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)

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (4)

This is the moment we live for.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (5)

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

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (1)

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

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (3)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (4)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (5)

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.

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

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

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (8)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (14)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (16)

A kiss is far more interesting in context.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (17)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (18)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (19)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (20)

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.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (21)

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (22)

Brides make grandfathers’ face light up like nothing else.

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (23)

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

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (24)

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

Wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple by Jared Platt, Platt Photography (25)

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

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

Daniel & Megan’s Wedding at The Grand Canyon

They were married at the Grand Canyon on Shoshone Point in a small, intimate affair in the largest cathedral on the planet.  The vast and stark majesty of the canyon must have provided an extreme contrast to New York, their home.  Rising cities and blue oceans to rock cliffs that fall thousands of feet into the earth.  If you are going to have a destination wedding, you may as well make it somewhere completely different than home… and they did.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

I loved this little necklace hanger.  It gave me about 15 minutes of entertainment while Megan was getting her makeup done.  I ran around the room collecting the items you see in the photo.  There are a number of these items that are special family heirlooms.  The old and the new, all together.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (2)

The rooms at the El Tovar (and all the hotels at the Canyon) are very small, so you take the space you can find and work within it.  I suppose we have to remind ourselves when this hotel was built.  I know it is young by European standards, but here in America, something that was built in 1905 is pretty old and it seems that people did not need much space back then.  Have you noticed the small hard sided suitcases they could carry their entire life’s wardrobe in?  I rest my case…

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I loved this shot.  There was a lot of flare from the window, so the film treatment helped to enhance the mood and feeling of the image.  I love how the light wraps around the bride and through the dress.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (4)

Both the ring and the handkerchief are old, so we aged the image a bit to work with the age of the items.  I love that she chose a dress that has the same antique nature with a little extra sparkle.  It all works together quite well.

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Late July, early August in the canyon is the monsoon season.  So you may get rain any given afternoon.  So, if you are getting married there, durring that timeframe, you have to be flexible with your timeframes.  I asked Megan to track the rain the day before the wedding and note the times it rained.  Armed with that information, a little observation of the clouds positions and movement and with a little prognostication, we made the call that we should move the wedding up an hour to avoid any rain.  And it was perfect.

The broken cloud cover was beautiful and it never rained on the wedding.  I think it may have rained a little later that evening, but the weather was absolutely perfect throughout the entire wedding and portrait session.  And the light, while occasionally harsh as the sun broke through a cloud here and there, was full of drama.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (6)

You know, I am usually much more interested in long lenses and shallow depth of field, but when you have skies and vistas like this, wide lenses and small f stops start making a lot of sense.

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You know, when I was young, I spent time photographing the Grand Canyon (this is when I thought I would be the next Ansel Adams), but I couldn’t make an image of the canyon that was anything but boring.  Of course we all know that practice makes a big difference, but I think that I just saw the canyon as a big hole in the ground.  It wasn’t until I started photographing weddings at the canyon that I started making interesting photographs of the canyon.  I have a few ideas as to why that is:

1.  When you are shooting a wedding, you are in the same place for a long time, and you have time to observe things as they change.  Being on the edge of the canyon during a wedding is fascinating.  In a church, you are looking at the same walls, the same candles, the same pews for the duration of the ceremony.  And while you are looking to make interesting vignettes and grand images of the space, the space does not change.  In the canyon, every minute brings a new lighting scenario, a new cloud formation, new shadows, new highlights… it is alive with activity.  Let’s suppose I had spent  that kind of time at the edge of the canyon when I was younger.  Perhaps I would have found a moment that was worthy of a photograph.

2.  I am shooting for a client who expects to see the beauty they saw during their wedding day.  So, I am really “working” on my compositions and my exposures and my ideas.  I don’t think I was ever as dedicated to making a great image as when I started having someone pay me to make them.  With a fee comes a lot of pressure to perform.  Good thing I thrive under pressure.

3.  I found meaning in what I was doing.  In my youth, I was just taking pictures, with no direction, no purpose.  But now, everywhere I go, I have a story to tell, I have a book in my head that I am trying to complete.  I know what I need to tell the story.  I am often surprised with new sideline stories, events and ideas, but I am always keenly aware of what it takes to tell the story.  This internal “shot list” makes the entire experience meaningful and keeps me engaged.  To say nothing about how important this event is to my clients… this just serves to amplify and heighten the meaning of my work.  I am not just telling A story, I am telling THE story of their life!  Knowing that, makes the purpose of telling the story absolutely critical.  And knowing what you are doing matters, makes all the difference.

So when you see a beautiful photo of the Grand Canyon, you think, “oh, that looks beautiful,” but then you see a beautiful image of the canyon on the moment two young people said “I do,” it means a lot more to them and maybe even to you.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (8)

Daniel is one cool cat.  I love this shot.  It looks like he is ready to take off backward over the canyon.  We had some strong sunlight breaking through the clouds during our portrait session, so we pulled out the large soft box to help wrap the light around the right side of his body a little more.  Just filling in the natural shadows a bit is all that needed to be done.  The sun was doing the bulk of the work for us.

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 Eirc Greenhaulgh (my second photographer and assistant) was tasked with hanging that large soft box over the edge to get around the groom and fill in the shadows on this next one.  At one point, I had to talk Eric into backing off the edge a little.  I’m pretty daring, but he was crazy!  I think there is an ancient proverb that says something like, “When a man is holding a 30×40 inch sail, that man should not stand on the edge of a 800 foot cliff.”

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (10)

If I had ordered the light, just the way I wanted it, I would have asked for the light happening in the background to happen throughout the entire canyon, but once I brought it back into the studio and stared working on the images, I found that I responded to the darkness in the bottom left hand corner of the image.  It seems to heighten the drama to see  the cliff overlooking not only a deep precipice, but a rich darkness.  It almost seems that the light emanates from the bride.  Sometimes, we are better off not getting exactly what we want, because the results are better than we might have concocted ourselves.  When you photograph in locations like this, you are really in collaboration with the earth itself and its Maker.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (11)

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (12)

 Megan had a moment where she needed to sit down for lack of food (she had not eaten enough during the day).  So Debra (our stellar GC Coordinator) ran some granola mix and water down to us.  Well, Megan had taken a seat right there on that rock and Daniel stood by her side for support.  As we talked, I saw the perfect photo.  So, we relaxed for about 15 minutes and then, when she was ready to go, I told her to stay where she was and we got this shot.  It is one of my absolute favorite shots of the day.  So while I would like to remind all brides to make sure to eat throughout the day to avoid getting a little light headed, we would not have ended up with one of my favorite shots had Megan not needed a little break.  She kept appologizing, but really Megan, we can’t thank you enough for needing a break.

I suppose the point should be made (and I tell my brides this all the time) that it doesn’t matter what they are doing, I am going to be getting great images of it.  Even sitting down because you feel a little light headed… yep, we’ll get a great shot!  That’s what is so exciting about the work I do.  I am challenged moment to moment to create something great no matter what is going on.  That’s a fun kind of pressure.

Thanks again to David & Debra Joaquim, who put together the entire wedding.  Debra does such a great job accenting the natural beauty of the canyon and both of them do a great job officiating and watching over their clients.

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Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (14)

 I love these next two shots of Daniel and Megan.  Just candid shots after the wedding.

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Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (16)

On our way back to the El Tovar Hotel we had to stop the car for this sunset.  I would have preferred to get to higher ground, perhaps a balcony, etc, but those colors only last for seconds.  Good night!

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Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Post production by Shoot dot Edit

Wedding Slideshow music by Sparrow, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Ted & Ali: Married at the Paradise Valley Country Club

Ted and Ali were married at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  Paradise Valley is a little community nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale just north of Camelback Mountain.  The wedding was a blast.  Ted and Ali are a lot of fun, and so are their groomsmen and bridesmaids.  Here are my favorite images from the wedding.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (1)

 

 

I love black and white.  I loved this door, but I wasn’t fond of the colors in the room, but knowing an image will be in black and white, opens up a lot of possibilities for you as a photographer, regardless of the color schemes in a room.

 

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (2)

The locker room for the ladies was a bit of a challenge, since I am not a lady.  So I had my associate photographer and assistant (both ladies) spend most of their time in the locker room, but occasionally I got in there for the important moments and some good shots.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (3)

Time for some shots with the parents.  This one caught me.  I love the way Ali’s father is looking at her.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (4)

And both of these photographs of Ali are so beautiful.  The light is perfect, she looks fantastic in her wedding dress, the flowers (by Table Tops, Etc.) look great.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (5)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (6)

I love the signs hanging from the chairs.  Everything about the wedding, from the tables, to the flowers, to the chairs, the ribbon, the colors.  All of it looked great.  And of course all of that is thanks to the coordination efforts of Rachel at Outstanding Occasions.  Nothing replaces a great wedding designer and planner.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (7)

Two ring bearers.  Both looked great in their little tuxes.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (8)

I caught the flower girl taking a look at herself in the mirror.  So big… and yet, still so small (short).

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (9)

The youngest flower girl was so excited to be a part of the wedding and she was also very aware of the camera, or me… maybe she just liked me.  But I think she was playing it up for the camera.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (10)

I think the purpose of ring bearers and flower girls is to give us all some comic relief from all the emotions.  They are always so unpredictable and ofter very funny.  Always cute!  They make my day, every time I shoot a wedding.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (12)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (13)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (14)

Camelback Mountain makes a beautiful backdrop for a wedding.  I don’t necessarily enjoy golfers finishing their round during the wedding, but they were respectful enough and there was no shouting, cursing or hootin’ and hollerin’ about a long put during the ceremony, so I suppose it worked out well.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (15)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (16)

Anytime I have a strong backlight, like the sun, if I can throw it behind a tree, it softens and scatters it just enough to allow a completely natural lighting shot.  No flash, no reflector, just the right exposure.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (17)

While, starting earlier in the day for a wedding makes the portraiture more challenging, it certainly makes for far better reception photographs, like the father’s toast.  I love this shot.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (18)

As the sun went down, the outdoor reception was lit by a grid work of twinkle lights, which give off a beautifully soft glow.  One can even get a shot without a flash if you have the right camera with a clean high ISO.

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When your daughter gets up for a toast, I am sure it is hard to keep it together.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (21)

This has to be the best image of the day.  I know that we typically think of the cool portraits and the artsy images as the best images, but in this case, I can not get over this image.  Ali was dancing with her dad, when half way through the song, Ted took his daughter on the dance floor for a dance.  This is the first time I have been able to see both the Groom and the Bride dancing at the same time in a Father-Daughter dance.  It was a precious as anything could be.  I had to maneuver a great deal to get this shot to happen.  Ali and her dad had to be in the right spot, in the right portion of the turn of their dance, the same is true for Ted and his daughter.  Then I had to be in the right spot to keep them all close enough to fit in one frame.  Then I had to have Ali’s dad in focus… I was stressed out about getting this shot, because I knew at the time how important is would be.

When I look at images like this from a wedding and think about my little daughter, I can’t emphasize this photograph enough.  This is about as perfect a moment as I have ever captured.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (22)

That’s a lot of twinkle lights and the chandeliers are a great touch.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (24)

The odd little blue puff in the bottom corner of the photo is cotton candy.  Yes, cotton candy.  I love it.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (26)

In spite of being outside with nowhere to bounce a flash to get great light, we made the light happen by putting up a series of Canon 600RT Speedlites that I controlled from my camera.  This kept plenty of light on the subjects but from multiple angles so there is a lot of volume in the shots.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (27)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (28)

Ali brought this white frame along to the wedding and asked if we could do something with it.  So we set up a little photo booth situation at the after party.  People had fun doing ridiculous things in in, on and around the frame.

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Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (30)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Wedding Planning and Coordination by Outstanding Occasions.

Flowers by Table Tops Etc.

Location: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Sunsets and Dandelions: A Family Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

We spent the afternoon with the Morris family at Tumbleweed park in Chandler, Arizona and one of their many dogs.  Josephine rescues dogs, so she has a lot of them, but we only photographed with one.  Jason and Josephine’s daughter is very expressive and a lot of fun.  I think one of the reasons I love photographing children so much is that they are so much more expressive than adults.  So when you want adults to be expressive, bring along a child that they love and get them paying attention to their child.  Suddenly, everyone is expressive and having fun.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the photo shoot…

I think she is saluting me.  Maybe she’s just pointing to her head saying I don’t have any hair.

 

How cute it this little look on her face?  Now, we are photographing her in open shade, so there is no absolute need for a flash, but without the flash, I would have a little too much darkness in her eyes, so when possible, I prefer to have an off camera flash putting just a little light into her eyes.  You can see the slight shadow on the fence from the flash, which is off to the right of the camera, but because of it’s off camera position, there is plenty of volume in the shot.

Man, she was adorable…

The interaction on the next few images are priceless.  These are the shots that matter in life.  Take away every family “portrait” I have and leave me with these meaningful interaction shots with my kids and I will be completely happy.  And that’s what requires some specialized skill.  Catching the moments, being ready for them and not forcing them in a way that kills the authenticity is the challenge of being a family photographer.  I’ve started to turn down family photography work these days for people who don’t get what’s important.  If someone wants an instant portrait painting of their family, standing stiff in a line, they are not going to respond what I am creating, so I point them to other photographers.  I think we are all happier that way.

I love this one.

What child doesn’t smile when they are swinging between their parents arms?  But while she’s having all the fun, I am trying to time the focus.  I live on the wide side of apertures, so I rarely have any room to breath on focus.  What is in focus can be out if there is just a few inches of movement.  So, I live dangerously, but the results are fantastic.  The trick is to figure out where the focus will be and time for that part of the swing.  Oh, and shoot a lot of images!!!!!!

I fell in love with this image when I took it, but I fell in love with it again when I worked on it in post-production.  I absolutely love  how the tree becomes a line drawing in the background.  This one is for the wall.

Dandelions are about the best weed on the planet.  They are to fun, that we started thinking of them as flowers.

You see how much fun they are.  They are full of absolute fun!

Family Life Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Tumbleweed Park, Chandler, Arizona

Mattie and Riley’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

Mattie and Riley were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple and their reception was later that evening at her parent’s home in Chandler.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding day.

The temple itself is a symbol of eternity and devotion, so it becomes a central figure in the documentation of an LDS (Mormon) Wedding.  Because the wedding is held inside and there is no photography allowed, I think a portrait of the temple itself is not only appropriate, it is absolutely essential.  So, whenever I photograph an LDS wedding, I make sure to work on a few artistic shots of the temple on the day of the wedding.  I could just take one great shot of the temple and add it to everyone’s wedding that I take there, but I feel like that would be cheating.  So, I try to make something unique each time.

Any wedding (not just an LDS wedding) requires this kind of attention to the location.  People choose the location of their wedding with a lot of care.  The place they get married says a lot about the couple, their beliefs, their personalities… so location is always important.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Because we would be going from the temple to portraits without a break for lunch, the wedding party packed a little snack.  They were hanging out on the lawn having a bit of a picnic while we shot portraits.  I thought it was pretty fun.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Mattie looks beautiful in that dress.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

This is my favorite shot of the bride.  We have her in the open shade of a tree.  The sun is lighting up the trees and the bride is generally lit by the northern sky with a soft box to her right, which gives her face that beautiful shape.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

We shot a few more portraits in downtown Chandler.  I enjoyed this group shot.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

They gave out little honey jars as favors at the wedding, which were cute, and also a great spot for the ring shot.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

A winter wedding is not complete without a Christmas Tree… and this one was full of photos of the couple from our engagement portrait shoot.  What a beautiful tree.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona

Wedding slideshow music by Fisher, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Megan & Blake’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

Megan and Blake were married in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple.  I have known Megan and her family for a few years now and feel a bit like an uncle rather than a hired photographer.  It’s fun to be close to the family for a wedding, it changes the dynamics a bit and makes things a little more personal.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding, which spans over a few weeks: the wedding was a few weeks before the reception.

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When the sun is out in force in Arizona, shade is an important thing to find.  The temple has a few trees that are large enough to block out the sun and allow for some soft light.

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The reception was held at the ValVista Lakes Club House in Mesa, Arizona.  This is one of the only places in Phoenix where you can get a good shot on a dock with water like this.  It’s definitely a unique spot in the desert.  I was very happy with this shot.

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The staircase was my favorite spot inside.

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Megan had a great dress and of course every bride wants a shot of her dress from behind, but often times the shot is a bit contrived because it it is out on a lawn with the dress spread out on the grass, and looks a bit posed.  I have a shot of the bride earlier at the wedding that is this way.  You have to get one, so we got one.  But, when the opportunity presents itself to get something even better… well, I’ll take it!  I feel there is a story that wants to be told in this shot.  The shot is manufactured (a lot of lighting went into the shot); the stairs lead to an office so I put a big flash head up there to create the light and shadow cascading down the staircase, and there are two soft boxes lighting her with an extra flash out to the right of the staircase, filling in some shadows.  But the light looks natural and that is what makes the shot work so well.  I love the shot.

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This is Megan’s brother, who was tasked with lighting the candles before the guests arrived.  But, unbeknownst to Megan and her brother, someone in the staff had replaced the real candles with LED candles, which he was able to light!  We were all a little taken back when the candles began flaming up and smoking and one exploded.  So we all ran around blowing out LED candles that were aflame!  It was quite funny.  So now you know… fake candles can also be lit like real candles, but they act a little more like fireworks in the end.

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This was a good idea for throwing the garter.  Seems a bit more manly and easier to throw a good distance.

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Megan and Blake wanted to take a photo with me.  Like I said, I feel a bit more like an uncle than a hired photographer.  But we had to hand my camera off to a guest and it took a few shots before we got one in focus.  Lesson: always check focus after someone else uses your camera!

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Congratulations Blake and Megan.  I wish you all the happiness in the world.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Anna Sali, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: LDS Temple and ValVista Lakes, Mesa, Arizona

Black and White Infant Portrait for the Mulligans

I photographed Meghan and Hugh’s wedding a few years back and was thrilled to drop by to meet the newest mini-Muliigan.  Wylie is a serious boy.  Or at least he was serious about our photo shoot, which I think makes him look quite handsome.  Here are some of my favorite images from the photo shoot at the Mulligan home in Phoenix, Arizona.

I loved the shirt.  Had to get that into the shot for sure.

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I ended up with very few color images from this infant portrait shoot.  I am a  firm believer that color should only exist in a photograph if it is driving the photograph.  I thought that the majority of the images were better seen in black and white, which also makes those left in color stand out even more.  I am pleased with the results.

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Wylie has a very cool nursery, filled with cute little monsters and a large chalk board wall.  He’s going to enjoy that when he becomes aware that drawing on walls in most homes is a bad thing…  Not in the Mulligan house.  Hugh is a graphic artist.  So…

 

This is by far one of my favorites.  Not only is it a favorite of the photo shoot, I think it is a favorite of images like it.  The difference between the father’s hands and the baby’s foot is quite stark and the rich black and white contrast helps to push that concept even further.

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Here are Wylie’s little monster friends.  That is a colorful photo.

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That is a big baby, born on a very good day!  Father’s day.

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Infant portrait photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, courtesy of Cherie Call.

Location: Home, Phoenix, Arizona

Lindy’s Senior Portraits in San Diego, California

Meet Lindy.  Senior, class of 2013.  She’s a all around great girl with a great attitude.  I love to meet high school students who have perspective and can see the big picture.  Sometimes a teenager who is wise beyond their years can be a bit too serious so they aren’t super fun, but Lindy has a lot of energy and spunk, but still sees her world in realistic terms.  That’s important.  Well, I can’t say enough good about her and we wish her the very best during her senior year and out into her future.

We took Lindy’s senior portraits in San Diego at Mission Beach.  We arrived at the beach early in the morning, so the beach was fairly empty which gave us plenty of room to work.  I love the over cast day.  So many clients worry when their photo day or wedding has clouds, but when it comes to photos, I couldn’t ask for anything better.  I love the soft light.  It gives me a nice even exposure to deal with.  Then, if I want to sculpt with light, I can add a little light wherever I want to see it.

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Lindy brought along a hat, which I completely loved, so that stayed with us a lot during the shoot.  While in this next image, it is merely a prop, it finishes the photo in many of the images.

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This is where the hat really makes the image!

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This next image is very important to me as a photographer.  Catching a subtle and important aspect of a senior’s personality in an image is important to me.  And this image, speaks volumes to me about Lindy.  That strong determination is a big part of how I see her.  I suppose I can be wrong in my read of personality, but when I am photographing someone, I think I get a good read on people.  And with Lindy, because she is a good friend to our family, I think I can say with confidence that this one is very accurate.  But, I suppose you’ll have to ask her mom.

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We did a few shots of Lindy looking at the camera next to her 2013 numbers in the sand, but I liked this one the best.

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This is a great example of the process of sculpting in a subdued and flat lighting condition.  I am using the ambient marine layer lighting to get the basic exposure accomplished, then with my Canon Speedlite 600RT flash off camera to the left and behind the subject, I am adding the crest of light on her nose and cheek-bone, etc.  This gives the photo great deal of volume with very little effort.  Normally, the sun would fill in as the backlight, but when the sun is held up behind a thick cloud, you have to create your own sun.  The nice thing about this manufactured sun (a flash), the power is completely controllable.

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Lindy, thanks for trusting us with your Senior Portrait.  May every year ahead of you be a success!

Senior Portrait Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: San Diego, California

Heidi & Michael’s Wedding at the Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Heidi and Michael were married in the Grand Canyon on Shoshone Point.  It was a very small wedding.  Heidi and her son and Michael and his father and the officiant and myself.  That’s it!  I love a super small wedding in a beautiful place away from the city.  Don’t get me wrong, a big, orchestrated wedding is great, but small is just as good.

It was a fantastic day.  I enjoyed being there, as always.  We had great weather and got some great shots.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

For those who have not walked out onto Shoshone Point, I have included this photo to give you a bit of perspective for the rest of the images. The wedding happened out on the tip of this point, just past the monolithic stone.  It is a bit of a drop.  Shoshone Point, is the spot from which to view the Grand Canyon.  It is the canyon, the way it was found!  No guard rails, no hotels, just rock and sky.

The bride, Heidi, and her son, the ring bearer, walked together down the path that runs down the crest of the point to meet Michael, who was waiting at the edge of the cliff, where Heidi and Michael would be married.  You can see Michael in this shot between the trees past and to the right of the monolithic rock at the end of the path.

As Heidi and Michael began the ceremony, Heidi’s son stood back a way and watched the moment.  I hope that his photo makes it into his scrap book for him to remember the day.  I think it tells the story quite well.

He also tried his hand, during the ceremony at being a photographer.  I imagine he has some great shots in his head of the wedding.

Toward the end of the short ceremony, they performed a sand ceremony with various sands from various places, one was sand from the beach and one was earth from the canyon itself.  I forget where exactly the other soil came from, but the three made for a nice mixture of soils in the heart shaped glass vase.

I don’t often include photos of me in a post, but this was an interesting shoot.  As I was all alone on this wedding, with no assistant, I needed additional angles, so I put a wide shot on a tripod and attached a Pocket Wizard (radio trigger) to the camera and attached its corresponding radio transmitter to my flash hot shoe on my main camera.  Whenever I wanted a shot from my wide camera, I simply turned on the transmitter on my camera and took a shot.  The wide camera on the tripod then fired a shot at the same time I tripped the shutter on my main camera.  I was glad to have the extra angle on the wedding.  It’s a very good method for collecting more angles.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes, that is a camera hanging off my belt.  I use a Spider Holster to hang my second camera off my belt, it saves my back and makes maneuvering at a wedding much easier.  I ca’t do a wedding without the Spider Holster.

I love this shot.  Michael looks like he is just lightly hopping around up there.  To me, it feels the same as a shot of one of those fearless steel workers building the Empire State building.

Heidi and Michael didn’t just come to the Grand Canyon and get married.  They hiked from the North rim to the South rim over a period of three days and got married the same day!  The reached the top of the South rim around 1 PM and were married at approximately 6:30 PM.  That’s what I call an extreme wedding.

The sunset was wonderful that day.

The bridal bouquet was beautifully done.  More important though, was the handkerchief, which was a significant heirloom.

This was a great idea!  Since there was no one to throw the bouquet to, the bride threw her bouquet into the canyon, and the groom and the ring bearer threw their corsages.  It was interesting then to learn (later, when I spoke with a park ranger) that the native americans used to use Shoshone Point as a burial grounds to throw their loved one’s ashes into the wind.

I love the embrace between the bride and groom here with the canyon so full of light and shadow in the background.  This is one of my favorite portraits from the day.

After the ceremony and the portraits, I ran ahead to get a few shots of Heidi and Michael leaving the point.  I think this is one of those epic wedding shots that few people have because few people are married in a place that is so magnificent.

One last photo from the point of the actual sunset over the Grand Canyon.  I think as I shoot more and more at the canyon, I am beginning to understand it a little more and anticipate it’s moments.  It is a tricky and illusive subject to photograph.  It is not easy to capture its moments.  They are no different than the fleeting expressions on a child’s face, or the lightning fast collisions in a football game.  And as you spend more time around studying the subject, you learn to anticipate.  For so many years (in my youth), the canyon alluded me.  And while I can’t say I connect with it as well as some of the great landscape photographers both present and past, I am glad to say, I have gotten to know this wonder a little better over the past few years.  But I have come to know the canyon as a cathedral, a church, not as a canyon, or a scientific wonder.  I am sure that has some effect on the way I photograph it.

The bride’s son left this little note for his mother on a rock on the point.

Thank you, Heidi and Michael, for trusting me with your wedding.  It was a pleasure to be there, as you begin a new chapter in your lives.  I hope you love the images as much as I do…

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Daniel Ho, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon, Arizona

All That Matters: Tyler and Allie’s Wedding in Phoenix, AZ

I am writing this post conscious of the fact that my wife will read and re-read it and will scold me if I do not do present this one exactly right.  You see, Allie, the bride, was my wife’s high school student a number of years ago.  Allie was one of those 17 year old girls with 30 years of wisdom.  She is one of the most impressive young women we have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  So when she told us of the news, that she and Tyler were getting married, we were thrilled.  We would have been at the wedding anyway, so when Allie asked if I could photograph it… well, how could I not.  Allie is the type of person that gives so much to everyone, personally and professionally, that everyone around her can’t help but want to give back.

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Allie’s wedding, though would be an interesting one.  It was planned for a Monday evening in Pine, AZ (a tiny little town) where the beautiful forests of Northern Arizona would have been the backdrop.  We all had our little hotels and bed & breakfasts staked out and were ready to head up the hill, when I got a text from Allie’s good friend and wedding coordinator.  Everything was on hold, as Allie had been rushed to the hospital back in Phoenix for an appendectomy.  She and Tyler had arrived in Pine, but she began to feel a pain in her side and decided to head to the emergency room in Payson (a slightly bigger small town in Northern, Arizona).  Allie is tough, so when she decides to go to the emergency room, something is wrong.  They then sent her back to Phoenix to have her appendix taken out.

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Having her appendix out, meant that she needed to keep it simple.  So, Allie spent a lot of time sitting down and relaxing, which is what I think brides should do more of anyway.  But with the sitting came this shot, which is one of my favorite images from the day.  The room where she got ready was her friend’s scrapbooking and craft room.  It was perfect for the shot.  For those of you interested in the techniques used to get the photo, it is not as simple as it may seem.  There is no window to the right as you might assume.  I have created the window light by bouncing a Canon 600 EX RT Speedlite off of a a wall.  The exposure was set for the ambient light in the room, which gives her the warm glow and generally lights the room.  Then the large light source (the bounced light coming from a wall) on the right gives her the three volume that makes the shot so successful.  Also, keep in mind that the blue and taupe walls are complimented by the mixture of light between the warm incandescent light in the room and the cool blue light of the flash.  I almost always set the ambient exposure first and use flashes to augment the light that already exists because in most cases, the light we see around us is close to perfect as it is.  It can sometimes just use a little help.

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I can only imagine the roller coaster ride Allie went through.  And I understand there were times when she talked about postponing the wedding until she got better, but it was reported to me that Tyler said “by the end of this week, I will be your husband.”  I’m paraphrasing, of course.  We all waited to see how she would do after surgery and she set the date for a simple backyard ceremony on Wednesday with a small reception for friends and family on Saturday.

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Tyler is a good man, I love this shot of him looking out into the back yard, where the ceremony will take place.  This is another one of those ambient first, and add a little fill flash bounced off the dealing above and to the right to fill in the shadows just a little bit.

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This is one of my ultimate favorites from the day.

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As is this one.  I purposefully added additional film grain to these images.  I thought they felt very classic, so they deserved classic grain to them.  Besides, I love film grain.

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This is one of the most precious moments during the day.  I can’t get enough of the relationships between a father and a bride.  I hope, when my daughter is married, someone finds a moment or twenty like this for me.

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And this.

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One thing I enjoy about an extremely small wedding is the closeness of the ceremony.  Everyone sits or stands very close to each other to witness the marriage.  And that includes me.  I get a lot closer shots during extremely small weddings, and it has been said many times, “if your images are boring, you’re not close enough.”  It’s nice to be in close to the action and small intimate weddings like this one, allow for that to happen in a very non-intrusive way.

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I loved the bride’s bouquet.  It was simple and had a very wild flower feel to it, with a few accents of roses.  It was well done.  I especially loved the broach on the stem wrap.

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Allie, you are a beautiful bride.

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Like almost every little girl, I am sure Allie dreamed of her wedding and had it all planned out (she’s a planning kind of girl), but plans change, sometimes at a moment’s notice.  The wonderful thing about marriage is that no matter what circumstance does to our plans, whether it is rain, or mixups with a vendor or a trip to the ER for an appendectomy, the most important part of a wedding is the commitment, the I Do!  And Allie and Tyler said “I Do.”  And now they have the rest of their lives…  and no doubt, they have a great wedding story to tell.

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The reception on Friday was every bit the party and a party always seems to come with a feathered headdress.

 

I loved this moment between Allie’s mother and father.  Some of these moments happen so fast that I have to take the moment I am given.  I wanted so much to be about 8 feet to the left, but I saw the moment happening and had to take the shot while it was there.  I then moved to the better spot, but it was gone by the time I got into position for the “perfect” shot.  This is what we call stalking the moment.  When we see a moment developing, we take a series of shots and try to improve upon the moments as they build by getting into an even better position, or waiting for the moment to make its crescendo.  Sometimes, the moment falls apart before we get the “decisive moment” we are after, but we still have a  pretty good one.  So the lesson is: when you see something that may be great, start shooting now, and stalk that moment, because if you wait for the vantage point to be perfectly aligned to the moment before you shoot or for the moment to become great, you may miss the very good shots.

This was a brilliant gift for everyone.  Take home a stack of yummy recipe cards for the cookies at the wedding, which I understand were made by Allie…  and they were yummy.

I can’t cook, nor can I bake, but I can eat cookies.  Which reminds me, I should have my sister make some cookies…

It was a wonderful wedding to witness.  Allie and Tyler, thank you for trusting me with your wedding day.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Cherie Call, Courtesy of Cherie Call

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

The Newest Day: An Infant Portrait in Gilbert, Arizona


Many years ago (not that many) I photographed a beautiful wedding in Sedona for a great couple, the Day’s.  I have been photographing their family ever since.  This time I get to show a little progression.  On kind of a last minute shoot, we went out and photographed Amaris’ maternity portraits, but since it she already has a little girl, it was more of a family portrait session.  Later, once the baby was born, I went back to photograph her.

Here are my favorite images from the two sessions.

Lola is the same age (within a week I think) of my daughter, who, although they have only played together once, claims Lola as her “best friend.”  Anyway, Lola is a fun little girl and full of expression.  She wasn’t angry in this shot, I think she was trying to strike a pose.  It makes me laugh.

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Amaris is ready for the baby to arrive, and I think Lola is too.

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Nathan’s truck is a tough lookin’ beast, and much to his wife’s amusement, we both agreed that the truck needed to be in a shot or two.  If I had a truck like that, it might be a part of my family as well.

I love this shot.  Just for the pure documentary nature of it.  I picture my daughter trying to get my attention to have some serious discussion with me.  There’s nothing better than a serious little child putting her tiny hand on your shoulder and having an adult conversation with words you can barely understand.

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Yep.  Perfect little moment.

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She’s so proud to be there with her daddy.  Not planned.  We were getting ready to photograph the baby and as I was putting my equipment together, Lola saw the camera and figured it was time for some snap shots and went to posing for them.  It made us all laugh.

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Such a little ham.  She’s always ready for her closeup.

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And there she is, the newest Day.

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Isn’t this the constant state of life for a baby sibling.  Always clobbered by her sister with affection and love.

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This is one of my very favorite images from the shoot.  The lighting is so perfect and so are the expressions.  This is the one I would have with me at all times.

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I thought all the old items were quite beautiful in contrast with the new baby and the new flowers.  And of course, the light is wonderful.  This is the product of three Canon 600 EX RT Speedlites.  I can’t say enough good things about that flash system.  It works wonders.

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Such a serious face.

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She is beautiful.  Congratulations Nathan and Amaris on another beautiful daughter.  It is an honor to be there to document your family’s growth.

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By the way, this is the coolest front porches ever.

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Family Portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Kristen Andreassen, courtesy of TripleScoopMusic

Location: Gilbert, Arizona

Glory: A Child Portrait at the Phoenix Botanical Garden

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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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And this is a great companion image to the previous.

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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.

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There’s nothing better than reading next to a big bear that is five times your size!

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I love this one.  She looks so happy tucked in with her pillow and her book.  Her smile is infectious.

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Love.

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Snack time…

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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

McKay’s Senior Portraits in Phoenix, Arizona

McKay and I took a drive out to the desert  to take his senior portraits.  I loved his selection of clothing.  It wasn’t what I had expected, but after spending some time with him.  It all fits him.  Here are a few of my favorite images from McKay’s senior portrait session.

I loved the white cowboy hat.  But in the blazing Phoenix sun, keeping that hat from over-exposing requires a little extra lighting, which I solved with a Canon Speedlight and a set of Pocket Wizards.  Besides, anytime someone is wearing a cowboy hat, something has to be done to light the underside of the brim.

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McKay brought a seriously tough lookin’ truck, so we employed it in a number of shots.  But when he threw the camo on, I couldn’t resist the tailgate shot.  If you follow me at all, you could expect the vacancy in this photo.  I had the choice of more truck, more desert or more sky.  I chose more sky; it puts some contrasting scale to McKay and his truck.

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As we were moving around the desert, we ran into a little building, it looked like a saloon replica, but the door was open, so we went in and got some great portraits with indirect light from the doors and windows.

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There’s nothing like a long dirt road!  Sometimes I feel like there’s too much pavement.  Not to say I want to go back to the horse and buggy, but I do love the simplicity of a graded road, and even better the quaintness of a two track road.

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Now that’s a truck!

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McKay lives in the shadow of South Mountain.  So his back yard is perfect for desert photos in open shade for hours.

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And once the sun went down, we did a few formal portraits inside.  I love the book shelf.

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 Senior Portrait Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Roy Ashen, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: Awatukee – Phoenix, Arizona

Shayna & Beto’s Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Shayna and Beto were married at Troon Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was a  beautiful day for a wedding.  Here are a few of my absolute favorite images from the wedding day.

Shayna did a great job with the dress hanger.  Rarely do I see a bride pay attention to the dress hanger.  It is usually an ugly plastic hanger.  I have never understood dress shops who sell these fantastic dresses for thousands and thousands of dollars, knowing they will be photographed and yet they deliver them on an ugly white plastic hanger.  Well, I have to hand it to Shayna for seeing that issue.  For those brides out there who are peeking in on this wedding and making notes about your own wedding.  Bring along a pretty hanger that says something about you.

So, we took the dress out of the closet and hung it up on this large painting in the bridal dressing room and I was composing the shot when one of the young ushers walked through the shot.  I have two shots that are essentially the same of this dress, one with and one without.  I can hardly look at the one without the boy in it.  He completes the picture.  I suppose it is because this boy took my controlled shot and added a bit of reality to it.  Sometimes I am tempted to stray from reality and control it all, but the chaos always pulls me back where I belong.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (16)

I think the florist was a bit nervous when she saw me with the flowers out in the sun before the wedding.  She even made a little comment about the flowers being prone to wilting in the heat.  But, I’ll bet she’ll love this image of her beautiful flower arrangements.  And I am happy to report the photo only took a few minutes and the flowers were perfect throughout the day.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (15)

This next series is one of my favorite getting ready sets I have taken.  A lot goes into the shot of putting on the dress.  Providing a nice backdrop for the effort is a major part of that.  But also, there is just a lot of fortune that goes into getting the shot as well.  I think all things conspired together for an opportune shot.  And then I have to say that the muted color treatment on the shot really finished it off well.

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This moment made everyone laugh.  There is a whole series from this set, but these are the two crowning moments.  The littlest flower girl got cold feet and was not even going to go down the isle, much less, throw the flower petals.  So the older flower girl went back to get her and was trying to show her how to throw the petals, which upset her, I think she intended to keep them all for herself.  When the older flower girl realized this, she thoughtfully moved on with her duties and the little one stood in the isle and silently pouted over the loss of her flowers.  It was the cutest moment.

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I was taken by the canopy of branches in the background, so I asked Shayna to pose for me as the guests and wedding party chatted.  Often times the un-planned portraits and scenes that catch my attention at the moment are the very best.

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I simply love this image of the bride.  I love the contemplative look, I love the way the hair is blowing.  The veil being set against the dark on the left of the frame is wonderful.  I love this shot.

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I looked at this image in color and thought it looked fine, but when I took it to black and white and started aging it, I felt as though it became what it was meant to be.

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This shot was taken as the sun dropped over the horizon.  There is no better time of day.  I love the reflection on the water, the movement of the dress as she walks.  I am very pleased with this image.  As dress images go, it is a great description of the dress.

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These two little girls were constantly providing opportunities for great photographs.  Here they are waiting to dance with the bride during a dollar dance.   Everyone was dancing with her, and they wanted their chance, but I don’t think they knew how to approach it.  Where to they get the money, how do they get her away from all those other people.  I think they were sufficiently mesmerized with the bride and equally unsure of how to proceed, so they stood on the sidelines for quite a long time, until the maid of honor saw them and gave them some money and explained how to get a dance with the bride.  Even now, thinking about it and about my little girl, I get a little emotional.  You can just see the wonder in their hearts.  The older is thinking thoughts of being a bride someday and the younger is simply awe struck by a princess.  There is an entire thesis in their expressions.

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The joy of sparklers.  You can’t help but be happy.  It was a great wedding and party, people were having a lot of fun.  I was glad to have been there.  Thanks Shayna and Beto for trusting me with your wedding day.  Congratulations.

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Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Justin Hewitt, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: Troon Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona

The Twins’ Senior Portraits in Chandler, Arizona.

Megan and Caitlin are both wonderfully talented musicians, so when we were planning their senior portraits, I wanted to make sure that we included their musical talents in the photo shoot.  For Caitlin, this was as simple as bringing her cello along, but Megan just happens to play the piano.  I am used to carrying pianos into strange places from my portraits of Kevin Burdick, but it’s never fun.  Fortunately I had some help lifting that thing.  All pianos are heavy.

Here are a few of  my favorite images from Megan and Caitlin’s senior portrait photo shoot.

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I love the line of telephone poles down the right side of the frame, and with all the dirt and such, it needed to be altered to feel much older.

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Even though they are both smart and talented, Megan and Caitlin’s personalities are as different as their hair.  I love the differences in style and stance… even facial expression.  But still there is a solidarity that you expect from twins.

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This was the absolute golf light of the evening.  Moments before the sun went down.  I love what is does to the sky, to the tracks and the way is traces the girls.

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This is what I envisioned when I thought of bringing the piano to this location.  The Groves is a strange little group of trees.  I love it most in black and white.  I had no idea what Megan was bringing in the clothing department until we got to the location, but the hat was absolutely perfect.

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How’s this for sun flair?  Megan has a fantastic smile and while it is very genuine, can be delivered perfectly on demand.  How many of you can say that about yourselves?

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It was such a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Megan and Caitlin and their parents.  I love my job.

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We stopped on our way from one location to another and did a few shots of Caitlin in her soccer gear.  This was my absolute favorite of those images.  She just looks proud and powerful.

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And then to compare the above soccer pose to this next image which is as soft as can be.  There are two sides to every coin.

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Senior Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Fisher, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: The Groves in Gilbert Arizona

High School: Hamilton High

A Wedding on Top of the Mountain: Dan and Krissy’s Wedding on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona

We were at Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona at sunrise.  The weather was perfect, a little chilly, but perfect for a serious hike.  It’s a good thing, because that’s what we were in for.  Krissy and Dan planned their wedding on the top of that mountain.  Well, not on the tip top, but pretty high up there.  My associate, Eric Greenhaulgh and I spent a good 15 minutes deciding what gear needed to come and what gear could stay down below.  Any photographer knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Equipment is heavy, so you don’t want to take something you are not going to use, but you would hate to be at the top of a mountain and need something that is in your car at the bottom of the mountain.

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First, we made sure not to duplicate anything.  We did not bring any duplicate lenses.  Between the two of us though, we had a full compliment of lenses.  A Canon 16-35, 28-70, 70-200 and a 50.  I carried my 1D Mark IV, he had his 1D Mark III.  We had one small hand held post with a Canon 580 EX flash and a set of Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 radio slaves.  It is important to have your hands free, when hiking up a mountain and shooting others who are hiking up with you, so we couldn’t take reflectors and such with us and not self standing light poles, etc.  Everything strapped nicely onto our one backpack (which we alternated carrying up and down) and we had only the gear that was necessary in the backpack, although Eric was a little over zealous about what he was willing to carry up the mountain.  My backpack was a small one and I was still able to fit a bottle of water in mine.  I had to convince Eric not to take everything he owned up the mountain.  The truth is, I didn’t want to have to take my turn at carrying it.  Maybe I am lazy, but I prefer to call it “smart.”

Opportunities for challenging wedding photography are wonderful.  I enjoy them because they force me and my crew to work and think differently about the job and how to accomplish it.  We still need to get great images, but we have to think differently and sometimes find ways to capture them with less.  Granted, I have done entire weddings with far less gear than we had here, but it was a very bright, sunny day, so we definitely needed some kind of lighting solution to match the sun and shadow sides of faces.  Also, because of the wide variety of opportunities for a great shot up there, and the limited options for the photographer to stand (we were on a mountain with cliffs and cactus etc.), I needed a good compliment of lenses to be able to capture the images on my terms.

A Native American flutist meat us at the top of the mountain.  As we neared the ledge, where he was playing, Dan (for whom this was a surprise) thought it was just great luck that on the day he was getting married, a Native American flutist was up on top his the mountain playing his flute.  Krissy had lots of little surprises like this throughout the day.

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It was a good hike to get to the wedding location, but is was indeed, a beautiful morning.

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Getting ready occurred at the top of the mountain.  The guys took on side of the hill and the girls took the other side.  I did appreciate that the groomsmen all work black hiking shirts and shorts.  Those were their tuxes.  That was cool.  The only two that dressed UP for the wedding were the bride and groom.  Otherwise, dress code was very casual.

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Here is the bride’s room.  And quite frankly, I think it was one of the most beautiful and well decorated bridal rooms I have ever seen.  Most of the time, the bride is getting ready in a hotel room, or a sitting room.  Which, even if decorated nicely, can’t match the grander of the top of a mountain.  They just needed a sheet to sheild Krissy from the onlooking hikers and photographers.  Oh, wait, I was one of those, but I had a press pass.

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Surprise 2: Krissy took all of Dan’s love notes and poems and printed them out on origami style paper and made her own bouquet out of love poems.  I really enjoy an original and personal bridal bouquet.  I love it when brides put more of themselves into their wedding details.  This was a great surprise for Dan.

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I love a good wedding on a cliff.  Up to now, I have only done cliff weddings at the Grand Canyon, which has some magnificent cliffs.  It was nice to witness a cliff wedding closer to home.

For the photographers out there, you can see that the sun is shining very bright now on the bride and groom.  You can see the crest of light on her dress, and on his face.  But you will also notice that the grooms back is not in complete deep shadow, the bride’s face is lit, as is her dress, etc.  But you can still see the direction of light from the sun.  There is a clear direction of light here.  This is the use of the Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 with a Canon 580 EX  Speedlight although now you can use the 600 EX.  We set it on a rock and I just turned on and off my TT1 transmitter when I needed or didn’t need the flash.  This was an indispensable part of capturing this wedding.  Without it, we would have extremely dark shadows or blown out highlights.  The light is set to fill in from the left of the frame at one stop less than the ambient.  If we had set it to equal the ambient light, the flash would have attempted to equal the sunlight and thus eliminate all the volume in the shot.

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This is the entire wedding watching the ceremony.  I love a small wedding.  I really do!

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Here are some of my favorite images from the portrait session after the wedding.

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Yes, Krissy is an amazingly gutsy bride!  If that doesn’t look safe, it is because it is not.  I think Dan was a bit worried about her, but Krissy was game for anything.  I wasn’t worried about Dan, he’s a police officer.  He’s a tough guy.

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Dan is also sorting a boutonniere made of his own love poems.

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I was working on this image and my wife came in and commented on it.  How tiny is she?

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I don’t always pre visualize and image at the shot; meaning that I don’t always know exactly what I want to do with an image in post-production before I shoot it, but in this next series of images, I knew what I wanted to do before I even started shooting the photos.  We were stating back down the mountain and the bride and groom were going to be walking by me at any moment.  I knew I wanted this image to be extreme selective focus, I wanted to make it look like it was taken at the end of the 19th century.  So I opened my lens all the way up and made the appropriate exposure adjustments (which can barely be done because at f 1.2, at 100 ISO, you have to expose at 1/8000 of a second).  Anyway, I rattled off a bunch of shots with this concept in mind and I was pleased with the result.  I am always more pleased with the results when I pre-vissualize the end from the beginning.  I suppose it is more satisfying to know I pulled it off, but I also think that if one can see the end from the beginning, it makes every step in the process more valuable to the final result.

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I thought this was just a great comparison/contrast.

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Down the mountain!  At times, Camelback Mountain is a bit steep.  For a girl in a wedding dress, it seems even steeper.

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This is one of my favorite series of shots.  We got a few grumbles from a team of repellers that wanted the cliff all to themselves, but if they only knew what we were accomplishing in the two minutes we were imposing ourselves on their rock, I think they would have been much more supportive.  I really like this shot.

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This is my official wedding attire for all super casual hiking to the top of a mountain weddings.  It’s quite frankly the most comfortable wedding attire I own.

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Krissy and Dan, thanks for letting me be a part of such a wonderful wedding.  It was a pleasure.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona

Slideshow Music by Daniel Ho, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Courtney’s Senior Portraits in Chandler, Arizona


Courtney, her sister, her mother and I all headed out into the desert for some cool senior portraits.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the photo shoot.

We started fairly early in the afternoon by lighting standards which means that the sun was high in the sky and very bright.  But with a fantastic camera (the Canon 1D Mark IV) and the best software (Adobe Lightroom) and a good understanding of lighting, harsh lighting does not have to be a problem.

You will notice that in many of those shots, I have Courtney facing away from the sun so that her face is in her own shadow.  This means I have a “north light” studio with a very strong hair light.  Then, with a little off camera fill light, matching the exposure is simple enough.  I prefer to keep the flash (a Canon Speedlight 580 EX – no longer available – instead try the new 600EX-RT) in manual mode so that I am getting the same flash output every time, but in these bright lighting conditions, that requires shooting well above the camera/flash sync speed, and that can only be done off camera with a set of Pocket Wizard radio slaves (TT1 and TT5).  With a speed light and a set of the pocket wizards, I can keep my flash in manual mode, but still have it operating in high speed sync, which makes matching the subject (flash) and the background (ambient) possible.

I do have to say that I am excited about the new Canon flash (600EX-RT) just released this month which may make the pocket wizards unnecessary.  But I will be testing those very soon and I will let you know how well they work.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

This is another example of using the off camera flash and high speed sync capabilities in a bright sunlight situation.  I couldn’t have done without the flash on this shoot and I didn’t have my assistant, so I am so glad the set up is light  weight and portable.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

Here, you will notice there are no catch lights in the eyes.  No flash was used.  But since I was not placing her against the sky, I could get all the exposure latitude I needed from the camera without a flash.  This requires attention to the highlights (making sure I do not over expose them) which makes the entire photo seem a bit dark.  But, since I am shooting RAW, I can then brighten up the mid-tones in Lightroom 4 and I end up with a perfect exposure in the end.  This is what Ansel Adams referred to as pre-vissualization.  Were Ansel Adams shooting today, he would be using Lightroom.  And no, that’s not blasphemous.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

I will always love open shade best.  And this is my favorite photograph of the day.  Courtney’s hair frames the photo nicely and I really enjoy the treatment of the photo.  I have always loved the look of film, digital can be too perfect and too smooth.  In fact, I have found myself purposefully shooing higher ISO shots on my digital cameras even when I have abundant light just to get a little more grain into the photo.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

I love the composition on this shot.  The repeated lines in the skirt mimicked by the white picket fence is nice as well.  One particular part of the composition that I love is the way the porch windows frame her head and shoulders.  And I and so pleased with the faded black and white film look.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

Ah, the good earth…

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

Courtney just looks fantastic in this shot.  And I love all the texture in the collar.  This shot is taken just as the sun dropped below the horizon.  My favorite time of day.

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

Senior Portrait in Chandler Arizona

If you like the photo treatments on these images, check out my Lightroom 4 preset collection, especially the Film Pack, at www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

Senior Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: Desert south of Chandler, Arizona