Picture Perfect

Paul Morrone |

I’ve always hated having my picture taken. As far as I can remember, it’s never been a pleasurable experience. Luckily, with the exception of school photos and the occasional professional headshot, I’ve largely been able to avoid being in front of the camera for a long duration of time. Growing up, it always seemed that I had gym class on the same day as the school pictures were scheduled. I can’t speak from experience on this, but I think it is safe to assume that no parent ever wants their kid to take pictures after running around a gym for an hour. On picture day, my mom would attempt to make me look presentable as I ran out the door in the morning, but by the time I was scheduled to take my pictures my classic childhood ‘bowl cut’ hair was a mess, the 90’s era sweater or turtleneck was either wrinkled or stained, and chances are I had forgotten the form to hand in to the photographer. Needless to say, I did not have a bright future in modeling. 

Fast forward twenty-something years and here we are today. In the midst of the wedding planning and general life chaos, we booked a photographer for our wedding next year. I was thrilled when Jill said that she wasn’t interested in having engagement photos taken, and thought I had dodged a bullet. Jill had worked with our photographer, Tim, in the past as a bridesmaid in a wedding and was happy we were able to secure him for our date. When we told him we didn’t want to do engagement photos, he recommended we do them because it was included in the package price and it would give us an opportunity to work together before the wedding. So much for dodging a bullet. Before I knew it we were having engagement photos taken (complete with Buddy) at Chamard Vineyards where we got engaged.

We both went into the day with an open mind, but I soon realized that I either a) needed a stiff drink before doing a full-blown photo shoot, b) need a body double that can take pictures on my behalf or c) hope the photographer is a master at Adobe Photoshop. Luckily, Mother Nature had cooperated and gave us a beautiful fall day, warm, sunny and complete with spectacular foliage. The first few minutes were actually fun, buddy was running around and being playful and we were both laughing. Things then went downhill.

I’ve thought about this many times, and the best analogy I can come up with is this: taking a picture is akin to making a golf swing. This may seem like an odd comparison, but hear me out. For those of you who play golf, you are all aware of the dreaded ‘swing thoughts’ that ultimately complicate and throw off your natural rhythm and result in a ball somewhere underneath a pine tree way off to the right. Furthermore, those thoughts start before you even swing when you start to think about if your grip is too strong or too weak, aim is accurate and about how hard you need to swing. The same thing happens to me when I’m about to take a picture, my head starts going and doesn’t stop. My brain thinking about what it should feel like to make and hold a smile, if my shoulders are right, what a ‘serious face’ should look like and why the heck does anyone want to see me doing all this. When this happens, the result is equally as ugly as a duffed tee shot. Of the 172 pictures we took, the vast majority have one of the following characteristics: one of my eyes closed, an awkward smile, a confused look or a face that makes me look like I’m sucking on a lemon. We did get a couple of good ones out of the bunch, but both Jill and I agree that Buddy is the most photogenic of all of us!