Jon and Susans Wedding at Hidden Meadow Ranch

 

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

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What a perfect window for a portrait.

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Sneaking in to see if the Bride was ready.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Hidden Meadow Ranch, Greer, Arizona

Slideshow music by Will Thomas, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Daniel & Megan’s Wedding at The Grand Canyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Post production by Shoot dot Edit

Wedding Slideshow music by Sparrow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Michael & Bettine’s Grand Canyon Wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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I love this shot.  Michael is epic.

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This one too.  One of my favorites.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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…

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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.

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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 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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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.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (5)

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.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (7)

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.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (11)

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.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (14)

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

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (15)

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

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (16)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (1)

 

 

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.

 

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (2)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (3)

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (4)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (5)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (7)

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (8)

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (9)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (10)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (11)

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (13)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (14)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (15)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (17)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (18)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (19)

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.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (13)

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.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (9)

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (12)

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (8)

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (7)

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (10)

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.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (6)

The staircase was my favorite spot inside.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (5)

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.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (4)

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.

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (3)

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

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (2)

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!

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (1)

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.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (11)

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

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (10)

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (9)

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

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (8)

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.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (7)

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.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (5)

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

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (4)

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

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (3)

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.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (2)

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.

Wedding portraits from a wedding in Mesa Arizona at the LDS Temple (1)

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

Cameron & Ashley’s Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

Cameron & Ashley were married at St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona.  Their reception was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.  From start to finish, we had a great time.  I knew it would be a enjoyable day after shooting Cameron and Ashley’s engagement portraits in San Diego.   They are a very casual and fun couple, which always helps to make a wedding day go well.  I don’t think I saw Ashley stressed throughout the day.  Even when the limo had a flat and was late to take her to the wedding, they both seemed to be enjoying themselves and relaxing.  I was impressed.

While the girls were finishing up getting ready, we took photos of Cameron and the guys.  It didn’t take us very long.  In fact, when I let the guys go, they were a bit startled…  “That’s it?” One of them said.

Yep, that’s it.

They were all very happy to be released to relax and probebly grab a drink.  But that’s how we roll.  Weddings are not about photography sessions.  As important as wedding photography is to the wedding, that is not what the day is about.  A wedding is about family, friends, love and commitment.  The photographer’s job is to capture moments and help the couple remember and recall the emotions, events and people who attended without getting in the way.  So that is how my team and I operate.

The Biltmore is a great place for portraits because everywhere you go, there is an opportunity for open shade, no matter what time of day it is.  So I just hunt for open shade and settle the group in that area to take the portraits.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (1)

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (2)

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This portrait was taken inside the Biltmore lobby as we walked to the limousine.  We had a few minutes so I used the window light and got this shot.  I have to take my hat off to Ramon Bacaui (hair) and the makeup artist from M.A.C..  I see a lot of makeup and hair, and Ashley’s crew was truly great.  Thanks to all of them, Ashley looked like a million bucks.  It also helps that she’s a natural at posing for the camera.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (6)

Now she’s hiding behind a wall to make sure Cameron doesn’t see her.

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The St. Francis church is a bit tricky to photograph because there are a lot of rules that restrict the photographer’s movement.  So this is about as close as you get.  So the photo team spends a lot of time shooting and reshooting the same basic shots at different times during the ceremony.  Our shots go from full length shots to wide architectural shots, no closeups.  The church is a very beautiful one, so any shot is a nice one, but you don’t get to capture mom or dad looking on as their daughter gets married, because we are not allowed to get into a position for the shot.  With those restrictions in mind, we got some great shots.  You’ll see a number of them in the slideshow.

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I love this shot.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (9)

This one is another favorite.  The flashes are set up for the family portraits on the alter of the church, but they do a great job as backlight and sidelight for a portrait looking back into the church pews.  There is not one forward light on this at all.  Two backlights and a sidelight.  All the forward light comes from reflected light off the marble alters of the church.

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Such a perfect moment in the back of the limousine.  I love it.  This is the kind of shot I would want printed for my wall if I were the groom.

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I just like the simplicity of the design and colors in this shot.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (12)

We had a good time after the wedding taking portraits.  The Biltmore has an attendant following us around with drinks and fruit and cheese, etc… which was much needed.  Ashley was famished.  So we took a little extra time on the front lawn for  a drink and a snack before we finished the portrait session.  I do love the casual nature of this portrait, so much so, that I made it the cover on the slideshow.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (13)

Do I have to even say that I love this shot?  I love the Biltmore architecture, the bride looks great, the tree has all sorts of great texture on it.  I just love it.

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Ashely, you look amazing.  Cameron, you have a lot of great photos to choose from!

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (15)

Everyone goes to the roof of the Biltmore to shoot.  We did as well, but some of the best shots are upstairs, inside, near the windows.  This was all window light, no additional lighting.

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This shot makes me think we are up on the empire states building in New York City.  I love the shot, the stone, the lights in the background…

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This was another window lit shot.  The light from the window is the blue soft light from the twilight sky and the light from the interior lights is warm and soft because it comes from a lot of lights throughout the lobby of the hotel.  The ISO was high, so it has a natural grain to it, which was enhanced by NIK Silver Effects Pro 2.  I knew it was going to be a great shot as I was taking it.  Sometimes, you just know.

A wedding at the Arizona Biltmore and St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix Arizona (18)

Ashley’s sister makes the blog post because she is an extremely memorable character.  She is the kind of person that owns any room she happens to occupy.  Her toast was completely entertaining.  I partially liked the look on the Bride’s face in this shot though.  I don’t recall what exactly was being said, but I think the sisters may be ganging up on the groom.

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I love the emotion in this way Cameron is holding his bride.

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I love sweet moment like this one as well.

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Nice cake topper.  But Cameron is not allowed to dip kiss Ashley anymore… he almost dropped her.

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And finally, I have to say that the band, The Groove Merchants, was fantastic.  They kept that party going all night long.  I have to think that Ashley and Cameron’s friends would probably party late no matter what, but the energy in that room was clearly five notches higher because of the band.  I enjoyed every single song!

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Thank you Ashley and Cameron for trusting me with your wedding photography.  It was an honor.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Jonny Blu, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Wedding Location: St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Reception Location: The Arizona Biltmore

Flowers by Designs by Jeremiah

The Band: Groove Merchants

Makeup by M.A.C.

Hair by Ramon Bacaui

Post Processing by Shoot Dot Edit