When I have to get up early in the morning, I set three alarms.  My body and mind are not pre-disposed to the idea.  But I do it fairly often, because the sun doesn’t wait for anyone.

Mattie and Riley were in town for a few days and we needed to photograph their engagement portraits.  It’s hot in Phoenix (for those of you who don’t know this little fact) and every minute that sun is in the sky, it get’s hotter.  So the first image here, is not sunset, it is sunrise.  This means, we had a few hours of warm to warmer temperatures to shoot before it got deathly hot.  So, we all woke up extremely early, and while I never enjoy waking up that early, once I get out there photographing, there is nothing like it.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (20)

I had a friend photographer ask me once, “why don’t you just meet your clients before sunset?  This way you don’t have to get up early and there is a definite finish time, when the session must end because there is no more light.”  First, when it is hot, it is too hot in the evening.  Second, I enjoy shooting and I enjoy my clients, so I’m not trying to get out of the session, to be done with it.  Third, early morning has a very beautiful quality of light.  So when my clients can make it in the morning, I push for that time frame.  That doesn’t mean I like waking up… but once I am out there, I enjoy every minute of it.

I love the early morning light, when the sun is still raking across the landscape, but it is still blocked by buildings and trees.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (19)

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (17)

I love this photo!  This has to be on of my very favorites.  OK… there are a couple more later in the post that are also my favorites.  So, I can’t say this is my actual favorite, but you have to love the warmth on this shot.  It’s almost all natural, with a little help from me in post production.  But, it is close enough to reality for me…

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (16)

Once the sun got a bit higher in the sky and was causing more grief than it was worth, we took cover in my favorite grove of trees, which were apparently being pruned.  Branches were strewn about the groves so thickly that we could hardly get through, but it made the grounds even more interesting, so we waded through the downed branches and clippings and got some cool shots.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (15)

This happens to be another one of my favorites.  The light falling down on them from the hole in the tree cover causes a bit of glare on the photo, but that gives the photo its soft quality.  However, the shot isn’t possible with available light only.  I have a Canon Speedlite 600RT flash off to the right filling in the couple to keep them from going too dark.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (14)

I love the color on this shot.  And you may think that I produced this color in post-production, but that is not the case (I admit, I helped it along).  It is a natural color that comes as a result of the light and glare situation from this particular angle under this large hole in the canopy of the orchard.  The image had this coloring naturally, and I was inspired by it, so I went along with it.  I tend to do that.  Rather than fight the natural lighting and coloring and contrast of the shot, I tend to go with it.  More often than not, inspiration is the internal reacting to external conditions, a kind of game of call and response (Marco Polo).

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (13)

After the portraits were finished, more or less, we headed off to the golf course.  Mattie and Riley are a golfing couple.  And I grew up golfing since I could hold a club, so we went to Ocotillo Country Club (which has water on almost every hole) and played nine holes.  They continued on after that, but by that point, it was so brutally hot, that taking photos was no longer worth while.  We were all beat red and sweating.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (11)

I spent most of the time taking photos, but I played a bit too.  It’s just nice to have an excuse to pick up the ball when you are really doing poorly and pretend that you’re just picking up because you need to take some more photos.

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (2)

Mattie is better than me or Riley, I think…

Engagement Portrait in Chandler, Arizona (1)

What a great morning.  Early, but full of great photos and a good round of golf.  Thanks Mattie and Riley.  We’ll be shooting again before you know it.  The wedding will be here before you know it.

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

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

Location: Chandler, Arizona.