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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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The Phoenix Symphony

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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.

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A Peppermint Tea Party

What did you do on New Years Day?  It is hard to believe that anyone felt more important than these five little girls this New Years Day.  It was about the cutest event I have ever seen.  My wife is an amazing event designer (although she doesn’t do it professionally).  The amount of love that goes into this kind of a party is off the charts, and the girls felt it.  There’s nothing like seeing a little girl turn into a real princess for a morning.
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 Party Design by Danielle Platt

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of TripleScoopMusic

Engagement portraits in phoenix arizona

Sean & Lexi are Getting Married!

Lexie and Sean’s engagement portraits were shot at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the photo shoot.

First, they both have great smiles when they are laughing, and I’m not sure what Sean was saying half the time (because I was further away), but Lexie clearly thinks he’s funny.  So I just waited for him to make her laugh, or vice versa.

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I like this shot a lot.  Lexie’s got a lot of cute going on and Sean is just there backing her up.

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This shot was taken immediately after sundown.  May favorite time of day to take photo.  I live for this 10-20 minutes of light.  In this case, I let the brighter western skylight be a large soft box to the left which made for beautiful volume on their faces.

I also like the hat.

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This shot was taken well after sunset, in the fading minutes of usable light.  But at 3200 ISO and f2.0 you can get an awful lot of light and on the Canon 5D Mark III, that still looks beautiful in color.  I added a Kodachrome look to the shot to give it a more nostalgic look.  I am pleased with the shot.

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And the final shot of the evening gave us perfect light in the sky and with an off camera flash, we got perfect light on Lexie and Sean.  It’s always nice to end a day with a great shot and a kiss.  (The great shot was for me, the kiss was for them).

Engagement portraits in phoenix arizona

 Engagement portrait photographs by Jared Platt, PLatt Photography.

Slideshow music by Sparrow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Location: Phoenix Botanical Gardens.

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Professional Toddler: I’ll Call You Back, I’m in a Meeting.

I take a lot of pictures of a lot of events, people and things, but some of my favorite images come from child portrait sessions.  These little people are the most genuine and conformable people I photograph and we get along very well.

This session was a lot of fun.  Our little toddler was always on the move, so she was a challenge to follow, but that energy came with a lot of personality.  The session started in the park where she wore us all out running back and forth with her ball and when we finally got back to grandma’s house, she was settled down pretty well… and was content to draw, read to her stuffed animal or hold meetings on her cel phone.

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Always smiling.  The park is her natural habitat.

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Get a load of that excitement and energy.  That’s truly infectious.

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Grandpa got the most love of the day.  Grandma spent more time running.  I’m glad I got this shot.  I would want this shot if it were my daughter.

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Child portrait in Phoenix, Arizona by photographer Jared Platt. (7)

As I approached the house, after the park visit, she was waiting at the door.  I wasn’t really ready for the shot, I was packing in gear and so I had to set a few things down to get the shot and I only got one shot and then she was gone.  It pays to be ready for the shot.  Also, having an assistant to cary the other things would have given me more freedom to get more shots, but I think I got what I needed regardless.  I love the shot.

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Snack time.  This is important on many levels.  It is essential that a child have a snack half way through the portrait session so the energy levels are replenished and there aren’t any major breakdowns.  It also gives the child a chance to do something they love to do.  And finally, it gives me a chance to get some cute photos that are a little different than the rest of the shoot.  Snack time is a great part of any toddler portrait session.

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When my wife saw this photo, she said in an envious tone, “I want that photo.”  With her daughter in it (of course).  That’s how I know I got a great shot.  My wife covets the shot for her own child.

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Story time.

I was very pleased with the entire setup for this shot.  The windows already had great light coming through, which made for a nice backlit situation.  The lamp was also proving a glow, as were the lights in the room.  Just one addition flash was needed to fill in the shadow and give the subject a little extra volume.  The light was a Canon 600RT Speedlite with a Strobie small soft box on a Cheetah Stand.  I exposed at a higher ISO and first figured out my exposure for the window light.  Then I fired up the flash and pushed it up to a few stops below the window light.  I always find the ambient light first, then add flash of constant light to supplement the natural light.

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And finally, a happy formal portrait.  I am so pleased with all of the shots, but second only to the shot of her on the phone with the bear to her side, this is my very favorite image.  She’s just so happy and everything works well compositionally for a portrait print.

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Children’s Photography by Jared Platt, www.plattphotography.com

Slideshow music by Anna Sali, courtesy of www.TripleScoopMusic.com

Location, Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Ted and Ali’s Engagement Portraits at The Botanical Gardens

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Ali, Ted and I met at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens for an engagement portrait session a few days ago.  The weather has not turned too hot yet, but the sun was still fairly high in the sky (it wasn’t yet sweet light time) and Ted remarked on that as we were shooting.  “I thought the sun would be too high and we’d have to wait for it to drop a bit.”  And he’d be correct were it not for the great tree cover in the gardens.  There are so many places to hide from the sun and use it for a back light that we were able to get a lot of great shots and still get them off to enjoy the rest of the their evening (which included a baseball game for Ted).  Portraits do not have to be difficult, painful or even long.

These are a few of my favorite images from the shoot.  There were a lot of them, but I’ll post my favorites here and I will let them speak for themselves.

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

It’s like the sunset lasted for an hour and a half.  Everything was simply gold.

Engagement portrait by Jared Platt in Phoenix, Arizona

Engagement portrait photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Phoenix Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

Snow in Phoenix, Arizona

Snow Day in Phoenix, Arizona


Snow in Phoenix, Arizona

In Arizona, we don’t have snow days, we have SNOW MINUTES.  By the time the clouds had cleared enough to reveal the snow on the mountains, we had minutes to pack up the car, get the kids out of school and drive out into the desert to find patches of snow.  As we rounded each successive curve, I worried we may not get anything more than a patch or two of snowy mud in the shadow of a rock, but we beat the melt and found a great view and enough snow to have a little snow ball fight.  I grew up around snow.  But my wife, who grew up in Phoenix, was 33 when she first saw snow falling out of the sky.  So, any chance we get, we expose our children to snow in an effort to make them more empathetic to those who live in the northern climates!

Anyway, here was our view this afternoon as we played in the snow.

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Thomas: A Child Portrait in Phoenix, Arizona

The Farm at South Mountain is a great place to get away from Phoenix for a while, even though it is five minutes from downtown.  There’s great food there for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  When I go there, I feel like I am back in my home town, minus some palm trees that are still visible there.  But mostly, it is a little working farm right in the middle of the valley.  I hope it never goes away.  So when a client wants something that doesn’t look like the desert, but doesn’t want to travel, this is a great spot.  Of course, there are fees associated with photographing here, so be prepared.

Thomas is a cute little kid.  I shot his parents wedding a few years back.  Like I’ve said before, it is always an honor to photograph the children of my wedding clients.  Thomas is a very curious and active little guy.  He’s got the walking thing down and he is like the energizer bunny, so we followed him around and sometimes, like in the case of this first photo, had to keep moving him back into position.  We would get a shot or two before he was off investigating something else.  But we got the shots and the light was absolutely perfect when we first arrived.

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I liked the color on the scene, but on this particular image, he moved into the light and the oranges from the sun were a bit too orange on his skin, so I elected to change it to black and white and loved what I got from it, so this one became black and white.  We could get the same beautiful black and white from all the other images, but this one needed to stay black and white, whereas the rest of the images in the series could be seen in either very well.

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Here is his on the go.

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The fruit kept him entertained for a few minutes so we went with it.

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What you don’t see is that the fruit was in his hand moments before.

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This is a Sun Devil Family.  I get that, because we are as well.  So we made a swap into Sun Devil gear and took a few final photos.  I love this shot.  There are more in the slideshow, but this was my favorite.  If you follow my work, you will note that I don’t find typical posed family portraits to be all that interesting.  And while we take them during the course of a shoot.  There are the images I like to pay attention to.  The mean more to me and to the people who are in them.  The typical posed stuff serves more as a record of what a family looked like at the time of the portrait and that’s about it.

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It is always such and honor to photograph the the children of my wedding clients.  Thanks Ashley and Darren for trusting me with yours.  He’s a cute kid.

Child Portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Nancy Falkow, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: The Farm at South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona