Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

A+T: Engagement Portraits in Gilbert, Arizona

My wife and I have known Allie since she was in high school. Neither one of us thought that there was a man out there as cool as Allie, but of course Allie had to prove us wrong . . . . and found the lid to her pot.  I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Allie and Tyler in a grove of pistachio trees in Gilbert, Arizona. Here are some of my favorite images:

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Note to self: buy mirror sunglasses.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

I had a great time playing with the colors in this photo.  If I were 14 I would say it looks “chill” even though it is warm.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Long before he fell in love with Allie, Tyler fell in love with the outdoors. Not one to shy away from a little competition, Allie drummed up this little number to catch her man’s eye. I was laughing the entire time we were shooting.  Which is problematic because laughter creates camera shake.  But I kept it under control.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

  In today’s world of social networking we have all at one time or another written up a personal profile – a brief description of who we are and of the events that have occurred in our lives to make us that way. I told you that I have known Allie for a long time. Her personal profile is full of strength, hard work, optimism, and survival. I am so pleased with this next shot of Allie. It does what photography does best and provides a visual representation of that description of who we are and the events that have made us that way.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Is it possible that Tyler likes her even better without the antlers?

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Yep!

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

As the sun set, I opened up the aperture on my 50 mm 1.2 lens all the way to 1.2 which gave us this extreme limited depth of field.  I told Allie and Tyler I was going to be making some extremely grainy old looking photographs.  They were excited about the idea.  I think they turned out well.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

This is definitely on of my favorite shots of the day.  The grain, the encircling branches, the soft light.  It is all there.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Ever the hunter!

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Tyler brought several deadly weapons to this photo shoot . . . and I just brought my camera.

Engagement portrait in Gilbert, Arizona

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: The Groves, Gilbert, Arizona

Slideshow Music by Fisher, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

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The Nelson Twins: A Child Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

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Yes sir, the Nelson twin boys look handsome in their brand new suites!  These are a few of my favorites from a quick portrait session here in Chandler, Arizona.  I love the black and white on these images and I added a little grain to give them that film look.  I didn’t go into Silver Effects Pro 2 though, this is straight out of Lightroom 3, the grain in LR 3 is very respectable.

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Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Chandler, Arizona (one of many neighborhood green belts)

Adobe Lightrom and Photoshop Workshops by Jared Platt

Lightroom Workshops in Phoenix, AZ – January 26, 27, 28

Adobe Lightrom and Photoshop Workshops by Jared Platt

If you have been thinking about taking a Lightroom workshop, this is the time to do it!  The price is right and so is the location.  We are holding three Lightroom Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona on January 26, 27 and 28.  The weather is absolutely perfect here, so if you are from the frozen north, this is the perfect time to get away, thaw out and improve your Lightroom and Workflow skills.
The Workshop Schedule:
January 26 – 4 pm to 8 pm: Intro to Lightroom and Photo Editing – Book Now for ONLY 49$
January 27 – 9 am to 5 pm: The Lightroom Workflow Workshop  – Book Now for ONLY $199
January 28 – 9 am to 5 pm: The Lightroom Workflow Workshop  – Book Now for ONLY $199

BOOK YOUR SEAT NOW!

The Lightroom Workflow Workshop is being held on Friday the 27th and a second session on Saturday the 28th for your convenience.  Choose the one that fits your schedule. If you are new to Lightroom, take the into course on the 26th and add the Lightroom Workflow Workshop to learn even more about Lightroom and how to fit it into your studio or person workflow.

Are you new to digital photography or Lightroom and photo editing?
The January 26th Intro to Lightroom and Photo Editing is a great place to start.
Infant girl portraits by Jared Platt (7)

Gia Bella: An Infant Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

In my last post, I introduced you to my good friend, Paul Scott, who was acting as my stand in as I was setting lights for his grand-daughter’s portraits.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot.

She looks so snuggly and happy.  I love it when little babies barely open one eye.

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This is one of my favorites.  I love all the hands holding her up.

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I labored over which foot shot to put in the blog post, I liked a number of them quite a lot, but I elected for this one in particular because the toes break the horizon line of her father’s hand.  It is often simple things like that which make the difference between a select and a reject.

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This one was pretty cute too.

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This was my absolute favorite.  I love the composition and I think Kelly (mom) looks like a million bucks.  Great shot.

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Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Photograph of Paul Scott by Jared Platt

He’s Kind of a Big Deal: A Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

Photograph of Paul Scott by Jared Platt

You may not know who he is, but he’s kind of a big deal.  Let me introduce you to my good friend Paul Scott.  I was taking portraits of his grand-daughter (coming next blog post) and used him as a test for the shots.  I loved this portrait of him and wanted to show it to you, but I thought I’d tell you how cool this cat is.  He’s the most down to earth man I’ve ever met, patient and unconditionally loving.  I couldn’t begin to give him credit for what a great guy he is.  He’s a big music buff as well, he always has some obscure band to introduce me to, and you’ll never find him at a big rock concert.  It’s always the hole in the wall bar with twelve people listening to a fantastic band… that’s where you’ll find him.  But aside from all of that, he’s kind of a big deal!  He’s quite the unsung hero, or kind of like a super hero.  I can’t say any more because I think he likes his anonymity (he’s kind of shy), but I just wanted to give a shout out to my good friend Paul, who, though you may not know it, works quietly behind the scenes to make your comfortable little world a cleaner, nicer, better smelling place.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Post Processing by Lightroom and Silver Effects Pro 2

Family Portrait and Christmas Card Photographs (1)

Merry Christmas from The Platt Family

Family Portrait and Christmas Card Photographs (1)

Merry Christmas from Platt Photography and the Platt family.

Here is the 2011 Christmas card photo shoot.  My wife, Danielle is always coming up with great ideas for our Christmas cards.  Each year, after Christmas, she starts working on the next year’s photo concept.  This years was particularly difficult as we had to find all the clothing and the props.  Some of it is completely authentic period clothing and some of it was either rented or even made for the photo shoot.

All of this started when my mother produced my grand-father’s kindergarten outfit from the early 1900’s.  Then, Danielle was able to find a dress from about 1890 on ebay.  She found some cute clothes for my daughter off the modern rack that had the same feel and then my eldest son and I rented various costume pieces and my mother sewed a few things we could not find.  I also needed a period camera.  The 4×5 camera I own is too new (circa 1940), so I put out an APB for wooden field camera and my friend Keith Pitts came through.  It is an old thing and in need of much work, but looks great.  Danielle also found an old wooden tripod, but there was no plate to connect the camera to the tripod, so we had to put the camera on a modern tripod and then lash the wood tripod to the outside of the modern tripod.  Then with a little photoshop work, I was able to remove the modern tripod where it was showing through.

You will note that all of the photos are cropped to an 8×10 aspect ratio.  I wanted to keep the authenticity of the shots even down to the aspect ratio common for the time period (i.e. 4×5 or 8×10) owing to the use of large format negatives, glass plates or tin types.  I suppose I get a little persnickety about the details, but I wanted it to feel very authentic.

Here is a photo of my grandfather wearing the outfit my youngest son is now wearing in our photos.  Earl is the one on the left.

My kids were thrilled with this photo shoot.  I told the boys, you are not supposed to smile on any of these photos.  “Really?  Awesome!”  They loved it.

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This is one of my favorites from the entire photo shoot.  It was just a grab during the planning of the photo, but I love it, love it!

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Jackson was really getting into the role.  I explained to my kids that in old photos no one smiled because they couldn’t hold a smile long enough for the long shutter speed and that they were always uncomfortable because they had to hold still and they sometimes even had a brace on their neck to keep them perfectly still for the photograph.  So he did his best.  Indiana (my daughter) on the other hand just did whatever she wanted.

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I think this photograph is a perfect representation of Britton’s relationship with Indiana in comparison to the photo above.  Britton has taken it upon himself to be Indie’s protector and caring older brother.  He puts Indie first at all times and she is completely confident with her big brother as her backup.

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This is another one of my favorites.  Of course, the serious looks are perfect for the time period and not completely indicative of my wife and oldest son, but there is something very truthful about this photograph.  You know, I always comment on how “true” images are of people that I photograph, but it is always with limited information about the people and who they are, so I am making educated guesses about their relationships and personalities (which I seem to get right most of the time), but when I photograph my own family, I get to see these shots and the “truths” contained in them with complete confidence that I am reading them correctly.  There is something very proud in their relationship, a seriousness to it, complete with expectations and determination to succeed.  Not that they are not playful with each other, but there is an element of seriousness in their relationship not as prevalent in her relationship with the other children that makes this photograph ring true.

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And Indie continues to smile.  She was just happy to be there.

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Now, if there is one other photograph that rings “true” in this collection it is this one.  This is a very good indication of my relationship with my daughter.  She loves me very much and I am smitten with that little angel.  She has taken to telling me two things on an hourly basis. “I love you” followed by, “I miss you daddy.”  This, of course, melts my heart.  I am not sure she understands what that means, but she seems to understand that it means that she wants to be around me.  She was sick last night and called for me, and I spent a few hours up with her throughout the night, and although she was sick and I was tired, we both thoroughly enjoyed the time together.  So, that is what is happening here in this photograph.  She is breaking away from the family group because I am over by the camera and she wants to be near me, not in a crying and southed only by daddy kind of way, but in a genuine excited to be in my arms, kind of way.

My brother Rex Platt (my chief second shooter) is taking all of the photos that I am in, by the way.  Thanks to Rex for all his help on this photo shoot.  He is a great photographer and an even greater friend.

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This boy just makes me smile every time I look at him.

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And I love this photograph.  That little muff was made by my mother.  It was hard to get Indie to put her hands in it, but as it got colder in the evening, it was much easier to get her to see the wisdom in using it.

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My mother also made his nickers.  Thanks mom.  Good job!

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I think I could have enjoyed being a photographer in 1890, I am, after all a technical kind of guy and good in the darkroom, but I don’t miss the film days in the least.  I shot these photos and an hour later I was sitting in a yogurt shop eating frozen yogurt, looking at the JPG copies of the shoot on my iPad with NIK’s Snapseed App adjusting them and making some preliminary crops and treatments, etc.  Then I went home and loaded the RAW images into Lightroom and made the first round picks and started adjusting them.  Minutes later, I was showing the images to my wife and making plans for the final Christmas card and this blog post, which will be released on Christmas Eve.  This kind of turn around was unheard of anytime in the 20th century.  So I don’t miss film one little bit even though I have extreme respect the medium.

About Snapseed by NIK.  This is the best photo software on the iPad or iPhone.  It does EVERYTHING I need to do to a photo on my iPhone or iPad.  I used to have 30 different photo apps to do what I needed to get done, but now, when I am working on a photo on my handheld devices, Snapseed is all I use.  You have to get this app if you work on your photos at all.

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And while I am on the subject of NIK Software, I also have to mention the fact that every photo in this series went through NIK’s Silver Effects Pro 2 (a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture Plugin).  Silver Effects Pro 2 is indispensable when you are serious about a film look.  In this case, as much as I like Lightroom’s grain structure, I needed the photos to have a very realistic and accurate grain structure to match the historical feel of the photos.  And when I need REAL FILM GRAIN, I exclusively turn to Silver Effects Pro 2.  It is the gold standard for grain and film effects in digital imaging.  I will have to post a tutorial on using NIK Silver Effects Pro 2, it is a great bit of software.  I have included a screen shot below; it looks and feels a lot like Lightroom.  I am shouting for a few obvious enhancements that need to be made and if I am successful, it will be absolutely perfect!

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I suppose I am a photographer, truly.  I know that sounds strange to say, but when I call someone a photographer, it does not mean they own a camera and make money with it.  A photographer is a different breed of human.  We live to document and capture with “meticulous exactitude”, the world around us.  We don’t separate work from play.  Photography is life, we don’t live unless we record life.  I say this because I am so in love with this photo session because it was an opportunity for me to do something creative, fun and meaningful to me and my family and it was hard work, and it was fun and I cherish the moments we spent creating it and I cherish even more the moments I have spent looking at and thinking about the images and what they mean.  People look at art (paintings and sculptures etc) and ask, “what does it mean,” but they don’t do that with most photographs, when in actuality, every photo has as much or more meaning than a concocted piece of art, because photographs have the added element of reality embedded in them.  Even the randomly captured images have a deep meaning in them, stories, emotions, feelings, joys, sorrows, etc…  I have been spending a lot of time with these photos this Christmas because I am proud of the execution and in love with the meanings they project.

I hope you get to spend a little time with a few photographs this Christmas and get the chance to ponder what they are saying to you.

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours and from my photographs to you.

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Photographs by Jared Platt and Rex Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Gilbert, Arizona

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Just the Girls: A Portrait of Friends

My friend and client and fellow photographer, Jessica Brownell, put together a group of her closest and oldest friends for a portrait session.  We spend an hour in the streets of Shreveport, Louisiana.  I lead the way and the girls laughed and chatted and told a million inside jokes.  A good time was had by all.  Here are my favorites shots of the group.

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Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Shreveport, Louisiana.

Slideshow Music: Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

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The Smith Family Portrait 2011

The Smith family portrait was taken at the Norton Art Museum in Shreveport, Louisiana.  While dad is deployed, the rest of the family did a portrait session as a surprise for him.  We had a lot of fun, the kids were great and I was very pleased with the way the photos turned out.  Here are some of my favorites.

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This is the shot I would want if I were gone from my girls for a long time.

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This guy reminds me of my son, they could be brothers.  I was taking portraits of him and then I started looking around him at all the foliage and thought, how beautiful that mess of greenery is back there, so I recomposed to emphasis the background more.

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I can’t get over how cute the youngest is with he little bun on her head…  such a cutie.

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This one could be used as a lifestyle shot in a magazine.  I love it.

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If they were my kids, this would be a huge canvas print on my living room wall.  But they are not my kids, so I think my wife would find it strange if I print and hang this in my living room.

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This shot is just cherubic.  I love everything about it and she is an absolute doll.

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Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Shreveport, Louisiana.

Slideshow Music: Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

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The Maranto Family Portrait 2011

The Maranto family portraits were taken in Shreveport, Louisiana at a duck pond/park.  I have taken a number of portraits there over the years and love the trees, the pond, and the fact that there is a playground there for the kids.  It makes the event a lot more fun for the kids and gives them a reason to be there other than getting their picture taken.  And kids love ducks.

Here are my favorites from the family portrait session.

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Not quite steady on her feet just yet.  I love the pink boots and the pink leggings, that was a good choice.

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This shot is my favorite of the day.  We had to do a creative crop on it to avoid an unladylike pose, but I wasn’t about the trow it out for that.  It was too cute a shot, so I made the crop.  I like it cropped like this though.

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Yes, I know, this one is perfect.  This tree has a whole mess of exposed roots, so the texture just wraps around the baby.

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Some dads can throw their kids higher than other dads.  Mr. Maranto is a champ!  I can’t do that… can you?

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Oooops.  A little help please!

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Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Shreveport, Louisiana.

Slideshow Music: Nancy Falkow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.