I spent a week in Greer photographing collateral images for Hidden Meadow Ranch (one of my favorite places in the West). I am working on some of them now and came across this fun little shot at the dinner table full of sunlight and sunshine.
I had a number of cameras with me on this job. Dinner time was the one moment of the day I wasn’t shooting or planning a shot, so it was my time to enjoy and to play with some of the cameras I had at my disposal. This shot was taken with the Leica M rangefinder camera and adjusted in Lightroom. More images from this shoot are forth coming. Lot’s of cool cowboys, horses, etc…
I photographed the Flamino family at a park in Scottsdale, Arizona. The afternoon was full of fun and energy and snacks and running and more running. Getting either of the kids to sit was a rare occasion, so when they did, I took advantage of the moment.
This was my favorite image from the afternoon and not because of the composition or the light… I just know that’s the moment that matters to me as a father.
She has such beautiful curly hair. She was so much fun to photograph.
The afternoon ended with fun on the swings.
Focusing on a swinging child is impossible because by the time you get focus, they are on their way out of it. Instead of trying to get the camera to follow them automatically, I simply set a focus distance and waited until the child entered into my area of focus.
Children’s Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Nancy Falkow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Location: Park in Scottsdale, Arizona
It’s been a while since I hung out with the Basha boys. The youngest remind me so much of my youngest boy, so photographing them is a lot of fun. Well, they seemed to have a good time too. So I’m going to call it a success all around because we got some greta photos. Here are my favorites from the day, along with a slideshow of the session.
I think their father was doing something behind me at this point and I think it had something to do with me… that’s ok. I will take any kind of abuse to get the shot.
This was an interesting choice. There’s a lot of green back there that is beautiful, but only when the vines are the majority of the frame. The composition I think is better when the building plays a greater role in the image, but the color of the building pulls you away from the family, so when they were in front of the vines, I kept the images in color, but when they are in front of the building, I turned the images to black and white with a sepia tone. I much prefer the sepia toned image to the color anyway, but I can see the merits in the color images as well, so long as the building is not too prevalent in the image.
I tell write this out so that people can get a glimpse into my thinking as I make decisions for the image. I suppose very few clients would have felt that something was wrong with the color version of the image, but I am certain that if shown the two side by side, the choice would be clear. That being said, I don’t show them side by side, because I fortunately get to make the decisions…
One of the most challenging things we do in a child portrait session is try to get a child to smile naturally. If you tell them to smile, they give you a forced smile, which then makes you wish they would just go back to sullen. So we go back and forth, smile, frown, smile, don’t smile, we tell jokes, parents act like monkeys, we tell them little lies about spaceships in our cameras, whatever we can do to distract them from thinking about forcing a smile. Then, once in a great while, they break out the natural smiles. The ones that say, “you’re funny daddy,” or that show the beginnings of bright eyed wonderment. All the spent frames can then be dumped on the cutting room floor in favor of the little gems of personality we capture by shear will patience and will power and distraction, of course.
He was pretty proud of himself, getting on that rock. It required smashing a lot of flowers!
This is my favorite shot of the older brother. This was late into the portrait session, so by this point, he had gotten used to me and was able to let go a little. The images always get more and more natural as the session goes on. Imagine what a photo session is like when you spend all day, or three days with the family. By the last day, the children don’t even know I am there.
I will be posting next, a family documentary portrait that lasted for 10 days in China. If you have been following the other portraits I shot there, those were two hour sessions, as was this session. But the family we were there to visit was the focus of my attention for ten days. I’ll look forward to sharing the images with you.
I love the fence in the background. When I found this, I was sold on it and had to bring them here for a few shots.
I love this image.
This is not my image, I must admit. It is one of the boys’ shots. They wanted to take photos so badly, so I let them. The camera is a bit too heavy for either of them, but I held the bulk of the weight and zone focused it and then let them frame and shoot the shot. Not bad. I don’t know which image was which boys, so we will just say this image was shot by the Basha Boys. Good job guys.
Thanks for hanging out with me.
Slideshow Music by Fisher, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.
Location: South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona
Glory and her parents were visiting from Maryland and called to schedule a portrait session for her. I photographed Glory’s parents wedding just a few years ago so it was a thrill to see them again and meet the new addition. We chose the Phoenix Botanical Gardens for the portrait session because it offers a great variety of backdrops and environments, plus, it is just a nice walk.
Here are some of my favorites from the morning.
Glory didn’t stop moving the entire morning. She’s a very busy little girl. Fortunately, there are a lot of paths to walk and wear her out…
I loved this shot. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I have become increasingly more aware of cute little dresses. I like the fact that the flower in her hand is so subdued in comparison to the vivid print on the dress.
This is my absolute favorite shot of the day. I love the long grass, the dress, the backlight and then the treatment helps put it all together.
And this is a great companion image to the previous.
When I was taking this photograph, I was thinking about W Eugene Smith’s photograph, The Walk to Paradise Garden. It’s not the same, but it’s one of those things that makes me smile, when I see something in front of me that reminds me of something great from the past. If you have not seen photographs by W Eugene Smith, I suggest it as a great activity for the evening.
There’s nothing better than reading next to a big bear that is five times your size!
I love this one. She looks so happy tucked in with her pillow and her book. Her smile is infectious.
It was a pleasure and an honor to photograph Glory. I am glad to have caught so many images that I would love to have of my own daughter. I suppose that is my ultimate goal, to be a little jealous of my client’s photos…
Child Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Location: Phoenix Botanical Gardens and Home in Scottsdale, Arizona
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Smith’s family portrait session in Chandler, Arizona at Tumbleweed Park. I am growing to love that park more and more for photos and of course the kids love it too because it is full of interesting things and has a great playground.
The most challenging part was to keep the baby from eating the clover.
The original noise maker. A stick and a fence.
I absolutely love this image. Love it.
Bored but so very cute.
This image makes me smile. The baby is not sure what to do here, and perhaps is looking at his sister to figure it out. When I started shooting this, the obvious thought was to wait for them both to look through the windows, but that might have been too symmetrical. I think I prefer this anyway. Although I will never know. The baby never looked through the window.
Family Portrait Session by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, Courtesy of Kevin Burdick
Location: Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona
Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Arizona makes a great setting for family and children’s portraits. It’s a big park with lots of options. One of my favorite areas at the park is the old farm where they hold the Ostrich Festival each year. This is where we shot the Basha family portrait. The Basha boys are good looking kids and quite expressive, so I enjoyed making their portraits.
I always hope for clouds, but in Phoenix, Arizona, serious cloud cover doesn’t happen all that often. So in this case, I had to pull out the off camera flash on a Lowell light stand with the TT1 and TT5 Pocket Wizard set which allows me to fire my flash manually in high speed sync mode. This means I can match the background ambient light with my fill flash at high shutter speeds. Otherwise this first shot would have been either over exposed in the back ground or the family would be severely underexposed. The Pocket Wizards have their challenges in their communication range, but they are invaluable to me in challenging lighting circumstances.
Of course, shooting in the open shade is always my favorite way to photograph. No off camera light needed, just pure beautiful north light.
This is my favorite photo of the day. He’s wearing a great shirt for the shot and the texture is fantastic. We found an old apple box near this wood pile and after checking for scorpions and black widows, we let the little man play in around and on the box. He was quite the ham though and this little pose was perfect.
Children’s Portrait Photography Information
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Camera: Canon, Mark IV, 70-200 2.8 IS Lens
Tyler just turned one and his parents threw him a big monkey filled birthday party. I am always interested in watching a child’s reaction to the first birthday cake. My boys were always very cautious about getting messy. Tyler was a bit apprehensive at first as well. “Is this really for me, or is this some kind of trick?”
While the baby was being changed, I took the opportunity to take a portrait of him. I had nice window light and a black changing blanket, so it was a great situation for a quick black and white portrait of the baby.
What do you do when your father won’t stop talking?
Tyler’s father is an excellent pianist and Tyler was not doing to bad himself. The most meaningful and precious photographs I have of my children are those where we are doing something meaningful together. So when I see a moment where a father is playing the piano with his son on his lap, I will drop everything for that shot.
I’d say, that Tyler came out pretty clean for a baby with a birthday cake on his plate.
Event: Baby’s First Birthday and Baby Portrait
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick
Location: Home in Paradise Valley, Arizona
Of course, the thing we photographers deal with is that we can take plenty of pictures of our children, but we never seem to be in them… I completely understood how Isaac was feeling, so I dropped everything and went over. We got some fantastic infant portraits. The first one (above) is my very favorite. I think it describes Isaac very well: a strong man with a very soft heart.
The next image is perfect. Isaac has large hands, which was good because Baby Boy Bailey (that is still his official name on the records) has very long feet, so making them look super tiny requires BIG hands.
Baby Boy Bailey (I love calling him by that name, I think I will always call him BB) was very sleepy. So we had a time getting him to open his eyes, but with some patience, we got a few shots of him with his eyes open. Sleepy, but open.
I love the yawn.
This has to be my second favorite image from the infant portrait session. I love the contrast between Isaac’s beard, his rough carpenter hands and the baby’s soft skin. And of course, the tender kiss seals the importance of the image. Nothing is more precious than a kiss on a baby’s cheek or forehead. That connection can not be over stated.
Isaac wanted to make sure we captured a few images with the hospital band in them. I completely agree. I think I wore my hospital band for weeks after my daughter was born. Anyway, this image does such a great job of showing off that hospital band. It is definitely one of the major characters in this image, but doesn’t over power the other players, like BB Bailey and his dad’s hand.
The size relationship of a father’s thumb and his baby’s hand should be one of the wonders of the world. I am always amazed that those little fingers work just like mine do. BB Bailey also has long fingers. This boy will be a very tall concert pianist.
Feeding time is a precious moment.
Infant Portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
By the way, Isaac Bailey is not only a great photographer… he designed and built this blog!