As a photographer I often hear the following quote, “I don’t want to ruin the walk down the isle.” In the past few years the term “first look” has become seemingly popular, why you may ask? Well it’s simple…A first look not only gives the couple more time with their guests but it also allows more time with the photographer to get all the ideal shots of the bride and groom. I’ve been photographing weddings professionally for eight years and over those years I’ve had spans of time with the bride and groom portraits from 10 minutes to an hour. Every wedding is so different and timeline and schedules vary so drastically us photographers never quite know how much time we will get with a bride and groom until the day of the wedding. For this exact reason is why I enjoy and offer my clients the opportunity to do a first look.
What is a first look? Let me explain how I photograph a first look. At no means is mine the only way but this is what I find works well. A first look is a time between only the bride and groom and photographer. It’s a special moment where the bride and groom see each other or reveal each other for the first time before the ceremony. Often it’s more special than the walk down the isle because it’s only shared between the couple. This allows for the bride and groom to talk and have special time together before the ceremony and reception. It is a sacred, special time with just the bride and groom and many times ends up being one of their favorite parts of the day.
The bride and groom, along with their wedding party and guests, can go straight to the reception following the ceremony. Everyone is hungry and ready to party, so why not let them? Weddings can be physically and emotionally exhausting and the last thing most people want to do after the ceremony is to take pictures. You will be able to enjoy your reception venue for a longer period of time and celebrate more! Last but not least, if the wedding is during the winter when the sun is setting around 5:00-5:30, taking pictures before an evening ceremony will allow for the bride and groom to be photographed in the sunlight, which provides a wider range of images.
I would say 50% of the time I photograph first looks with my clients and if I had to lean one way or the other I would choose a first look myself. So when your thinking about wether or not you should do a first look or wait till the ceremony think about it and really talk with your other half about the importance of your bride and groom portraits and the time spent with guest after the ceremony.