Ilyas & Sheena: A Beautiful Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

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

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

So, on to the photos.  Enjoy…

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (1)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (2)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (3)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (4)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (5)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (6)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (7)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (8)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (9)

The yellow rice is fantastic.  I love these shots.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (10)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (11)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (12)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (13)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (14)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (15)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (16)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (17)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (18)

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

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

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (19)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (20)

Sheena and Ilyas made their grand entrance through the fog.

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (21)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (22)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (23)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (24)

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (25)

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

Hindu wedding in scottsdale arizona by Jared Platt (26)

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

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Planning and Design by Outstanding Occasions

Location JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Floral Design by Avant Garde

Stationary Design by Idieh Design

Officiant: Scott Morgan

Hair: Revive

Makeup: Amanda Osadchuk

Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

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

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (17)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (16)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (15)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (14)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (13)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (12)

This is one of my ultimate favorites from the day.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (11)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (10)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (6)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (9)

And this.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (8)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (7)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (5)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (4)

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (3)

Allie, you are a beautiful bride.

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (2)

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

Photograph of a wedding in phoenix arizona (1)

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

 

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

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

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

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

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, Courtesy of Cherie Call

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Simple Style: Details from Ian and Megan’s Wedding

Yesterday, I posted images from Megan and Ian’s wedding at The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix Arizona.  Today I am posting my favorite details from their wedding.  Enjoy.

Buttons and fabric!  That’s what made up the bride’s bouquet.  Beautiful, don’t you think?

Here is a cool way to carry the rings down the isle.  The ring bearer simply carried the book down the isle.  I loved the idea.

Sections of the long banquet table were identified with a very small chalk board.  Everything was on chalk boards.

This was  a great cake top.  I especially loved the scrabble letters.  Although you don’t get many points for an I a D and an O.

The fans doubled as the program, or should I say that the other way around?  They were cool… in more ways than one.

Nicely played!

No wedding cocktail hour is complete without a game of “Corn Hole.”  I loved all the games they had for people to play during a long enjoyable cocktail hour.

Like I said, everything was on chalk boards.  What a great way to post signs all over that don’t distract from, but add to, the visuals.

In keeping with the overabundance of beards, those who did not have facial hair could don a mustache for the moment by sipping from their straw.

In keeping with the Quaker style wedding theme, the wedding banquet table was one very long table rather than many round tables.

Again, I can’t emphasis how cool the wedding was and how impressed I was with all the little details.  Great job Megan and Ian.  Everyone was having a great time, even your photographers.
Simple and Fun: Ian and Megan’s Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

Ian and Megan were married at The Farm in Phoenix, Arizona.  The wedding and reception all occurred outdoors on one of the last pleasant days before the heat started picking up here in Phoenix.  It was a beautiful day and the wedding was perfectly simple and full of fun.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

Both the flower girl and the ring bearer were as cute as they come, so there were so many great shots of them.  But this is a blog about the wedding, so I will try to keep the shots of the kids to a minimum.  The flower girl was always ready to pose for me.

The guys were all in casual wedding attire.  The whole thing was done with a kind of quaker style, which was so very cool.  I loved everything about it.

The bouquet was made from fabric and buttons and together with the texture of her dress and the 20’s style veil, the bride was absolutely perfect.

The Farm is a great location for this kind of a wedding (any kind really) but this wedding really fit in.  I told Ian and Megan that they couldn’t have chosen a more prefect place in Phoenix to match their wedding style.

This is also where I mention again how important post processing style is to a wedding.  The way we treat an image after it is captured changes the way it reads, which should be very much in keeping with the feel of the wedding itself.  And the image treatment on this wedding is a perfect example of how effective that can be.

This is the way group photos were meant to be.  Are there a few where everyone is looking at the camera?  Yes, but this is the one that should be used in the album or printed for the wall.  Too many people and too may photographers see it as an either or situation.  Either it is a portrait or it is documentary.  If it is done well, it is both.

Here’s the ring bearer.  You’ll love every shot of him.

There were more beards at this wedding that I have ever seen in one place.  I have never been to a beard convention, so I don’t have much to compare this to, but there were a lot of beards.  I enjoyed taking portraits of everyone sporting their cool facial hair.

So, when you are shooting family portraits at a quaker style wedding.  You should shoot them in the right way.  There’s no question, this was the right way to treat the family portraits.

Not posed.  These little kids were gold mines all day long!

They look good together.  And I love her shoes.

Seriously.  Can you be any cooler than to have hula-hoops at your wedding cocktail hour?

Well, you can!  Instead of doing a first dance, you could perform a first song together!  That was pretty cool!

Sparklers are always fun too!

I put this last image in here to make a quick comment about this band.  “What Laura Says,” is the name of the band.   They have to be one of the tightest bands I have heard in a very long time.  Every song, original or covered, was fantastic and the covered songs had their own unique spin on them.  If you have a chance, go see What Laura Says, buy their music on iTunes or hire them to play at your wedding.  I stayed an extra hour past our official end time, just to hear their music.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: The Farm, Phoenix, Arizona

Band: What Laura Says

Shayna & Beto’s Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Shayna and Beto were married at Troon Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was a  beautiful day for a wedding.  Here are a few of my absolute favorite images from the wedding day.

Shayna did a great job with the dress hanger.  Rarely do I see a bride pay attention to the dress hanger.  It is usually an ugly plastic hanger.  I have never understood dress shops who sell these fantastic dresses for thousands and thousands of dollars, knowing they will be photographed and yet they deliver them on an ugly white plastic hanger.  Well, I have to hand it to Shayna for seeing that issue.  For those brides out there who are peeking in on this wedding and making notes about your own wedding.  Bring along a pretty hanger that says something about you.

So, we took the dress out of the closet and hung it up on this large painting in the bridal dressing room and I was composing the shot when one of the young ushers walked through the shot.  I have two shots that are essentially the same of this dress, one with and one without.  I can hardly look at the one without the boy in it.  He completes the picture.  I suppose it is because this boy took my controlled shot and added a bit of reality to it.  Sometimes I am tempted to stray from reality and control it all, but the chaos always pulls me back where I belong.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (16)

I think the florist was a bit nervous when she saw me with the flowers out in the sun before the wedding.  She even made a little comment about the flowers being prone to wilting in the heat.  But, I’ll bet she’ll love this image of her beautiful flower arrangements.  And I am happy to report the photo only took a few minutes and the flowers were perfect throughout the day.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (15)

This next series is one of my favorite getting ready sets I have taken.  A lot goes into the shot of putting on the dress.  Providing a nice backdrop for the effort is a major part of that.  But also, there is just a lot of fortune that goes into getting the shot as well.  I think all things conspired together for an opportune shot.  And then I have to say that the muted color treatment on the shot really finished it off well.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (14)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (13)

This moment made everyone laugh.  There is a whole series from this set, but these are the two crowning moments.  The littlest flower girl got cold feet and was not even going to go down the isle, much less, throw the flower petals.  So the older flower girl went back to get her and was trying to show her how to throw the petals, which upset her, I think she intended to keep them all for herself.  When the older flower girl realized this, she thoughtfully moved on with her duties and the little one stood in the isle and silently pouted over the loss of her flowers.  It was the cutest moment.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (12)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (11)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (10)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (9)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (8)

I was taken by the canopy of branches in the background, so I asked Shayna to pose for me as the guests and wedding party chatted.  Often times the un-planned portraits and scenes that catch my attention at the moment are the very best.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (6)

I simply love this image of the bride.  I love the contemplative look, I love the way the hair is blowing.  The veil being set against the dark on the left of the frame is wonderful.  I love this shot.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (5)

I looked at this image in color and thought it looked fine, but when I took it to black and white and started aging it, I felt as though it became what it was meant to be.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (4)

This shot was taken as the sun dropped over the horizon.  There is no better time of day.  I love the reflection on the water, the movement of the dress as she walks.  I am very pleased with this image.  As dress images go, it is a great description of the dress.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (3)

These two little girls were constantly providing opportunities for great photographs.  Here they are waiting to dance with the bride during a dollar dance.   Everyone was dancing with her, and they wanted their chance, but I don’t think they knew how to approach it.  Where to they get the money, how do they get her away from all those other people.  I think they were sufficiently mesmerized with the bride and equally unsure of how to proceed, so they stood on the sidelines for quite a long time, until the maid of honor saw them and gave them some money and explained how to get a dance with the bride.  Even now, thinking about it and about my little girl, I get a little emotional.  You can just see the wonder in their hearts.  The older is thinking thoughts of being a bride someday and the younger is simply awe struck by a princess.  There is an entire thesis in their expressions.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (2)

The joy of sparklers.  You can’t help but be happy.  It was a great wedding and party, people were having a lot of fun.  I was glad to have been there.  Thanks Shayna and Beto for trusting me with your wedding day.  Congratulations.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (1)

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Justin Hewitt, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: Troon Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona

A Wedding on Top of the Mountain: Dan and Krissy’s Wedding on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona

We were at Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona at sunrise.  The weather was perfect, a little chilly, but perfect for a serious hike.  It’s a good thing, because that’s what we were in for.  Krissy and Dan planned their wedding on the top of that mountain.  Well, not on the tip top, but pretty high up there.  My associate, Eric Greenhaulgh and I spent a good 15 minutes deciding what gear needed to come and what gear could stay down below.  Any photographer knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Equipment is heavy, so you don’t want to take something you are not going to use, but you would hate to be at the top of a mountain and need something that is in your car at the bottom of the mountain.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (20)

First, we made sure not to duplicate anything.  We did not bring any duplicate lenses.  Between the two of us though, we had a full compliment of lenses.  A Canon 16-35, 28-70, 70-200 and a 50.  I carried my 1D Mark IV, he had his 1D Mark III.  We had one small hand held post with a Canon 580 EX flash and a set of Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 radio slaves.  It is important to have your hands free, when hiking up a mountain and shooting others who are hiking up with you, so we couldn’t take reflectors and such with us and not self standing light poles, etc.  Everything strapped nicely onto our one backpack (which we alternated carrying up and down) and we had only the gear that was necessary in the backpack, although Eric was a little over zealous about what he was willing to carry up the mountain.  My backpack was a small one and I was still able to fit a bottle of water in mine.  I had to convince Eric not to take everything he owned up the mountain.  The truth is, I didn’t want to have to take my turn at carrying it.  Maybe I am lazy, but I prefer to call it “smart.”

Opportunities for challenging wedding photography are wonderful.  I enjoy them because they force me and my crew to work and think differently about the job and how to accomplish it.  We still need to get great images, but we have to think differently and sometimes find ways to capture them with less.  Granted, I have done entire weddings with far less gear than we had here, but it was a very bright, sunny day, so we definitely needed some kind of lighting solution to match the sun and shadow sides of faces.  Also, because of the wide variety of opportunities for a great shot up there, and the limited options for the photographer to stand (we were on a mountain with cliffs and cactus etc.), I needed a good compliment of lenses to be able to capture the images on my terms.

A Native American flutist meat us at the top of the mountain.  As we neared the ledge, where he was playing, Dan (for whom this was a surprise) thought it was just great luck that on the day he was getting married, a Native American flutist was up on top his the mountain playing his flute.  Krissy had lots of little surprises like this throughout the day.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (19)

It was a good hike to get to the wedding location, but is was indeed, a beautiful morning.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (18)

Getting ready occurred at the top of the mountain.  The guys took on side of the hill and the girls took the other side.  I did appreciate that the groomsmen all work black hiking shirts and shorts.  Those were their tuxes.  That was cool.  The only two that dressed UP for the wedding were the bride and groom.  Otherwise, dress code was very casual.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (17)

Here is the bride’s room.  And quite frankly, I think it was one of the most beautiful and well decorated bridal rooms I have ever seen.  Most of the time, the bride is getting ready in a hotel room, or a sitting room.  Which, even if decorated nicely, can’t match the grander of the top of a mountain.  They just needed a sheet to sheild Krissy from the onlooking hikers and photographers.  Oh, wait, I was one of those, but I had a press pass.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (16)

Surprise 2: Krissy took all of Dan’s love notes and poems and printed them out on origami style paper and made her own bouquet out of love poems.  I really enjoy an original and personal bridal bouquet.  I love it when brides put more of themselves into their wedding details.  This was a great surprise for Dan.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (15)

I love a good wedding on a cliff.  Up to now, I have only done cliff weddings at the Grand Canyon, which has some magnificent cliffs.  It was nice to witness a cliff wedding closer to home.

For the photographers out there, you can see that the sun is shining very bright now on the bride and groom.  You can see the crest of light on her dress, and on his face.  But you will also notice that the grooms back is not in complete deep shadow, the bride’s face is lit, as is her dress, etc.  But you can still see the direction of light from the sun.  There is a clear direction of light here.  This is the use of the Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 with a Canon 580 EX  Speedlight although now you can use the 600 EX.  We set it on a rock and I just turned on and off my TT1 transmitter when I needed or didn’t need the flash.  This was an indispensable part of capturing this wedding.  Without it, we would have extremely dark shadows or blown out highlights.  The light is set to fill in from the left of the frame at one stop less than the ambient.  If we had set it to equal the ambient light, the flash would have attempted to equal the sunlight and thus eliminate all the volume in the shot.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (14)

This is the entire wedding watching the ceremony.  I love a small wedding.  I really do!

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (13)

Here are some of my favorite images from the portrait session after the wedding.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (12)

Yes, Krissy is an amazingly gutsy bride!  If that doesn’t look safe, it is because it is not.  I think Dan was a bit worried about her, but Krissy was game for anything.  I wasn’t worried about Dan, he’s a police officer.  He’s a tough guy.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (11)

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (10)

Dan is also sorting a boutonniere made of his own love poems.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (9)

I was working on this image and my wife came in and commented on it.  How tiny is she?

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (8)

I don’t always pre visualize and image at the shot; meaning that I don’t always know exactly what I want to do with an image in post-production before I shoot it, but in this next series of images, I knew what I wanted to do before I even started shooting the photos.  We were stating back down the mountain and the bride and groom were going to be walking by me at any moment.  I knew I wanted this image to be extreme selective focus, I wanted to make it look like it was taken at the end of the 19th century.  So I opened my lens all the way up and made the appropriate exposure adjustments (which can barely be done because at f 1.2, at 100 ISO, you have to expose at 1/8000 of a second).  Anyway, I rattled off a bunch of shots with this concept in mind and I was pleased with the result.  I am always more pleased with the results when I pre-vissualize the end from the beginning.  I suppose it is more satisfying to know I pulled it off, but I also think that if one can see the end from the beginning, it makes every step in the process more valuable to the final result.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (7)

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (6)

I thought this was just a great comparison/contrast.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (5)

Down the mountain!  At times, Camelback Mountain is a bit steep.  For a girl in a wedding dress, it seems even steeper.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (4)

This is one of my favorite series of shots.  We got a few grumbles from a team of repellers that wanted the cliff all to themselves, but if they only knew what we were accomplishing in the two minutes we were imposing ourselves on their rock, I think they would have been much more supportive.  I really like this shot.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (3)

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (2)

This is my official wedding attire for all super casual hiking to the top of a mountain weddings.  It’s quite frankly the most comfortable wedding attire I own.

A Wedding on the top of camelback mountain in scottsdale arizona. (1)

Krissy and Dan, thanks for letting me be a part of such a wonderful wedding.  It was a pleasure.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona

Slideshow Music by Daniel Ho, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Jeff & Rebecca: A Family Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

This is a fairly personal post.  I photographed a wedding for a very dear friend of our family.  Our friend Becky and her children joined a new family and promptly flew away to China.

Jeff and Rebecca were married at the LDS Temple in Mesa Arizona.  Their wedding brought two young families together.  The kids on both sides are as sweet as they come.  Rebecca lived with her children in Chandler, Arizona and Jeff traveled with his children all the way from China, where he works and now they all live in China.  We miss Becky and her children very much, but what a great adventure for their family… we hope to see them soon.

I had hoped, with the sheer number of children and people who would be converging on the bride’s home that there would be chaos in the house, which is always fun to photograph, but true to form, Becky and her children were on top of it all, very organized and no chaos whatsoever.  Lots of laughter and happiness though!

daughter of the bride laughing

Although I don’t think it was the only reason for the happiness, there were a pair of Jimmy Choo magic shoes there, which couldn’t hurt.

jimmy choo shoes

Tying ties.

child getting ready for the wedding

Drying hair.

child getting ready for the wedding

Putting on makeup.  It’s all part of getting ready and I see it all the time, but getting ready is all relative to what you are getting ready for.  Not just a wedding, but the merger of two dynamic sets of children, a great adventure, a new culture, a 15 hour plane flight…

I thought this makeup photo was one of the better I have captured.  The framing was perfect as was the light and with Becky’s striking features, I thought it deserved a little film noir look.  I was already shooting at a very high ISO, so the grain was a natural result, there was no reason to fight it.  So I pushed it even further.  All of this was done in Adobe Lightroom 4 without the help of any plugins or external editors.

bride getting ready for the wedding with black and white film noir look

It was interesting.  When I started to photograph the dress on the hanger, Becky just laughed and said, “good luck.  That dress does not look good on the hanger.”  And she was right, the dress looked like nothing on the hanger, but it was perfect when she put it on.  How she decided to try it on is beyond me, but it was perfect.

Wedding portrait at the arizona mesa temple

Introducing Jeff.  All around great guy.  Jeff and his kids traveled all the way from China the day before the wedding, but only after their flight got canceled on them, so they flew from China to LA and then drove to Phoenix.  What a crazy wedding story.  But they made it in time and in the end, I suppose , in the end, those with the best stories win.

Wedding portrait at the arizona mesa temple

I had so much fun photographing the kids during the wedding.  They are all so expressive and good natured.  Case in point…

Candid photo of child at wedding in mesa arizona

Portrait of child at wedding at mesa LDS temple in mesa arizona

Portrait of children at wedding in mesa arizona

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Portrait of child at wedding

Child at Wedding Reception

And finally, a photograph of the LDS Temple in Mesa.  If you do not know much about the LDS or Mormon culture, Temples are a very important part of the faith.  They are extremely spiritual places where members of the church are married and make covenants with God.  So, when you are married in a temple, that building often symbolizes the commitment you have made to your spouse and your family.  So anytime I photograph an LDS wedding, I try to make a new and interesting photograph of that temple for the couple.  I am pleased with this one.

Arizona LDS Temple Wedding

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple

Heather and Jeremy’s Wedding Published on The Offbeat Bride

Remember these photos from 2011?  Heather and Jeremy were married at Noah’s in Chandler, Arizona, but their wedding photos were just published on The Offbeat Bride Wedding Blog.  Congratulations again, Heather and Jeremy.  It was a pleasure photographing your wedding.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Noahs in Chandler, Arizona

Nick & Caroline: A Southern Wedding with a Second Line

Nick and Caroline were married at the LDS Temple in Dallas, Texas and their wedding reception was at the Lee Hardware Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Nick and Caroline are a truly vintage couple.  Many people go for the vintage look, but Nick and Caroline really fit the part.  I think you’ll see what I mean.

Dallas LDS Temple

Dallas Texas LDS Temple

I was struck by the architecture of the Temple, but the hedge in front made the situation perfect for a couple’s portrait.

Bride and groom at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

I loved this location, which I found in my pre-wedding scouting, but as Caroline walked around the corner, I had to tell her to freeze.  It was the perfect position for her.  Everything around her framed her quite nicely.

Bride at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

Her dress, her hair, the necklace, even the lipstick were all perfect vintage.

Bride at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

Bride and groom at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

At the wedding reception, instead of a guest book, Nick (a designer by trade) created a sign in map.

Sign in map at wedding reception

And of course, even the microphone fit the vintage theme.  I was very covetous of this mic.  I am a mic enthusiast.

vintage microphone at wedding reception

The reception was held in the Lee’s Hardware Gallery, which is an old building in downtown Shreveport.  The textures on the walls in the interior courtyard were phenomenal.  And yes, that is a wedding cake piñata.  It was fun.

wedding cake piñata wedding reception

The textures and colors in the streets of downtown Shreveport are fantastic for portraits, but you must turn off that auto white balance on your camera!

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

I love the warm film look on this shot.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

This is my favorite image from the day.  As we were taking the bride’s portrait, she turned slightly toward the wall and I saw the possibility of this shot.  With a slight adjustment of her hand and head, I shot several variations on this shot and the result was fantastic.

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

If you are going to do a vintage wedding, I suggest taking a stroll in a vintage town.  Shreveport is definitely vintage.  I love this Ridgway’s sign.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

I also love Nick’s “Ronald Reagan” hairdo.  Of course the back ground is perfect as well.  I shot this at a much higher f-number to make sure I got the groom and the metal door in focus.  I am more often a shallow depth of field kind of guy, but there are times when f8 or higher is called for.  In this case, the greater depth of field give the image a illustrated look, which I thought was very appropriate to the image.

groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

The flowers were fantastic. These flowers are called Billy Balls and apparently they look the same when they are dried. The arrangement were done by Patsy Foster in Shreveport. She did a great job.

flowers wedding bouquet

This was the most touching moment of the day.  The bride had been carrying a handkerchief throughout the entire day.  I had not paid much special attention to it and just assumed it was an old vintage handkerchief: something old.  But Caroline knelt down beside he grandmother and showed her the handkerchief and reminded her that she had given it to her when Caroline was a little girl and that she had kept it to this day for this very purpose.  That is something old and something special.

bride and grandmother

I think this will be the groom’s father’s favorite photo of the day.  It would be mine if this were my son.

groom and father walking

Just a couple of great shots on our way down to the “second line”.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

A “second line” is an interesting tradition in Louisiana, kind of a parade.  The entire wedding (all the guests) met at the water’s edge and paraded, complete with music, up to the wedding reception.  It was a hot day, but was a great opportunity for photos!  This was my very first “second line.”  I enjoyed it, but it was a lot of running and sweating.

jazz band trio at the head of a Second Line Parade for the Wedding Reception

Two of the children led the way, carrying a banner for the bride and groom.

bride and groom at the head of the Second Line Parade for the Wedding Reception

At the end of the evening, the games began.  The children got a whack at the wedding cake piñata and so did the bride and groom.

child swinging at the wedding cake piñata at the wedding reception

Most of the guests came from the surrounding states, so the signature map was a bit crowded near the gulf, but there were a few people (like myself) who came from quite a distance to join the wedding.  This is one of the coolest guest signature ideas I have seen in a long time.

sign in map

I think the straws are a good indication of the “fun” level of this wedding.  Caroline and Nick put their wedding together on a small budget, but I think they spent their money very well and made every detail count.  It all added up to a very fun event with a lot of cute details.

wedding rings and straws for sodas

The painting is by Nick Eckel and the lamps were made by Caroline Majors (the bride and groom), I love both.  Nick is a talented designer and illustrator.  If you need a graphic designer, I highly recommend him.  He’s a talented, stand up guy.

Paper chandelier and painting by the groom at wedding reception

I was glad to represent Arizona at Nick and Caroline’s wedding.  It was a pleasure to be a part of it.

sign in map at wedding reception

Wedding Details:

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Special thanks to Jessica Brownell for assisting and second shooting.

Slideshow music by J’Nae, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: LDS Temple, Dallas, Texas

Reception Location: Lee’s Hardware Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana

Heather and Jeremy: A Wedding in Gilbert, Arizona

Heather and Jeremy: A Wedding in Chandler, Arizona from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Jeremy and Heather were married at Noah’s in Chandler, Arizona.  Noah’s is a small even hall south east of Phoenix.  I have photographed a few weddings there and all of them have been in the heat of the summer, so we spent the entire time inside.  When Heather approached me about the idea of not going outside for portraits and photos, I said, “YES!”  Who wants to go out in 107% temperatures and sweat it out.  Plus, it made for an interesting challenge.  So, I put together a portrait studio and with their retro style wedding dress and tux, I thought the portrait studio should feel a bit retro itself.  I was pleased with the outcome.  I love doing something a little different.

chandler arizona wedding photography

I loved the artwork for the programs for the wedding.  Very cool.  Very personal.

Artwork for wedding program

The chandelier was quite beautifully decorated by AZ Wedding Decor. It is not often that a centered “bullet composition” works, but I like this one.

I love the use of the monogram in both the boutonnieres and the bouquet.

And what bride can resist the cute shoes.  It is all about the shoes.  Of course, I know this more because I am married and my wife loves shoes as well.  I don’t know a woman who doesn’t.  But I am always excited to see what the bride has done with her shoe choice.  It says a lot about her more private side.

But the bouquet says even more about the bride and her public side.  And you have to admit that a fruit and vegetable bouquet is something very unique and different.  I loved it.  This was designed by How Appropriate Floral. It, changed the way I felt about the colors in the wedding.  So, a lot of the decisions I made about how to shoot the images and how to effect them in post came from this one detail.  I shot a lot of wide open f1.2 images for their portraits and details and pulled back the colors to make them more muted and soft.  While what I know of the client before the wedding, helps to dictate the direction of the imagery, it is the visuals I see when I get to the wedding that shape the final imagery and how those images will be seen.  I think that being open to changing direction, based on what is in front of me, helps me to truly describe the event and the people I am photographing.

This of course, has to be my favorite image from the wedding.  I love everything about it.  I love the bouquet.  Heather looks fantastic.The lens and aperture choice makes it soft and dreamlike.  The colors are perfect.  Sometimes you have a vision for a photo and you execute it perfectly, but the subject does’t nail the look, but she nailed it!  Way to be Heather.  Way to be.

And these little kids just made me laugh.  What a funny concept.  They loved their little capes and they were certainly fun to photograph in my studio. They were not “ring bearers” but were announcing the coming of the bride. Yet, another way Heather made her wedding a little different from the typical.

Jeremy’s tux was the one other thing that directed me to the style and feel of the final images.  His tux and his beard put me in the right frame of mind for the style.  We shot very high ISO, wide apertures and fixes lenses to create a grainy old school look to the portraits and photographs.  And when we didn’t shoot high ISO, we added the grain in post.  I think we got a great consistent style across the entire photo collection.  I am very happy with it.

The center pieces on the tables were created by Ethereal Events Decor.  They made for great foreground elements.

The tables were all covered with these big glass jewels, so I couldn’t resist putting the rings in the jewels.  This is always an entertaining few minutes of the evening for me.

Thank you Jeremy and Heather for trusting me with your wedding.

Photography Details:

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: Noah’s, Chandler, Arizona

Slideshow Music: The Genesis by Jared Platt

Flowers by How Appropriate Floral

Decorations by AZ Wedding Decor & Ethereal Events Decor