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First Look | What Is It?

February 22, 2016

The first look is a new idea that is finally gaining steam in the wedding industry. I am surprised by how many couples don’t know what it is so I’m going to go ahead and explain it! A first look is where the couple sees each other privately BEFORE the wedding ceremony. Yes, GASP! When couples first hear this, they think it’s ridiculous. In fact, I think even mentioning it causes couples to be more cautious in hiring me because they think it’s so outrageous and nontraditional. Yes, it is nontraditional but couples wouldn’t do it if there weren’t benefits.


I never push my couples into doing them but there are so many reasons to do it and I actually have a quote from a GROOM that might help you change your mind so hang in there with me. The wedding day is obviously a bit of a nerve-racking one, even if you don’t think it will be. There’s a lot going on and there are a lot of people looking at you all day long. Being apart from the one person who can make you smile and calm you down is hard. And I don’t know about you but I would want as many private moments as possible. So I’m going to list out the pros of doing a first look below and hopefully this will help you change your mind!

  1. You are seeing each other for the FIRST TIME and I get to capture that reaction in a private environment where it’s just me and the two of you. During the ceremony, there are so many eyes on the groom to express his emotion and sometimes I feel like that actually causes him not to express how he really feels. So the first look is great because you get to be with each other, talk to each other, and kiss each other, where you wouldn’t normally get to do that at the alter.
  2. The moment is captured in good light! Sometimes ceremony light isn’t ideal and there’s nothing I can do about it but by choosing to do a first look, you give me the ability to choose a spot that is in softer, even, and generally more appealing light.
  3. You get more photos! You’re paying a lot for your wedding photographer and you want to get the most out of your experience. If you don’t do a first look, you will have less time after the ceremony for bride and groom portraits. With the first look, you have an extra 30 minutes of photos of the two of you!
  4. You get more alone time together! The wedding day goes by SO fast and if you don’t do a first look, you probably won’t have more than 30 minutes alone the entire wedding day, if that. If you do a first look, you have uninterrupted, relaxed time together during portraits and then you will even get to be together before the ceremony instead of sitting in separate rooms, which often feeds anxiety for my couples.
  5. After you see each other and we do bride and groom portraits, we can go right into bridal party portraits. We can photograph the whole group together, which means less bridal party photos during cocktail hour! That means your party can enjoy drinks and relax sooner.
  6. In the event that in rains for photos after your ceremony, First Looks give me an extra opportunity to photograph you! I’ve actually had this happen before and if the couple had not have chosen to do the First Look, they wouldn’t have had any photos outdoors together!

Image below second shot with Jen Fariello Photography.


And here’s a quote from a GROOM who did a first look this past year.

I had never heard of a “first look” prior to planning for our wedding. It was something that Mikayla wanted to do, but I was unsure about it. I was worried that it would be overly “staged” or that I would feel awkward, since — like most people — I’m not overly comfortable in front of a camera. But, on the day of the wedding, when I turned around to find my bride standing in front of me, the cameras disappeared. All cheesy metaphors aside, it was the most intimate and memorable moment of the day. Couples planning their weddings should know two things: 1) The wedding day will go by very quickly, so get everything on film; and, 2) The “first look” will be the only “alone time” you and your bride really get to enjoy together for most of the day. It only enhanced the feelings I had when I later saw her walking down the aisle. I highly recommend it. I’ve since encouraged friends of mine to do a “first look,” and I’d say the same to any couple planning a wedding. You won’t regret it. – Adam Proctor




  1. […] with the bride and groom are my favorite and you can read all the reasons why I encourage them here. Shawn was blown away and we got to spend the next couple hours doing portraits without being […]

  2. […] I showed up at Berry Hill that morning to the girls getting ready and couldn’t wait to start shooting details in the gorgeous mansion! Emily has such classic and timeless taste which made my job easy and not to mention, we had amazing September weather! I also couldn’t have envisioned a more perfect dress for Emily and I’m pretty sure Mark thought the same when he saw her for the first time at their first look! […]

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