- An engagement session to set the scene- 6 Tips for a Successful Engagement Session
- A successful day starts with a timeline – Creating a Wedding Timeline to Avoid a Disaster
- Communication and creativity with other vendors- Brilliant Ideas for Working with Wedding Vendors
- To First Look or Not to First Look- The Great Debate: A First Look or No First Look
- Must-Have Pictures of the Bride – 6 Must Have Pictures to get of the Bride
- Capturing Moments with the Groom- 5 Pictures to Capture of the Groom
- Quick and Easy Family Portraits – 6 Tips for Quick and Easy Family Portraits at a Wedding
- Keeping Bridal Party Photos Smooth and Fresh – 6 Tips to Keep Bridal Party Photos Smooth and Fresh
- All About the Little Things — Details of the Day 68 Details To Photograph at a Wedding
- Wrapping it up with kindness and care 6 Tips Photographers Need to put the Final Touch on a Wedding
The Great Debate: To First Look or Not to First Look. No matter what your bride and groom decide for their wedding day, the bottom line is it’s your job as the photographer to capture the memories.
There are three options:
- First Look- where the couple sets a time before the ceremony to meet and see each other.
- Walking down the aisle- they want a surprise as the church doors open
- No Look- They want to meet before the ceremony to pray or exchange gifts/notes but choose to not see each other, whether behind doors or other.
One of the earliest questions I ask a couple is, “Are you interested in a First Look?”
Whether or not they want to see each other before the ceremony and break tradition tells me a lot about their style, preferences and even their relationship.
Sometimes, they say no — they want that sacred moment of surprise and awe when the church doors open and a bride walks down the aisle with her father. (It’s one of my favorite moments the whole day, too!).
Sometimes, they say a very solid YES! They want to see each other in a private moment, surely filled with emotions and even offer each other a bit of calmness and strength in a day of chaos and crazy.
And every now and then, we all agree on a “No Look” — an opportunity for the two of them to meet somewhere — opposite sides of a door or at the corner of a wall, maybe — so that they can hold hands, talk, even pray together, but not see each other and take away the surprise.
There’s pros and cons for all three options (for both you and your couple), but in the end, it’s their decision and their day (Remember how we talked about this in our vendor discussion? Brilliant Ideas for Working with Wedding Vendors). I never force my opinion on my couples and make whichever avenue they choose look phenomenal on their day.
It takes a little bit of planning to work some magic with a First Look.
You have to first allow enough time (we talked about this a little bit in our Timeline discussion- Creating a Timeline to Avoid Disaster) — you’ll have two people coming from different directions and you want them to have enough time to enjoy the moment in a private manner.
I usually ask at least one member of the bridal party to “help” with the First Look — they’re sort of on standby to fix a dress at the last-minute, give a direction to the other person if I don’t have a second shooter, etc.
Doing a First Look lets you get a headstart on bridal party and couple portraits, especially nice for the couple who wants to enjoy most of their cocktail hour or has a shorter day or coverage. If they decide not to do a First Look, just make sure there is plenty of time later for portraits of just the two of them and with the bridal party.
And the thing I most like to do with First Looks? The thing that is really difficult to do as a photographer?
After I capture the initial reaction and first kisses, I… wait for it… put down my camera. And walk away. I let them have just a couple of minutes without me barking orders on where to stand and how to turn and let them just be them. Two people about to be married and promise a lifetime of love together.
Alright and I won’t lie… sometimes I put a wide-angle lens on and take shot from a distance.
If your couple decides to go with a first look here are 12 Tips to Photograph a First Look at a Wedding