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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
And here is the payoff. Sean was struck!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
This was the parting gift for everyone at the wedding. Except for those under the age, of course…
The first dance is best shot in black and white anyway. Add the Hollywood Glamor concept and using the Leica was an imperative.
And this is my absolute favorite portrait of the day. Hands down.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Music Entertainment by JJ’s Band
Slideshow Music by Gordon Pagoda (courtesy of Triple Scoop Music)