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Thoughts on Images from Budapest and Vienna

I taught a photography workshop in Vienna and Budapest with Clay Blackmore and David Ziser through MZed.  This year we will be in Barcelona, Spain [LEARN MORE HERE].  The experience is fantastic.  Great people, great food, models, shooting locations, great instructors, and wonderful staff.  It was such a pleasure to spend days, rather than hours with students (working professionals) who are thirsty for knowledge.

Here are a few images from my week in Budapest and Vienna.

Enjoy.

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On our first full day in Budapest we were allowed to photograph in an ancient and still operational bath house.  What a fantastic start to our photographic journey.  The place was absolutely full of textures and color.  My lighting was accomplished with three Canon Speedlite 600RT flashes on their included flat foot stands (as I did not want to carry light stands with me to Budapest).  I’d say they turned out very nice.

We spent a few hours wondering through the underground labyrinths under the streets of Buda Hill. These were apparently the dungeons that held the likes of Count Dracula himself (the real live person, not the vampire). It is fun to wander with a group of friends, but when those friends include photographers, every random streak of light through fog becomes and event. Unfortunately for my wife, she was the only non-photographer, so she became the subject of many a posed photograph. I am sure there will be a number of eery silhouettes of the lovely Danielle in the coming months on a few photographer blogs. She was a great sport about it all, and we had a lot of fun wandering in the shadowy underworld.

The photo I have chosen to show, however was one that kind of fell in my lap rather than needing to be set up. As Jeff led the way through the foggy tunnel, the mood lighting made a perfect and unexpected silhouette of him and his camera. I told him to freeze! Which he did. I then positioned myself for the best possible separation for his head, his face and his camera. We all worked on the shot a bit as Jeff dutifully stayed frozen in position. Carlos Martìn must receive credit for closing the gates just a bit, which I didn’t even know were there until he pulled them in. I was too focused on Jeff’s position. The gate gave me a lot to play with in the corners of the shot.

These kind of moments happen more often that we realize, but many times we pass them by in favor of getting to dinner on time, continuing our conversation, or just inattention to the moments and details. Sometimes we just let something beautiful pass us by and perhaps we regret not getting the shot. The world would have been just fine without this photo in it. Jeff didn’t even know the photo opportunity existed, and neither did anyone else in our group. I think he would have lived without it, but I know he is excited to have the image.

Many times, the moments in our lives are far more important than grabbing that great light or that perfect moment on camera. I have often told photographers in lectures to take a little time off from the camera, and live life rather than document it. It’s hard for us to do sometimes. Case in point… later that evening, we ended up in a cafe on the edge of Buda Hill watching the sunset, hot-cocoa in hand, listening to a unique little string quartet, when the violinist approached us and asked for a request. After a bit of thought, we requested Ave Maria (one of my favorite songs) and he began to play like he was born to play that song. It was very romantic.

Danielle describes what happened next by saying, she now has conclusive proof that I can handle about ninety seconds of romance and beauty before I have to pick up my camera and document it. It wasn’t until she began making fun of me that I realized what I had done, at which point, feeling a bit foolish, I set the camera down and enjoyed the next song without the camera in my hand.

The question then is, did I need my camera to enjoy the music and the moment? Was there even a beautiful shot to be made? I suggest not! This image is only worth the memory spark to tell a story about my own foolishness. And I can say for certain that I enjoyed the music far better with my wife’s hand in my hand rather than a camera. So why the gut reaction to pick up the camera to document everything? Is it a sickness? A habit? An obligation? I will spend my entire life attempting to understand it. In some instances, it is a blessing for my wife because our children’s lives are very well documented. But, it can interfere with life experiences as well. They say recognition is half the battle, the other half is doing something about it. I have found that I can be a far better date without a camera in my hands, so I will often leave my camera at home and just practice experiencing life. Sometimes it is painful to see beautiful moments happening knowing that they will only be available in my memory, but at least I will have experienced the moment rather than simply having observed it.

When we are traveling, the task of capturing the experience falls on me (or maybe, I take it on myself), so I feel I must carry a camera, but that doesn’t mean I must carry a large professional camera.  And more importantly, I have to be able distinguish between a moment that is to be captured and a moment that is to be lived.

 We took a day trip to Vienna on Friday and I swear I spent thirty minutes debating whether to take my pro gear or my point and shoot with me. Danielle questioned the wisdom of taking my point and shoot to such a beautiful city, but in the end, I am so happy I left all the pro gear in Budapest and walked those beautiful streets with nothing but a tiny camera in one hand and my wife’s hand in the other (see my notes above).

A small (manual) digital point and shoot camera is the perfect middle ground. When you are carrying heavy pro gear, it just gets used more. Maybe just to justify the weight of the gear. A small pocket camera, on the other hand, can be ignored until something critical presents itself, and as long as it is a quality camera, I can walk the streets and enjoy the experiences I am having until something truly needs documentation. And let’s face it, without some kind of a camera, a photographer might go crazy, so it is just nice to have one around.

Everything I shot in Vienna was done with the Canon G15 (a manually adjustable point and shoot camera) and many of the shots were taken at 1600 ISO or higher. So the camera holds up very nicely in most circumstances. Even in the catacombs, where incidentally, a small point and shoot is preferable, when photography is prohibited…

And yes, at the very least, an iPhone makes an acceptable camera to scratch that itch.

 

FYI.  In this next image, the lights were not on.  It was daytime.  But I thought they would look better on, so I turned them on in Lightroom.  Just thought you might find that interesting.  So yes, it is not absolutely accurate.  But it is more beautiful.

I saw a moment that called out to me, I suppose it was the light, angle of incident, the strange juxtaposition of a glowing telephone in a dark cathedral, the loneliness of the old man using it… but the photo looked nothing like this when I found it. It was cluttered with people passing through the shot, some were from my group and the rest the throngs of tourists moving in and out of the church. But I knew my frame and got my exposure set. I found a place to secure my camera against a column to steady it during the long exposure and waited patiently as my wife and friends left the church (I assume they thought I was with them).

As people left the frame, others entered, but I waited for the moment I knew would eventually come. A fraction of a second presented itself where everyone in the cathedral was just outside my frame, so in the hustle and bustle of a heavily trafficked church, was a moment of complete vacancy and solitude for my subject who feels completely alone. This is why I always tell people that photography is at best incapable of telling the “truth” and at worst an outright lie. The moment I am presenting here never occurred, not even for a fraction of a second. My subject never experienced the solitude you see here, maybe only in his mind was he alone, maybe he felt this way in his heart at the time, but I have no doubt that I only forced my vision of the scene on him.

In the end, any photograph will tell you more about the photographer than it will tell you about the scene or person in front of the camera. When we have our artist hats on, this suites us just fine. Like in this instance, I saw a metaphor, not the truth. So that is what you get to see. The problem becomes that you, the viewer don’t know when the photographer’s intention was to present the truth or just a metaphor. In most cases, the viewer is always better off assuming they are looking at and should treat every photograph as a metaphorical statement made by the photographer… even (especially) when the image is printed in the newspaper.

It was raining.  We had umbrellas.  The light was perfect.  I am a bit of a theatrical show off.  So it was only natural to start a “Singing in the Rain” musical number bit for the cameras.  Right?

These next two images were taken by Cable Notebloom.  Thanks Cable.

Budapest is home to a number of beautiful cathedrals. Danielle and I took the long climb to the top of St. Stephen’s cathedral in the middle of downtown Pest and while the top afforded us a great view of all of Budapest, my favorite image came from the design of the circular staircase. Which only further solidifies the adage that it is not the destination, but the journey…

It’s not a little thing that we were given access to the Budapest Opera House for a four hour photo shoot. I have to give Jeff Medford (the workshop’s brilliant coordinator) credit.  This was an amazing experience for everyone, students and instructors. I spent most of the time there with a few students on Canon Speedlite control. We shot setups with just one off camera Speedlite and setups with up to five. While I don’t have very many of my own images from those setups, because I was simply advising students, I was able to make a few images as examples while I was setting up and explaining my light strategies.

This next shot required a total of five Canon Speedlite 600RT flashes and a small 24 inch softbox. One Speedlite with a soft box lights our model, which was the last light to be placed. The remaining lights were used to create depth in the shot. Each cross hallway is lit with a Speedlite, as is the very back corner of the hallway (which would be a black hole without the lights. There are a few windows in the shot which may appear to be illuminating the hallway, but on their own do very little. The Speedlites are doing most of the work, augmenting the natural direction of light provided by the windows.

The important thing to take away from this shot is that without a set of strategically placed flashes that fit in a small shoulder bag, this brilliant hallway would have been very dark and almost unusable. And the entire setup did not take very long. It is a prime example of pre-visualization. You have to see the possibilities in the hallway to select the location in the first place. Then, there has to be a clear vision for the shot to build in the lights quickly and set the scene, otherwise, the exploratory process is too long and takes up valuable shooting time. Wedding photography is a job that requires vision, skill and speed. So I spent a lot of time with Kam and Cabel (my students of the moment) explaining how to build the lighting into the shot quickly and with purpose. I think we got some great imagery.

 

Cabel then asked a very important question. “What if I only have a limited amount of time and can’t build a shot with five lights?”

So we went into bare bones mode. What if I only have one light? What is the best most efficient use of that light? At this point we had a lot of students gathering around the grand staircase as we discussed the shot. At one point, Clay Blackmore wandered in to shoot some video of our couple walking down the staircase.

Well, with one light pounding into the marble off camera right by about 20 feet, we were able to softly light our models and fill in any unwanted shadows in the room. Even though the original light source is a few small inches, the resulting bounced light makes our light source about 40 feet wide, which means we get very soft light… I think the results were fantastic.

 

I also spent a little time teaching a group of students about efficient use of a second shooter during a portrait session. I acted as the second shooter to the students who were shooting with the lights in the primary position. By working together, both the primary photographer and the second shooter are able to achieve completely unique and valuable shots. This represents the second shooter’s artistic shot that I made, as the primary shooter (a few students) made traditional portraits from the primary position. I also had a few students in the secondary position with me. It’s all about efficient use of time and recognition from the both the primary and secondary shooters of the other photographers position and shot needs, and working together to shift the pose back and forth to work for both camera positions. Of course, the subject is rarely aware of the second shooter’s efforts because the primary shooter is the only one directing her movements and actions.

Before leaving the Opera House, we were allowed to peek into the main Opera House and sit in the boxes for a few minutes.  Danielle, posed for a snap shot memory of the box seat experience.  Carlos Martín, prone to doing whatever he likes, found his way past the do not enter signs and velvet ropes to the King’s box (where the King or President would sit).  You can see him and Coralee in the box behind Danielle.

There is an effort under way in Vienna to clean the stone faces of some of the buildings. Clearly, they could use a good scrubbing. Over the years, these brilliant white surfaces have become grey and in some cases even black. So, like every city I have ever traveled to, the best buildings are scafolded on one side or another. I was struck by the remarkable difference between the sides that have been cleaned and those slated for a future scrubbing. But as I photographed St. Stephen’s cathedral (in Vienna – there is one in Budapest too), I found myself wishing they would just leave the building alone. The soot has created a beautiful contrast to emphasise the sculptural elements, enhancing the dimensions and the textures. As a photographic subject, the building is far more interesting as a faded, dirty, raw old building than it is in its sparkly clean glory.

Sometimes we want so desperately to clean thing up, buy new things, streighten the books on the shelf, fuss with the wedding dress and the veil, spray the hair until it is locked perfectly in place, and yet, often times, perfection is far less interesting and beautiful than the natural state of things. Irving Penn warned that working on perfecting a subject for too long, often kills the life of the photograph. Imperfection is life. Time ages people, building and everything in this world. I love imperfections and weathering because it tells a story and that is what makes the photograph intriguing. Clean up this building and this photograph becomes far less interesting. Cleaning out the cobwebs make a place more livable, but not necessarily more beautiful.

 

 

On the very last day in Budapest, Danielle and I walked along the Danube River.  We crossed beautiful bridges, admired fantastic architecture and bought trinkets, but our destination was the memorial for those who’s lives were taken by the Nazis in mass murders on the river’s edge. The memorial is a simple, understated line of bronzed tattered shoes. The shoes face the river as though they are prepared for their end and walking bravely to meet it. I think the direction of the shoes is also a powerful indictment of the cowardice of the Nazi’s, who slaughtered millions of innocent men, women and children (suggesting the act of shooting them in the back). I don’t know if the victims were told to face their assassins or not, but their despicable treachery is well condemned here. And more importantly, as we quietly took in the scene, the innocence of the victims, their humility, bravery, strength, fear, sadness and faith in deliverance hung around us in the air.

I asked Danielle to choose a pair of shoes and I watched her walk amongst the shoes and wondered which she would choose and why? Would it be a father’s boots, who struggled every day to make a living and feed his children and who now faced his murderers wondering what would become of his family? Would it be a set of tiny shoes that belonged to a helpless little child, separated from his parents, not even aware of what was to come? But as she pointed out a small set of simple boots standing side by side with her mother’s modest heeled dress shoes, tears began to form and we talked of a mother and her little girl standing on the edge of a beautiful river, in a beautiful city and we wondered how and why another human could have seen these two innocent lambs holding hands and done anything but run into the group, hold them both and suffer that fate with them… I wonder what the mother told her child. What did the father say to his son? Empowered by faith in God and with hope in his eyes, I hoped he would have had the strength to smile and say, “I will see you in a few minutes, son. We will be just fine.”

I struggle to write this in a blog that is usually filled with happy unions, beautiful moments with care free children and careless discussions about the importance of f-stops and shutter speeds. But while we stood there on the Danube, we had a chance to stand, not in, but near by others’ shoes and I could not help but feel I learned something about family and about God, who must have stood their that day with open arms on the other side to give his tormented sons and daughters a very real and very long embrace. And I just hope that as I enter difficult times of life that are full of fear, that I can hold my little girl’s hand and say with a reassuring smile, “we will be just fine.”  And then step off into that river and await the unknown and the embrace that comes after the extreme trials of faith and hope. And while life is good, and while we are blessed with plenty and peace, this is the time to hold those I love close, build them up, teach them strength, conviction, faith and hope and above all to show them love.

I teach a lot of photographers about workflow and software and f-stops and shutter speeds, but the most important thing I can tach any photographer, or any person for that matter, is the importance of filling your mind and your heart with inspiration ( joyful and sorrowful).  One cannot produce inspiring work from an empty well.  And that is something that was so fantastic about the Budapest Master Class, it was more than an opportunity to learn technical photography, it was an opportunity to become inspired and experience life from another perspective, in another culture, to meet new and interesting people and see things in a completely different way.

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If you would like to join us in Barcelona in October of 2014, go to www.MZed.com and mention JARED PLATT to receive $150 off your tuition for the class.  I hope to see you there.

 

A Peppermint Tea Party

What did you do on New Years Day?  It is hard to believe that anyone felt more important than these five little girls this New Years Day.  It was about the cutest event I have ever seen.  My wife is an amazing event designer (although she doesn’t do it professionally).  The amount of love that goes into this kind of a party is off the charts, and the girls felt it.  There’s nothing like seeing a little girl turn into a real princess for a morning.
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 Party Design by Danielle Platt

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of TripleScoopMusic

Mystic Seminars – Early Bird Special

I am speaking at Mystic Seminars on January 26, 2014.  This is a down to earth wedding photography seminar where everyone tells it like it is.  Four days of serious creative and business advice from the best in the business.

The EARLY BIRD SPECIAL ends on the last day of November.  So book now to save $120!

www.mysticseminars.com

I look forward to seeing everyone at Mystic soon.

 

Jon and Susans Wedding at Hidden Meadow Ranch

 

Jon and Susan were married in the aspen groves of Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer, Arizona.  It was an extremely small, family wedding, which I always love to be a part of.  Weddings like this are so intimate and the connection is so immediate.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

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What a perfect window for a portrait.

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Sneaking in to see if the Bride was ready.

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This massive horse would pulled the carriage with Susan and her children in it.  He’s a beautiful creature, more so with the flowers braided into his mane.

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It was a beautiful day, albeit a little chilly, but it threatened rain all morning and into the afternoon.  Finally, when the ceremony time came, the clouds parted and we had sun.

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At one point in the ceremony, I saw this happening and I couldn’t help myself.  I am in love with this image.

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I love a sand ceremony at a wedding, but they are far more fun with more people involved.  They get a little trickier, sometimes provide a little comedy and always produce a more interesting product in the end.  The metaphor is great for a couple, but even greater for a merging family.  Your separate lives are becoming one, never to be fully separated again.

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After the traditional ceremony, Susan and Jon’s marriage was blessed by a Native American medicine man, who then gave the two gifts.  A charmed necklace and an arrow.  I am amused by this photo.  Susan is having such  great time, Jon is studying his arrow, as are the boys, and Susan’s daughter, I am sure was caught in a moment by the photo (as we often are) but the look on her face is absolutely priceless.  I know, it doesn’t tell the “perfect” story about the blessing, but it tell a great story, whether that story is accurate is completely up to Susan’s daughter.  I love the photo.

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Jon is a handsome man.  He was being teased about this fact as we took his portraits.

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Add Susan.  What a beautiful woman and a fantastic dress.

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I absolutely love this photo.  It became such a piece of art in my mind that I had to treat it differently than the other photos.  It needed a soft, magical forest feel.  I think the treatment of the photo help promote that feeling even more.

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This is the first time I have ever been able to accomplish this ring shot and without a saw or a torch.

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The cake topper was a heart made of twigs or reeds with a J and an S on either side.  Very beautifully done.

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It is always an honor to shoot a wedding.  It is always a blessing to be involved in small family weddings.  And it is always a beautiful experience to spend a little time at Hidden Meadow Ranch.  So this wedding was a fantastic experience.  Jon and Susan, congratulations and thank you for making me a part of this wonderful time.  I wish all the best in the years to come, to you and your family.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Hidden Meadow Ranch, Greer, Arizona

Slideshow music by Will Thomas, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Deep in the Wild!

Jared Platt photographing at a pond at Hidden Meadow Ranch

 

Here I am deep in the wild, roughing it, doing a little early morning photography.  Cabins?  What cabins?

 

Photography by Ryan NeVille.  Thanks Ryan.

Giving Away Knowledge and Prizes on creativeLIVE

Jared Platt on creativeLIVE.com

Join me on creativeLIVE for Plugins 101 September 4-6, 2013.  And for those of you who are already watching and want to join in on the fun, here are the links you will need:

—>> To JOIN THE PHOTO REVIEW & GIVEAWAY  – CLICK HERE. <<—

By submitting your photos, you can win some amazing gifts from my sponsors, but no matter what, just by filling out the submission form, you will be receiving a brand new set of Lightroom Presets from me for FREE.  Please allow us 72 hours for delivery. Don’t miss out.

Just a few of the gifts you could receive include:

A CRU ToughTech Duo

A CRU Tough Tech m3

A Shuttle Pro 2

The Photo List Importer LR Plugin

The Find Similar Files LR Plugin

LR Presets  from Pretty Presets

The Rad Lab LR/PS Plugin

Kevin Kubota’s Vintage Delish LR Presets

My Comprehensive Preset Collection

My Triple Scoop Music Collection, Light & Love

Alien Skin’s Exposure 5 LR/PS Plugin

The Complete NIK Plugin Collection

 

Below are the after and before images from the continuing winners of the photo review:

Linda Seibert – Winner of Lightroom Statistics & Vintage Delish Lightroom Presets

Chris Fenison (Tropic Motion) – Winner of Triple Scoop Light & Love Collection

 

Diane Creighton – Winner of the RPG Keys

 

 

David Oastler – Winner of Find Similar Plugin & Exposure 5 Plugin from Alien Skin

 

 Shilo Bradley – Winner of the Rad Lab LR/PS Plugin by Totally Rad

Julian Dave – Winner of The Complete NIK Plugin Collection

 

Rainer Fleischmann – Winner of Shuttle Pro 2

 Carol Barnes – Winner of Comprehensive Preset Collection

Frank Bramkamp – Winner of Exposure 5 Alien Skin Software

Paul Duckhouse – winner of the Touch Tech Duo

Nina Skutton – Winner of the Tough Tech m3

 

Daniel & Megan’s Wedding at The Grand Canyon

They were married at the Grand Canyon on Shoshone Point in a small, intimate affair in the largest cathedral on the planet.  The vast and stark majesty of the canyon must have provided an extreme contrast to New York, their home.  Rising cities and blue oceans to rock cliffs that fall thousands of feet into the earth.  If you are going to have a destination wedding, you may as well make it somewhere completely different than home… and they did.

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

I loved this little necklace hanger.  It gave me about 15 minutes of entertainment while Megan was getting her makeup done.  I ran around the room collecting the items you see in the photo.  There are a number of these items that are special family heirlooms.  The old and the new, all together.

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The rooms at the El Tovar (and all the hotels at the Canyon) are very small, so you take the space you can find and work within it.  I suppose we have to remind ourselves when this hotel was built.  I know it is young by European standards, but here in America, something that was built in 1905 is pretty old and it seems that people did not need much space back then.  Have you noticed the small hard sided suitcases they could carry their entire life’s wardrobe in?  I rest my case…

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I loved this shot.  There was a lot of flare from the window, so the film treatment helped to enhance the mood and feeling of the image.  I love how the light wraps around the bride and through the dress.

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Both the ring and the handkerchief are old, so we aged the image a bit to work with the age of the items.  I love that she chose a dress that has the same antique nature with a little extra sparkle.  It all works together quite well.

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Late July, early August in the canyon is the monsoon season.  So you may get rain any given afternoon.  So, if you are getting married there, durring that timeframe, you have to be flexible with your timeframes.  I asked Megan to track the rain the day before the wedding and note the times it rained.  Armed with that information, a little observation of the clouds positions and movement and with a little prognostication, we made the call that we should move the wedding up an hour to avoid any rain.  And it was perfect.

The broken cloud cover was beautiful and it never rained on the wedding.  I think it may have rained a little later that evening, but the weather was absolutely perfect throughout the entire wedding and portrait session.  And the light, while occasionally harsh as the sun broke through a cloud here and there, was full of drama.

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You know, I am usually much more interested in long lenses and shallow depth of field, but when you have skies and vistas like this, wide lenses and small f stops start making a lot of sense.

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You know, when I was young, I spent time photographing the Grand Canyon (this is when I thought I would be the next Ansel Adams), but I couldn’t make an image of the canyon that was anything but boring.  Of course we all know that practice makes a big difference, but I think that I just saw the canyon as a big hole in the ground.  It wasn’t until I started photographing weddings at the canyon that I started making interesting photographs of the canyon.  I have a few ideas as to why that is:

1.  When you are shooting a wedding, you are in the same place for a long time, and you have time to observe things as they change.  Being on the edge of the canyon during a wedding is fascinating.  In a church, you are looking at the same walls, the same candles, the same pews for the duration of the ceremony.  And while you are looking to make interesting vignettes and grand images of the space, the space does not change.  In the canyon, every minute brings a new lighting scenario, a new cloud formation, new shadows, new highlights… it is alive with activity.  Let’s suppose I had spent  that kind of time at the edge of the canyon when I was younger.  Perhaps I would have found a moment that was worthy of a photograph.

2.  I am shooting for a client who expects to see the beauty they saw during their wedding day.  So, I am really “working” on my compositions and my exposures and my ideas.  I don’t think I was ever as dedicated to making a great image as when I started having someone pay me to make them.  With a fee comes a lot of pressure to perform.  Good thing I thrive under pressure.

3.  I found meaning in what I was doing.  In my youth, I was just taking pictures, with no direction, no purpose.  But now, everywhere I go, I have a story to tell, I have a book in my head that I am trying to complete.  I know what I need to tell the story.  I am often surprised with new sideline stories, events and ideas, but I am always keenly aware of what it takes to tell the story.  This internal “shot list” makes the entire experience meaningful and keeps me engaged.  To say nothing about how important this event is to my clients… this just serves to amplify and heighten the meaning of my work.  I am not just telling A story, I am telling THE story of their life!  Knowing that, makes the purpose of telling the story absolutely critical.  And knowing what you are doing matters, makes all the difference.

So when you see a beautiful photo of the Grand Canyon, you think, “oh, that looks beautiful,” but then you see a beautiful image of the canyon on the moment two young people said “I do,” it means a lot more to them and maybe even to you.

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Daniel is one cool cat.  I love this shot.  It looks like he is ready to take off backward over the canyon.  We had some strong sunlight breaking through the clouds during our portrait session, so we pulled out the large soft box to help wrap the light around the right side of his body a little more.  Just filling in the natural shadows a bit is all that needed to be done.  The sun was doing the bulk of the work for us.

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 Eirc Greenhaulgh (my second photographer and assistant) was tasked with hanging that large soft box over the edge to get around the groom and fill in the shadows on this next one.  At one point, I had to talk Eric into backing off the edge a little.  I’m pretty daring, but he was crazy!  I think there is an ancient proverb that says something like, “When a man is holding a 30×40 inch sail, that man should not stand on the edge of a 800 foot cliff.”

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If I had ordered the light, just the way I wanted it, I would have asked for the light happening in the background to happen throughout the entire canyon, but once I brought it back into the studio and stared working on the images, I found that I responded to the darkness in the bottom left hand corner of the image.  It seems to heighten the drama to see  the cliff overlooking not only a deep precipice, but a rich darkness.  It almost seems that the light emanates from the bride.  Sometimes, we are better off not getting exactly what we want, because the results are better than we might have concocted ourselves.  When you photograph in locations like this, you are really in collaboration with the earth itself and its Maker.

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Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (12)

 Megan had a moment where she needed to sit down for lack of food (she had not eaten enough during the day).  So Debra (our stellar GC Coordinator) ran some granola mix and water down to us.  Well, Megan had taken a seat right there on that rock and Daniel stood by her side for support.  As we talked, I saw the perfect photo.  So, we relaxed for about 15 minutes and then, when she was ready to go, I told her to stay where she was and we got this shot.  It is one of my absolute favorite shots of the day.  So while I would like to remind all brides to make sure to eat throughout the day to avoid getting a little light headed, we would not have ended up with one of my favorite shots had Megan not needed a little break.  She kept appologizing, but really Megan, we can’t thank you enough for needing a break.

I suppose the point should be made (and I tell my brides this all the time) that it doesn’t matter what they are doing, I am going to be getting great images of it.  Even sitting down because you feel a little light headed… yep, we’ll get a great shot!  That’s what is so exciting about the work I do.  I am challenged moment to moment to create something great no matter what is going on.  That’s a fun kind of pressure.

Thanks again to David & Debra Joaquim, who put together the entire wedding.  Debra does such a great job accenting the natural beauty of the canyon and both of them do a great job officiating and watching over their clients.

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Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (14)

 I love these next two shots of Daniel and Megan.  Just candid shots after the wedding.

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On our way back to the El Tovar Hotel we had to stop the car for this sunset.  I would have preferred to get to higher ground, perhaps a balcony, etc, but those colors only last for seconds.  Good night!

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Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Post production by Shoot dot Edit

Wedding Slideshow music by Sparrow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Michael & Bettine’s Grand Canyon Wedding

Bettine and Michael’s wedding was a very intimate affair at the Grand Canyon here in Arizona.  Before the wedding, they spent some time together with their guests on the veranda of the Presidential Suite at the lodge on the canyon’s edge.  We had such a fantastic time with everyone at the wedding (which is a very small number).  Here are a few of my favorite images.

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 Time to head off to the wedding at Shoshone Point.  The map was laid out on the counter, but this map doesn’t indicate the path to Shoshone Point.  You have to know where it is to find it.  The first few times I shot there, I kept missing the turnoff for the point.  It’s worth finding though.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (20)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (19)

It was a simple wedding, perfect weather, beautiful light and great people all around.  I can’t think of a better way to spend the day.

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This is the entire wedding having a champaign toast directly after the wedding on the point.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (17)

 Then on to the portraits.  The clouds got a little more dramatic for us, although that meant that the canyon lost some of its light.  The canyon shifts and changes, but if you are prepared and know what to do with the changes, the canyon will give you something beautiful every time.  In this case, Ryan NeVille is off camera right with a beauty dish, providing a little needed light.

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I love this shot.  Michael is epic.

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This one too.  One of my favorites.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (14)

This one really gives you a good feel for the depth of the canyon below and the height of Shoshone Point.  And there is Bettine, calm as can be!  I love it.

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This is a great moment.One of my favorite images from the entire day.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (12)

 Bettine’s mother’s ashes made the journey to the canyon where they would later be scattered in the winds of the canyon.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (11)

I have to sing the praises of David and Debra Joaquim and the chef at El Tovar.  Together they put together an amazing dinner on the edge of the canyon.  Everything looked fantastic and by all reports tasted that way as well.  Keep in mind, there is no kitchen out here on the point, no power and the wedding was moved up an hour to avoid the threat of rain, so making a fantastic dinner like this is an amazing thing to do.  I was impressed.  It speaks well to the Joaquim’s planning skills and to the chef’s artistry.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (10)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (9)

 This bouquet was designed by Debra Joaquim.  An absolutely beautiful mixture of plants and flowers.  It worked so well with the canyon.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (8)

Bettine, there’s that purple coming through.  The canyon was a bit thin in color throughout the wedding because the cloud cover kept things a bit softer, and Bettine was looking for some of the rich colors of the sky and the canyon throughout the day.  But as the sun broke through the clouds just before sunset, we caught some magnificent images with deep blues and purples set against the yellows and reds of the canyon walls.  It always amazes me that this can be a Bride’s backdrop to her wedding dinner.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (7)

 The wedding part took time after dinner to hold an ash scattering ceremony for Bettine’s mother at the canyon’s edge.  The idea being that her mother’s final resting place could overlook and be a part of the place Bettine was married.  The roses were in memory of her and a few rose petals were tossed into the wind as well.  Sometimes, there are moments that I feel like I should put the camera down and step away.  When I feel that way, I check myself, increase my awareness of how obvious I am.  I try to dial it all back a little so I can be as close to invisible as possible, because I know that an image like this one would mean a great deal to me if it were my mother’s ashes being scattered there in that place.

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I love this image.  It is the end of a very important day for Bettine.  I thought it was only fitting to stand and watch the sunset close out the day.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (5)

Debra and David Joaquim  did a fantastic job with the preparations for the wedding.  Including picking up an umbrella for everyone in the wedding, just in case the rains did come.  We never needed the umbrellas, but they matched the decor of the wedding so well, that Bettine thought we could not leave without some photos using them.  So…

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (4)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (3)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (2)

This would be the backdrop for the signing of the wedding license and since the sun was long since gone, we had to light this up with a few LED flashlights and an ICE Light.  Everything looked so nice, I couldn’t walk away without a still life of the beautiful flowers, also created by Debra Joaquim.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (1)

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Post production by Shoot dot Edit

Wedding Slideshow music by Jason Livesay and Justin James, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music