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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.

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (2)

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

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

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (4)

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

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

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

Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Wedding photography at the Grand Canyon (14)

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

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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

Ted & Ali: Married at the Paradise Valley Country Club

May 12th, 2013 — 12:37am

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding photography in Scottsdale Arizona at the Paradise Valley Country Club by Jared Platt, Platt Photography. (29)

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

Wedding photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Wedding Planning and Coordination by Outstanding Occasions.

Flowers by Table Tops Etc.

Location: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

1 comment » | Photography, Weddings

Sunsets and Dandelions: A Family Portrait in Chandler, Arizona

April 10th, 2013 — 3:17pm

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

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

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

 

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

Man, she was adorable…

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

I love this one.

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

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

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

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

Family Life Portraits by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: Tumbleweed Park, Chandler, Arizona

Comment » | Childrens Portraits, Family Portrait, Photography

Mattie and Riley’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

February 11th, 2013 — 3:52pm

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

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

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Mattie looks beautiful in that dress.

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

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

wedding photography by jared platt in arizona

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Location: LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona

Wedding slideshow music by Fisher, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

1 comment » | Chandler Arizona, Photography, Wedding Photography, Weddings

Megan & Blake’s Wedding in Mesa, Arizona

February 2nd, 2013 — 10:55pm

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

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

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

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LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (7)

LDS Wedding in Mesa Arizona (10)

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

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The staircase was my favorite spot inside.

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

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

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

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

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

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow Music by Anna Sali, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

Location: LDS Temple and ValVista Lakes, Mesa, Arizona

4 comments » | Photography, Weddings

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