was more of a family portrait session.  Later, once the baby was born, I went back to photograph her.

Here are my favorite images from the two sessions.

Lola is the same age (within a week I think) of my daughter, who, although they have only played together once, claims Lola as her “best friend.”  Anyway, Lola is a fun little girl and full of expression.  She wasn’t angry in this shot, I think she was trying to strike a pose.  It makes me laugh.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (1)

Amaris is ready for the baby to arrive, and I think Lola is too.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (2)

Nathan’s truck is a tough lookin’ beast, and much to his wife’s amusement, we both agreed that the truck needed to be in a shot or two.  If I had a truck like that, it might be a part of my family as well.

I love this shot.  Just for the pure documentary nature of it.  I picture my daughter trying to get my attention to have some serious discussion with me.  There’s nothing better than a serious little child putting her tiny hand on your shoulder and having an adult conversation with words you can barely understand.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (3)

Yep.  Perfect little moment.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (4)

She’s so proud to be there with her daddy.  Not planned.  We were getting ready to photograph the baby and as I was putting my equipment together, Lola saw the camera and figured it was time for some snap shots and went to posing for them.  It made us all laugh.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (5)

Such a little ham.  She’s always ready for her closeup.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (6)

And there she is, the newest Day.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (7)

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (8)

Isn’t this the constant state of life for a baby sibling.  Always clobbered by her sister with affection and love.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (9)

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (10)

This is one of my very favorite images from the shoot.  The lighting is so perfect and so are the expressions.  This is the one I would have with me at all times.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (11)

I thought all the old items were quite beautiful in contrast with the new baby and the new flowers.  And of course, the light is wonderful.  This is the product of three Canon 600 EX RT Speedlites.  I can’t say enough good things about that flash system.  It works wonders.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (12)

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (13)

Such a serious face.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (14)

She is beautiful.  Congratulations Nathan and Amaris on another beautiful daughter.  It is an honor to be there to document your family’s growth.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (16)

By the way, this is the coolest front porches ever.

photography portraits by jared platt in gilbert, arizona (17)

Family Portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Kristen Andreassen, courtesy of TripleScoopMusic

Location: Gilbert, Arizona