As a photographer, I love shooting first looks for many reasons — from the genuine emotion to the intimate moments, they are just so special to me and one of my favorite things to capture. But as someone getting married, why should you consider doing a first look on your wedding day?
Wedding days will always feel a bit rushed, no matter how well you plan them. Building in time for a first look allows you to get more time back later in the day — this way, you can do couple portraits and family photos before the ceremony so you’ll be able to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests!
You can also allocate more time for photos than if you are planning to do them during cocktail hour — coordinating groups of people for family photos always takes a bit more time than you would expect, so trying to fit all of those photos in before the reception starts can be a bit tricky.
2. Natural light.
In the fall and winter months when it gets dark at 4:30PM, you may not have much natural light left after your ceremony. In order to get the beautiful, naturally lit portraits and family photos you’ve dreamed of, you need to have sufficient sunlight. While shooting during golden hour is a perfect time for portraits, you really have to stop once the sun has set.
If you really want the golden hour photos, it makes the most sense to do the majority of portraits and family photos before the ceremony midday, and then sneak away from your cocktail hour or reception for a few minutes with your photographer to get a few beautiful, glowy sunset photos.
Choosing to do a first look allows you to have much more control over a few important factors, including the lighting and what’s in the background of the photos. You, with the help and expertise of your photographer, can choose the perfect spot to do your first look. Your photographer will know what kind of light will be the most flattering, and what type of background will look best.
During the ceremony, you have less control of those types of elements, ie. there may be harsh sunlight on your faces. Setting up a first look will ensure you have beautiful, evenly lit photos to look back on for years to come.
4. A private moment.
So much of your special day is spent with family and friends or greeting guests, so doing a first look is the perfect chance to have an intimate moment for just the two of you enjoy. You may be nervous or emotional as well, so for some couples it is easier and less overwhelming to share this moment with just you and your partner. And since so much of the day is spent celebrating with other people, a first look is the perfect chance to take some time to enjoy being together.
Bonus tip: first looks aren’t only for the couple!
Many of my couples choose to do a first look with someone other than their future husband or wife. You can do a first look with your father, or with your bridal party. Their reactions can be just as meaningful as that of your fiancé. These first looks make for beautiful photos and video as well, with so much genuine and candid emotion all around.
Did you (or are you planning to) do any first looks at your wedding? Share in the comments below!