10 Rules for Photographing on Location

The Wedding Couple and the Location

Valentina and Rpin were married at the Grand Canyon with just a few very close friends and family members late this spring. I have noticed something about most (if not all) couples who get married at the Grand Canyon, and that is that they are all very fun, casual and full of adventure. I get along with them all very well. But Rpin and Valentina took fun to a new level. I had not met them before the wedding day, but we spoke on the phone and exchanged emails, and I got the sense that they would be enjoyable people to work with. What’s more, they both work in Hollywood, so they understand the value of the photograph.

Early on in our discussions, Rpin explained how important the photos were to he and Valentina.  He basically told me that they wanted a photoshoot with a wedding on the side. That is a loose paraphrase, but close enough to the intent of his statement.  Knowing where he stood on the importance of the photograph, I knew that we had to get the portrait sessions absolutely perfect. For most photographers and couples, that means timing their wedding so that they get done with plenty of time to catch the perfect light at sunset. They push quickly through family photos and scramble to get into position for the sunset and grab a few shots before, during and just after the sun drops on the horizon, until the light is gone.  Then it is on to the dinner and dancing. But we all went above and beyond, and planned both a sunrise and a sunset portrait session.

Valentina would wake up by 3:30 am to be ready for a 5:15 am call time to be in position for a sunrise shot. In the darkness of the morning, with the bride wrapped in a warm coat, we would find our way off the beaten path, to the canyon’s edge, set up our lights and compose the image and be ready to nail the shot at precisely 6:30 am.  If that sounds like a lot of work for a few photographs, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Here are a few tips that will significantly increase the chances of nailing any photo session you may be planning.  These tips were critical to getting the perfect shots on both our sunrise and sunset sessions on Rpin and Valentina’s wedding day.

10 Rules for Photographing on Location

You have to know where you are shooting and what it will be like the date and the hour of the shoot.  One week prior to the wedding, I headed up to the Grand Canyon to do a little location scouting. I hit the canyon exactly one week before the wedding, before sunrise so I could see where the sun would rise and how it would effect the canyon in the early morning hours. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the canyon was covered in fog. Which was great for personal landscape photography, but not great for judging the canyon at sunrise on a typical sunny day. 

The grand canyon under fog.

But with the help of my favorite location scouting tool on my iPhone, Sun Seeker, I was able to see exactly where and when the sun would rise and set.

iPhone Sun Seeker application screen shot

With a good understanding of light, I was able to extrapolate its effect on the canyon, and I even got a few glimmers of sun peaking through the fog on occasion. But I was not just looking for light… finding the right location, on the edge of a mile deep hole is pretty important. I can’t just ask the groom to step over to the side, or move the light or the camera to the other side of the couple if there’s a branch in my way, or if the sun is in their eyes. By scouting the location ahead of time, I can pre-judge the composition, the lighting and the logistics, so my clients aren’t waiting for me to get my act together.  So we will start our list of location photography rules with the following:

  • Rule 1: Always scout your location before you shoot, even if it is a few hours before on the day of the shoot.
  • Rule 2: Always know where your sun will be at the time you will be shooting.
  • Rule 3: Don’t fall off cliffs while you are photographing, it can be very bad for business.

Remember the Timing is Everything

Knowing where and when the sun will rise in the frame was absolutely critical. I didn’t want to compose a shot and find the sun rising behind their backs, nor did I want to have the sun rising off camera left. Location scouting gave us the exact time and location of the sunrise, however, knowing all that does no good without efficient management of the crew and the talent (in this case, myself, my assistant and the couple). Judging hair and makeup time for the subject, travel time, set up time, and leaving a bit of fudge room for delays is critical to being on time. Sunrise lasts for mere minutes. In our case, we planned a 5:15 am departure from the hotel, knowing that we would never get out by 5:15. With an extra 20 minutes built into the schedule, when we got away from the hotel at 5:30, we were 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

  • Rule 4: Always build in extra time to hedge against unforeseen delays.

Reliable equipment and confidence in technique is also key to your success.  There is nothing worse than loosing a time sensitive photo because you ran out of card space, or a battery died.  You can’t simply blame the flash radio trigger for not working “this one time” and expect your client to understand… Fumbling with your equipment at the moment the sun rose was not an option, but by following some basic rules, we avoided the embarrassment and travesty of missing the shot.

  • Rule 5: Exchange all batteries in the cameras, flashes and triggers for brand new, fully charged batteries, no matter how full they already are.
  • Rule 6: Insert and format blank cards into the camera(s) before any critical, time sensitive shoot.
  • Rule 7: Only use reliable gear that is tired and tested and works 100% of the time.  (no hit and miss equipment)
  • Rule 8: Know your equipment inside and out and use a practiced technique on this critical, time sensitive shot (never try a “new” technique when shooting the shot that only happens once, you will fail in a big way).

With a few test exposures out of the way, my watch set, my camera locked down on a tripod and my flashes ready to add the fill light on the couple, we waited and watched for the sun to rise. We began shooting with seconds to spare knowing we would ease the couple into their role as the sun rose above the horizon. As the sun rose, we photographed like our lives depended on it, and kept shooting until the sun had lifted well beyond the horizon.  Not only is timing the right moment critical, but so is continuing to shoot through and beyond the entire extended moment.  Stopping to look at your handiwork is absolutely foolish. In our case, the sunset happened for a few short minutes,  and then the effect was gone. Too many people are not comfortable enough with their equipment and exposures and spend time double checking or sometimes admiring their images or worse, fussing with their equipment, which gets in the way of actually capturing the perfect moment.  So I will add one more rule to the list.

  • Rule 9: Test your exposures and technique before the shot, so you can shoot through the critical moments and never spend your time looking at your camera.

Bride and groom on the edge of the grand canyon at sunrise.

Location scouting is one of the most important things I do in my job as a photographer. I never fumble around with my clients preset. I already know where I will be shooting, where the sun will be and what to expect out of the light before I even get to the job.  Knowing your location, your equipment and your technique all have one net effect, which is to give your clients confidence in you as a photographer.  When they have confidence in you, they will have more fun and get more excited about what you are creating together as a team.  That alone will elevate the images you are making.

  • Rule 10: Following rules 1-9 will free you from the distractions of the photo shoot itself, freeing your attention to lavish it on your clients for an experience they will never forget.  (i.e.. have a lot of fun!)

At the end of the day, luck favors the prepared.  This is my way of being prepared when I go on location for commercial, lifestyle, portrait and wedding photography shoots. You may already have some of these rules in practice, and others may just seem like common sense, and you may have more to add to the list.  Take my list and add it to yours.  Tell us about your favorite tools or methods for location scouting.  You can reach me at jaredplatt.com.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt

Wedding location: The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Slideshow Music by Hive Riot, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Tim and Brittany’s Wedding at the Boojum Tree in Phoenix, Arizona

I photographed Brittany and Tim’s wedding at The Boojum Tree in Phoenix, Arizona. The wedding was packed full of beautiful ideas, tender moments and wonderful people.

My favorite photographs from the wedding

This first photo was one of my favorite details in the wedding. Later, during the ceremony, the bride and groom will braid and tie the three cords, signifying their partnership with Christ in their union.  I thought it was beautifully done.

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The dress (Tara Keely by Lazaro from Destiny’s Bridal) was absolutely beautiful. The bride had the sleeves added by Destiny’s and as you will see later, it was the perfect thing to do, and so well done.

Wedding dress Tara Keely by Lazaro

The entire wedding party was wearing little homages to Star Wars and it all starts with the bride’s R2D2 heels.

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The grooms cufflinks quoted the interchange between Han Solo and Princess Leah just before the empire puts Han into carbon freezing.

“I love you.”

“I know.”

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I love photos through reflections in glass and of course the moment was a perfect one.

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Getting ready in Wedding dress Tara Keely by Lazaro

The bride and groom choose a “First Look”

The first look is always a tender moment. It is such a wonderful way for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time. The traditional “don’t see the bride before the ceremony” is a fine way to do things as well, but I think that there is far more tenderness in the first look.

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Tim and Brittany took a little walk into the green house at the Boojum Tree for a little one on one time.

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With me shooting from a distance.

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Brittany made her own flowers out of cloth and buttons. They were quite impressive and I am told, they took a very long time to make. But they will also last a lot longer!

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There are the Star Wars Storm Trooper socks.  And who can argue with the fashionable and COMFORTABLE shoes. That is a bride who truly cares about her bride’s maids.

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The groomsmen were all a bunch of nuts and very happy with their hosiery as well.

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It’s all about the flowers and the dress. Brittany couldn’t have found a better dress.

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The wedding portrait session

Our portrait session consisted the couple of myself and my assistant (with a Profoto B1 off camera light). We spent about twenty minutes making their official portraits, but the moments between them are the absolute best.

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The Boojum Tree is full of perfect backdrops and locations. Everywhere you turn is another opportunity for a great photograph. It is a full 360 degree visual feast, which is great because that means you will always be able to find the perfect lighting condition. Some great open shade and the addition of one light is all it took.

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Oh, and of course the beautiful couple.

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I absolutely love this portrait of Brittany. She shows off the dress perfectly.

The bride wearing a Tara Keely wedding dress by Lazaro with added lace sleeves.

Tim is great in front of the camera, it was such a great experience photographing him. Many times, the groom is not all that excited about portraits and photos, but Tim loves the camera and it loves him.

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While we were take the couple’s portraits, I spun around to find a number of the bride’s maids watching from the gazebo. I asked the rest to join them to get this shot.

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Seriously cute kids were all over this wedding, all of them dressed to the nines.

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I loved the flower girls’ dresses. Full of texture!

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A tender wedding full of powerful moments to photograph

This is one of my favorite shots from the day. During the ceremony, the bride and groom will be reading love notes to one another, so the bride holds hers in her hands. The “kiss me” detail on her nail is perfect.

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This was another great detail. All down the isle were these texture rich collages with scriptures. I thought it was meaningful and beautiful.

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Here comes the ring. Notice the ear piece in the protective detail.

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The bride’s father lead her to the beginning of the isle and turned to her to read a special note to her before taking her the rest of the way down the isle to her groom. I loved this idea, it was a very tender moment between a father and daughter.

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When the bride and groom read their love notes to each other, it was just to each other, no mics. They were not speaking for the benefit of the crowd. They were speaking only to one another.

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That is the kind of tenderness and intimacy that makes a wedding great.

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The braiding and tying of the three cords was a great idea, but I especially liked the images I was able to capture during the process.

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Both the bride and groom are so expressive. It just makes it fun to photograph them. I could wait patiently, knowing that at one point they would both give me beautiful expressions that were full of life.

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How often do you see the Groom pick up his bride and carry her down the isle after the ceremony? So perfect!

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The tables were set in the green house, but the Tim and Brittany were the first to see the room.

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During the cocktail hour, we shot all the family portraits and a few others, like this cute little shot of the flower girls and the bride.

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It wasn’t visible to the crowd at the wedding, but the little boy in the wagon was carrying the safe to transport the rings.

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Another one of my absolute favorites. That veil was made for her and not by a dress shop. Her mother-in-law made that veil. So delicate.

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The battle at the cake table was intense!

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Tim and Brittany are too fun!

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Tim was a bartender at one time, so I thought this shot would be an appropriate image.

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With minutes to the end, the bride sneaks away to pack up her things for the get away!

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So much energy, expression and love.  It is always my pleasure to be a part of every wedding I photograph. Brittany and Tim, your wedding was an absolute joy as are you both.

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I wish you both the best of everything as you head off into the unknown!

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Photography by Jared Platt

Wedding location: The Boojum Tree, Phoenix, Arizona

Slideshow music by Hive Riot, courtesy of triple scoop music

Ben and Alli’s Wedding in Gilbert, Arizona

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Ben and Alli were married in Gilbert, Arizona.  It was a perfect wedding!  So perfect, that I had a very hard time choosing the images for the slideshow.  Enjoy my favorites… and check back again for more of my favorites posted as stills in the blog post.

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

A Lovely Wedding in Ripe, England

It was sucha pleasure to photograph this wedding in Ripe, England. I loved the village, I loved the wedding and most importantly, I loved my clients and their family.
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Photography by Jared Platt
Wedding location: England
Music by Mindy Gledhill

Photography from a Wedding in Ripe, England

As I get ready to go on creativeLIVE this week, I have been looking through a lot of my images and having a lot of fun reliving time I have spent all over the globe. This is a set of images from a wedding in Ripe, England. Enjoy.

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Join me on creativeLIVE April 28 – April 31. See you there.

Photographing with the Panasonic GH4

I had the opportunity to shoot a wedding in Ripe, England with the Panasonic GH4.  This camera is a compact, light-weight camera with lenses so small you can fit them in the pocket of your jacket.  I have always carried around a little Canon point and shoot that takes RAW images, but no point and shoot can match the experience of a SLR style, through the lens viewfinder experience.  So the GH4 made for the perfect traveling companion.   I kept it with me throughout the wedding, and as I traveled throughout the country before and after the job.  While I shot, I has little experiments in mind, like latitude experiments and macro experiments, low light and motion experiments.  I have posted the results here in the blog.  The incredible thing about this little camera is that it also captures 4k video as well, but we will stick with the still photos for this post.

In this image of the pipe organ in St. John the Baptist church, where the couple was married, I was able to truly test the Panasonic GH4's exposure latitude capabilities.  The church was quite dark inside and yet, I was able to capture full detail inside and outside.

In this image of the pipe organ in St. John the Baptist church, where the couple was married, I was able to truly test the Panasonic GH4’s exposure latitude capabilities. The church was quite dark inside and yet, I was able to capture full detail inside and outside.  I fully expected that I would not be able to maintain any detail in the exterior exposure, but I was pleasantly surprised by the latitude on this little camera.

The wedding couple took a walk along the southern coast of England before the wedding.

The wedding couple took a walk along the southern coast of England before the wedding.  Carrying a heavy SLR and its heavier lenses on a long walk is not all that much fun.  In fact carting equipment around makes me wonder why I chose to be a photographer in the first place.  But with a camera as small and light as the GH4 and its sharp little lenses that weigh almost nothing and fit almost anywhere, I was carrying three lenses and camera and I hardly knew I had anything with me.  At times I had to double check to make sure I had a camera.  Typically a light, compact camera means poor photos, but the GH4 breaks that rule.

It was a leisurely stroll and yes, we stopped to admire the flowers.

It was a leisurely stroll and yes, we stopped to admire the flowers and I tested my need for macro!  The GH4 was perfect, in fact, the digital view finder allowed me to see exactly what my depth of field looked like while taking the shot.  That something that a traditional SLR won’t do for you.

The white cliffs made for a stunning coastline.

The white cliffs made for a stunning coastline.  Here again, I was battling a latitude challenge with the bright sun peeking through the clouds, but the GH4 held the detail in the brightest spots of the clouds and even in the shimmer on the water behind the couple walking near the cliff.

Silence at a wedding is golden, especially in an old stone church.  The GH4 has a completely silent mode that makes  me as a photographer invisible to  everyone at the wedding.

Silence at a wedding is golden, especially in an old stone church. The GH4 has a completely silent mode that makes me as a photographer invisible to everyone at the wedding and since my greatest wish is to be invisible at a wedding, this was a perfect camera for the job.  While I was shooting the wedding with both my Canon and the GH4, I found myself choosing the GH4 for all of the close shots as I crept down the isle.  They may have seen me there, but I can guarantee you, no one heard me.

Wedding in Ripe England

Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Smaller chips often yield more noise, so I tested the GH4 for noise and found that the color noise was extremely low and the grain structure feels ver natural. I am a sucker for a beautiful grain structure. I know… its nerdy.

 

Wedding in Ripe England

Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Smaller chips often yield more noise, so I tested the GH4 for noise and found that the color noise was extremely low and the grain structure feels ver natural. I am a sucker for a beautiful grain structure. I know… its nerdy.

 

Wedding in Ripe England

This little angel was my subject for a few days. The grooms niece and I chased each other around the grounds of the church for a little while as the bride and groom chatted with heir guests. The articulating screen on the camera allowed me to follow her around at a long angle and grab shots of her as we ran. Ordinarily, I would be taking shots like this completely blind, wasting 20 shots to get one that was in focus and composed correctly. But because I could see her in the articulating screen at all times and the GH4’s auto focus was tracking her face, I never missed a shot. It’s always nice to have a lot of images to choose from.

Wedding in Ripe England

Like many churches in England, the cemetery surrounds the church, so when the little girls play on the church grounds, they play amid the tombstones of their ancestors. The groom’s Godfather rests in this cemetery. Was was fascinated by the casual and playful attitude of the children amongst the stones. They see them as just that, stones. I couldn’t present this image in color. It needed to be a black and white. It just deserved it. The GH4 makes exquisite black and white images from its RAW files.

After the wedding, I took a drive to Stratford Upon Avon to catch a little Shakespeare.  Before the show, I took in the character of the old english buildings.

After the wedding, I took a drive to Stratford Upon Avon to catch a little Shakespeare. Before the show, I took in the character of the old english buildings.  It handled the latitude and the saturation issues on the chimneys very well.

After the show, I tested the higher ISO settings on the GH4 and at 3200 ISO, the camera produces a very nice grain structure with low color noise.  I was completely happy with its extremely low light capabilities.

After the show, I tested the higher ISO settings on the GH4 and at 3200 ISO, the camera produces a very nice grain structure with low color noise. I was completely happy with its extremely low light capabilities.  I couldn’t have asked for a better image in that light.

My total experience with the Panasonic GH4 was wonderful. It’s small and lightweight body and lenses make it the perfect camera for hiking, and traveling. The quality is quite good and when compared to any small sensor camera, is absolutely fantastic. One could use the camera as their only camera and carry four times the lenses in half the space. Using it in conjunction with my smart phone was helpful as well. Rather than taking decent photos on my iPhone to post on social media, I was able to take superior images on the GH4 and send them to my phone for social media purposes.

The only draw back on the camera is the increase in depth of field due to the chip size and lens lengths. But that is a standard issue with micro four-thirds cameras. For those of us who like to live on the edge of focus, it feels like a limitation. But you get used to the feeling of having all your photos in focus and after a while, it stops feeling like a limitation and starts feeling like a blessing.

Panasonic is making exciting things for photo enthusiasts and pros alike. My good friend and photographer, Isaac Bailey, shoots with a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera and here’s what he has to say about it:

“I love my Panasonic mirrorless camera. It has opened a new realm of fun in personal photography for me. Using the control I get from my big DSLR with tiny size and weight, I can really go anywhere with this baby and make great shots” -Isaac Bailey Photographer Phoenix

Traveling with a camera is the only thing I know. I have never been able to go anywhere without needing a camera with me, but there is always a battle between high quality and compact size. The micro four-thirds market has opened up a new world of possibilities for compact PLUS quality and Panasonic is leading the charge. Heavy cameras may be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. Hurray for that!

Brad and Jennifer’s Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Jennifer and Brad were married in the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona and their reception was held at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  There were a lot of bride’s maids and groomsmen and all of them were lively and fun.  The wedding was great fun.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the day.

One of the bride’s maids was taking little Polaroid shots during the day.  I thought they were cool, so I made my own, but the bride’s maid can pretend she took this Polaroid too.  I won’t tell anyone.

 

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (1)

This shot was taken by my second shooter, Ray who was following the groom and groom’s men around during the day.  I love the composition on this shot.

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Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (3)

I love mirrors, moms and that connection of sweet pride.  That has got to be one of the most grand moments in a mother’s life.

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Everyone learned how to tie a real bow tie.  A skill all men should have.  Loose the fake bow ties, always go real!

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Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (6)

Jennifer, the bride, looked like a million bucks.  The dress was perfect, her hair was done just right… what a beautiful sight for Brad at their first look before the wedding.

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Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (8)

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I don’t recall what was so funny, but not everyone was amused, which is why love the shot so much.

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While you are in a long wedding ceremony, or church even, smart phones with data packages have made anything entertaining.  There were a lot of football fans at this wedding.  In fact, I recall announcements on scores being issued at the reception.

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The is one of my favorite shots from a recessional in a long time.

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The from door on the church was perfect for a photograph and the sun was on its way down, so we had a perfect moment of light (for about 2 minutes), then it was gone.  If you are the tech type, this was taken with a slow shutter speed to burn in a darkening sky.  The couple is in complete ambient darkness and lit by a Profoto B1 off camera flash with a soft box.

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Jennifer makes the dress look great!

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (16)

One of my favorite parts of the day is the reception and particularly the toasts.  Most of the time, a toast looks best in black and white.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (17)

The other side of the toast!

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (18)

The bride loved the doors at the Paradise Valley country club.  So we set up a shot at the main entrance.  It was pretty dark out there, but two Profoto B1 lights did the trick.  One was lighting them and the other was filling in a general bounce to give us detail in the shadows.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (19)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (20)

This next series was a lot of fun.  They had a cigar box for anyone who wanted to have one.  So all the guys gathered on the back patio of the country club, and we shot away.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (21)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (22)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (23)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (24)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (25)

I have to thank Megan, from M.C. Weddings and Events for all of her work on this wedding.  Having a coordinator on a wedding changes everything.

Wedding Photography: Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Videography: Serendipity

Wedding Location: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona

Wedding Reception Location: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Clint and Abbey’s Wedding in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple

Abbey and Clint were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.  We shot some portraits with them the day before the wedding.  I was pleased with the enter shoot.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding portrait shoot and the wedding day itself. Enjoy.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (1)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (2)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (3)

This next image is one of my favorites.  Most of the time you are taking a portraits, but for very brief moments during the shoot, you catch their true personality and expression.  That is what I live for as a photographer… the perfect little moments.  Most of what I do leads up to these little moments in the portrait session.

All of the portraits are lit by Profoto B1 Off Camera Flashes.  The sun you see peaking through the trees is actually a B1 off camera flash.  Looks great!  When the sun isn’t cooperating, make your own sun.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (4)

Now this next shot, the sun is actually the sun.  FYI.  But I love this shot. The bride’s mother said it looked like they were in the garden of eden.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (5)

This one is all about the dress and the shoes.  I like the like glimpse of the shoes.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (6)

Just a little cool drama.  Sometimes I want to do something a little different… I like the drama here in this day for night look.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (7)

The details on this wedding are quite fun.  I love the brown paper bag luminaries.  They had great variety of them.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (8)

And nothing entertains me more than photographing children at weddings and rehearsal dinners.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (9)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (10)

On the wedding day, the clouds were threatening rain, but held back until the minute we finished the family portraits and as we started walking back to the temple, the clouds began to unload.  I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.  We got out portraits without incident, but I got a great series of shots as the rain forced the wedding party to run for cover!  Perfect!

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (11)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (12)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (13)

The reception was in a local Chandler church building.  But the entire room was draped in white with beautiful white feathers and chandeliers and twinkle lights.  It was very well done.  I played around with various overlapping compositions to describe the room, but I think this shot gives the best description of how the room felt.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (14)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (15)

During the toasts, one of the groomsmen sat next to the grooms grand-father to translate.  I was drawn to their relationship throughout the reception.  It was touching.  Oh and I also love the light.  All of the light during the reception is provided by two Profoto B1 off camera flashes on either side of the reception room.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (16)

A kiss is far more interesting in context.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (17)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (18)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (19)

I love the emotional responses to the toasts at this reception.  There was a lot of love circulating in that room.  I love feeling that kind of love and closeness.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (20)

During the most emotional groom’s toast I have ever witness, the groom’s grandfather stood up and made his way to the groom’s side to show his support.  I don’t think there are any words to describe now touching this scene really was.  So, I will let the photo do the work.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (21)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (22)

Brides make grandfathers’ face light up like nothing else.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (23)

Oh the anticipation of a wedding cupcake!  She can hardly stand it…

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (24)

The M&Ms were a party favorite.  They had a photo of the Bride and Groom on them.  It was pretty cool.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (25)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (26)

Congratulations to Clint and Abbey.  It was an honor to be a part of your wedding day.

Wedding Slideshow Music by __ Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple

Jackie and Vince’s Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Jackie and Vince enjoyed a very beautiful wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona at the old Mission Church in Old Town Scottdale and a reception at The Sanctuary.  Everything was beautiful and everyone was so much fun.  In my next post, I will post a few of my favorite images from the wedding.  Until then, enjoy the slideshow.

Slideshow music by Fisher, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Reception Location: The Sanctuary

Wedding Location: The Old Mission Church, Scottsdale, Arizona.

William and Erica

Here are a few of my favorite images from William and Erica’s wedding.  It was a large wedding, but it felt small.  The people were all so nice that it just felt like I was amongst family.  That is a good indication that things are going to be wonderful.

I enjoyed working on these images, as much as I enjoyed shooting them…

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (19)

Now, I don’t care who you are, this next one has to make you smile.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (18)

Erica is such an adorable person and beautiful women.  She was working on some very important curls, so while she was using this plastic, portable hair drier, I had to get a picture.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (17)

These curls are apparently well over 24 hours of work, so when you see Erica’s hair in her dress, don’t think that kind of coolness comes without some skill and planning.  And she pulled it off wonderfully.  I find myself getting a little giddy when I see something as cool as her hair was on the wedding day.  Not because I love hair, but because I love to see something unique and beautiful and super cool come into place.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (16)

So as erica was brushing out her hair, her maid of honor said. “you look like a black and white photograph.”  So I immediately took a black and white.  This photograph and many others are in black and white because of that statement.  It changed the course of the photos of the wedding.  I like that interactive nature of weddings.  Letting the circumstances sway the images means that the images become something much more real and meaningful.  Thanks to a cute little statement on the wedding day, I saw the entire wedding day through a deferent lens.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (15)

First off, I think William’s last name is awesome.  Secondly, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to those who are and have been a part of our armed forces.  Thirdly, I love the composition of this image.  So, I love this image.  There is a companion image that shows the groom and the best man in this same pose and it is a very casual and supportive gesture, but I much prefer this image because it is so metaphorical.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (14)

This is the Bride’s parents back yard (and music studio).  I never wanted to leave…

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (13)

I spent a long time looking at the getting ready photos after selecting them considering what they should become.  I am generally very good at choosing a style and direction for a photograph and just making it happen, but this set made me stop and think for a long time.  The bride’s love of books (a theme that would show up in the reception hall) was on full display here.  The warmth of the wood, the room, the light in the window, her hair and the presence of her grandmother (who I wanted to take home with me), all pushed me to this warm treatment with a push back into the past.  I will be playing with these same images on my workshop on creativeLIVE.com in a week (March 24-26, 2014) and if you join me there, you can see the original shots.  I can’t imagine them with any other treatment.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (12)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (11)

So soft and beautiful.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (10)

The portrait session became a total of five or ten minutes tops.  There were a few delays on getting the dress right because a sewing kit had already left for the church.  And we had to leave soon, so it was a quick run out into the snow for a few photos.  And while I love the color in the image here and it makes a nice portrait, I fell in love with the black and white for my favorite shot in the series.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (9)

This black and white got my attention for a long time.  I really had a lot of fun with it.  Including turning on that light and creating a little extra glow from the light onto her hair, etc.  I am so pleased with this one.  William (the groom) should be printing this one for his office for sure.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (8)

Who doesn’t love candles?

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (7)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (6)

The candles were all over the place.  Like a gift from the bride and her family to me.  This one is another one of my favorite images.  But it required a little extra editing because there was a little something in the background, a groom, that was crowding up the image.  So, sometimes, I do use photoshop… but not often.  And I will show you the original on creativeLIVE.com in a week, then it will be in the archives forever, never to be seen again.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (5)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (4)

When you have a car like this, you have to use it well.  Man it was cold out though…  SO COLD!!!!

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (3)

Erica was a trooper though.  She was brave enough to take off her warm furry cape.  And here I was with coats and hats and scarves (no gloves) and I was still freezing!  I think it was about 10 degrees outside when we took this photo…  I will say it was fun, because taking photos is fun, but the cold was not as fun.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (2)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (1)

Thank you William and Erica for trusting me with your wedding day.  It was such a pleasure.  God bless you both and your marriage.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: Independence Missouri

Slideshow Powered by Animoto

Post-Production with Shoot Dot Edit

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.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (1)

What a perfect window for a portrait.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (2)

Sneaking in to see if the Bride was ready.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (3)

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.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (4)

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.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (8)

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.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (9)

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

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (10)

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.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (12)

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

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (13)

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

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (14)

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

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.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (2)

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…

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (3)

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.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (4)

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.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (21)

 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.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (18)

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.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (16)

I love this shot.  Michael is epic.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (15)

This one too.  One of my favorites.

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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.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (13)

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.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (6)

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

Tim & Samantha’s Wedding in the Grand Canyon

Samantha and Tim were married on Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon.  The wedding slideshow features the music of Native American flutist Kelvin Mockingbird (available on iTunes).  These are a few of my favorite images.

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You may have seen my engagement portrait session with Samantha and Tim on the Dry Tortugas.  Sam and Tim are an adventerous couple and maybe better said, they love life experiences.  So, when they made plans for their wedding, they went beyond planning a wedding and a honeymoon.  They planned a wedding life experience, starting with a four day hike from the north rim to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and ending with a cliff side wedding on the south rim’s Shoshone Point.

Since I am the wedding photographer, their life experience becomes mine as well.  A few days before the wedding, I hiked down the south rim of the grand canyon for four hours with 55 pounds of camping and photo gear on my back (which is apparently more weight that is advisable), so I arrived quite exhausted, but down was easy, up was much harder.

As you can see, the floor of the Grand Canyon is a desert (which at times this week was hitting 120 degrees plus).  The mountains you see in the background are the cliffs that rise up and make the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  We spent the evening on a short  two mile hike, spent the night in our tents and began the long, challenging hike back up the South rim of the canyon the next morning at 5 am (to beat the heat).

Man, I love my job!

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Following the path you see in the photo above, takes you to another impressive drop in the Grand Canyon to the absolute floor, the Colorado River.  This sheer cliff is mind blowing.  Even standing at a safe distance from the edge will give you the absolute creeps.  But the view just cannot be beat.

When most brides and grooms are planning the final details of their wedding, playing a round of golf, or hitting the spa, Samantha and Tim were hefting their packs for 21 miles over four days in 110-122 degree heat, dropping and climbing roughly 6,000 feet on either side, and seeing some of the most breath taking views on the planet.   I’d say that makes this wedding quite unique.

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It’s a long way down.  Even with a guardrail, you question your safety as you look over the edge.  Tim is not too fond of heights…

At 5am we broke and left camp and headed up the south rim of the canyon.  Each hour, the temperature would rise by ten degrees, so the earlier we started, the better.  Tim gave me a hard time about the weight of my pack, but in the end, it could have been a lot heavier.  I couldn’t risk hiking down into the canyon and have a camera fail, so I needed two cameras.  But instead of taking two DSLRs, I took one paired down Canon Mark III with a 24-70mm lens and a Panasonic GH3 with a 35-100 and a 7-14.  The Panasonic GH3 is a light weight, mirror-less, 4/3 camera and it’s lenses weigh almost nothing, but the quality is very high, so while I still used the Canon for many of my shots, the GH3 was a perfectly usable alternative.

Half way up, I realized I could use the monopod from my small tripod as a walking stick.  That helped.  Tim offered to take the rest of the tripod to lighten the load.  Thanks Tim… my legs still thank you for that.  Suffice it to say, when hiking with photographic gear, you might want to leave the camping gear at home!

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Once you are on the trails for four hours, every switch back looks the same.  I thought for sure the top was around the corner at every corner, and since Sam and Tim had not hiked this trail, and I had just come down the day before, when I told them we were almost there, they believed me…  Until we met a ranger who informed us we still had about an hour to the top.  Oops. Well, I was selling hope!

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No, this isn’t us at the top.  This is us close to the top.  Close is a relative term.

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After making it to the top, we had a day to recuperate from the hike and get ready for the wedding.  I was grateful for the rest.  Then, on the following day, at about noon, the getting ready began.  Samantha was in her room getting ready and Tim was preparing with a trip to Shoshone Point for a little meditation and mental preparation for the wedding.  You see, Tim has a fear of heights.  Why then did he choose to get married on the edge of a cliff?  I will tell you in a minute.  Suffice it to say, he needed to spend some time with the cliff, so a little meditation was in order.

Meanwhile, the bride was putting on the dress and getting her hair done and looking like a million bucks!  I got to help steam/iron the dress that had gotten a little wrinkled somewhere between Florida and Arizona.

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Tim is crazy about Samantha!

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It was a beautiful day and the canyon was singing with shadows and highlights.  A cloudless sky is a double edged sword.  It makes for harsh lighting conditions for portraits, but the lack of cloud cover keeps the canyon alive with contrast.  So, a Grand Canyon wedding comes with it’s own special set of prayers: for scattered  Cumulus clouds with a few strategically placed and well timed Cirrus clouds during the portrait session to soften the sun.

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We didn’t get the Cumulus clouds, but we got a few Cirrus clouds.

This next shot is during the wedding.  You don’t see the guests because they chose to sit much higher on the point, and you don’t see the officiant because she is awesome and always stands to the side so the couple is not crowded and so their photos don’t all have an officiant in every shot.  How novel is that?  Almost every wedding ceremony image is cluttered up by an officiant’s head sitting between the bride and groom and even during the kiss.  “You may kiss the bride,” and I’ll just stand right here and and watch and make it look like I am kissing you both as well…  Why don’t more officiants have this figured out?  Samantha and Tim are actually saying their vows and I was able to get a shot with just them and the grandeur of the canyon.  That should be celebrated.  Don’t you think.  So, I have to give many many thanks and compliments to David & Debra Joaquim because they think about the aesthetics of the ceremony and take themselves out of the way.  I suppose it is a show of humility, that the wedding is not about the officiant, or the photographer, or the coordinator, or the mother of the bride, or the best man… it is about the bride and the groom and their commitment to each other.  And with a little humility, we can all make the day more meaningful to them by stepping out of the spot light and serving the couple and fulfilling their needs rather than our own.

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Incidentally, some of those clouds even placed themselves where we needed them.  Photo prayers were answered.  While the lighting was a little challenging on the bride and groom, it was magnificent on the canyon, and in the end, it is easier to light the couple with a soft box than it is to light the entire canyon.

I love this series portraits.  The bride and groom look great and the light is so lovely, thanks to Ryan (my assistant), who was battling the winds with a big soft-box that at one point was trying to push him off the cliff.  Good thing he’s a strong guy!  This shot could not have happened without Ryan and his soft box.  (The light was provided by an Einstein Mono Head, a vagabond power pack, a 30×40 White Lightning soft box and two pocket wizard transceivers.)

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Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (5)

Now to discuss the fear of heights.

When you share major life experiences like these, you tend to develop a deeper relationship with people.  Tim and I have had many deep conversations ranging a myriad of subjects as we have spent a lot of time together.  When you compare  the amount of time we have been photographing to the amount of time we have spent hiking, kayaking, cooking, eating, searching the sunset for the green flash, and discussing life… you might say, we haven’t been shooting photos at all.  As odd as this may sound, coming from Tim and Sam’s wedding photographer, photographing less may be a good thing.  Because portraits are portraits, but understanding is everything.  I am always drawn to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s statement, “Photography is nothing, it’s life that interests me.”  In fact, I have it branded on my studio wall to remind me that regardless of what I know about f-stops and camera gear and lighting techniques, those skills are worthless without a natural curiosity and love of life and for people.  It’s the observation of life that makes great images, because that’s how we see the story that should be told.

In one of our conversations at the Canyon, Tim told me that the reason he wanted to get married in a place that would cause him fear was that he wanted to feel his bride’s calming influence and support as he said his vows.  He wanted to feel her lifting him up against the will of gravity.  Tim is a confident and successful man, so to hear him talk about this choice of location for the wedding helped me to see a lot about his relationship with Samantha.  Ergo, it is not an accident or a whim that led to the photograph below.  I watched Tim stay clear of  cliff edges completely, or white knuckle their secure guardrails, while we were in the canyon, but on the day of the wedding he stood at the edge of the cliffs on Shoshone Point as calm as a summers morning.  So this next image has become to me, the most telling portrait I made of the couple, but it comes from hours of discussion and a better understanding of Tim and Sam.

So, perhaps the most important thing a photographer and his clients can do is spend a little more time talking and a little less time shooting.

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The last moments of light are always the best, and with the help of a small Canon 600 RT flash off to the left, it’s perfect.

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Once the the sun goes down on Shoshone Point, there no more light.  Fortunately we had a mostly full moon, so seeing was possible, but photography was not, without some additional help.  During the signing of the marriage license, we needed some off camera lighting.  Flash could have worked, but we are outside, so there is nothing off which to bounce the flash, and direct flash in that kind of darkness is blinding at any power.  So the wedding party would have been left to sign the document in darkness.  So we pulled out a constant LED light source called an Ice Light and a pocket LED torch.  I was impressed with the final result.

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You can see the light setup here.  Ryan’s arms got very tired.

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The job of photographing a wedding is a difficult one and requires a lot of problem solving, a lot of energy and a lot of love for the people you serve.  But when you have a job that is this much fun, even when it is challenging, it is hard to call it a job.

Thank you Tim and Samantha for trusting us with the photography of this important year in your life.  I will watch your future with interest and wish you all the best.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Wedding Slideshow Music by Kelvin Mockingbird, Courtesy of Kelvin Mockingbird, available on iTunes.

Thank you to Panasonic for the use of their lightweight GH3 4/3 Camera.

Sean & Lexie’s Wedding at the Arizona Biltmore

Sean and Lexie were married at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.  I couldn’t help but add a peppy song to their slideshow because they are such a fun couple.  They just didn’t fit with a soft song…  I also considered a bit of hard rock, but ended up selecting this song by Gordon Pagoda (courtesy of Triple Scoop Music).

Here are some of my favorite images from the wedding.

This was a gift from Sean, delivered to the bride’s room.  Lexie was getting her makeup and hair done in front of the window, so the light was perfect already.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment.  I love the quietness of this shot.  She is so peaceful, it makes me think I should be whispering right now.  If ALL CAPS is yelling when you write… what is a whisper?  lower case italics?

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (1)

On this wedding, I was carrying an extra camera with me, the Leica M Monochrome rangefinder camera.  This is a digital M series camera that only shoots Black and White.  This means it is like carrying a film camera with only black and white film.  The advantage to doing this is that your chip is not recording four pixels of separate colors which the computer later must interpret and sharpen, but rather, each pixel is its own pixel, no trickery needed to create the final image.  The result is a sharper file.  This black and white of the dress is from the Leica M Monochrome.  I love this shot.

You will also notice a few other items.  The dress is hanging in the middle of the door.  This is due to a removable 3M hook we placed on the door.  No need to try and hang the dress on a door jam, or a curtain rod.  This was the perfect spot for the dress, so that’s where we hung it.  Oh, and I did remove the door knob from the door.  It was ugly.  I debated on the hinges, but left them for a little asymmetry.  The dress has such a beautiful satin glow and such soft undulating curves to it, that is contrasts well with the right angles of the door and windows, but at the same time, the hard surfaces still have the same soft glow as the dress.  So, while there is a contrast in shapes, there is a comparison in reflective and tonal qualities, so the whole thing works cohesively.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (2)

There is something about a rangefinder camera and the way it forces you to shoot.  You get very different shots than you would with your DSLR and a zoom lens.  With the Leica, I was shooting a 35mm lens the entire day (because that is all Leica had to lend me).  It forced me to shoot a little differently.  In this shot, the little boy is playing his video games, and I forget what excited his face, but it was perfect, whatever it was.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (3)

I definitely do not miss the color in many of these hotel room shots.  Hotels have a way of choosing fabrics that compete with the subject for attention.  By keeping things in black and white for these getting ready shots, it becomes all about the composition and the light, and the close to obnoxious curtains don’t detract for the shot at all.  In fact, the texture and pattern on the curtains are quite nice in B&W.  Had I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark III, I would have turned it to black and white anyway.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (4)

The first look at the bride is always a favorite for me.  The anticipation and the payoff is great, and it is so intimate, as opposed to seeing her for the first time in front of the entire crowd.  I don’t actually have a preference between the traditional and the more modern “first look” concept, I enjoy them both.  But there is a completely different feeling to that moment when the bride first reveals herself to the groom.

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And here is the payoff.  Sean was struck!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (21)

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (6)

We were taking portraits of Lexie (in color and tighter) but Sean was hanging out to the side, just watching, which, to me meant a lot more than the portraits we were taking, so I went to the Leica, which is always wide (remember, all I had was a 35mm lens), so I quickly grabbed this shot.

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I think my favorite thing to do with the Leica was to take loose portraits of people with it.  This kind of shot takes me back to shots of ancestors I have at home next to their old Model T cars and on the front steps of their homes and churches.  I really enjoy looking at them.  Keep in mind, I wouldn’t need a Leica to shoot this shot.  I could have put a 35mm lens on my Canon and did the same thing, and in fact, I have to say (in interest of full disclosure) that the Leica M Monochrome presents a set of challenges that are unique to itself because it does not capture color at all, so like B&W film, when a bright blue sky is in the background, the intensity of the light overpowers the sensor and you loose the sky completely, while a Canon 5D Mark III sensor (which is reading the sky’s blue color can capture the information in the sky and then use that information when converting it to black and white.

 I have placed this image in twice so you can see what happens to the sky if you try to burn it in.  There just isn’t any information there because the blue color of the sky is actually very intense energy that is pounding the sensor, and because it is not seeing in color, it can’t deal with the extreme difference between the sky and the open shade.  So as much as I loved the idea that shooting with a Black and White camera forces you to think in black and white when you are shooting and that the black and white sensor yields a bit more sharpness and clarity in the file, a color sensor  has a real advantage over a monochrome sensor where exposure latitude is concerned.

Of course, I could have put an orange or a red filter over the lens and that sky would have become a nice dark grey.  And that method of pre-vissualized filter control does not work on a color sensor.  But I didn’t have a orange or red filter to fit the Leica, so using the red filter method was not going to happen in a fast paced wedding environment.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (8)

Celebrations in Paper did a wonderful job with all the stationary, announcements, programs and other printed material.  Although that aspect of a wedding is not as obvious, it is important enough that it certainly adds to the experience in a subtle, but meaningful way.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (9)

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (10)

I love this shot.  That is a great moment.  But here is the other thing I like about this shot: the entire wedding, we fought with the lighting on the audience.  The left side is in shadow and the right side is in highlight.  But here, it works in my favor.  The bride is in white and stands out perfectly when placed in front of the shadow side of the audience.  The groom, in black, wouldn’t stand out against the shadow side of the audience, so fortunately for me, he is on the right side, so he gets placed over the brighter side of the scene, so he stands out nicely too.  I couldn’t have planned a better scenario for something like this.

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I know, I know, details are always in color to show off flowers, etc, and we have plenty of those, but Lexie was going for a bit of a Hollywood Glam style for her wedding, so for me, a rich black and white of the dinner table with the room in the distance was just right!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (12)

In France, there is a bridge, near the Louvre called the Pont des Arts where lovers lock a paddle-lock on the bridge with the name of the person they love on the lock, then they throw the key into the river.  Lexie and Sean had their guests choose a lock, sign it and lock it to a small iron fence which will become decor in their home and presumably they will throw away the keys.  There were new locks and old locks, small and big.  I thought that was a fantastic idea for a signature “book.”

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (13)

Here was another great idea.  The seating chart was hand written on a large mirror.  The flower petals and candles were another nice touch.  There were so many nice touches, and I have to give a round of applause to Danielle at Outstanding Occasions for doing such a wonderful job with the event planning and coordination.

Well, when I saw this, I has a few options.  Most of them involved shooting the mirror from an angle so I would not be in the shot itself.  But upon better reflection on the problem, I decided to pull out my Leica and shoot this like a true street photographer and get myself in the reflection.  After all, if Lyonel Feininger or Henri Cartier-Bresson can enjoy their own reflection in a shop window, I can enjoy mine in a mirror at a wedding.

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This was the parting gift for everyone at the wedding.  Except for those under the age, of course…

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The first dance is best shot in black and white anyway.  Add the Hollywood Glamor concept and using the Leica was an imperative.

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And this is my absolute favorite portrait of the day.  Hands down.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (17)

And who wouldn’t like to have some fireworks at their wedding?  Seriously?  This was a nice touch brought to you by the Arizona Biltmore.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (18)

Sean has a iron clad habit of never wearing matching socks.  So his socks are as important as Lexie’s shoes.  Now, normally, Sean’s socks are not even color coordinated, but Lexie bought him a special pair of socks so he could not match and still be color coordinated.  That is love!  Don’t try to change him, just give him the tools to be the best version of himself.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (19)

This party was brought to you by the Arizona Biltmore, JJ’s Band (who rocked the night away), a lot of rowdy guests, this guy’s sexy dancing, Canon Speedlites and a little shutter dragging!  That is one inviting dance floor!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (20)

 

Lexie and Sean also chose to have a photo booth at their wedding, which was provided by ShutterBox Photo Booth.  They also have someone there pasting the photos into a book so you can sign a note to the bride and groom.  Well, Ted (from Ted and Ali’s wedding a few months back), insisted that Sean, Lexie and I do a shot in the Photo Booth together, since I look a bit like Sean (we bald people all look alike).  So we photographed a story of mistaken identity in the photo booth.  I love the look on Sean’s face as he strangles me in the photo booth…

It was a very fun night for everyone.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (25)

It was an honor to be a part of your wedding Sean and Lexie.  What a great event.  And I can’t say enough good things about everyone involved in the event, from the flowers by Petal Pusher to the wedding design and coordination by Danielle at Outstanding Occasions.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: The Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona

Event Design and Coordination by Outstanding Occasions

Flowers by Petal Pusher

Cake by Classic Cakes and Confections

Stationary by Celebrations in Paper

Music Entertainment by JJ’s Band

Slideshow Music by Gordon Pagoda (courtesy of Triple Scoop Music)

Photo Booth by ShutterBox Photo Booth

 

Ted & Ali: Married at the Paradise Valley Country Club

Ted and Ali were married at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  Paradise Valley is a little community nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale just north of Camelback Mountain.  The wedding was a blast.  Ted and Ali are a lot of fun, and so are their groomsmen and bridesmaids.  Here are my favorite images from the wedding.

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I love black and white.  I loved this door, but I wasn’t fond of the colors in the room, but knowing an image will be in black and white, opens up a lot of possibilities for you as a photographer, regardless of the color schemes in a room.

 

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The locker room for the ladies was a bit of a challenge, since I am not a lady.  So I had my associate photographer and assistant (both ladies) spend most of their time in the locker room, but occasionally I got in there for the important moments and some good shots.

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Time for some shots with the parents.  This one caught me.  I love the way Ali’s father is looking at her.

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And both of these photographs of Ali are so beautiful.  The light is perfect, she looks fantastic in her wedding dress, the flowers (by Table Tops, Etc.) look great.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (6)

I love the signs hanging from the chairs.  Everything about the wedding, from the tables, to the flowers, to the chairs, the ribbon, the colors.  All of it looked great.  And of course all of that is thanks to the coordination efforts of Rachel at Outstanding Occasions.  Nothing replaces a great wedding designer and planner.

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Two ring bearers.  Both looked great in their little tuxes.

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I caught the flower girl taking a look at herself in the mirror.  So big… and yet, still so small (short).

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The youngest flower girl was so excited to be a part of the wedding and she was also very aware of the camera, or me… maybe she just liked me.  But I think she was playing it up for the camera.

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I think the purpose of ring bearers and flower girls is to give us all some comic relief from all the emotions.  They are always so unpredictable and ofter very funny.  Always cute!  They make my day, every time I shoot a wedding.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (12)

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Camelback Mountain makes a beautiful backdrop for a wedding.  I don’t necessarily enjoy golfers finishing their round during the wedding, but they were respectful enough and there was no shouting, cursing or hootin’ and hollerin’ about a long put during the ceremony, so I suppose it worked out well.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (16)

Anytime I have a strong backlight, like the sun, if I can throw it behind a tree, it softens and scatters it just enough to allow a completely natural lighting shot.  No flash, no reflector, just the right exposure.

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While, starting earlier in the day for a wedding makes the portraiture more challenging, it certainly makes for far better reception photographs, like the father’s toast.  I love this shot.

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As the sun went down, the outdoor reception was lit by a grid work of twinkle lights, which give off a beautifully soft glow.  One can even get a shot without a flash if you have the right camera with a clean high ISO.

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When your daughter gets up for a toast, I am sure it is hard to keep it together.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (20)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (21)

This has to be the best image of the day.  I know that we typically think of the cool portraits and the artsy images as the best images, but in this case, I can not get over this image.  Ali was dancing with her dad, when half way through the song, Ted took his daughter on the dance floor for a dance.  This is the first time I have been able to see both the Groom and the Bride dancing at the same time in a Father-Daughter dance.  It was a precious as anything could be.  I had to maneuver a great deal to get this shot to happen.  Ali and her dad had to be in the right spot, in the right portion of the turn of their dance, the same is true for Ted and his daughter.  Then I had to be in the right spot to keep them all close enough to fit in one frame.  Then I had to have Ali’s dad in focus… I was stressed out about getting this shot, because I knew at the time how important is would be.

When I look at images like this from a wedding and think about my little daughter, I can’t emphasize this photograph enough.  This is about as perfect a moment as I have ever captured.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (22)

That’s a lot of twinkle lights and the chandeliers are a great touch.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (23)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (24)

The odd little blue puff in the bottom corner of the photo is cotton candy.  Yes, cotton candy.  I love it.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (25)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (26)

In spite of being outside with nowhere to bounce a flash to get great light, we made the light happen by putting up a series of Canon 600RT Speedlites that I controlled from my camera.  This kept plenty of light on the subjects but from multiple angles so there is a lot of volume in the shots.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (27)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (28)

Ali brought this white frame along to the wedding and asked if we could do something with it.  So we set up a little photo booth situation at the after party.  People had fun doing ridiculous things in in, on and around the frame.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (29)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (30)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Wedding Planning and Coordination by Outstanding Occasions.

Flowers by Table Tops Etc.

Location: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Mattie and Riley’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

Mattie and Riley were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple and their reception was later that evening at her parent’s home in Chandler.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding day.

The temple itself is a symbol of eternity and devotion, so it becomes a central figure in the documentation of an LDS (Mormon) Wedding.  Because the wedding is held inside and there is no photography allowed, I think a portrait of the temple itself is not only appropriate, it is absolutely essential.  So, whenever I photograph an LDS wedding, I make sure to work on a few artistic shots of the temple on the day of the wedding.  I could just take one great shot of the temple and add it to everyone’s wedding that I take there, but I feel like that would be cheating.  So, I try to make something unique each time.

Any wedding (not just an LDS wedding) requires this kind of attention to the location.  People choose the location of their wedding with a lot of care.  The place they get married says a lot about the couple, their beliefs, their personalities… so location is always important.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Because we would be going from the temple to portraits without a break for lunch, the wedding party packed a little snack.  They were hanging out on the lawn having a bit of a picnic while we shot portraits.  I thought it was pretty fun.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Mattie looks beautiful in that dress.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

This is my favorite shot of the bride.  We have her in the open shade of a tree.  The sun is lighting up the trees and the bride is generally lit by the northern sky with a soft box to her right, which gives her face that beautiful shape.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

We shot a few more portraits in downtown Chandler.  I enjoyed this group shot.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

They gave out little honey jars as favors at the wedding, which were cute, and also a great spot for the ring shot.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

A winter wedding is not complete without a Christmas Tree… and this one was full of photos of the couple from our engagement portrait shoot.  What a beautiful tree.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona

Wedding slideshow music by Fisher, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Megan & Blake’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

Megan and Blake were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.  I have known Megan and her family for a few years now and feel a bit like an uncle rather than a hired photographer.  It’s fun to be close to the family for a wedding, it changes the dynamics a bit and makes things a little more personal.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding, which spans over a few weeks: the wedding was a few weeks before the reception.

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When the sun is out in force in Arizona, shade is an important thing to find.  The temple has a few trees that are large enough to block out the sun and allow for some soft light.

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The reception was held at the ValVista Lakes Club House in Mesa, Arizona.  This is one of the only places in Phoenix where you can get a good shot on a dock with water like this.  It’s definitely a unique spot in the desert.  I was very happy with this shot.

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The staircase was my favorite spot inside.

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Megan had a great dress and of course every bride wants a shot of her dress from behind, but often times the shot is a bit contrived because it it is out on a lawn with the dress spread out on the grass, and looks a bit posed.  I have a shot of the bride earlier at the wedding that is this way.  You have to get one, so we got one.  But, when the opportunity presents itself to get something even better… well, I’ll take it!  I feel there is a story that wants to be told in this shot.  The shot is manufactured (a lot of lighting went into the shot); the stairs lead to an office so I put a big flash head up there to create the light and shadow cascading down the staircase, and there are two soft boxes lighting her with an extra flash out to the right of the staircase, filling in some shadows.  But the light looks natural and that is what makes the shot work so well.  I love the shot.

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This is Megan’s brother, who was tasked with lighting the candles before the guests arrived.  But, unbeknownst to Megan and her brother, someone in the staff had replaced the real candles with LED candles, which he was able to light!  We were all a little taken back when the candles began flaming up and smoking and one exploded.  So we all ran around blowing out LED candles that were aflame!  It was quite funny.  So now you know… fake candles can also be lit like real candles, but they act a little more like fireworks in the end.

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This was a good idea for throwing the garter.  Seems a bit more manly and easier to throw a good distance.

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Megan and Blake wanted to take a photo with me.  Like I said, I feel a bit more like an uncle than a hired photographer.  But we had to hand my camera off to a guest and it took a few shots before we got one in focus.  Lesson: always check focus after someone else uses your camera!

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Congratulations Blake and Megan.  I wish you all the happiness in the world.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Anna Sali, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: LDS Temple and ValVista Lakes, Mesa, Arizona

Jared and Alyssa’s Wedding in Mesa Arizona

Alyssa and Jared were married at the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.  It was a bit cold and rainy on their wedding day, which meant umbrellas and jackets, but it was a beautiful day and the rain never plagued us for long.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

This first portrait of the bride is quite serious, but I think it is also very strong, so with that strong gaze, I figured the best way to compliment that would be with a strong black and white treatment.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (14)

Notice, this black and white treatment is softer, more classic.  That is because the warmth of their smiles inspire a much softer mood.  It is my goal to match the treatment of a photo with the mood or the message of the image itself.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (12)

I have to admit, I have photographed weddings at the Arizona LDS Temple too many times throughout my life.  And for that matter, there are a number of venues I have photographed over and over again.  The questions is, how do you keep yourself engaged and interested as you photograph the same thing for the 100th time.  You have to somehow keep it all fresh and do something a little different.  For those who do not know the LDS or Mormon faith, the Temple is a very important place and being married in a Temple is more important that almost anything else.  So a mormon couple will always have a photo of the temple they were married in hanging in their home to remind them of the importance of their marriage covenants they made to each other.

So every time I shoot an LDS wedding, I try very hard to take a few cool architectural shots of the temple for the couple.  But when you shoot at the temple over and over again, you run the risk of photographing it the same way as last time.  So I work very hard to do something new each time.  It keeps me on my toes and stretches my creativity.  It’s a good activity to sharpen the creative tool set.

The sky was flat overcast, so I needed something to fill the void and help frame the Temple.  So I took a stroll under the trees.  I like what I got, then I went for an older look with grain and a bit of yellowing in the paper.  I think this temple looks very nice as a historical artifact.

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I just love this shot.  “I’m singin’ in the rain…”

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This was a nice playful moment I was happy to have been ready to grab when it happened.

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This image is taken with one soft box off to the right and above the camera.  That flash is filling the shadows.  Without the flash, the two of them would be in their own deep shadow, as the sun is behind them, behind some thick clouds.  I was pleased with the way this image turned out.

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Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (6)

I loved this idea for a quick into to the couple’s love story.  It was a little decor chalk board.  What a great way to tell the story in a very quick way and make a decoration at the same time.

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She just ate an entire cupcake in one gulp.  Looks like I caught her red handed.

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This was a very sweet moment between the grand-parents.

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I just love the the shadows and shapes in this image.  It is a rich, contrasty image by design to accentuate the lines that make up their dancing embrace.

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I enjoyed making this image.  We used the opposite pillars as very tall and skinny soft boxes.  They worked quite well.  We simply too out 600RT Speedlite flashes and aimed away from the couple into the pillars opposite the pillars you see in the photo.  I love the richness in the photo, the darkness and the mood.

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It is always such an honor to photograph a wedding.  Thank you Jared and Alyssa for trusting us with your wedding.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Mesa Arizona LDS Temple

Slideshow Music, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music