The reception was in full swing. The band was starting another tune from under the tent. Guests were in clusters around the pool, enjoying their margaritas. While a few went for seconds on the buffet line. As I made my way across the lawn, I ran into the groom smoking with some of his hunting buddies. I asked if I could get a quick shot of him. Jack agreed. Click.
That one didn’t turn so well. Someone stepped into the frame. The lights and tent created a messy background that was distracting. And Jack had a slightly goofy look. So I moved him a few feet in front of some trees and stepped closer. Click.
This is one of my favorite groom portraits. There’s a stillness and peace in the image, even though it’s in the midst of a large party. The tent filled with tables, dance floor, and the band is a few feet away to the right. His friends are just behind me. Young children are chasing each other through the lawn off to our left. And yet he seems entirely present and peaceful.
It’s the expression. The sense of contentment. The slight smile that seems to radiate a quiet happiness. He’s now married, made it through all the festivities, had a good dinner, ditched the tie and jacket, in the middle of a nice cigar, relaxing with his friends and family.
Although the actual moment may not have been exactly quiet, the image distills the scene to Jack—what he’s feeling. How he is in that moment. The viewer then can share those same emotions. Even if it’s years from now.
So as you look at it, you can go to that backyard by the pool, on a warm evening in May.