Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A Family Portrait Session in the Desert of Arizona

I have photographed this family for years. Every time, it’s been an effort to find locations that don’t look like the desert. This time, mom finally embraced the fact that they do, in fact, live in the desert and requested that we go out to get photos in the desert itself. So we met up at the Gold Field State Park Desert just outside of Mesa, Arizona for this family portrait session.

Arizona Desert Family Portraits

Before we shot the family together, we did the children’s photos in the harsher light. It is easier to photograph the group when the light is softer, after sun has gone down a bit.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

The first test of the light was with their youngest son and his penguin. Penguins are very appropriate for the desert.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Mom’s dress is fantastic. The way it flowed in the wind created lots of movement and interest.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

It’s important to note, desert light is very harsh. Without the use of a 2’x3′ soft box matching the sun’s harsh cross light, the photos would be extremely dark on the shadow side of the face.  Using the Profoto B1 off-camera flash makes this easy. It is powerful enough to match the sun and portable enough to move when I need to move.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

More importantly is its extremely accurate TTL which allows kids to move and adjusts for the change in distance. When little kids move, you have to move with them.

https://bhpho.to/2BaKbCh

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

I love crying baby photos. Especially when there are other kids to react. The brothers’ reaction to their littlest sister really needs no explanation.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

Toward the end, it started getting cold. Yes, it gets very cold in the desert as the sun goes down.

I love when the little ones leaned in to Dad for warmth. And of course, the shot of the family all together really showcases family togetherness at its best.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

This image was my favorite because of its documentary nature… and the fact that it just feels like my childhood.

Arizona family portrait session platt photography

A family portrait in the desert outside phoenix-mesa, arizona at Gold Field State Park.

By the end of the session, I think all of the kids were either miserably cold, crying or frowning. So, any questions as to why we did the walking away shot for the final shot of the portrait session?

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

A Night at the Phoenix Symphony

One of the things I like about my life and work is the constant variation in what I get to capture. I shoot weddings, portraits, commercial, documentary, and more. One thing I really enjoy is when I have the opportunity to work with other artists, like the musicians of the Phoenix Symphony. From the musicians and conductors, to the marketing staff and the CEO, everyone is extremely talented. 

A few times a year, the symphony presents multimedia performances that include both music and video at the same time. This multimedia performance was a celebration of the work of legendary composer Elmer Bernstein. His iconic music was paired with clips from the movies his scores brought to life. It was conducted by his son, Peter Bernstein, who shared stories about his father and the music during the performance.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The musical score to the ten commandments by Ernie Beirnstien.

I like to photograph the score because I like to take visual notes. This practice helps me to remember things, like names, details, and more. And I love the way music looks on a page, the way the notes are like their own language. Even though I have played music my whole life, I can’t actually read sheet music.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Phoenix Symphony CEO Jim Ward Back Stage with Ernie Beirnstien’s son, conductor Peter Beirnstien

Jim Ward is one of my favorite people. This intelligent business genius has been the captain of ships such as Lucas Arts now leads the Phoenix Symphony. His guiding hand has made it one of the few symphonies in the US that are financially sound. This gives great artists a stable benefactor. Who says art and commerce can’t coexist?

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Phoenix Symphony orchestra master violinist Steven Moeckel getting in the zone before performance.

Phoenix Symphony orchestra master violinist Steven Moeckel getting in the zone before the performance. Steven is truly a treasure. Listening to him play is truly mesmerizing.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Video of Ernie Beirnstien above the Phoenix Symphony performing his film scores.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The Phoenix Symphony performing socres by Ernie Beirnstien with the films playing above.

Peter Bernstein, son of Elmer Bernstein, conducted the symphony as they played his father’s exemplary film scores. To accompany the music, video clips from the films and clips of his father played overhead. Between the music, Peter also told stories about his father. One of the stories he shared was about his father’s experience in Hollywood during the McCarthy hearings and the Communist black lists that threatened actors, directors and musicians during that time.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The Phoenix Symphony performing the score for The Ten Commandments by Ernie Beirnstien with the film playing above.

It was filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille who vouched for Elmer Bernstein to keep him off the Hollywood blacklist. He was the one who gave Bernstein his break in the movies, which began his amazing career as a legend in film scoring.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The Phoenix Symphony

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Guest conductor Bernstein leading the Phoenix Symphony playing his father’s film scores.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Dirrector of Animal House, John Landis, speaking about the work of Ernie Bernstein.

Director John Landis (of Animal House, Three Amigos, and other ridiculous comedies) was there to discuss his experiences with Elmer as well.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The Phoenix Symphony playing the music of film score composer Ernie Beirnstien.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

The Phoenix Symphony playing the music of film score composer Ernie Beirnstien.

phoenix symphony orchestra platt photography

Back stage with Ernie Beirnstien’s son Peter, guest conductor at the Phoenix Symphony.

My backstage lighting was critical to the success of these photos. With the Profoto lighting system, I am able to photograph in completely dark situations with complete confidence. With the A1 On Camera Flash (with a focus assist), and the B1 and B2 off camera flashes hanging from various walls and rafters, there is no image I can’t capture. I know where the action is going to happen and set up my lights prior to the event. Because I can control everything from the A1 On Camera Flash, no matter what direction I am facing, I can create light that will make the image work, even in the darkest conditions. Of course, when the symphony starts playing, the lights go off and I slip into stealth mode.

When all is said and done, photography is my opportunity and excuse to go into everyone else’s world. Whether it is photographing a wedding or a symphony, I love my work. And I love working with talented people who are at the very top of their game.

payson engagement session platt photography

Reagan and Rusty: Engagement Portraits in Payson Arizona

Reagan and Rusty have been dating for a while. Reagan is my niece, so I have seen Rusty at family dinners for a long time. When they asked if I would shoot their engagement portraits, they originally just wanted to do something in Phoenix. But, it was August. August in Phoenix averages 120 degrees. Not good. When thinking about engagement photography sessions, people don’t always think outside of the box. One of the greatest things about Arizona is that within two hours you can be in an entirely different climate. So that’s exactly what we did.

Payson, Arizona Engagement Session

Reagan, Rusty and I packed up and went an hour and a half north of Phoenix to Payson. It was still warm, I couldn’t do much about it being August, but nothing over 90. Fortunately, I do a lot of location scouting. I have locations logged in China, Budapest, London, Iceland, and a hundred other locations across the world. But, when it comes to Arizona, I have thousands. So, I took them to a great spot with tree cover all day long. I also brought my Profoto B1 and B2 along to make the light absolutely perfect.

payson engagement session platt photography

Engagement portraits are best taken in the cool hights of the forests of Northern Arizona, this is one of my favorite spots, just north of Payson, AZ.

The light tree cover is not this dark, but with a little extra light, I can remove the natural ambient light and then fill in exactly what I want, giving the image a more dramatic feel.

payson engagement session platt photography

Engagement portraits are best taken in the cool hights of the forests of Northern Arizona, this is one of my favorite spots, just north of Payson, AZ.

 The lush grass and little spots of sunshine filtering through the trees and onto the grass makes for a perfect backdrop. Lighting is critical on this image to make sure my lights all appear to be coming from the sun so it doesn’t appear to be a flash photo. Obviously, on-camera doesn’t work. So, the flash is off to the left of the camera to follow the natural direction of the sunlight.

payson engagement session platt photography

Engagement portraits are best taken in the cool hights of the forests of Northern Arizona, this is one of my favorite spots, just north of Payson, AZ.

At the end of the photo shoot, Rusty was skipping rocks like a little kid. He and I finally coaxed Reagan into going into the water. She kept feeling crawdads crawling around her feet, so this was quite a challenging shot for her. But, in the end, I love the drips of water coming off her feet and the reflections coming toward the camera. Without the right lighting, the water droplets would have melded with the background too much. The drips would not show up and neither would the reflections (not that much anyway). You can see in the final shot where that light was that was separating them out.

payson engagement session platt photography

Outside or inside the Profoto light is a critical part or my photography.

Rusty helped me test the light by putting his head IN it! Good job, Rusty. He won’t be my assistant anytime soon.

payson engagement session platt photography

Engagement portraits are best taken in the cool hights of the forests of Northern Arizona, this is one of my favorite spots, just north of Payson, AZ.

payson engagement session platt photography

Engagement portraits are best taken in the cool hights of the forests of Northern Arizona, this is one of my favorite spots, just north of Payson, AZ.

Cade’s High School Senior Portraits

This was a great Senior Portrait shoot with Cade.  My camera needed a bath after this one!

Adobe Spark Page

Tim and Brittany’s Wedding at the Boojum Tree in Phoenix, Arizona

I photographed Brittany and Tim’s wedding at The Boojum Tree in Phoenix, Arizona. The wedding was packed full of beautiful ideas, tender moments and wonderful people.

My favorite photographs from the wedding

This first photo was one of my favorite details in the wedding. Later, during the ceremony, the bride and groom will braid and tie the three cords, signifying their partnership with Christ in their union.  I thought it was beautifully done.

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The dress (Tara Keely by Lazaro from Destiny’s Bridal) was absolutely beautiful. The bride had the sleeves added by Destiny’s and as you will see later, it was the perfect thing to do, and so well done.

Wedding dress Tara Keely by Lazaro

The entire wedding party was wearing little homages to Star Wars and it all starts with the bride’s R2D2 heels.

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The grooms cufflinks quoted the interchange between Han Solo and Princess Leah just before the empire puts Han into carbon freezing.

“I love you.”

“I know.”

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I love photos through reflections in glass and of course the moment was a perfect one.

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Getting ready in Wedding dress Tara Keely by Lazaro

The bride and groom choose a “First Look”

The first look is always a tender moment. It is such a wonderful way for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time. The traditional “don’t see the bride before the ceremony” is a fine way to do things as well, but I think that there is far more tenderness in the first look.

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Tim and Brittany took a little walk into the green house at the Boojum Tree for a little one on one time.

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With me shooting from a distance.

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Brittany made her own flowers out of cloth and buttons. They were quite impressive and I am told, they took a very long time to make. But they will also last a lot longer!

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There are the Star Wars Storm Trooper socks.  And who can argue with the fashionable and COMFORTABLE shoes. That is a bride who truly cares about her bride’s maids.

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The groomsmen were all a bunch of nuts and very happy with their hosiery as well.

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It’s all about the flowers and the dress. Brittany couldn’t have found a better dress.

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The wedding portrait session

Our portrait session consisted the couple of myself and my assistant (with a Profoto B1 off camera light). We spent about twenty minutes making their official portraits, but the moments between them are the absolute best.

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The Boojum Tree is full of perfect backdrops and locations. Everywhere you turn is another opportunity for a great photograph. It is a full 360 degree visual feast, which is great because that means you will always be able to find the perfect lighting condition. Some great open shade and the addition of one light is all it took.

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Oh, and of course the beautiful couple.

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I absolutely love this portrait of Brittany. She shows off the dress perfectly.

The bride wearing a Tara Keely wedding dress by Lazaro with added lace sleeves.

Tim is great in front of the camera, it was such a great experience photographing him. Many times, the groom is not all that excited about portraits and photos, but Tim loves the camera and it loves him.

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While we were take the couple’s portraits, I spun around to find a number of the bride’s maids watching from the gazebo. I asked the rest to join them to get this shot.

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Seriously cute kids were all over this wedding, all of them dressed to the nines.

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I loved the flower girls’ dresses. Full of texture!

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A tender wedding full of powerful moments to photograph

This is one of my favorite shots from the day. During the ceremony, the bride and groom will be reading love notes to one another, so the bride holds hers in her hands. The “kiss me” detail on her nail is perfect.

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This was another great detail. All down the isle were these texture rich collages with scriptures. I thought it was meaningful and beautiful.

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Here comes the ring. Notice the ear piece in the protective detail.

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The bride’s father lead her to the beginning of the isle and turned to her to read a special note to her before taking her the rest of the way down the isle to her groom. I loved this idea, it was a very tender moment between a father and daughter.

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When the bride and groom read their love notes to each other, it was just to each other, no mics. They were not speaking for the benefit of the crowd. They were speaking only to one another.

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That is the kind of tenderness and intimacy that makes a wedding great.

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The braiding and tying of the three cords was a great idea, but I especially liked the images I was able to capture during the process.

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Both the bride and groom are so expressive. It just makes it fun to photograph them. I could wait patiently, knowing that at one point they would both give me beautiful expressions that were full of life.

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How often do you see the Groom pick up his bride and carry her down the isle after the ceremony? So perfect!

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The tables were set in the green house, but the Tim and Brittany were the first to see the room.

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During the cocktail hour, we shot all the family portraits and a few others, like this cute little shot of the flower girls and the bride.

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It wasn’t visible to the crowd at the wedding, but the little boy in the wagon was carrying the safe to transport the rings.

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Another one of my absolute favorites. That veil was made for her and not by a dress shop. Her mother-in-law made that veil. So delicate.

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The battle at the cake table was intense!

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Tim and Brittany are too fun!

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Tim was a bartender at one time, so I thought this shot would be an appropriate image.

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With minutes to the end, the bride sneaks away to pack up her things for the get away!

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So much energy, expression and love.  It is always my pleasure to be a part of every wedding I photograph. Brittany and Tim, your wedding was an absolute joy as are you both.

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I wish you both the best of everything as you head off into the unknown!

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Photography by Jared Platt

Wedding location: The Boojum Tree, Phoenix, Arizona

Slideshow music by Hive Riot, courtesy of triple scoop music

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (1)

Little Angels: a A Child Life Portrait

I photographed two absolute angels this month.  It was a perfect Saturday morning in the most beautiful little grove of trees in Gilbert, Arizona.  The trees had lost a few leaves which had turned a wonderful orange-yellow.  The weather was perfect and the girls were as cute as they could be.  The slide show presents the photos in full color, but I thought I would show my favorite images from this portrait shoot in a muted film style.  I was inspired to present them in this style by the first image in the series.  It just begged to be shown this way, so who am I to argue with an image’s wishes.

Princess dresses, magic wands and pink cowboy boots.  You can’t ask for a better morning than this…

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (1)

The girls had a lot of fun playing in the leaves and running back and forth in their little princess dresses.  There is a lot of joy in those little girls.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (2)

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (3)

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This is the moment we live for.

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One of my absolute favorites in the entire set.  I think it is absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (6)

 But while her sister was falling to sleep, big sister was full of life and energy.  I think princess outfits are like sugar to a little girl.  Put them on and they become full of life and energy.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (7)

Family Portrait Location: Gilbert Arizona

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (7)

Clint and Abbey’s Wedding in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple

Abbey and Clint were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.  We shot some portraits with them the day before the wedding.  I was pleased with the enter shoot.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding portrait shoot and the wedding day itself. Enjoy.

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Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (2)

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This next image is one of my favorites.  Most of the time you are taking a portraits, but for very brief moments during the shoot, you catch their true personality and expression.  That is what I live for as a photographer… the perfect little moments.  Most of what I do leads up to these little moments in the portrait session.

All of the portraits are lit by Profoto B1 Off Camera Flashes.  The sun you see peaking through the trees is actually a B1 off camera flash.  Looks great!  When the sun isn’t cooperating, make your own sun.

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Now this next shot, the sun is actually the sun.  FYI.  But I love this shot. The bride’s mother said it looked like they were in the garden of eden.

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This one is all about the dress and the shoes.  I like the like glimpse of the shoes.

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Just a little cool drama.  Sometimes I want to do something a little different… I like the drama here in this day for night look.

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The details on this wedding are quite fun.  I love the brown paper bag luminaries.  They had great variety of them.

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And nothing entertains me more than photographing children at weddings and rehearsal dinners.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (9)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (10)

On the wedding day, the clouds were threatening rain, but held back until the minute we finished the family portraits and as we started walking back to the temple, the clouds began to unload.  I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.  We got out portraits without incident, but I got a great series of shots as the rain forced the wedding party to run for cover!  Perfect!

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (11)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (12)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (13)

The reception was in a local Chandler church building.  But the entire room was draped in white with beautiful white feathers and chandeliers and twinkle lights.  It was very well done.  I played around with various overlapping compositions to describe the room, but I think this shot gives the best description of how the room felt.

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Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (15)

During the toasts, one of the groomsmen sat next to the grooms grand-father to translate.  I was drawn to their relationship throughout the reception.  It was touching.  Oh and I also love the light.  All of the light during the reception is provided by two Profoto B1 off camera flashes on either side of the reception room.

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A kiss is far more interesting in context.

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I love the emotional responses to the toasts at this reception.  There was a lot of love circulating in that room.  I love feeling that kind of love and closeness.

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During the most emotional groom’s toast I have ever witness, the groom’s grandfather stood up and made his way to the groom’s side to show his support.  I don’t think there are any words to describe now touching this scene really was.  So, I will let the photo do the work.

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Brides make grandfathers’ face light up like nothing else.

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Oh the anticipation of a wedding cupcake!  She can hardly stand it…

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The M&Ms were a party favorite.  They had a photo of the Bride and Groom on them.  It was pretty cool.

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Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (26)

Congratulations to Clint and Abbey.  It was an honor to be a part of your wedding day.

Wedding Slideshow Music by __ Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple

Breanna and Rimo’s Wedding in Gilbert, Arizona

Congratulations to Breanna and Rimo.  It was such an honor to be a part of their wedding.  Breanna and Rimo were married in the Gilbert, Arizona LDS Temple with a reception at Noah’s in Chandler.  Enjoy the slideshow.

Ellie’s Senior Portraits

We photographed Ellie for her senior portraits a while ago, but I thought I would share this behind the scenes slideshow.  Making senior portraits is one of the most enjoyable things I do as a photographer because it is a collaboration between me and an incredible and unique individual who is just bursting out into the world ready to conquer!  I love it!

Enjoy the slideshow and watch for more slideshows and photo posts throughout the summer months.

Location: Chandler, Arizona

Slideshow music by It Takes Two to Tango, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Senior Portrait Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Free Webinar with Profoto: One Light Portraits

On May 21, join me at Profoto.com/live on location for a real senior portrait shoot.

Those of you who do not live in the US might wonder what a senior portrait is. It is simply a portrait taken of a student during his or hers senior year of high school.  In this case, I am taking you on a real senior portrait shoot, which we have filmed just for you to see our lighting techniques.

We bring a single flash to the shoot and utilize simple yet effective lighting techniques that make lighting a portrait simple and beautiful.  This webinar is not just for senior portrait photographers.  Any photographer wanting to create beautiful portraits fast on location will have plenty to learn.

The webinar will take place on May 21 at 7PM CET (May 21 at 10AM Los Angeles, 1PM New York, 6PM London, 7PM Paris // May 22 at 1AM Beijing, 2AM Tokyo, 3AM Sydney).

Go to www.profoto.com/live to sign up or watch live.