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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.

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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.

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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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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

Sean & Lexie’s Wedding at the Arizona Biltmore

July 13th, 2013 — 12:15pm

Sean and Lexie were married at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.  I couldn’t help but add a peppy song to their slideshow because they are such a fun couple.  They just didn’t fit with a soft song…  I also considered a bit of hard rock, but ended up selecting this song by Gordon Pagoda (courtesy of Triple Scoop Music).

Here are some of my favorite images from the wedding.

This was a gift from Sean, delivered to the bride’s room.  Lexie was getting her makeup and hair done in front of the window, so the light was perfect already.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment.  I love the quietness of this shot.  She is so peaceful, it makes me think I should be whispering right now.  If ALL CAPS is yelling when you write… what is a whisper?  lower case italics?

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (1)

On this wedding, I was carrying an extra camera with me, the Leica M Monochrome rangefinder camera.  This is a digital M series camera that only shoots Black and White.  This means it is like carrying a film camera with only black and white film.  The advantage to doing this is that your chip is not recording four pixels of separate colors which the computer later must interpret and sharpen, but rather, each pixel is its own pixel, no trickery needed to create the final image.  The result is a sharper file.  This black and white of the dress is from the Leica M Monochrome.  I love this shot.

You will also notice a few other items.  The dress is hanging in the middle of the door.  This is due to a removable 3M hook we placed on the door.  No need to try and hang the dress on a door jam, or a curtain rod.  This was the perfect spot for the dress, so that’s where we hung it.  Oh, and I did remove the door knob from the door.  It was ugly.  I debated on the hinges, but left them for a little asymmetry.  The dress has such a beautiful satin glow and such soft undulating curves to it, that is contrasts well with the right angles of the door and windows, but at the same time, the hard surfaces still have the same soft glow as the dress.  So, while there is a contrast in shapes, there is a comparison in reflective and tonal qualities, so the whole thing works cohesively.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (2)

There is something about a rangefinder camera and the way it forces you to shoot.  You get very different shots than you would with your DSLR and a zoom lens.  With the Leica, I was shooting a 35mm lens the entire day (because that is all Leica had to lend me).  It forced me to shoot a little differently.  In this shot, the little boy is playing his video games, and I forget what excited his face, but it was perfect, whatever it was.

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I definitely do not miss the color in many of these hotel room shots.  Hotels have a way of choosing fabrics that compete with the subject for attention.  By keeping things in black and white for these getting ready shots, it becomes all about the composition and the light, and the close to obnoxious curtains don’t detract for the shot at all.  In fact, the texture and pattern on the curtains are quite nice in B&W.  Had I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark III, I would have turned it to black and white anyway.

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The first look at the bride is always a favorite for me.  The anticipation and the payoff is great, and it is so intimate, as opposed to seeing her for the first time in front of the entire crowd.  I don’t actually have a preference between the traditional and the more modern “first look” concept, I enjoy them both.  But there is a completely different feeling to that moment when the bride first reveals herself to the groom.

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And here is the payoff.  Sean was struck!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (21)

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (6)

We were taking portraits of Lexie (in color and tighter) but Sean was hanging out to the side, just watching, which, to me meant a lot more than the portraits we were taking, so I went to the Leica, which is always wide (remember, all I had was a 35mm lens), so I quickly grabbed this shot.

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I think my favorite thing to do with the Leica was to take loose portraits of people with it.  This kind of shot takes me back to shots of ancestors I have at home next to their old Model T cars and on the front steps of their homes and churches.  I really enjoy looking at them.  Keep in mind, I wouldn’t need a Leica to shoot this shot.  I could have put a 35mm lens on my Canon and did the same thing, and in fact, I have to say (in interest of full disclosure) that the Leica M Monochrome presents a set of challenges that are unique to itself because it does not capture color at all, so like B&W film, when a bright blue sky is in the background, the intensity of the light overpowers the sensor and you loose the sky completely, while a Canon 5D Mark III sensor (which is reading the sky’s blue color can capture the information in the sky and then use that information when converting it to black and white.

 I have placed this image in twice so you can see what happens to the sky if you try to burn it in.  There just isn’t any information there because the blue color of the sky is actually very intense energy that is pounding the sensor, and because it is not seeing in color, it can’t deal with the extreme difference between the sky and the open shade.  So as much as I loved the idea that shooting with a Black and White camera forces you to think in black and white when you are shooting and that the black and white sensor yields a bit more sharpness and clarity in the file, a color sensor  has a real advantage over a monochrome sensor where exposure latitude is concerned.

Of course, I could have put an orange or a red filter over the lens and that sky would have become a nice dark grey.  And that method of pre-vissualized filter control does not work on a color sensor.  But I didn’t have a orange or red filter to fit the Leica, so using the red filter method was not going to happen in a fast paced wedding environment.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (8)

Celebrations in Paper did a wonderful job with all the stationary, announcements, programs and other printed material.  Although that aspect of a wedding is not as obvious, it is important enough that it certainly adds to the experience in a subtle, but meaningful way.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (9)

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (10)

I love this shot.  That is a great moment.  But here is the other thing I like about this shot: the entire wedding, we fought with the lighting on the audience.  The left side is in shadow and the right side is in highlight.  But here, it works in my favor.  The bride is in white and stands out perfectly when placed in front of the shadow side of the audience.  The groom, in black, wouldn’t stand out against the shadow side of the audience, so fortunately for me, he is on the right side, so he gets placed over the brighter side of the scene, so he stands out nicely too.  I couldn’t have planned a better scenario for something like this.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (11)

I know, I know, details are always in color to show off flowers, etc, and we have plenty of those, but Lexie was going for a bit of a Hollywood Glam style for her wedding, so for me, a rich black and white of the dinner table with the room in the distance was just right!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (12)

In France, there is a bridge, near the Louvre called the Pont des Arts where lovers lock a paddle-lock on the bridge with the name of the person they love on the lock, then they throw the key into the river.  Lexie and Sean had their guests choose a lock, sign it and lock it to a small iron fence which will become decor in their home and presumably they will throw away the keys.  There were new locks and old locks, small and big.  I thought that was a fantastic idea for a signature “book.”

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (13)

Here was another great idea.  The seating chart was hand written on a large mirror.  The flower petals and candles were another nice touch.  There were so many nice touches, and I have to give a round of applause to Danielle at Outstanding Occasions for doing such a wonderful job with the event planning and coordination.

Well, when I saw this, I has a few options.  Most of them involved shooting the mirror from an angle so I would not be in the shot itself.  But upon better reflection on the problem, I decided to pull out my Leica and shoot this like a true street photographer and get myself in the reflection.  After all, if Lyonel Feininger or Henri Cartier-Bresson can enjoy their own reflection in a shop window, I can enjoy mine in a mirror at a wedding.

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This was the parting gift for everyone at the wedding.  Except for those under the age, of course…

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The first dance is best shot in black and white anyway.  Add the Hollywood Glamor concept and using the Leica was an imperative.

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And this is my absolute favorite portrait of the day.  Hands down.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (17)

And who wouldn’t like to have some fireworks at their wedding?  Seriously?  This was a nice touch brought to you by the Arizona Biltmore.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (18)

Sean has a iron clad habit of never wearing matching socks.  So his socks are as important as Lexie’s shoes.  Now, normally, Sean’s socks are not even color coordinated, but Lexie bought him a special pair of socks so he could not match and still be color coordinated.  That is love!  Don’t try to change him, just give him the tools to be the best version of himself.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (19)

This party was brought to you by the Arizona Biltmore, JJ’s Band (who rocked the night away), a lot of rowdy guests, this guy’s sexy dancing, Canon Speedlites and a little shutter dragging!  That is one inviting dance floor!

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (20)


Lexie and Sean also chose to have a photo booth at their wedding, which was provided by ShutterBox Photo Booth.  They also have someone there pasting the photos into a book so you can sign a note to the bride and groom.  Well, Ted (from Ted and Ali’s wedding a few months back), insisted that Sean, Lexie and I do a shot in the Photo Booth together, since I look a bit like Sean (we bald people all look alike).  So we photographed a story of mistaken identity in the photo booth.  I love the look on Sean’s face as he strangles me in the photo booth…

It was a very fun night for everyone.

Arizona Biltmore wedding photography by Jared Platt (25)

It was an honor to be a part of your wedding Sean and Lexie.  What a great event.  And I can’t say enough good things about everyone involved in the event, from the flowers by Petal Pusher to the wedding design and coordination by Danielle at Outstanding Occasions.

Wedding Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Location: The Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona

Event Design and Coordination by Outstanding Occasions

Flowers by Petal Pusher

Cake by Classic Cakes and Confections

Stationary by Celebrations in Paper

Music Entertainment by JJ’s Band

Slideshow Music by Gordon Pagoda (courtesy of Triple Scoop Music)

Photo Booth by ShutterBox Photo Booth


2 comments » | Photography, Weddings

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

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