2019 AG Photographer of the Year - Jesse La Plante

Jesse La Plante, Colorado

WPJA’s new Artistic Guild Photographer of the Year honed his skills as a gritty newspaper photojournalist before shifting to wedding photography in 2008. Jesse La Plante’s new career coincided with a move to Colorado, where he started J. La Plante Photo and, in the words of his WPJA bio, “never looked back.”

La Plante, a WPJA member for six years, derives some of his considerable inspiration from the mountains near his Boulder home, where he often can be found skiing when not on a wedding shoot. He likes to joke that his studio has two seasons: wedding season and ski season. “I can’t imagine a more perfect setting for a wedding photographer,” he says of his location.

Early on, La Plante developed an identifiable style that he credits, in part, to the resourcefulness he learned on newspaper assignments. Learning to think on his feet on the beat, he says, was invaluable in “doing things a bit differently” as a wedding photographer.

That distinctive style is in evidence in his wedding portraits, 26 of which are found in his prize-winning 2019 AG portfolio. He likes to include several “editorial-style portraits” at every wedding to balance out the more spontaneous shots that time and opportunity afford him. He is a master of on-site lighting, and augments and enhances natural light to dramatize his portraits.

Wedding photography has abetted La Plante’s love of travel. He and his wife Moira have been to every state and to 18 foreign countries – sometimes for work, sometimes for pleasure, often for both. The couple recently began teaching their own wedding photography workshops, which they fit in when they’re not on the slopes, checking out the music scene at Red Rocks, or quaffing Colorado’s raft of craft beers.