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Category: Weddings


William and Erica

March 18th, 2014 — 1:11pm

Here are a few of my favorite images from William and Erica’s wedding.  It was a large wedding, but it felt small.  The people were all so nice that it just felt like I was amongst family.  That is a good indication that things are going to be wonderful.

I enjoyed working on these images, as much as I enjoyed shooting them…

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (19)

Now, I don’t care who you are, this next one has to make you smile.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (18)

Erica is such an adorable person and beautiful women.  She was working on some very important curls, so while she was using this plastic, portable hair drier, I had to get a picture.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (17)

These curls are apparently well over 24 hours of work, so when you see Erica’s hair in her dress, don’t think that kind of coolness comes without some skill and planning.  And she pulled it off wonderfully.  I find myself getting a little giddy when I see something as cool as her hair was on the wedding day.  Not because I love hair, but because I love to see something unique and beautiful and super cool come into place.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (16)

So as erica was brushing out her hair, her maid of honor said. “you look like a black and white photograph.”  So I immediately took a black and white.  This photograph and many others are in black and white because of that statement.  It changed the course of the photos of the wedding.  I like that interactive nature of weddings.  Letting the circumstances sway the images means that the images become something much more real and meaningful.  Thanks to a cute little statement on the wedding day, I saw the entire wedding day through a deferent lens.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (15)

First off, I think William’s last name is awesome.  Secondly, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to those who are and have been a part of our armed forces.  Thirdly, I love the composition of this image.  So, I love this image.  There is a companion image that shows the groom and the best man in this same pose and it is a very casual and supportive gesture, but I much prefer this image because it is so metaphorical.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (14)

This is the Bride’s parents back yard (and music studio).  I never wanted to leave…

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (13)

I spent a long time looking at the getting ready photos after selecting them considering what they should become.  I am generally very good at choosing a style and direction for a photograph and just making it happen, but this set made me stop and think for a long time.  The bride’s love of books (a theme that would show up in the reception hall) was on full display here.  The warmth of the wood, the room, the light in the window, her hair and the presence of her grandmother (who I wanted to take home with me), all pushed me to this warm treatment with a push back into the past.  I will be playing with these same images on my workshop on creativeLIVE.com in a week (March 24-26, 2014) and if you join me there, you can see the original shots.  I can’t imagine them with any other treatment.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (12)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (11)

So soft and beautiful.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (10)

The portrait session became a total of five or ten minutes tops.  There were a few delays on getting the dress right because a sewing kit had already left for the church.  And we had to leave soon, so it was a quick run out into the snow for a few photos.  And while I love the color in the image here and it makes a nice portrait, I fell in love with the black and white for my favorite shot in the series.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (9)

This black and white got my attention for a long time.  I really had a lot of fun with it.  Including turning on that light and creating a little extra glow from the light onto her hair, etc.  I am so pleased with this one.  William (the groom) should be printing this one for his office for sure.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (8)

Who doesn’t love candles?

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (7)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (6)

The candles were all over the place.  Like a gift from the bride and her family to me.  This one is another one of my favorite images.  But it required a little extra editing because there was a little something in the background, a groom, that was crowding up the image.  So, sometimes, I do use photoshop… but not often.  And I will show you the original on creativeLIVE.com in a week, then it will be in the archives forever, never to be seen again.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (5)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (4)

When you have a car like this, you have to use it well.  Man it was cold out though…  SO COLD!!!!

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (3)

Erica was a trooper though.  She was brave enough to take off her warm furry cape.  And here I was with coats and hats and scarves (no gloves) and I was still freezing!  I think it was about 10 degrees outside when we took this photo…  I will say it was fun, because taking photos is fun, but the cold was not as fun.

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (2)

Wedding photography by Jared Platt of wedding in Missouri (1)

Thank you William and Erica for trusting me with your wedding day.  It was such a pleasure.  God bless you both and your marriage.

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: Independence Missouri

Slideshow Powered by Animoto

Post-Production with Shoot Dot Edit

1 comment » | Photography, Weddings

Jon and Susans Wedding at Hidden Meadow Ranch

November 3rd, 2013 — 7:51am

 

Jon and Susan were married in the aspen groves of Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer, Arizona.  It was an extremely small, family wedding, which I always love to be a part of.  Weddings like this are so intimate and the connection is so immediate.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the wedding.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (1)

What a perfect window for a portrait.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (2)

Sneaking in to see if the Bride was ready.

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This massive horse would pulled the carriage with Susan and her children in it.  He’s a beautiful creature, more so with the flowers braided into his mane.

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It was a beautiful day, albeit a little chilly, but it threatened rain all morning and into the afternoon.  Finally, when the ceremony time came, the clouds parted and we had sun.

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At one point in the ceremony, I saw this happening and I couldn’t help myself.  I am in love with this image.

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I love a sand ceremony at a wedding, but they are far more fun with more people involved.  They get a little trickier, sometimes provide a little comedy and always produce a more interesting product in the end.  The metaphor is great for a couple, but even greater for a merging family.  Your separate lives are becoming one, never to be fully separated again.

Wedding photography at the Hidden Meadow Ranch in Greer Arizona (8)

After the traditional ceremony, Susan and Jon’s marriage was blessed by a Native American medicine man, who then gave the two gifts.  A charmed necklace and an arrow.  I am amused by this photo.  Susan is having such  great time, Jon is studying his arrow, as are the boys, and Susan’s daughter, I am sure was caught in a moment by the photo (as we often are) but the look on her face is absolutely priceless.  I know, it doesn’t tell the “perfect” story about the blessing, but it tell a great story, whether that story is accurate is completely up to Susan’s daughter.  I love the photo.

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Jon is a handsome man.  He was being teased about this fact as we took his portraits.

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Add Susan.  What a beautiful woman and a fantastic dress.

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I absolutely love this photo.  It became such a piece of art in my mind that I had to treat it differently than the other photos.  It needed a soft, magical forest feel.  I think the treatment of the photo help promote that feeling even more.

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This is the first time I have ever been able to accomplish this ring shot and without a saw or a torch.

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The cake topper was a heart made of twigs or reeds with a J and an S on either side.  Very beautifully done.

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It is always an honor to shoot a wedding.  It is always a blessing to be involved in small family weddings.  And it is always a beautiful experience to spend a little time at Hidden Meadow Ranch.  So this wedding was a fantastic experience.  Jon and Susan, congratulations and thank you for making me a part of this wonderful time.  I wish all the best in the years to come, to you and your family.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Hidden Meadow Ranch, Greer, Arizona

Slideshow music by Will Thomas, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

2 comments » | Photography, Wedding Photography, Weddings

Daniel & Megan’s Wedding at The Grand Canyon

August 30th, 2013 — 10:18pm

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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

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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

Comment » | Photography, Weddings

Michael & Bettine’s Grand Canyon Wedding

August 27th, 2013 — 10:17pm

Bettine and Michael’s wedding was a very intimate affair at the Grand Canyon here in Arizona.  Before the wedding, they spent some time together with their guests on the veranda of the Presidential Suite at the lodge on the canyon’s edge.  We had such a fantastic time with everyone at the wedding (which is a very small number).  Here are a few of my favorite images.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (21)

 Time to head off to the wedding at Shoshone Point.  The map was laid out on the counter, but this map doesn’t indicate the path to Shoshone Point.  You have to know where it is to find it.  The first few times I shot there, I kept missing the turnoff for the point.  It’s worth finding though.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (20)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (19)

It was a simple wedding, perfect weather, beautiful light and great people all around.  I can’t think of a better way to spend the day.

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This is the entire wedding having a champaign toast directly after the wedding on the point.

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 Then on to the portraits.  The clouds got a little more dramatic for us, although that meant that the canyon lost some of its light.  The canyon shifts and changes, but if you are prepared and know what to do with the changes, the canyon will give you something beautiful every time.  In this case, Ryan NeVille is off camera right with a beauty dish, providing a little needed light.

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I love this shot.  Michael is epic.

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This one too.  One of my favorites.

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This one really gives you a good feel for the depth of the canyon below and the height of Shoshone Point.  And there is Bettine, calm as can be!  I love it.

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This is a great moment.One of my favorite images from the entire day.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (12)

 Bettine’s mother’s ashes made the journey to the canyon where they would later be scattered in the winds of the canyon.

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (11)

I have to sing the praises of David and Debra Joaquim and the chef at El Tovar.  Together they put together an amazing dinner on the edge of the canyon.  Everything looked fantastic and by all reports tasted that way as well.  Keep in mind, there is no kitchen out here on the point, no power and the wedding was moved up an hour to avoid the threat of rain, so making a fantastic dinner like this is an amazing thing to do.  I was impressed.  It speaks well to the Joaquim’s planning skills and to the chef’s artistry.

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Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (9)

 This bouquet was designed by Debra Joaquim.  An absolutely beautiful mixture of plants and flowers.  It worked so well with the canyon.

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Bettine, there’s that purple coming through.  The canyon was a bit thin in color throughout the wedding because the cloud cover kept things a bit softer, and Bettine was looking for some of the rich colors of the sky and the canyon throughout the day.  But as the sun broke through the clouds just before sunset, we caught some magnificent images with deep blues and purples set against the yellows and reds of the canyon walls.  It always amazes me that this can be a Bride’s backdrop to her wedding dinner.

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 The wedding part took time after dinner to hold an ash scattering ceremony for Bettine’s mother at the canyon’s edge.  The idea being that her mother’s final resting place could overlook and be a part of the place Bettine was married.  The roses were in memory of her and a few rose petals were tossed into the wind as well.  Sometimes, there are moments that I feel like I should put the camera down and step away.  When I feel that way, I check myself, increase my awareness of how obvious I am.  I try to dial it all back a little so I can be as close to invisible as possible, because I know that an image like this one would mean a great deal to me if it were my mother’s ashes being scattered there in that place.

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I love this image.  It is the end of a very important day for Bettine.  I thought it was only fitting to stand and watch the sunset close out the day.

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Debra and David Joaquim  did a fantastic job with the preparations for the wedding.  Including picking up an umbrella for everyone in the wedding, just in case the rains did come.  We never needed the umbrellas, but they matched the decor of the wedding so well, that Bettine thought we could not leave without some photos using them.  So…

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Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (3)

Grand Canyon wedding photography by Arizona Wedding Photographer Jared Platt (2)

This would be the backdrop for the signing of the wedding license and since the sun was long since gone, we had to light this up with a few LED flashlights and an ICE Light.  Everything looked so nice, I couldn’t walk away without a still life of the beautiful flowers, also created by Debra Joaquim.

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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 Jason Livesay and Justin James, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Comment » | Photography, Travel Log, Weddings

Tim & Samantha’s Wedding in the Grand Canyon

August 7th, 2013 — 3:41pm

Samantha and Tim were married on Shoshone Point at the Grand Canyon.  The wedding slideshow features the music of Native American flutist Kelvin Mockingbird (available on iTunes).  These are a few of my favorite images.

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You may have seen my engagement portrait session with Samantha and Tim on the Dry Tortugas.  Sam and Tim are an adventerous couple and maybe better said, they love life experiences.  So, when they made plans for their wedding, they went beyond planning a wedding and a honeymoon.  They planned a wedding life experience, starting with a four day hike from the north rim to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and ending with a cliff side wedding on the south rim’s Shoshone Point.

Since I am the wedding photographer, their life experience becomes mine as well.  A few days before the wedding, I hiked down the south rim of the grand canyon for four hours with 55 pounds of camping and photo gear on my back (which is apparently more weight that is advisable), so I arrived quite exhausted, but down was easy, up was much harder.

As you can see, the floor of the Grand Canyon is a desert (which at times this week was hitting 120 degrees plus).  The mountains you see in the background are the cliffs that rise up and make the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  We spent the evening on a short  two mile hike, spent the night in our tents and began the long, challenging hike back up the South rim of the canyon the next morning at 5 am (to beat the heat).

Man, I love my job!

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Following the path you see in the photo above, takes you to another impressive drop in the Grand Canyon to the absolute floor, the Colorado River.  This sheer cliff is mind blowing.  Even standing at a safe distance from the edge will give you the absolute creeps.  But the view just cannot be beat.

When most brides and grooms are planning the final details of their wedding, playing a round of golf, or hitting the spa, Samantha and Tim were hefting their packs for 21 miles over four days in 110-122 degree heat, dropping and climbing roughly 6,000 feet on either side, and seeing some of the most breath taking views on the planet.   I’d say that makes this wedding quite unique.

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It’s a long way down.  Even with a guardrail, you question your safety as you look over the edge.  Tim is not too fond of heights…

At 5am we broke and left camp and headed up the south rim of the canyon.  Each hour, the temperature would rise by ten degrees, so the earlier we started, the better.  Tim gave me a hard time about the weight of my pack, but in the end, it could have been a lot heavier.  I couldn’t risk hiking down into the canyon and have a camera fail, so I needed two cameras.  But instead of taking two DSLRs, I took one paired down Canon Mark III with a 24-70mm lens and a Panasonic GH3 with a 35-100 and a 7-14.  The Panasonic GH3 is a light weight, mirror-less, 4/3 camera and it’s lenses weigh almost nothing, but the quality is very high, so while I still used the Canon for many of my shots, the GH3 was a perfectly usable alternative.

Half way up, I realized I could use the monopod from my small tripod as a walking stick.  That helped.  Tim offered to take the rest of the tripod to lighten the load.  Thanks Tim… my legs still thank you for that.  Suffice it to say, when hiking with photographic gear, you might want to leave the camping gear at home!

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Once you are on the trails for four hours, every switch back looks the same.  I thought for sure the top was around the corner at every corner, and since Sam and Tim had not hiked this trail, and I had just come down the day before, when I told them we were almost there, they believed me…  Until we met a ranger who informed us we still had about an hour to the top.  Oops. Well, I was selling hope!

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No, this isn’t us at the top.  This is us close to the top.  Close is a relative term.

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After making it to the top, we had a day to recuperate from the hike and get ready for the wedding.  I was grateful for the rest.  Then, on the following day, at about noon, the getting ready began.  Samantha was in her room getting ready and Tim was preparing with a trip to Shoshone Point for a little meditation and mental preparation for the wedding.  You see, Tim has a fear of heights.  Why then did he choose to get married on the edge of a cliff?  I will tell you in a minute.  Suffice it to say, he needed to spend some time with the cliff, so a little meditation was in order.

Meanwhile, the bride was putting on the dress and getting her hair done and looking like a million bucks!  I got to help steam/iron the dress that had gotten a little wrinkled somewhere between Florida and Arizona.

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Tim is crazy about Samantha!

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It was a beautiful day and the canyon was singing with shadows and highlights.  A cloudless sky is a double edged sword.  It makes for harsh lighting conditions for portraits, but the lack of cloud cover keeps the canyon alive with contrast.  So, a Grand Canyon wedding comes with it’s own special set of prayers: for scattered  Cumulus clouds with a few strategically placed and well timed Cirrus clouds during the portrait session to soften the sun.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (9)

We didn’t get the Cumulus clouds, but we got a few Cirrus clouds.

This next shot is during the wedding.  You don’t see the guests because they chose to sit much higher on the point, and you don’t see the officiant because she is awesome and always stands to the side so the couple is not crowded and so their photos don’t all have an officiant in every shot.  How novel is that?  Almost every wedding ceremony image is cluttered up by an officiant’s head sitting between the bride and groom and even during the kiss.  “You may kiss the bride,” and I’ll just stand right here and and watch and make it look like I am kissing you both as well…  Why don’t more officiants have this figured out?  Samantha and Tim are actually saying their vows and I was able to get a shot with just them and the grandeur of the canyon.  That should be celebrated.  Don’t you think.  So, I have to give many many thanks and compliments to David & Debra Joaquim because they think about the aesthetics of the ceremony and take themselves out of the way.  I suppose it is a show of humility, that the wedding is not about the officiant, or the photographer, or the coordinator, or the mother of the bride, or the best man… it is about the bride and the groom and their commitment to each other.  And with a little humility, we can all make the day more meaningful to them by stepping out of the spot light and serving the couple and fulfilling their needs rather than our own.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (8)

Incidentally, some of those clouds even placed themselves where we needed them.  Photo prayers were answered.  While the lighting was a little challenging on the bride and groom, it was magnificent on the canyon, and in the end, it is easier to light the couple with a soft box than it is to light the entire canyon.

I love this series portraits.  The bride and groom look great and the light is so lovely, thanks to Ryan (my assistant), who was battling the winds with a big soft-box that at one point was trying to push him off the cliff.  Good thing he’s a strong guy!  This shot could not have happened without Ryan and his soft box.  (The light was provided by an Einstein Mono Head, a vagabond power pack, a 30×40 White Lightning soft box and two pocket wizard transceivers.)

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (6)

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (5)

Now to discuss the fear of heights.

When you share major life experiences like these, you tend to develop a deeper relationship with people.  Tim and I have had many deep conversations ranging a myriad of subjects as we have spent a lot of time together.  When you compare  the amount of time we have been photographing to the amount of time we have spent hiking, kayaking, cooking, eating, searching the sunset for the green flash, and discussing life… you might say, we haven’t been shooting photos at all.  As odd as this may sound, coming from Tim and Sam’s wedding photographer, photographing less may be a good thing.  Because portraits are portraits, but understanding is everything.  I am always drawn to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s statement, “Photography is nothing, it’s life that interests me.”  In fact, I have it branded on my studio wall to remind me that regardless of what I know about f-stops and camera gear and lighting techniques, those skills are worthless without a natural curiosity and love of life and for people.  It’s the observation of life that makes great images, because that’s how we see the story that should be told.

In one of our conversations at the Canyon, Tim told me that the reason he wanted to get married in a place that would cause him fear was that he wanted to feel his bride’s calming influence and support as he said his vows.  He wanted to feel her lifting him up against the will of gravity.  Tim is a confident and successful man, so to hear him talk about this choice of location for the wedding helped me to see a lot about his relationship with Samantha.  Ergo, it is not an accident or a whim that led to the photograph below.  I watched Tim stay clear of  cliff edges completely, or white knuckle their secure guardrails, while we were in the canyon, but on the day of the wedding he stood at the edge of the cliffs on Shoshone Point as calm as a summers morning.  So this next image has become to me, the most telling portrait I made of the couple, but it comes from hours of discussion and a better understanding of Tim and Sam.

So, perhaps the most important thing a photographer and his clients can do is spend a little more time talking and a little less time shooting.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (4)

The last moments of light are always the best, and with the help of a small Canon 600 RT flash off to the left, it’s perfect.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (3)

Once the the sun goes down on Shoshone Point, there no more light.  Fortunately we had a mostly full moon, so seeing was possible, but photography was not, without some additional help.  During the signing of the marriage license, we needed some off camera lighting.  Flash could have worked, but we are outside, so there is nothing off which to bounce the flash, and direct flash in that kind of darkness is blinding at any power.  So the wedding party would have been left to sign the document in darkness.  So we pulled out a constant LED light source called an Ice Light and a pocket LED torch.  I was impressed with the final result.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (2)

You can see the light setup here.  Ryan’s arms got very tired.

Wedding photography at the grand canyon. (18)

The job of photographing a wedding is a difficult one and requires a lot of problem solving, a lot of energy and a lot of love for the people you serve.  But when you have a job that is this much fun, even when it is challenging, it is hard to call it a job.

Thank you Tim and Samantha for trusting us with the photography of this important year in your life.  I will watch your future with interest and wish you all the best.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point

Wedding Officiant: David & Debra Joaquim

Wedding Slideshow Music by Kelvin Mockingbird, Courtesy of Kelvin Mockingbird, available on iTunes.

Thank you to Panasonic for the use of their lightweight GH3 4/3 Camera.

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