The First Look: The What + Why

Jan 21, 2011

The First Look. Most brides either love the idea or hate the idea. The decision to “look or not to look” is a very personal one, but I thought I would shed some light on the subject from the photog’s prospective.¬†In case you’re not sure, the first look is when the bride & groom see one another before the wedding ceremony. Usually the photographer has chosen a picture perfect spot for it to “go down” and captures the joy & excitement that the couple experiences in those first moments.

Let me be clear, I am very PRO-first looks. I truly believe that it is SO beneficial to the both the bride+groom and the photographer. Not to mention for the flow of the day. Here are some of my reasons why I believe you should consider a first look.

Your wedding day will be a whirlwind, no doubt. With a first look, you get to orchestrate an intimate time for the two of you to really admire one another. You get to do things on a first look that you wouldn’t get to do when you just walk down the aisle: like talk to each other, hug for 5 minutes straight, or even jump up n’ down with your “oh my gooosssh we’re getting married” giddiness. I’ve found that the biggest reason why a bride doesn’t a first look is because she thinks that it won’t be as special when she walks down the aisle.¬†Honestly, nothing will ever take away from that moment. Even if your groom has already seen you all “brided-up”, he’s never seen his bride walk toward him to become his wife. There’s nothing else like it. And you’ll see it in his eyes. Guaranteed.

I think first look photos are some of the best from the entire day. The emotion is so raw and real. It’s unbelievable. From there we go right into the couples “romance shots”. Taking that time before the ceremony to do photos allows for so much freedom and flow for the rest of the day. Think of it as “insurance”. More often than not, things don’t run exactly on schedule on a wedding day. Say your ceremony starts a little late, then family portraits run behind because no one can find Uncle Jim, leaving you with only 20 minutes before the sunsets which means not a whole lotta time for photos. Nothing makes me sadder on a wedding day, than when we have to rush through a couples’ romance shots. These are the most important images of the day. These are the ones that you will display on your wall, the ones you will look through a million times and the ones you will use as your profile pic! You don’t want to risk not having enough! And if the day is running smoothly and you’ve done a first look, well then you just have time for more photos which is always a good thing!

Lastly, (and I hope this doesn’t sound vain) but you’ll be the most “photo-ready” if you do photos beforehand. Think about, you’ve just gotten your hair & make-up done, your lipgloss is fresh, and every hair is in the right place. Let’s be honest, ever bride wants to look extra GLAM on her wedding day. And while you certainly will be the entire day, you’ll be the most stellar right after everything is fresh. The more beautiful you feel, the more confident you will feel in front of the camera. You’ll be pulling out your A.N.T.M. moves no doubt ;)!

Again, ultimately the choice is yours. If a first look isn’t your cup of tea, that’s totally fine. However, if you’re open to it or have been considering it, I say DO it! I have never had anyone who has done it wish that they hadn’t.

Confession: We did not do a first look. We got married 2 1/2 years ago before I was a photographer so I didn’t understand the significance. Plus coming from the midwest, we are big on tradition so it was never even a thought at the time. We were having so much fun doing our “romance shots” that we ran over our time setting dinner back more than 30 minutes. Our guests were probably not the happiest! Had we done a first look, the rest of the night would have been much smoother AND then maybe I would have felt like I actually spent some with Joe that day lol.

Here are some first look shots from a few different couples’ weddings. See what I mean?? Priceless images!



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