Shooting with Stuart Thurkill

Stuart Thurkill shooting a wedding at the Montelucia in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I shot a wedding with Stuart Thurkill a few weeks ago at the Montelucia in Scottsdale, Arizona. His assistant was ill and I was free, so I stepped in to help out. We had a great time. The couple was cool and I always enjoy talking with Stuart because he is so passionate about everything, and he’s such a nice guy. This image I shot of Stuart at the wedding was certainly worth showing. I think that look he’s sporting is Zoolander’s patented Blue Steel look.

Fullmer Wedding: Phoenix, Arizona

The Fullmer Wedding, Mesa, Arizona from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Betsey and Nicolas were married in the LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona. Their reception was then held at Aldea at Tlaquepaque in Phoenix, Arizona.

Photography by Platt Photography
Music by Kevin Burdick,

Wedding: LDS Temple, Mesa AZ
Reception: Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona
Portraits: The Phoenix Botanical Gardens

We spent the morning taking portraits at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, which is a fantastic place to photograph.  Interestingly enough, the non-desert portions of the park are far more useful photographically than the areas with cacti and such.  There are some areas with old tree growth, and that makes for great internal framing.

Wedding Portraits at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens

The wedding was held at the LDS Temple in Mesa Arizona, which I see quite often, so I am always looking to photograph it from a new angle or in an different way.  I like what I did with the temple this time around.

The Wedding was held in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple

Wedding Portraits at the LDS Mesa Arizona Temple

Hanging the dress out in the breezeway is a bit risky as the dress seldom wants to stay on the hanger.  So Rex (my assistant) is off frame right ready to grab the dress should it choose to fall off the hanger.

The Wedding Dress at Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

The Bride taking a phone call before her reception

The flower girl getting her  hair done at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

Wedding Portraits at Aldea at Tlaquepaque, Phoenix, Arizona

The pure joy a young girl feels at catching those flowers can not be overstated.  I love the contrast of this moment between the little girl and the little boy.  So perfect.

Catching the bride's flowers.

The bride at Aldea at Tlaquepaque in Phoenix, Arizona

This is one of the more interesting guest sign ins I have seen at a wedding.  A lot of people use their engagement images to make a guest sign in book, which is a nice thing to do, I love to see couples put some thought into the gust sign in and do something a little different and create something unique.  I really enjoyed this gust sign in idea.

Guest signatures at the wedding.

Great Clients Make Great Photos: A Wedding in Chandler, AZ

Because of the service I sell and the way I sell it, my clients and I always get to know each other before we ever start a business relationship.  We get to pick each other.  My clients pick me and I pick them.  Which means, I really enjoy all of my clients.  This wedding was no exception.  In fact, Hugh and Meghan are extra great clients because they are super casual and fun and Hugh is a very talented designer.  He designed all of the printed materials for his wedding, you will see them in the images at the serving tables, etc.  It is always liberating to have a client who is artistically inclined because they are always encouraging of you as a photographer to take certain risks and push the envelope.  And they never want anything traditional, which I appreciate.

The Inspirador has a nice room for the bride.  Many places don’t have much in the way of a bride’s room, but I was very pleased with the brides room here.  Every angle in the room was a nice angle with well thought out decor.  That’s always helpful to have the bride dressing in someplace other than a bathroom.  Although, here is an interesting note: beautiful and expensive dresses always come with an ugly plastic hanger.  You would think that it would come with a nice hanger, something delicate and pretty, but it comes with an ugly one.  And the Bride rarely thinks to bring a hanger for the dress, so I have to either find one on location (at a resort hotel, there is always a nice wood hanger, which isn’t delicate, but it doesn’t distract from the photo) or, I always have an extra one with me, just in case.  Anyway, if you are a photographer, you should always carry an extra hanger for the dress and if you are a bride, consider buying a hanger that is unique to you to hang the dress on when it is being photographed.

I love this kind of veil.  They are so beautiful.  I think it is because of the way it divides the eyes from the cheek bone.  It helps to define the face and subdivide it.  Plus the texture and pattern is extremely beautiful on its own.


As I mentioned, Hugh designed all of the printed material for the wedding and it was very good work.  I saw a lot of people really paying attention to the printed designs.  When you put that much effort into the design of your wedding, people really to pay attention.


We shot a lot of the portraits before the wedding, but we also shot a few after the ceremony, but of course, it was dark.  So we needed to light it.  This front gate at the Inspirador is quite beautiful, so we shot there with one off camera flash.  Setting up large flash equipment for each shot is just not feasible because we need to move around a bit, so we simply use a Canon 550 EX with a set of Pocket Wizards.  My assistant is standing off camera by about 30 degrees.  That’s the entire lighting set up.  Nothing fancy, but it certainly makes for a dramatic photo.


The ring shot is an opportunity for me to take a break from the wedding and all the distractions and just design something interesting.  When I worked in a commercial studio, I shot a lot of jewelry with lots of equipment, now I am challenged to do some interesting shots of the rings without all of the equipment.  In this case I am using candles for light, napkins for bouncing light and place cards to block the light in certain areas.  Of course then I do a little more burring and dodging in Lightroom (the computer) and we have a ring shot.  By the way, the rings are lying on the wedding program designed by Hugh.


Ah, the luck of the Irish: there was a definite Irish theme to the wedding.  The wedding was a few days after St. Patrick’s Day and Hugh is Irish.  It was fun.  Lots of green.  And Meghan even had a little porcelain horseshoe on her flowers.  The problem with a horseshoe on your flowers is that you MUST always keep the flowers upright, so the luck won’t spill out of the horseshoe.  I like having the bride hold her flowers down, I like setting the flowers in different places (not always upright), so this became a challenge throughout the day.  But I always like a challenge.


Good luck to you both Meghan and Hugh.  It was an absolute pleasure to be with you on your wedding day.

Rex and Kacey's San Diego Wedding

As I may have mentioned before, my brother, accountant and second photographer, Rex, got married in San Diego a week ago.  The wedding was in La Jolla, Califonia and the reception in San Diego itself.  I was only there for a few hours, because I was needed at home (our little baby girl was just born).  So I flew in for the wedding and flew out before the reception was over.  It was quick, but it was a beautiful day and such an honor to photograph my brother’s wedding.  He’s a great friend and his wife is a fantastic person.

The wedding portraits were shot on the beaches of La Jolla, California.

My favorite images are below as well as a slideshow.  Enjoy.

The sky was blue and the sun was perfect, but sometimes, color, even as beautiful as it can be, is a distraction from the shapes and form of the photograph.  So, I removed the color and the image just sang to me.

The flowers were a subject unto themselves, so I couldn’t have the flower girl hold the flowers near her dress.  The needed to be on their own, against the horizon, just like she was.  She was already holding them up and out a bit, so I asked her to pronounce what she was already doing and for heaven’s sake, don’t look at me…  I think there is something wonderful in this photo.  I see a young flower girl who is just about to grow up.


Kacey really wanted to do a few shots in the gas lamp district.  We were running out of time, but we did it and I am so glad we did.  I loved the images we got down there.  And I think the effect here on the photos goes well with the feel of the streets in the area.  I make some pretty quick decisions (some not consciously) while shooting and editing images, but they usually end up being the right decisions.  I think that is what photography is all about.  Making decisions.  We make a lot of them in split seconds and have to live with them.  I am glad I make those decisions well.  I suppose if I didn’t, I would need to find a different career.



Can you believe the perfect luck on this photograph.  I couldn’t have planned it any better.  We got them into position and put the light on them to help equalize the exposure between the bright sun and the couple and then…  cue the bird!  That bird just makes the photograph.  Jonathan Livingston Seagull, anyone?


The La Jolla coast line is full of absolutely beautiful and strange beaches.  It is one of my favorite places to photograph wedding portraits.  No matter what time of day it is, there is a spot for some pretty magnificent photographs.


The next photo reminds me of a photograph I have by George Bernard Shaw (the author).  I found the photo in the archives at the London School of Economics where all of his films and prints are kept.  It is quite a treasure trove of images and I think the strangest place for a photographic collection.  The color effect makes it feel a bi more like BS Shaw’s Photo, albeit his is scratched and full of dust and poorly printed.  The LSE staff is not great at printing.  I suppose they would be the first to admit that the principles of division of labor preclude them from being good at anything artistic.  Anyway, as I was shooting this photo I was thinking about Shaw’s photo in my modest collection of old obscure photographs, which is one of the few little sentimental pleasures in my life.


This one Kacey broke out of her shell and started hamming it up.  That is always a good sign, when your bride and groom forget about being cool and just start having fun.


A New Wedding Slideshow: Scottsdale, Arizona – The Boulder House

We recently shot a Aimee and William’s wedding at The Boulder House in Scottsdale, Arizona, near The Boulders Resort. It is a magnificant home and the most peculiar I have ever seen. It was designed by nature and one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students. I think this is an instance where the student truly outperformed the master.

This was one of the most challenging weddings I have shot in a long time.  The ceremony was scheduled for outside, but it was rained out.  The house is an amazing home which is buried in the middle of a pile of boulders.  The outside and inside walls are made up of these large stones, so the home was very beautiful inside as well as out.  But the change between an outside wedding to an inside wedding was quite a challenge as the inside of the home was very dark and with the storm clouds blocking the sun, even the windows couldn’t provide much light.  Once the call was made to hold the wedding inside, we scrambled and pulled everything together.  With a lighting kit and some high speed digital cameras, we were able to make some great images and make sure that the inside ceremony was equally as beautiful as the outside ceremony would have been.  In the end, the wedding was beautiful and so was the photography.  Of course, always coming prepared was worth the Boulder House’s weight in gold (more on being prepared later).