The biggest challenge I face as a wedding photographer is breaking the ice with subjects when I first get to a wedding location. Most couples want “getting ready” shots, but few know how to be at ease with a camera hovering about. The day is already hectic without a stranger entering your inner sanctum and capturing images of you in various states of dress. I completely understand. Groomsmen, in particular, can be a bit standoffish when I’m floating around a hotel room. What I usually do is ask the groom outright, what he would like me to photograph. If he wants me to wait until everyone is dressed to start taking photos, so be it. If he wants me to photograph his friends while they wax philosophical in their underwear, no problem.

In this case, Don and his groomsmen called me to come to the hotel after they were already dressed. We headed down to the bar and I just told them to hang out. None of them took their eyes off of me. So I told them to all to start making fun of Don and see how he reacts. They happily obliged, and I got to photograph this magic moment in which everyone has a truly natural expression. Some might say I posed them, but I like to think of myself more as the director of a movie in which I don’t know the outcome. Either way, I love this photo.