5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Do a First Look

5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Do a First Look

(from a wedding photographers perspective)

As soon as you get engaged, and start looking around at photographers, you see a very popular trend called the FIRST LOOK. Every vendor keeps asking you the same annoying question: “So… Are you doing a First Look?”

ok- first things first, what the heck is the first look?


First things first… I continue to find that weddings with a First Look tend run smoother-

like A LOT smoother.

Traditionally, couples will wait until the ceremony / vow exchange before seeing each other for the “first look.” However, it’s becoming very popular to see each other before the ceremony for a number of reasons.  It is arranged with the photographer (hey, thats me!) in a private, intimate place away from any guests to have that first moment with yourselves and get a private photo session instead of the typical crowded and hectic cocktail hour.

If a couple wants a traditional wedding day, which is waiting to see each other walking down the aisle, I would NEVER push because at the end of the day, I want YOU to have the best day ever. Whatever you choose will be amazing and filled with emotion and love! But if someone is open minded to modern tradition, I want to lead them to make a more logical plan for their wedding day- which can be a first look. Whatever way you choose- I will be by your side capturing all the moments!


After documenting many couples during their first look, I’ve selected the top 5 reasons why you MAY want to incorporate the “first look” into your wedding day.

1)     Most RELAXED Timeline

This one is probably my favorite reason because, let’s face it, as your photographer, I want you to have more opportunities for GREAT and have MANY wedding day photographs to cherish. At the end of the day all that’s left is the photography to look back on. Based on online surveys, newly wed couples were asked after their wedding, what they wished they could of changed about their day: 21% of couples wished they spent more TIME taking their portraits with their newly married partner- which in turn, produces MORE photographs to be delivered.

Do not let this number stress you! It is possible to have plenty of time for (plenty) of pictures with relaxation in mind! Getting your pictures taken on a wedding day shouldn’t be an exhausting process- which is why the first look was created. You spent so much time dreaming of those beautiful, bright, naturally lit wedding portraits. If you have a ceremony time that is close to sunset (or during months with shorter day light) could leave you with only about 15 minutes of available light before things start getting dark for those “natural light” looking photos-yikes!. Don’t forget during cocktail hour you need family portraits, and those bridal party portraits – Talk about a rush!

By doing your first look earlier in the day, and having you and your partners portraits done, all we will need to do is those family photos. By having that first look done earlier in the day (and taking advantage of beautiful daylight) and out of the way, after the family formals are done, you can go off and ENJOY cocktail hour! YIPEE!!


 2)     Calms The Stress

I’ve found that every couple feels SUPER nervous feels just before the ceremony. Lets face it, your wedding day is your biggest day of your life. So much planning, love, stress, and time is leading up to this moment. Doing a First Look will give you two a private moment. You will have peace knowing that your significant other will be there for you to help calm those nerves. Time and time again I see the stress disappear right off their faces just after seeing each other for the first time. It’s almost like a weight is lifted off their shoulder and the rest of the wedding day activities are a breeze. I always photograph the first look from afar that allows this “First look” moment completely between the couple and I do not interact with this special moment.

After the smiles, the tears, the laughter, I then interact and we get those special portraits done and out of the way for the day during this time- while no guests or family interacting or bothering us! The rest of your day is filled with so many fast moving moments, family, friends and guests, so this is your few moments you will truly be alone with each other. You will cry, and laugh, cry some more… and set the day with such a romantic, and happy love filled mood right in time for your portraits. You will get to talk to each other, hug, and just be in the moment before your big day.


3)     The Feelings Don’t Go Away

So many couples say they are afraid about “taking away that special alter moment” by doing a first look. I can reassure you, it doesn’t. You will get TWO special moments- the first look in private, and your first look in public with family/friends during the ceremony.

Your day is so love filled and emotionally charged, seeing each other during the first look will be a emotional whirlwind, you may cry, and have time to fix your make up before heading to the ceremony! You will then go off to get ready for the ceremony. The first look is done before ANY guests arrive- so no one will see you. Guests won’t have to know that you took photos beforehand- and that moment IS still magical. When you see your family and friends waiting, hear the music, start walking towards your partner, those emotions will whirlwind right up again, producing a special “first look” at the alter as well. A first look, and a first look coming down the alter both have unique and special feelings, so you will get both captured. I have had couples that have done first looks, and have the groom/bride cry all over while waiting at the alter while feeling that magical moment of them walking down to them.

You can always opt out of wearing your veil during the first look, and save that moment for coming down the isle to surprise your partner.


4)   Enjoy Every MOMENT At Your Wedding!

“Our wedding day went by so fast- in a blink of a eye!”

Every couple who has done a first look with me has thanked me after the wedding for convincing them to do a First Look. Not only do they love how smooth the timeline worked with the first look, but the fact that they had more time to spend with family/friends/guests during cocktail hour. If a couple really wants a traditional wedding day, and is not really about doing a first look, I would NEVER push because at the end of the day, I want YOU to have the best day ever. But if someone is open to modern tips, I want to lead them to make a more logical plan for their wedding day- which is the first look.

A First Look gives you the flexibility to get all your portraits done and out of the way before the day EVEN begins. This allows you to enjoy the day flow naturally, knowing your special portraits are taken care of, and you can enjoy more time with guests during cocktail hour- instead of disappearing the entire hour for portraits.


5)     Get More Photos!    

By having a first look, the timeline we create together will set the day straight on the right path - providing the most photographs possible. You are investing a lot into your photography, with a first look, you get a average of 40% MORE portraits with a first look- due to having extra time dedicated JUST for portraits and not rushed, which can happen at cocktail hour. With a first look, you will get the most out of your investment with more photographs- and who DOESN’T want the most wedding photographs possible?

Various other things can eat away during that cocktail “hour” which makes the photo time stressful. Such as travel time takes from the ceremony space to the venue, guests bombarding the couple while leaving the ceremony space, finding family members for formals - which eats away from photograph time. Less time for photographs = less photographs.

Sometimes, a couple will use the ENTIRE full hour of cocktail hour with all of these photo ops- and still feel rushed. By doing the first look earlier in the day, we have a entire hour (or even longer) dedicated JUST for you and your partners portraits, in a controlled environment with beautiful lighting, background and no one else interrupting- which in the end result, ends with more photographs. It also makes family formals more relaxed during cocktail hour, because we already took care of your portraits, which makes a more relaxed timeline.


Phew… that was a lot to read!! Thanks for listening to my tips! Whatever you choose will be amazing and filled with emotion and love! I will be by your side capturing all the moments with or without the first look! I love chatting with my couples to discuss such important moments such as picking on doing a first look.

Here are some other posts with helpful tips for couples!

12 Tips From Your Wedding Photographer

Tips For A Calm Wedding Morning

Why You NEED Engagement Photos

-----------> If you have decided that you want to have amazing wedding photos taken, I would LOVE to be the one to help check that off your list for you! Click here to fill out my contact form.

I will get back to you right away to talk about your wedding plans!

xoxo Heather