First Look

A first look is when a couple sees each other before the ceremony and get to spend a little time together. Not seeing each other is an old tradition that originated with arranged marriages so the groom wouldn’t chicken out if his bride wasn’t to his liking. Not exactly super relevant these days, is it? About 90% of my couples choose to do a first look on the wedding day, and they always tell me how glad they were to have done it. Granted, if it’s not for you, that’s okay! If you’ve always imagined seeing each other for the first time while you’re walking down the aisle, there is nothing wrong with that. Your wedding is for you, and it’s important that you stay true to yourself. But if you’re on the fence, or if you just want to know more about first looks, here are some of the reasons why I recommend them:

  • A more relaxed wedding day. We get photos done before the ceremony, so there’s no rushing around later, and you can enjoy a more laid back day overall.
  • You can attend your own celebrations and spend more time with your guests. I don’t have to pull you away from your cocktail hour and/or reception for photos, because we already did them.
  • More time for photos. Instead of trying to cram couple’s photos, wedding party, and family photos into a small amount of time, we can take our time before the ceremony. I usually estimate about 45 minutes for couples’ photos, and 30 minutes each for wedding party and family. Without a first look, these all usually have to fit within an hour. It’s not always possible, but if you’re not doing a first look, an extended cocktail hour (1.5 hours instead of 1) is generally a good idea!
  • More photos delivered. This goes hand in hand (pun intended) with the above point. More time for photos = more photos you can expect in your final gallery.
  • A sense of calm. Many people tell me how calming it is to spend some one-on-one time with their honey before the ceremony. They’re not as nervous or anxious while walking down the aisle, because they’ve already connected with the other person.
  • Different emotions. During a first look it’s all excitement and raw emotion, and during the ceremony it’s usually “holy %#*~ this is happening!” It’s a roller coaster, in a good way.
  • Daylight. For off-season weddings, I always encourage doing a first look, as there’s usually not a lot of daylight left after the ceremony. Just because it gets dark earlier doesn’t mean your photos have to suffer!
  • You look your best. You haven’t had time to cry, sweat, or burn in the sun before having your photos taken.
  • Time together. Couples who do a first look get some actual alone time together. Most modern couples live together, and see each other every day. Without a first look, often people are more nervous, because they haven’t seen their loved one until the ceremony. Plus, with a first look, you get a few moments of alone time when you normally wouldn’t.
  • You get your money’s worth. You’re investing a lot of money into your wedding day photography, so why not make the most of it? The best things in life take time, and the same is true with your photos.
  • Authentic, raw emotion. People tend to hold back their full emotions during a wedding ceremony, when they have dozens of eyes on them. You can kiss your fiancee and tell them how incredible they look, and say what you feel and think in that moment. There’s no waiting until the ceremony’s over, or until the end of the whirlwind of a wedding day. During a first look, there’s no pressure on you and no waiting, and it’s far more intimate, which usually leads to beautiful, organic reactions. Don’t believe me? Check out a few examples below…
New Orleans Wedding Photography
New Orleans Wedding Photography
New Orleans Wedding Photography