seven reasons to consider a first look at your wedding

If you've been watching this and other photographer's blogs, you probably hear a lot about a First Look. If so, you probably know what I'm talking about, but just in case, it's the moment when a couple first sees each other all dressed up and looking awesome before the wedding. The way I set up a First Look is to have the groom ready in an area (that will look great in pictures), have his back turned from the direction the bride is coming, and then when she gets close, she can either tell him to turn around, tap on his shoulder, etc. I use a long lens (so I can keep my distance) and let the moment play out as it should - just between the couple, with no direction at all from me. When they are ready to start the portraits, they let me know and we go from there. More and more people are getting on board with the First Look idea, and here are a few reasons why...

1 - You get to have a private, emotional moment between the two of you to reflect on the day ahead, time to slow down, breathe, and remember what this day is all about. Not to mention seeing each other all gussied up! That is nice, too.

2 - My husband is my best friend, the person I rely on for support and frankly I would have been a nervous wreck if I had to walk down that aisle without having some time with him prior to the ceremony. I like being behind the lens, not the center of attention! Because we were together for a couple hours beforehand, I was only a *little* nervous to get up in front of all those people :) I'm guessing a lot of you are like me, and want that extra bit of comfort beforehand.

3 - The first look is a great way to get a lot of candid, emotional moments caught on camera, without me having to direct/pose you in any way.

4 - Get most of the photos done before the ceremony. Okay, this one is obvious for me, the photographer. But this is also the reason most couples give me for doing it - you get to spend most of you cocktail hour with your guests! Or having more time to yourselves before the grand entrance. Either way, no time crunch having to squeeze everything in (although to this day, no couple has started their reception late because of me - thank you very much!).

5 - The photos go much faster before the ceremony. A typical scenario for me during the cocktail hour - we're doing family photos and inevitably someone is missing. They are probably socializing and forgot, someone goes to fetch them, meanwhile we have everyone else all set up and waiting. By doing all the family photos beforehand, there are no distractions, and everyone is fresh and ready to go.

6 - The light. It is something to think about, especially if your wedding is in the spring or fall and we're planning on doing photos outside. If I am doing the formals during cocktail hour, I like to start with the family, move on to the wedding party, and then end with photos of the couple alone. That way everyone else can go as soon as possible to join the other guests. By the time I get to the couple, sometimes the light is fading fast.

7 - Okay, so I know there are a lot of people that want to maintain the romance of seeing each other for the first time during your ceremony. As someone who did a First Look, believe me, it will still be there! It will still be dramatic, moving and real. No one could take that from you. For me, actually having the time beforehand to be with my husband made all the nervous energy fade into the background so I could concentrate more on being connected to him during the ceremony.

So, all of that being said, what do you think - stay traditional, or go with the First Look? If you are on the fence about it, I hope this little bit of info helped!

And, of course this blog post would not be complete without some photographic examples of the First Look. :)

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