Cameron & Ashley’s Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

Cameron & Ashley were married at St. Francis Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona.  Their reception was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.  From start to finish, we had a great time.  I knew it would be a enjoyable day after shooting Cameron and Ashley’s engagement portraits in San Diego.   They are a very casual and fun couple, which always helps to make a wedding day go well.  I don’t think I saw Ashley stressed throughout the day.  Even when the limo had a flat and was late to take her to the wedding, they both seemed to be enjoying themselves and relaxing.  I was impressed.

While the girls were finishing up getting ready, we took photos of Cameron and the guys.  It didn’t take us very long.  In fact, when I let the guys go, they were a bit startled…  “That’s it?” One of them said.

Yep, that’s it.

They were all very happy to be released to relax and probebly grab a drink.  But that’s how we roll.  Weddings are not about photography sessions.  As important as wedding photography is to the wedding, that is not what the day is about.  A wedding is about family, friends, love and commitment.  The photographer’s job is to capture moments and help the couple remember and recall the emotions, events and people who attended without getting in the way.  So that is how my team and I operate.

The Biltmore is a great place for portraits because everywhere you go, there is an opportunity for open shade, no matter what time of day it is.  So I just hunt for open shade and settle the group in that area to take the portraits.

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This portrait was taken inside the Biltmore lobby as we walked to the limousine.  We had a few minutes so I used the window light and got this shot.  I have to take my hat off to Ramon Bacaui (hair) and the makeup artist from M.A.C..  I see a lot of makeup and hair, and Ashley’s crew was truly great.  Thanks to all of them, Ashley looked like a million bucks.  It also helps that she’s a natural at posing for the camera.

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Now she’s hiding behind a wall to make sure Cameron doesn’t see her.

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The St. Francis church is a bit tricky to photograph because there are a lot of rules that restrict the photographer’s movement.  So this is about as close as you get.  So the photo team spends a lot of time shooting and reshooting the same basic shots at different times during the ceremony.  Our shots go from full length shots to wide architectural shots, no closeups.  The church is a very beautiful one, so any shot is a nice one, but you don’t get to capture mom or dad looking on as their daughter gets married, because we are not allowed to get into a position for the shot.  With those restrictions in mind, we got some great shots.  You’ll see a number of them in the slideshow.

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I love this shot.

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This one is another favorite.  The flashes are set up for the family portraits on the alter of the church, but they do a great job as backlight and sidelight for a portrait looking back into the church pews.  There is not one forward light on this at all.  Two backlights and a sidelight.  All the forward light comes from reflected light off the marble alters of the church.

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Such a perfect moment in the back of the limousine.  I love it.  This is the kind of shot I would want printed for my wall if I were the groom.

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I just like the simplicity of the design and colors in this shot.

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We had a good time after the wedding taking portraits.  The Biltmore has an attendant following us around with drinks and fruit and cheese, etc… which was much needed.  Ashley was famished.  So we took a little extra time on the front lawn for  a drink and a snack before we finished the portrait session.  I do love the casual nature of this portrait, so much so, that I made it the cover on the slideshow.

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Do I have to even say that I love this shot?  I love the Biltmore architecture, the bride looks great, the tree has all sorts of great texture on it.  I just love it.

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Ashely, you look amazing.  Cameron, you have a lot of great photos to choose from!

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Everyone goes to the roof of the Biltmore to shoot.  We did as well, but some of the best shots are upstairs, inside, near the windows.  This was all window light, no additional lighting.

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This shot makes me think we are up on the empire states building in New York City.  I love the shot, the stone, the lights in the background…

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This was another window lit shot.  The light from the window is the blue soft light from the twilight sky and the light from the interior lights is warm and soft because it comes from a lot of lights throughout the lobby of the hotel.  The ISO was high, so it has a natural grain to it, which was enhanced by NIK Silver Effects Pro 2.  I knew it was going to be a great shot as I was taking it.  Sometimes, you just know.

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Ashley’s sister makes the blog post because she is an extremely memorable character.  She is the kind of person that owns any room she happens to occupy.  Her toast was completely entertaining.  I partially liked the look on the Bride’s face in this shot though.  I don’t recall what exactly was being said, but I think the sisters may be ganging up on the groom.

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I love the emotion in this way Cameron is holding his bride.

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I love sweet moment like this one as well.

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Nice cake topper.  But Cameron is not allowed to dip kiss Ashley anymore… he almost dropped her.

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And finally, I have to say that the band, The Groove Merchants, was fantastic.  They kept that party going all night long.  I have to think that Ashley and Cameron’s friends would probably party late no matter what, but the energy in that room was clearly five notches higher because of the band.  I enjoyed every single song!

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Thank you Ashley and Cameron for trusting me with your wedding photography.  It was an honor.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Jonny Blu, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Wedding Location: St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Reception Location: The Arizona Biltmore

Flowers by Designs by Jeremiah

The Band: Groove Merchants

Makeup by M.A.C.

Hair by Ramon Bacaui

Post Processing by Shoot Dot Edit

Ilyas & Sheena: A Beautiful Wedding in Scottsdale, Arizona

Sheena and Ilyas were married at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  They live in New York, but Sheena’s family is here, so the wedding was on a beautiful day in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Sheena and Ilyas were both raised in Hindu homes, but have been living western lives so, both cultures were very important to them, so the wedding included both culture’s wedding rites, which made for fantastic photographic opportunities.  It was like I was shooting two weddings on on day.  My team and I had a great time.  And thanks to the efforts of the many wedding professionals (led by none other than Jennifer Thinnes from Outstanding Occasions) that put the wedding together, we had a beautiful backdrop for some fantastic images.  Here are some of my favorites.

And let me say, if you are planning your wedding how important it is to have a wedding planner on the team for both the pre-wedding planning and for the day of the wedding.  The girls at Outstanding Occasions come up with such great ideas and do such an amazing job executing the wedding plans, they are worth their weight in gold.  And having them there to keep everything moving smoothly is absolutely indispensable.  After a wedding like this, I have to put a little plug in for wedding designers, planner and coordinators.  If you look at this wedding and think, “that’s amazing, I want a wedding like that and photos like that…”, then you need great professionals, with experience and creativity.  They make weddings better in every respect.

So, on to the photos.  Enjoy…

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I absolutely love the henna hand painting in the Hindu culture.  In Sheena’s hand paintings (by Darvina), you can see her and Ilyas in the paintings.

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Even though the couple saw each other before the wedding, the tradition is to place a veil between the couple at the beginning of the ceremony and then there is a reveal, where they see each other for the “first time.”  It was tricky getting my position  correct on this shot to be able to show them both and not be in the way of all the guests, but as I reached the correct vantage point, Ilyas glanced at me with the greatest expression on his face.  I love this shot.

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Oh, and have I mentioned the colors!  I am the kind of photographer who puts a lot of black and white into my weddings and portraits, but almost every photograph in this wedding so full of color that I couldn’t help but show them all in color.

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I love all the rituals.  There are so many opportunities for beautiful and meaningful photographs.

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The yellow rice is fantastic.  I love these shots.

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The runner was fantastic.  I love the printed logo, it was designed by Idieh Design.  The programs, the place cards, everything was perfect.

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I heard it in a the maid of honor’s toast, that Sheena’s laugh is infectious, but really it’s more than that.  it is her natural cheerful nature.  She is constantly full of happiness.  I like photographing her very much because that joy shines through.

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This is one of my favorite images from the day.  The bride is kneeling before her parents (her’s and his).  There is a reverence for family in the Hindu culture and therefore in the wedding rites that is not common enough in America.  And as much as I like a non-traditional wedding that breaks the mold, there is something very special about tradition and lasting culture.  It says a lot when a young couple continues the heritage of their parents.

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The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort stands on the north edge of Scottsdale, Arizona and it’s back yard are the desert mountains.  It makes for a very beautiful location for a wedding.

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An absolute home run for Avant Garde who designed the Mandap.  You will see more shots of it throughout the this blog post.  They really did a fantastic job designing and building it.  But I have seen their work before and I expect no less than the best from them.

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I will let you in on a little secret.  Although the bride and groom planned to see each other before the wedding, things were running a little behind with getting ready, so we didn’t have much time for portraits before the wedding, and since the wedding had both a traditional Hindu ceremony and a western style ceremony, it ran a bit long.  And after the wedding, the couple needed to change from their wedding attire into their reception attire.  So… that means the sun went down and there was no time for portraits after the wedding with the help of the sun.

No problem.  That’s why I always come prepared.  Boy scout.  As I saw the time slipping away from us, I shifted gears and assigned assistants to get to the vehicle and grab the heavy gear (big flashes).  After the wedding, as the couple was changing, we created a very large studio set outside on the lawn of the Marriott.  I’d say it turned out extremely well.  Wouldn’t you?

While we were shooting, I couldn’t see a thing, so Ryan, my assistant would run up to Sheena with his iPhone and hold it near her face so I could focus on the iPhone.  Then he had to run out of frame.  Lots of running…

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With no more light outside, we moved into the hotel (which has a lot of great interior locations).  Sheena turned model on us and we got some great shots of her.  This is my absolute favorite.

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Sheena and Ilyas made their grand entrance through the fog.

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We put up a couple additional flashes in the back of the room to accentuate the fog and the crystal trees.

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Dr. Prakash, Sheena’s father designed and built the cake stand for the wedding.  It’s quite beautiful.

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Event design, floral design, lighting design… compositional design.  Put it all together.  This was simply a beautiful wedding for the greatest couple.  And there are so many people to thank for making it so perfect.

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Thank you Sheena and Ilyas for trusting us with your wedding.  And thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make their wedding such an incredible experience.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Planning and Design by Outstanding Occasions

Location JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Floral Design by Avant Garde

Stationary Design by Idieh Design

Officiant: Scott Morgan

Hair: Revive

Makeup: Amanda Osadchuk

Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

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

I Love New York: Ilyas and Sheena’s Engagement Portraits

Ilyas and Sheena’s Engagement Portraits from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

I met Sheena and Ilyas at Central Park in New York City for their engagement portrait session.  They are both very busy people (doing the doctor thing) so getting them together on a date I could get to NYC was a challenge, but we found a date and made it happen.  Central Park is so full of possibilities, it is a perfect spot for a walk and a photo shoot.

My favorite thing about Central Park is the fact that one can be in a city that size and feel like you are in the country.  At times, I even forget about the traffic noise.  So I wanted to get a few shots that put the couple in the forest, away from it all.

It’s a bit of a challenge to get an empty staircase here, but I managed to sneak a few moments where that right section of the staircase is empty for a brief moment.  I was glad that those moments also aligned with a few moments between Sheena and Ilyas.  That’s the gamble that is photography.  We are often waiting for the stars to align to give us the best background, the best light, the best moment and on top of it all, we need to get the right exposure and the perfect composition.  Sometimes it works.

When photographing an engagement shoot, I always recommend finding a warlock to be a part of the shoot.

I love the architecture.  But the shadows under there get a little deep, so I threw a Canon 600 EX RT Flash under the arches on the opposite wall and popped a little bounce light in there to keep those arches illuminated.  There is such great architecture in that park, I enjoyed using it all in the photoshoot.

I did a bit of scouting the day before and found a few spots Ilyas and Sheena had never been.  It is understandable.  The place is enormous.

I love this shot.

And this one.  By the way, there’s a lot of backlight there and there’s no way this shot would have worked without the use of my 600 EX RT flash set off the left of the frame on a picnic table filling them in with a bit of light.

By the end of the shoot, Sheena was done wearing the shoes.  So was I, and I was wearing comfortable street shoes.  We didn’t do a lot of “city” shots, but on the way back to their car, I thought the street looked inviting, so we grabbed a shot there.

And then, one of my favorite shots presented itself as we continued toward their car.  I love the iron gates and the stairs and the dappled light coming through the trees.  I love it.

Thanks Sheena and Ilyas for spending the morning with me.  It was a pleasure getting to know you both and making some cool images with you.

Engagement Portrait by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Portrait Location: Central Park, New York City, NY

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (14)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (13)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (12)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (11)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (10)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (9)

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (8)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (6)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (5)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (4)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (3)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (2)

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.

Wedding photography in Scottsdale, Arizona by Jared Platt (1)

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Justin Hewitt, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: Troon Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona

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

Nick & Caroline: A Southern Wedding with a Second Line

Nick and Caroline were married at the LDS Temple in Dallas, Texas and their wedding reception was at the Lee Hardware Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Nick and Caroline are a truly vintage couple.  Many people go for the vintage look, but Nick and Caroline really fit the part.  I think you’ll see what I mean.

Dallas LDS Temple

Dallas Texas LDS Temple

I was struck by the architecture of the Temple, but the hedge in front made the situation perfect for a couple’s portrait.

Bride and groom at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

I loved this location, which I found in my pre-wedding scouting, but as Caroline walked around the corner, I had to tell her to freeze.  It was the perfect position for her.  Everything around her framed her quite nicely.

Bride at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

Her dress, her hair, the necklace, even the lipstick were all perfect vintage.

Bride at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

Bride and groom at the LDS Temple in Dallas Texas

At the wedding reception, instead of a guest book, Nick (a designer by trade) created a sign in map.

Sign in map at wedding reception

And of course, even the microphone fit the vintage theme.  I was very covetous of this mic.  I am a mic enthusiast.

vintage microphone at wedding reception

The reception was held in the Lee’s Hardware Gallery, which is an old building in downtown Shreveport.  The textures on the walls in the interior courtyard were phenomenal.  And yes, that is a wedding cake piñata.  It was fun.

wedding cake piñata wedding reception

The textures and colors in the streets of downtown Shreveport are fantastic for portraits, but you must turn off that auto white balance on your camera!

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

I love the warm film look on this shot.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

This is my favorite image from the day.  As we were taking the bride’s portrait, she turned slightly toward the wall and I saw the possibility of this shot.  With a slight adjustment of her hand and head, I shot several variations on this shot and the result was fantastic.

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

If you are going to do a vintage wedding, I suggest taking a stroll in a vintage town.  Shreveport is definitely vintage.  I love this Ridgway’s sign.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

I also love Nick’s “Ronald Reagan” hairdo.  Of course the back ground is perfect as well.  I shot this at a much higher f-number to make sure I got the groom and the metal door in focus.  I am more often a shallow depth of field kind of guy, but there are times when f8 or higher is called for.  In this case, the greater depth of field give the image a illustrated look, which I thought was very appropriate to the image.

groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

The flowers were fantastic. These flowers are called Billy Balls and apparently they look the same when they are dried. The arrangement were done by Patsy Foster in Shreveport. She did a great job.

flowers wedding bouquet

This was the most touching moment of the day.  The bride had been carrying a handkerchief throughout the entire day.  I had not paid much special attention to it and just assumed it was an old vintage handkerchief: something old.  But Caroline knelt down beside he grandmother and showed her the handkerchief and reminded her that she had given it to her when Caroline was a little girl and that she had kept it to this day for this very purpose.  That is something old and something special.

bride and grandmother

I think this will be the groom’s father’s favorite photo of the day.  It would be mine if this were my son.

groom and father walking

Just a couple of great shots on our way down to the “second line”.

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

bride and groom portrait in the streets of Shreveport Louisiana

A “second line” is an interesting tradition in Louisiana, kind of a parade.  The entire wedding (all the guests) met at the water’s edge and paraded, complete with music, up to the wedding reception.  It was a hot day, but was a great opportunity for photos!  This was my very first “second line.”  I enjoyed it, but it was a lot of running and sweating.

jazz band trio at the head of a Second Line Parade for the Wedding Reception

Two of the children led the way, carrying a banner for the bride and groom.

bride and groom at the head of the Second Line Parade for the Wedding Reception

At the end of the evening, the games began.  The children got a whack at the wedding cake piñata and so did the bride and groom.

child swinging at the wedding cake piñata at the wedding reception

Most of the guests came from the surrounding states, so the signature map was a bit crowded near the gulf, but there were a few people (like myself) who came from quite a distance to join the wedding.  This is one of the coolest guest signature ideas I have seen in a long time.

sign in map

I think the straws are a good indication of the “fun” level of this wedding.  Caroline and Nick put their wedding together on a small budget, but I think they spent their money very well and made every detail count.  It all added up to a very fun event with a lot of cute details.

wedding rings and straws for sodas

The painting is by Nick Eckel and the lamps were made by Caroline Majors (the bride and groom), I love both.  Nick is a talented designer and illustrator.  If you need a graphic designer, I highly recommend him.  He’s a talented, stand up guy.

Paper chandelier and painting by the groom at wedding reception

I was glad to represent Arizona at Nick and Caroline’s wedding.  It was a pleasure to be a part of it.

sign in map at wedding reception

Wedding Details:

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Special thanks to Jessica Brownell for assisting and second shooting.

Slideshow music by J’Nae, Courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Wedding Location: LDS Temple, Dallas, Texas

Reception Location: Lee’s Hardware Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana

Shelby and Nick’s Engagement Portraits in Phoenix, Arizona

Nick and Shelby’s Engagement Portraits in the Phoenix Arizona Desert from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

We started this engagement portrait shoot at Shelby’s parents home in Phoenix, Arizona and ended it in the desert as sunset.  Shelby’s parents home is in the shadow of the mountain about two and a half hours before the sun sets, so there is a lot of great open shade around the home, which makes for fantastic images.  The color and texture of the stones is quite nice to work with as well.  And of course, Shelby and Nick are a good looking and cool couple, so it was a pretty nice afternoon.

The night after the engagement shoot, I posted one of the images from the shoot on my Facebook Page.  The shot is below.  Shelby just happen to have a card board cutout of Jacob, from the Twilight Movie series in her trunk.  I remember trying to watch one of those movies on a 14 hour flight home from a wedding in Hong Kong and it was so bad, so poorly acted, that I shut the movie off and did nothing for two hours rather than watch that movie.  It was a lot of fun and the shot makes me laugh, every time I look at it.

We had a lot of laughs while we were making the shot.  And if there is one thing that is extremely important at an engagement portrait session, it is having a lot of good laughs.  It certainly makes my job more entertaining, and the by-product is that the photos look better too.

So, here is the first photo I posted, the night of the engagement shoot.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona in the Desert with a cut-out of Jacob from the Twilight Movies

There were so many great shots from the afternoon.  I have posted a few of my very favorite shots below.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona against Brick wall

This was one of the earlier shots in the day.  The huge windows behind them make for some fantastic back light and the stair case made for a great angular element to hold the top of the photo together.  For those of you interested in the lighting on this shot, there is a shoot through translucent umbrella above, forward of and to the right of the Nick.  This light is giving the couple some volume by side lighting them, but we are not too dramatic, because it is at a 45 degree angle on them and it is a shoot through umbrella which softens the light a bit because the direction of the light is less defined.  The light was simply a 580EXII Canon Flash attached to a Radio Popper.  My camera is also sporting a 580EX flash with a Radio Popper transmitter and the flash is pounding up into the ceiling to give a little fill light throughout the room.  And then, of course, the window lights are providing shape of the stare case, and a little hair light for the couple.The shutter speed is at 125th of a second and the ISO is at 400.  This allows me to get a good blast from the ambient light outside and the aperture is at 2.8, which gives me that soft look in the background.  I am shooting on a fixed 85mm lens.  The 85mm 1.8 is not a very expensive lens, but it takes a beautiful image.  I love that little lens.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona in Home Easy Chair

I love the reflection in the pool and the blue set against the yellow blooms of the desert trees.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona by the Pool

Of all the images at the house, this has to be my favorite.  The stone and the tree are fantastic and the tree frames the couple very nicely in the bottom left corner of the photo.  You have to love the color in this one.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona against Brick wall under a blooming tree

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona the Bride

I just love the expressions on this one.  Oh, and the composition.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona against Brick wall

Just behind their home, on the side of the mountain is an outcropping of rocks that was quite difficult to photograph.  Once we got them up to the rocks, I had to take position on the top of a wall to get the right angle on the shot, but how can you not love this one.  I was so happy with the image composition and then, Shelby put he elbow up on Nick’s shoulder and that made the photo!  I told her to keep that pose and “never stop!”  I think those were my actual words.  Way to go with this one Shelby.  Way to go.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona in the desert mountains

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona in the Desert

I enjoy the quality of the light after the sun has gone down for about 15 minutes or so.  There really isn’t a better light.  I used to capture this kind of light on film, but I had to use a tripod, I was often shooting a 4×5 camera (those old accordion looking cameras with the dark cloths over the photographer’s head) and the exposures were 30 seconds and of landscapes.  I am so happy with digital cameras today.  6400 ISO?  No problem.  I could enjoy shooting an entire photo shoot AFTER sunset!  It really is the best light ever.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona in the Desert

Sweet light.  Sweet kiss.  Sweet shot.

Engagement Portrait in Phoenix Arizona a Final Kiss

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Shoot: Engagement Portrait Session
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, South Mountain
Slideshow Music: Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

A Wedding in the Grand Canyon

Wedding in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

It is pretty hard to top getting married at one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s like being married at the ocean’s edge, except that there is only one Grand Canyon. It was a perfect day for a wedding at the Grand Canyon. Shashone Point is a great location with almost no tourists and no guard rails. This is the way the canyon was intended to be seen. And what a great backdrop for a wedding.

Arizona Wedding in the Grand Canyon

Thank you, Eric and Alicia for allowing us to be a part of this great wedding. It was a truly one of a kind.

The Bailey / Kintner Wedding – The Grand Canyon, AZ from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Alicia and Eric were married at the Grand Canyon. The ceremony was held at Shoshone Point, which is one of the most spectacular views in the canyon and is one of the most accessible and yet untouched areas on the canyon’s edge.

Photography by: Jared Platt
Wedding Designer: Kim Duncan
Location: The Grand Canyon
Music: Celtic Blessing by Lianna Klassen – Triple Scoop Music

www.triplescoopmusic.com

Engagement Portraits in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona + One Cool Dog!

Saturday morning was a fun morning. We got out early enough to beat the heat and stayed in the shadows of the buildings for the most part, so even the heat of a Phoenix summer didn’t deter us from taking some cool engagement portraits. Then add one very cool dog… It was a fun photo session with some cool results.

The slideshow is below and then my favorite images from the engagement session. Enjoy.

Downtown in any city is a great place to shoot (provided that it is a safe city).  There are obviously interesting backdrops everywhere you look, but one of the great advantages of photographing, in this case, engagement portraits, in the city is that the buildings give you cover from the sun at any point in the day.  No matter where the sun is, you can always find a shady spot.  So we took our engagement portrait shoot downtown in Phoenix, Arizona.  I always enjoy the painted lines and text on streets in a photograph and in this one, the street lines and the lines of the dog’s leash converge quite nicely, making an accelerated sense of perspective.

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Cute shoes, cute dog.  No need to photograph anything else.

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She is a super small girl, so she almost disappears when she snuggles in, but there seems to be a joyous safety in that and I can see that in her smile.

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Again, I am using the converging lines of the parking entrance as the major design element in this shot.  And of course, her leg is perfect.  And the shoe too.

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This dog is the coolest dog.  He was a rescued dog and she was his “foster parent”, but fell in love with him.  Can’t blame her for that.  The dog was low key and casual and was super cooperative as a subject.  Hence, lots of photos were taken with the dog.

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Everytime I photograph animals at a wedding or engagement portrait, I am reminded of my earlier years in photography when I shot Christmas portraits of peoples’ pets on Santa’s lap at a local PetSmart store.  My favorite was when Santa (an elderly animal shelter worker lady) was handed a very large snake to hold.  She had a tough time with that assignment.  Then later, at a commercial studio, we shot the isle blades and catalog images for PetSmart.  We had dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, parrots, lizards, fish and everything else you can think of on the set.  It was quite the experience.  Anyway, one animal becomes easy after that and this dog was a real cool customer.  So he was great.

I especially love this shot.  It was taken in an alleyway next to the hotel laundry room, so hot air was blowing on me as I shot in the already increasing temperatures of the Phoenix sumer morning, but the lighting was perfect.  No artificial light was necessary.  The only major light source was coming from the street where the dog is looking and bouncing off the walls as it filtered toward us.  That bounce with a little general fill light from the sliver of sky above gives the shadows just enough light to keep them full of interesting detail.

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This next shot is in the same alleyway, so the light is similar, just with a very weak fill flash to soften up the drama.

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And the parting shot – one of my favorite buildings in all of phoenix is the Orpheum Theater, which has been fused with the more modern Phoenix City building towering over it.  It was an beautiful way to merge the old and the new together.

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