What is the Point of a First Look? – 8 Reasons to Think About

So what is the point of a first look? As a wedding photographer, my job is to guide you and educate you on a first look. In this article, I give you all the benefits of a first look so you and your partner can make the best decision for your wedding day. Doing a first look or not, really depends on your personality and what is most important to you. But you can’t make a wise decision without understanding the aspects of a wedding day first.

1. You may feel rushed

Since we have to cover so much in so little time, things may feel rushed. I always keep a peaceful non stressful environment but it’s definitely a slower pace if we do your portraits before the ceremony.

2. Alone time with JUST your partner

On your wedding day, you will have family and friends all around you from the time you are getting ready, to the time the reception ends. This means you will never truly have that time on your wedding day with just your partner. A first look allows you time together and a moment of privacy and that is priceless.

3. More pictures

Couples that choose a first look always end up with a lot more portraits. And based on your personality, if you feel like it may take you or your partner more time to warm up to the camera, a first look allows you that time to warm up first (which in average it’s the first 10 to 15 minutes). This creates more relaxed and genuine photos. 

4. It calms nerves

This is huge, specially for the groom.  Almost ALL grooms that have experienced a First Look admit that seeing their bride before eases the wedding day jitters and allows them to relax and actually enjoy their ceremony. But I have seen it for both sides. Immediately after the first look, the couple’s nerves vanish and they begin to enjoy their wedding day more.

5. Less Risky

If it rains later, we already have those very important portraits out of the way. Or if something else happens that we have no control over like the ceremony starts late because family members got held up in a traffic jam. I’ve seen this happen before, and thankfully the first look saved the day.

6. Lighting

A lot of couples have their ceremony at sunset or closer to sunset. Having your ceremony at this time is ideal because the light is softer and perhaps it will be cooler out in the hotter months. But that also means that it’ll be darker outside by the time your portraits take place. If you do a first look you will get the brighter light of the day, plus the sunset light as well without taking a chance of the sun setting sooner than expected due to the clouds or the sun setting behind the trees or buildings. If your ceremony is only one hour before sunset, it’ll most likely be darker outside for pictures.

7. Cocktail hour

A lot of venues offer 1 hour of cocktail hour, but not all do. It’s important to find out from your venue how much time you have for pictures after the ceremony to plan accordingly. If you do a first look, I normally do about 5 to 10 minutes of newlywed pictures afterwards. This allows you time to enjoy your cocktail hour and have more time at your reception. I’ve even had some couples skip the newlywed portraits because they were ready to have a great time and enjoy their reception.

8. Other things to think about

Do you have a large family and therefore you will have a large family formal list? Will you have a longer ceremony? The larger the family formal list and the longer the ceremony, it will take up more time for pictures.

I know I gave you a lot to think about, but now you and your partner will be able to make a decision together based on this knowledge. And do not fear if a first look is not for you. I’m an experienced wedding photographer. Either way I am going to give you some beautiful and amazing photographs!

But I wouldn’t feel like I’m doing my job if I didn’t share that knowledge with you first. Your wedding day is YOUR day to do whatever you want with it. I’m here to serve you and capture each perfectly and imperfect moment because no matter what, it will be beautiful!