To See or Not to See

Let's talk about First Looks.

I've been shooting weddings for years now, and it's easy for me to forget that my clients have never done this before. To me a First Look is a standard wedding element. I know the pros and cons, the situations that require it, and the situations that leave more flexibility. Of course I do. It's my job. My clients don't know. Of course they don't! They've never planned a wedding before. I had a face palm moment at one of my weddings last year when I strongly encouraged the couple to do a First Look. Later, it came to my attention that they didn't know what I was talking about!

That's why I want to share this today. I want my clients (and others) to be educated about their options and feel supremely confident in the choice they make either to do a First Look, or not to. 


1. The schedule

If the couple chooses to see each other before the ceremony that means ALL of the photos can get knocked out before the ceremony starts. To some that might not seem like a big deal. Why not just do them after? Well, it takes a lot of time to get wedding party photos, family photos, and portraits of the bride and groom. All of that time is time taken away from enjoying the reception with friends and family! When the ceremony is over and the bride and groom just want to get to sit down and eat dinner it's easy to rush though photos and not give them the time they deserve. I've had past clients look back and say "I wish we'd spent more time on this, but I just wanted to get to the reception and sit, eat, and see my guests". 

Another schedule element is the time of day. A wedding in December? Where I live that means the sun is setting around 4:30. If the ceremony starts at 5:00, your time in the sun is gone before you even start. Those beautiful natural light photos definitely can't be achieved after the sun has been down for an hour and a half. For winter weddings I have to strongly suggest doing a first look.

2. It calms nerves

The anticipation is crazy on a wedding day! In my experience (both as a photographer and a bride) it really helps calm nerves to be able to see your partner throughout the day. Instead of letting that sick, nervous anticipation build up all day the bride and groom get to spend the majority of the day hanging out with their best friend.

3. It's intimate

First Looks are significantly more intimate that seeing each other during the walk down the aisle. The couple is alone, with the exception of a sneaky photographer. No one has to worry about someone stepping into the aisle to get an iphone photo and blocking the view of the other person. It's ok to cry, laugh, react however. No one is watching. When the couple finally sees each other they get to TALK and TOUCH! They can spend a moment completely alone before the chaos ensues. They can ask how the other person is feeling, if they're nervous. At the ceremony there's no moment to just bask in it. The bride walks out, and then the ceremony is under way. After the ceremony everyone wants to talk to the couple, hug them, get photos with them. Oh, and they still have to go take the professional photos. There's no time to simply be alone together for a minute until it's all completely over.

Still DON'T want to do a First Look? That's ok. It's not for everybody - and it doesn't have to be. For those of you who want to keep it traditional I have some ideas I'll share with you soon! Stay tuned!