A beautiful vineyard wedding out in Lodi, California. The weather was great, the setting immaculate, the bride beautiful, and the groom… well, I know I am not supposed to say this, but the groom was… uncooperative. He wouldn’t smile. He wouldn’t look at the camera. He kept putting his sunglasses on. He had this whole, “I couldn’t care less,” thing going on. I’m not going to lie: this made things challenging. But I am going to let you in on a secret.

He was lying.

Lodi Vineyard Wedding

That’s okay though because photographers are liars too.

I say it all the time. And any photographer who tells you otherwise is a liar.

We lie because, well, frankly you lie, too. You see, as soon as we pull out the camera, you start pretending. You stiffen up, play it cool, put on a performance. There are studies to back me up on this one. It’s called the Hawthorne Effect. It is when a subject modifies an aspect of their behavior based on the awareness of being observed. This effect is even worse, I’d say, when a camera is involved. I mean, who wants the annals of time recording that leaf of lettuce stuck in your teeth or that irresistible urge to scratch the inner edge of your left nostril?

And so, we lie.

Lodi Vineyard Wedding

We tell you that we didn’t see that or that we weren’t shooting. We tell you that the weather is fine when it’s pouring. We ask you to do ridiculous things and promise that they don’t look ridiculous in the camera. We spin untruths that would make Loki proud, all in the hopes that our lies will outdo yours. And we do it because, somewhere between that rigid exterior that you present and the ridiculousness we’re getting you comfortable with, lives a fraction of a moment in which you tell us the truth of who you are.

Sometimes we don’t see it right away. We’re too busy running calculations in our heads – what focal length? what depth of field? what shutter speed? what color is this light? what’s going on in the background? portrait or landscape? what mood are we going for here? The never-ending list of calculations can sometimes cloud our vision. But if we’re doing everything right, we get back home and find the gems.

We find that the reason you kept putting your sunglasses on during the first look wasn’t because you were being stubborn, but because you were trying to hide the tears that welled up upon seeing your bride for the first time.

Emotional groom

We see that the reason we failed at getting that shot that every bride wants of their groom beaming at them as they walk down the aisle, wasn’t for a lacking on our part, but because even though you’d already had a first look, you were still struggling against the emotional weight of the moment.

Lodi Vineyard Wedding

And those dance shots where you kept turning your back to the camera while you danced with your step mother who opened her heart to you and treated you like you were one of her own? That’s when we saw you.

Lodi Vineyard Wedding

While none of the guests likely caught these moments (until now, oops, sorry, not sorry) because they weren’t there, or were looking at your bride, or couldn’t see because of the dark dancefloor, a young woman saw that part of you a long time ago and fell in love with it.

And that’s the truth that the photographer’s lie uncovers.

Lodi Vineyard Wedding

Lodi Vineyard Wedding