Category Archives: First look

I asked a past client Albert & Nikki how they felt about the first look, and this is what he had to say about their experience.

All the days leading up to wedding can be quite the rush; everything needs to be coordinated, the event organized, and in the middle of it all, you have to get your emotions ready for the reason you are here in the first place. We wondered how our first look would be, given I had not seen my bride in her gorgeous gown nor she seen me in the attire I would be receiving her in as my wife. It was nerve-racking to think what and how we would react amongst all our friends and family. Would we be ourselves? Would we control the electricity in all emotions flowing through our veins, overpowering our motor skills, facial expressions, and sense of public solidity?

We chose to go with the private first look; it beckoned to be a moment of purity, an overall submission of all sensations without the care. And it truly proved to be a moment of “just us”. The moment I turned around, my eyes went clear, focused, everything stood still. I gazed at my wife-to-be, she was outstanding! Beautiful! An impeccable image of life’s gift of perfection, I could only hold my hands to my face in the sheer amazement, in the awe of love. My Bride stood in the aura of light only worthy of her angelic presence, and for those minutes, only she and I stood in that existence. No guest, no friends, nobody but my Bride and I. A pure consciousness I could never have dreamed of, and yet it was dream quality without the inevitable feeling of waking up. We rejoiced in each other and gave each other the FULL attention, admired each other and fell in love with each other once more over. It was truly a highlight of our wedding day, a feeling of wholesomeness as words can best describe.

Thank you Albert for your amazing input on the first look. As you can see the picture below, internet he was not kidding! I love it.

At almost ever consultation when I meet with a new client, we talk about when is the best time to take bridal portraits and I always bring up the option of the first look. Photographer Stephanie Williams wrote the article below and I couldn’t have said it any better! So if you are a bride to be please the read the awesome explanation below! And if you are a wedding photographer I hope you found this as helpful as I do!

“First Look” Debate

What is the “First Look”? : This is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony in order to get most of the formals out of the way beforehand. Once the bride and groom are dressed and looking their finest, I coordinate the first look in a more private setting. Usually, the groom’s back is turned till his bride lets him know he can turn around to see her. This is private, romantic, and usually quite emotional.

I get a lot of questions from clients on the pros and cons of whether or not to set up a “first look” before the ceremony. From a photography standpoint, there are usually many more pros to seeing each other beforehand than cons, but what it comes down to is your personal decision. I will try to give you all the information from a photographer’s standpoint, so you can make an informed choice. Usually, the biggest hesitation for most couples in seeing each other before the ceremony is in the thought of breaking tradition or not having that “moment” of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle. The trend in weddings lately has been moving more and more into breaking traditions or making new ones that fit today’s savvy couples. Also, one of the reasons to set up a “first look” is to still have that moment captured of when you first see each other – although instead of it being in front of all your family and friends, you get to have a more private moment with just the two of you.
One of the reasons I’m writing this article is because I have found that weddings where couples see each other before the ceremony usually have a far less stressful timeline. We also get to have plenty more natural light to shoot in and time with the couple for more creative portraits. For weddings during the winter months, I usually push to have the “first look” just so we’re not running out of light by the end of the ceremony.

Here are two examples of normal wedding timelines – one with seeing each other beforehand and a more traditional timeline.

Traditional Timeline:
– Getting ready shots of bride and groom
– Groom and Groomsmen shots – making sure bride is hidden or in a different location
– Bride and Bridesmaids shots – making sure groom is hidden or in a different location
– Ceremony
– Family Formals – during cocktail hour
– Bridal Party together – during cocktail hour
– Romantics – during cocktail hour
– Reception

First Look Timeline
– Getting ready shots of bride and groom
– First Look – few romantics
– Family Formals
– Whole Bridal Party plus Bride with Bridesmaids/Groom with Groomsmen
– Ceremony
– Romantics – during the first half of cocktail hour (hopefully within the last hour before sunset for the best light!)
– Bride and Groom entrance during last half of cocktail hour/spend a few minutes by themselves/or keep on shooting romantics and more creative bridal party pics till reception time.
– Reception

So, from looking at both timelines, here are the pros to the First Look
– More time for romantics! This is a big advantage because the more time I have with the bride and groom, the more creative we can get with the location, poses, etc.
– Family members get to enjoy cocktail hour since all family formals are taken beforehand
– The bride and groom get to enjoy cocktail hour a bit (with the traditional timeline, you are shooting the whole cocktail hour)
– I don’t have to try to squeeze family formals, all the bridal party together, and all the romantics into cocktail hour. With a traditional timeline, this usually causes a feeling of being rushed and usually results in less time for pictures of the bride and groom together. It may even result in missing the chance to shoot during the golden hour (the last hour before sunset and best light/most “romantic light”
– Once the ceremony is over, the bride and groom just have to worry about getting more shots of the two of them and then party time! There is definitely more “flow” in this sort of timeline.
– Make-up and hair look “fresher” in the images shot before the ceremony (this is especially true in the hot summer months)

Hopefully, this article has answered some of your questions and helped in planning out your wedding day. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me!