Wedding Photography and A New Song by Kevin Burdick

God Made You Just for Me: Wedding Photography by Jared Platt from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

“God Made You Just for Me,” is one of Kevin Burdick’s latest songs on his new album, The Ivory Coast, which is now available at and on iTunes. Kevin has really outdone himself on this latest album, every song will be your favorite new song.

Enjoy a taste of The Ivory Coast with Jared Platt’s wedding and engagement photography from Platt Photography.

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Being Ready for the Moment: A Montelucia Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Arizona Wedding at the Montelucia in Paradise Valley Candles on Table

This is a quick note about one image I captured last night at Lindsey and Brandon’s wedding last night at the Inter Continental Montelucia in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  It was a beautiful wedding which was designed and styled by Embellish (a fantastic team) with Flowers by Amy’s Floral Design.


On taking this photograph, I was reminded of the importance of being ready for the shot, which requires an intimate knowledge of photographic principles of light, exposure and of course skill of execution.

This was not a posed shot.  And when photographers today say that, they often mean, “I didn’t tell the bride to stand here and put her finger here and tilt her head just so.”  When I say, it was not a posed shot, I really mean it was not a planned shot.  I was down the hallway taking a snap shot of the bride’s father and a few friends, when her father saw his daughter down the hallway looking at the place card table and remarked upon it.  I spun around and saw this shot.  Had I planned it, I would have asked her to put down the drink in the right hand and then we would have shot a much less natural shot.  But it was this moment that was important.

I left the candid shots I was taking and moved quickly to get close enough for the shot.  As I moved there, I spun the dials on the camera to the correct settings for the best exposure and spun the flash head around into the right direction for a pleasing bounce and set the flash at the correct setting to produce an appropriate amount of fill light.  All of these changes were done while speed walking toward Lindsey.  Once I was in position, I stopped, aimed, focused and shot three frames.  That was it, that was the end of the opportunity.  I got the first two shots off before Lindsay became aware of the camera, but I encouraged her to ignore me (which she did), and I got one more of her looking at something on the table.

It was the first two shots in this moment where she is almost touching the flame of the candle that grab me.  It was late in the evening; she left the party for a moment and was all alone with one of the many beautiful tables, admiring the beauty of the decor and resting from the excitement of the day.  No doubt some happy thought was floating in her head in that half conscious state we all experience when mesmerized by the flicker of candlelight.  And this thought brought a peaceful look to her face (that is not easily fabricated).  That thought is the moment I captured here and that I am now so thrilled to pass on to you.

At the end of such a beautiful day, I am so glad she had an opportunity to step out alone and reflect on how well the event came together and to appreciate the wonderland she created with the help of the professionals at the Montelucia, Embellish and Amy’s Floral Design.  And I am glad to have been there at that moment, and glad for the training and practice that allow me to be ready for that moment because a knowledge of exposure is just second nature.  Don’t misunderstand, it is not about the equipment and the technical stuff, it never is.  It is about the moment.  It’s just that those who know their technical by heart, have more opportunities to capture the moment.


For those of you interested in camera setting, the camera is at the following settings:

-ISO 800 – good for indoor lighting exposure with minimal grain on the Canon 5D Mark II.
-f5.6 – allows me to have a little extra depth of field to get some focus on the entire table, but still wide enough to allow some additional light in.
-1/15 Second Shutter Speed – This is called dragging the shutter.  I needed the candles to glow nice and brightly.  And since the shutter speed controls the ambient light without regard to the added flash, the best way to get the candlelight at 800 ISO at 5.6 was to drag the shutter at a slower speed.  In normal lighting conditions, this would cause camera shake concerns, but it was so dark in the hallway, that the only thing that was going to be exposed by the slow shutter speed was the candles themselves and a little bit of glow on the bride.  So, I was not to concerned about movement on the part of the bride or the camera.  Of course, when I took the shot, I planted myself firmly on the ground and practiced my snipper breathing.  Of course these settings would not work with a moving subject quite so well.
-Then comes the flash.  Bouncing the flash off the right corner of the ceiling with a slight bit of forward flash then filled in the areas of the scene that needed to be seen, but were obscured by the darkness.  The flash also served to freeze the movement of anything darker than the candlelights.  I had the flash on TTL with a slight flash compensation reducing the power output of the flash by 2/3 a stop.  This kept the flash from overpowering the ambiance in the hallway and the general glow on the brides face, but allowed the dress to light up along with brightening up the face enough to soften the contrast that would have been in the shot without the fill of the flash.

Fullmer Wedding: Phoenix, Arizona

The Fullmer Wedding, Mesa, Arizona from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Betsey and Nicolas were married in the LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona. Their reception was then held at Aldea at Tlaquepaque in Phoenix, Arizona.

Photography by Platt Photography
Music by Kevin Burdick,

Wedding: LDS Temple, Mesa AZ
Reception: Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona
Portraits: The Phoenix Botanical Gardens

We spent the morning taking portraits at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, which is a fantastic place to photograph.  Interestingly enough, the non-desert portions of the park are far more useful photographically than the areas with cacti and such.  There are some areas with old tree growth, and that makes for great internal framing.

Wedding Portraits at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens

The wedding was held at the LDS Temple in Mesa Arizona, which I see quite often, so I am always looking to photograph it from a new angle or in an different way.  I like what I did with the temple this time around.

The Wedding was held in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple

Wedding Portraits at the LDS Mesa Arizona Temple

Hanging the dress out in the breezeway is a bit risky as the dress seldom wants to stay on the hanger.  So Rex (my assistant) is off frame right ready to grab the dress should it choose to fall off the hanger.

The Wedding Dress at Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

The Bride taking a phone call before her reception

The flower girl getting her  hair done at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

Wedding Portraits at Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

The pure joy a young girl feels at catching those flowers can not be overstated.  I love the contrast of this moment between the little girl and the little boy.  So perfect.

Catching the bride's flowers.

The bride at Aldea at Tlaquepaque in Phoenix, Arizona

This is one of the more interesting guest sign ins I have seen at a wedding.  A lot of people use their engagement images to make a guest sign in book, which is a nice thing to do, I love to see couples put some thought into the gust sign in and do something a little different and create something unique.  I really enjoyed this gust sign in idea.

Guest signatures at the wedding.

A Small and Intimate Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

Bride and Groom at Sunset after their wedding at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

The Phoenician is a beautiful place for a wedding.  Last week, I shot a small and intimate wedding there.  I enjoy them because they are very family oriented with only the closest of friends.  For most of the afternoon, the sun was bright and the sky was clear, but as the sun began to set, a massive dust and thunder storm from the south began to move in and provided us with a perfect backdrop.  But before the storm hit the Phoenician, we were safely inside at dinner, so it was the best of both worlds.

The Phoenician has opened up a new building and this wall and painting are in that new building.  I love the reflection of the bride in the wall.  I shot a fair number of images, looking for a way to best utilize that reflection as I worked with the bride on the image.

Bride at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

I was quite a ways away from the scene, so I did not hear what was being said, but something is being said and that makes the photo that much more intriguing.  What is being said here?  No that I look at the photo,  I wish I knew.

The father giving away the bride at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

Bride and Groom at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

Bride and Groom at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

Bride and Groom at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

The rose on the napkin as a place setting was a fantastic idea.  It was simple and elegant.  I thought adding the rings was a nice touch.

Rose place setting for a wedding at the Phoenician in Phoenix Arizona

And now for a slideshow from the wedding.  Enjoy.

Adam & Elizabeth’s Wedding in Paradise Valley, Arizona from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

October 2, 2010. Adam and Elizabeth were married at the Phoenician in Phoenix, Arizona. The wedding was a small intimate gathering of friends and family and because the party was small, they were able to have the wedding dinner in the wine cellar. It is a beautiful room.

Wedding Location: The Phoenician Resort, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Music by Kevin Burdick

A Wedding in the Grand Canyon

Wedding in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

It is pretty hard to top getting married at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s like being married at the ocean’s edge, except that there is only one Grand Canyon. It was a perfect day for a wedding at the Grand Canyon. Shashone Point is a great location with almost no tourists and no guard rails. This is the way the canyon was intended to be seen. And what a great backdrop for a wedding.

Arizona Wedding in the Grand Canyon

Thank you, Eric and Alicia for allowing us to be a part of this great wedding. It was a truly one of a kind.

The Bailey / Kintner Wedding – The Grand Canyon, AZ from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Alicia and Eric were married at the Grand Canyon. The ceremony was held at Shoshone Point, which is one of the most spectacular views in the canyon and is one of the most accessible and yet untouched areas on the canyon’s edge.

Photography by: Jared Platt
Wedding Designer: Kim Duncan
Location: The Grand Canyon
Music: Celtic Blessing by Lianna Klassen – Triple Scoop Music

Engagement Portraits in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona + One Cool Dog!

Saturday morning was a fun morning. We got out early enough to beat the heat and stayed in the shadows of the buildings for the most part, so even the heat of a Phoenix summer didn’t deter us from taking some cool engagement portraits. Then add one very cool dog… It was a fun photo session with some cool results.

The slideshow is below and then my favorite images from the engagement session. Enjoy.

Downtown in any city is a great place to shoot (provided that it is a safe city).  There are obviously interesting backdrops everywhere you look, but one of the great advantages of photographing, in this case, engagement portraits, in the city is that the buildings give you cover from the sun at any point in the day.  No matter where the sun is, you can always find a shady spot.  So we took our engagement portrait shoot downtown in Phoenix, Arizona.  I always enjoy the painted lines and text on streets in a photograph and in this one, the street lines and the lines of the dog’s leash converge quite nicely, making an accelerated sense of perspective.


Cute shoes, cute dog.  No need to photograph anything else.


She is a super small girl, so she almost disappears when she snuggles in, but there seems to be a joyous safety in that and I can see that in her smile.


Again, I am using the converging lines of the parking entrance as the major design element in this shot.  And of course, her leg is perfect.  And the shoe too.


This dog is the coolest dog.  He was a rescued dog and she was his “foster parent”, but fell in love with him.  Can’t blame her for that.  The dog was low key and casual and was super cooperative as a subject.  Hence, lots of photos were taken with the dog.


Everytime I photograph animals at a wedding or engagement portrait, I am reminded of my earlier years in photography when I shot Christmas portraits of peoples’ pets on Santa’s lap at a local PetSmart store.  My favorite was when Santa (an elderly animal shelter worker lady) was handed a very large snake to hold.  She had a tough time with that assignment.  Then later, at a commercial studio, we shot the isle blades and catalog images for PetSmart.  We had dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, parrots, lizards, fish and everything else you can think of on the set.  It was quite the experience.  Anyway, one animal becomes easy after that and this dog was a real cool customer.  So he was great.

I especially love this shot.  It was taken in an alleyway next to the hotel laundry room, so hot air was blowing on me as I shot in the already increasing temperatures of the Phoenix sumer morning, but the lighting was perfect.  No artificial light was necessary.  The only major light source was coming from the street where the dog is looking and bouncing off the walls as it filtered toward us.  That bounce with a little general fill light from the sliver of sky above gives the shadows just enough light to keep them full of interesting detail.



This next shot is in the same alleyway, so the light is similar, just with a very weak fill flash to soften up the drama.


And the parting shot – one of my favorite buildings in all of phoenix is the Orpheum Theater, which has been fused with the more modern Phoenix City building towering over it.  It was an beautiful way to merge the old and the new together.


Great Clients Make Great Photos: A Wedding in Chandler, AZ

Because of the service I sell and the way I sell it, my clients and I always get to know each other before we ever start a business relationship.  We get to pick each other.  My clients pick me and I pick them.  Which means, I really enjoy all of my clients.  This wedding was no exception.  In fact, Hugh and Meghan are extra great clients because they are super casual and fun and Hugh is a very talented designer.  He designed all of the printed materials for his wedding, you will see them in the images at the serving tables, etc.  It is always liberating to have a client who is artistically inclined because they are always encouraging of you as a photographer to take certain risks and push the envelope.  And they never want anything traditional, which I appreciate.

The Inspirador has a nice room for the bride.  Many places don’t have much in the way of a bride’s room, but I was very pleased with the brides room here.  Every angle in the room was a nice angle with well thought out decor.  That’s always helpful to have the bride dressing in someplace other than a bathroom.  Although, here is an interesting note: beautiful and expensive dresses always come with an ugly plastic hanger.  You would think that it would come with a nice hanger, something delicate and pretty, but it comes with an ugly one.  And the Bride rarely thinks to bring a hanger for the dress, so I have to either find one on location (at a resort hotel, there is always a nice wood hanger, which isn’t delicate, but it doesn’t distract from the photo) or, I always have an extra one with me, just in case.  Anyway, if you are a photographer, you should always carry an extra hanger for the dress and if you are a bride, consider buying a hanger that is unique to you to hang the dress on when it is being photographed.

I love this kind of veil.  They are so beautiful.  I think it is because of the way it divides the eyes from the cheek bone.  It helps to define the face and subdivide it.  Plus the texture and pattern is extremely beautiful on its own.


As I mentioned, Hugh designed all of the printed material for the wedding and it was very good work.  I saw a lot of people really paying attention to the printed designs.  When you put that much effort into the design of your wedding, people really to pay attention.


We shot a lot of the portraits before the wedding, but we also shot a few after the ceremony, but of course, it was dark.  So we needed to light it.  This front gate at the Inspirador is quite beautiful, so we shot there with one off camera flash.  Setting up large flash equipment for each shot is just not feasible because we need to move around a bit, so we simply use a Canon 550 EX with a set of Pocket Wizards.  My assistant is standing off camera by about 30 degrees.  That’s the entire lighting set up.  Nothing fancy, but it certainly makes for a dramatic photo.


The ring shot is an opportunity for me to take a break from the wedding and all the distractions and just design something interesting.  When I worked in a commercial studio, I shot a lot of jewelry with lots of equipment, now I am challenged to do some interesting shots of the rings without all of the equipment.  In this case I am using candles for light, napkins for bouncing light and place cards to block the light in certain areas.  Of course then I do a little more burring and dodging in Lightroom (the computer) and we have a ring shot.  By the way, the rings are lying on the wedding program designed by Hugh.


Ah, the luck of the Irish: there was a definite Irish theme to the wedding.  The wedding was a few days after St. Patrick’s Day and Hugh is Irish.  It was fun.  Lots of green.  And Meghan even had a little porcelain horseshoe on her flowers.  The problem with a horseshoe on your flowers is that you MUST always keep the flowers upright, so the luck won’t spill out of the horseshoe.  I like having the bride hold her flowers down, I like setting the flowers in different places (not always upright), so this became a challenge throughout the day.  But I always like a challenge.


Good luck to you both Meghan and Hugh.  It was an absolute pleasure to be with you on your wedding day.

Rex and Kacey's San Diego Wedding

As I may have mentioned before, my brother, accountant and second photographer, Rex, got married in San Diego a week ago.  The wedding was in La Jolla, Califonia and the reception in San Diego itself.  I was only there for a few hours, because I was needed at home (our little baby girl was just born).  So I flew in for the wedding and flew out before the reception was over.  It was quick, but it was a beautiful day and such an honor to photograph my brother’s wedding.  He’s a great friend and his wife is a fantastic person.

The wedding portraits were shot on the beaches of La Jolla, California.

My favorite images are below as well as a slideshow.  Enjoy.

The sky was blue and the sun was perfect, but sometimes, color, even as beautiful as it can be, is a distraction from the shapes and form of the photograph.  So, I removed the color and the image just sang to me.

The flowers were a subject unto themselves, so I couldn’t have the flower girl hold the flowers near her dress.  The needed to be on their own, against the horizon, just like she was.  She was already holding them up and out a bit, so I asked her to pronounce what she was already doing and for heaven’s sake, don’t look at me…  I think there is something wonderful in this photo.  I see a young flower girl who is just about to grow up.


Kacey really wanted to do a few shots in the gas lamp district.  We were running out of time, but we did it and I am so glad we did.  I loved the images we got down there.  And I think the effect here on the photos goes well with the feel of the streets in the area.  I make some pretty quick decisions (some not consciously) while shooting and editing images, but they usually end up being the right decisions.  I think that is what photography is all about.  Making decisions.  We make a lot of them in split seconds and have to live with them.  I am glad I make those decisions well.  I suppose if I didn’t, I would need to find a different career.



Can you believe the perfect luck on this photograph.  I couldn’t have planned it any better.  We got them into position and put the light on them to help equalize the exposure between the bright sun and the couple and then…  cue the bird!  That bird just makes the photograph.  Jonathan Livingston Seagull, anyone?


The La Jolla coast line is full of absolutely beautiful and strange beaches.  It is one of my favorite places to photograph wedding portraits.  No matter what time of day it is, there is a spot for some pretty magnificent photographs.


The next photo reminds me of a photograph I have by George Bernard Shaw (the author).  I found the photo in the archives at the London School of Economics where all of his films and prints are kept.  It is quite a treasure trove of images and I think the strangest place for a photographic collection.  The color effect makes it feel a bi more like BS Shaw’s Photo, albeit his is scratched and full of dust and poorly printed.  The LSE staff is not great at printing.  I suppose they would be the first to admit that the principles of division of labor preclude them from being good at anything artistic.  Anyway, as I was shooting this photo I was thinking about Shaw’s photo in my modest collection of old obscure photographs, which is one of the few little sentimental pleasures in my life.


This one Kacey broke out of her shell and started hamming it up.  That is always a good sign, when your bride and groom forget about being cool and just start having fun.


A New Wedding Slideshow: Scottsdale, Arizona – The Boulder House

We recently shot a Aimee and William’s wedding at The Boulder House in Scottsdale, Arizona, near The Boulders Resort. It is a magnificant home and the most peculiar I have ever seen. It was designed by nature and one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students. I think this is an instance where the student truly outperformed the master.

This was one of the most challenging weddings I have shot in a long time.  The ceremony was scheduled for outside, but it was rained out.  The house is an amazing home which is buried in the middle of a pile of boulders.  The outside and inside walls are made up of these large stones, so the home was very beautiful inside as well as out.  But the change between an outside wedding to an inside wedding was quite a challenge as the inside of the home was very dark and with the storm clouds blocking the sun, even the windows couldn’t provide much light.  Once the call was made to hold the wedding inside, we scrambled and pulled everything together.  With a lighting kit and some high speed digital cameras, we were able to make some great images and make sure that the inside ceremony was equally as beautiful as the outside ceremony would have been.  In the end, the wedding was beautiful and so was the photography.  Of course, always coming prepared was worth the Boulder House’s weight in gold (more on being prepared later).

Article on Burning and Dodging in Professional Photographer Magazine

I just received my copy of Professional Photographer Magazine where I wrote an article on burning and dodging in Photoshop.  It is a great article with a great photograph.  The reason the photograph is so perfect for the article is that it didn’t need a lot of retouching or manipulation, but still opening it in Photoshop was worthwhile.  There are so many subtle shadows and tones that can be enhanced by the process of burning and dodging, a photograph is just better once it has been burned and dodged.  My philosophy is very simple: I do not burn and dodge to change the photograph, but rather to enhance the natural shades and highlights that are already there.  You can see the final enhanced photograph below and on my portfolio web site at

Look for the magazine on the racks now.  If you don’t know how to burn and dodge your images in Photoshop, or if you are currently burning the actual image layer, you need to read the article.  If you are not a photographer and don’t know what I am talking about, it might get a little technical, so let’s just say, Jared wrote a cool how-to-article in Professional Photographer Magazine and his photographs are really great!

 Jared Platt - Photography article in professional photographer m

The photograph I chose to use for the article was one of my favorite images I shot on a wedding in Rome, Italy.  We woke up very early in the morning to get out before all the tourists.  This was the first image of the day, the Spanish Steps.  The Spanish Steps are so crowded with tourists and locals during the day that there is no way to take a great photo.  So we hit the them just as the sun was rising, as the vendors were preparing for the day, and the carriage operators were preparing their horses.  I couldn’t have asked for a better situation to take a beautiful photograph.  And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a wedding portrait on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy?

When looking at this photograph, pay close attention to the incredible detail on the walls and the shutters.  All of these details, the stains and the cracks exist on the buildings naturally, but it was the process of burning and dodging that brought them out and made them so vivid.  This is the kind of detailed attention that every one of my “Art Prints” receives as I prepare them for my clients.  I personal work on every “Art Print” myself and each one is printed under my careful supervision.


Wedding at Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona

Devin and Lee were married at Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona.  The images we got are fantastic!  Lee and Devin are a very cool couple and we loved working with them and their whole family.  Because we shoot in a documentary or “photojournalistic” style, the limited time we had for portraits was plenty.  We used the last minutes of sunlight for the couple’s portraits and then as the sun disappeared, we had a small portrait studio ready for a quick 10 minute group and family portrait session.  Then, everyone was off to the reception and dinner.  And even though the dinner was outside, at Tlaquepaque, the walls surrounding the event provided a great place to bounce our flashes, giving the very natural lighting look you see in the reception images.

Devin and Lee, thanks for having us as a part of your wedding.  We’ll see you in LA soon.

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