‘First Look’ photography is the new kid in town and it’s growing in popularity. If you’re not sure what it is or if you’ve have never heard of it, it’s that magical moment when your spouse-to-be first sets eyes on you, the beloved bride, and both your emotions come rushing out. For me, it is one of the most powerful photos taken at a wedding where I make sure I have the tissues ready! A growing trend is to have this intimate moment privately BEFORE your ceremony, with just your wedding photographer, to capture that special, candid first look between you both.
Photo credit: The Youngrens
This is something that will split most people into one camp or the other – you’ll either be blown away by the idea and be calling your wedding planner right now to make sure you include this in your wedding, or you’ll be wondering why on Earth you’d want to lose that moment when you first lock eyes coming down the aisle.
This decision is down to the both of you because that first look will take your breath away; your heart will want to explode with the overwhelming wave of love that you’re both feeling for each other in that single moment of time; you may forget to breathe, or burst into tears or simply be grinning from ear to ear. However you both react, this is one of the most intimate moments of your life together, so deciding if this moment will be before the ceremony, or as you walk down the aisle, has to be the right call for both of you.
Here’s our lowdown on the pros and cons of having a First Look photo shoot:
If you do a first look, you're less likely to become an emotional mess when you walk down the aisle.
If you know you or your intended are going to be blubbing all the way through the ceremony, then having a first look can help to take some of the overwhelming emotion out of the important “I do” part of the day; and of course, you don’t want to ruin that gorgeous make-up that took hours to apply.
Photo credit: Jasmine Star Photography
Calms your nerves
There’s no doubt that your wedding day can be nerve-racking, especially if you don’t like standing up in front of a crowd or being the centre of attention. One way to calm your nerves can be to spend a few quiet moments with your beloved just before the ceremony, to help each other relax and to receive reassurance from the most important person in your life.
Your photographer will have more opportunities to get great photos of you
By having a first look, you’re adding more time with your photographer to get those unique shots of just the two of you. This also means your photographer will have more time to get that perfect bridal portrait of you both.
Photo credit: Andria Lindquist
You get the official photos done at the same time so you can spend more time with your guests!
Since you’ve already had your pictures taken, you can spend your cocktail hour greeting and mingling with your guests, rather than being whisked away. This is a great time for candid and photo-journalistic pictures, so it’d be nice if you were in them too.
It's the most intimate time you'll have together that day
You’ll spend the majority of your wedding day surrounded by other people — getting ready with your bridesmaids, saying “I do” in front of all your guests, posing for lots of photos with your family and, of course, dancing the night away with your besties. The first look session is the calm before the storm, an opportunity to remind you both that when it comes down to it, it’s just the two of you, for as long as you both shall live.
The first time you see each other WON’T be at the altar with you wearing your wedding gown
For some, this is just too much of a break from tradition; that moment is so special, and you simply don’t want to take that away from each other.
Photo credit: Ann Sophie Maestracci
Your wedding is full of first look moments, why limit them!
It’s true, your wedding Is going to be filled with first look moments - the first time your father and bridesmaids see you, the first time your intended sees you, the first time your guests see you as a married couple, the glance between you the first time you say “My husband and I…” or “My wife and I…”, your first dance as a wedded couple…the list goes on. Many your photos are going to capture first look moments, so you may decide that the additional cost of the photographer's time for your first look photos is unnecessary.
First look wedding photos aren’t candid
There are some that will quite vehemently argue that first look photos are staged and therefore they aren’t candid at all; so why not stick with the moment that WILL be 100% honest and candid, i.e. when you walk down the aisle.
Photo credit: Ann Sophie Maestracci
You’ll have to be up and at ‘em much earlier on your wedding day
Depending on what time your wedding ceremony is scheduled, this could be a deal breaker as those doing your hair, make-up, flowers and photography may not be available 2 hours earlier, or may not be prepared to start that early. So do check with them first before you set your heart on a pre-ceremony first look photo session. And of course, you may not be early birds either, so do consider what time you’d have to be ready if you want to include this in your wedding day schedule.
Your guests don’t get to see your first look moment
For many guests, the moment the groom first sees his bride, is a magical moment for them too, and, particularly close family and friends, may feel a little ‘cheated’ that they only get to see your ‘second look’ after all the effort that everyone has put into the wedding (both helping and attending). Of course there are other first look moments throughout the day, but this one is THE one that everyone wants to witness.
Photo credit: Anne Sophie Maestracci
If you like the idea of a first look photo session, but feel you don't want to ruin the surprise, you could always go for a ‘first touch’ session - a simple holding-of-hands from the other side of the door or wall, but without actually seeing each other. This approach can result in some truly heart-stoppingly beautiful images, as neither of you will see the other’s reaction until you get your photos from your photographer.
Photo credit: Miranda Laine Photography
Another alternative is to capture the father-of-the-bride’s first look at his daughter (or whoever is lucky enough to be giving the bride away). The person giving away the bride can sometimes get overlooked, so what a wonderful way to capture their first look and to make them feel extra special.
Photo credit: Larua Zastrow Photography (how adorable is this photo?!)
Whether you’re considering doing a first look or if you are choosing to wait until the ceremony, there’s absolutely no doubt that either way, this is a moment that you’ll both treasure for the rest of your lives!
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