First Look Photography- Things to Consider

by Aleisha

The First Look seems to be a huge point of contention among engaged couples and I feel like before I talk about it, I need to make a disclaimer. Please know that you are NOT required to do a first look. The decision is completely 100% up to the two of you. Don’t let your mom, your sister, your wedding planner, or even your photographer try and talk you into anything. I’ve written out the benefits of a First Look for you so that you can make the best decision for the two of you and what you want for your day.

Opponents of a first look usually make their decision based on firmly rooted tradition. Which always cracks me up because my first question then is – Do you know where the tradition comes from? It comes from back in the day when arranged marriages were still all the rage. A bride’s dad was hoping to marry her off, but there was one catch, what if the groom-to-be met his betrothed before the big day and wasn’t that into her? So that’s why it became a tradition for a bride and groom to not meet until they were standing up at the altar so the groom didn’t have a chance to run (so romantic right?).

But what if the first look is the new tradition? What if the reaction you’re seeking during those magical moments while you’re walking down the aisle isn’t diminished by a first look, but rather enhanced?

Here are my favorite benefits to doing the first look:

THE REACTION

This tends to be the #1 reason that couples want to opt out of the first look. You’ve dreamt about the moment they see you for the first time. But even if you do get teary eyed when seeing each other down the aisle, you are standing in front of more than 100 people and are going to nervous and try to keep it together because you’re in front of all those people. But if you want that real emotional expression when you first see each other, the first look is where it’s at because you’ll be 100% comfortable and won’t be afraid to let emotion show. So if you’re looking for that reaction, this is why you most definitely should opt for the first look.

INTIMACY

When you walk down the aisle in front of hundreds of your closest friends and family, there’s no doubt your partner will be delighted to see you and you to see them. But you don’t have a chance to tell each other who much you admire their beauty, to embrace each other, kiss, cry and laugh…until after the ceremony when the moment has perhaps worn off. With a first look, there are no onlookers or distractions.

TIME ALONE TOGETHER

When you have a first look, it’s a huge chunk of your day that you just get to be together with no distractions. Your coordinator isn’t checking the clock; your guests aren’t interrupting you to say hi, your mom isn’t following you around asking questions, your bridal party isn’t goofing off behind you. I think you get the point. It’s just the two of you (well, and your photographer). That time alone together on your wedding day is precious.

NERVES BE GONE

Instead of being a nervous wreck as you await your walk down the aisle, you’ll be filled with love, joy, and excitement. You’ll be relaxed. The emotions that show on your face will be amplified. You’ll be completely in the moment with your new spouse and your friends and family, and your memories will be completely clear rather than hazed by your nerves.

ROMANTIC PORTRAITS

Since you’ll already be in romance mode, your couple portraits will be AMAZING since you’ll be ready to love on each other! It’s often difficult to get back into that mode following family photos and bridal party photos if you opt to forego the first look.

MORE PHOTOS

With a first look, you’ll get on average of 40% more photos than you would without a first look, and they’ll be even more amazing + full of emotion. And because first looks usually occur in early afternoon light, you’ll get lots of variation since I request a little bit of time around sunset to give you more photos in the best light possible. Since photography is a huge investment, you’re getting more bang for your buck when you do a first look.

YOU’LL LOOK GORGEOUS

Because the first look happens right after your hair and makeup is complete, you’ll look your best during your first look and couple portraits. You won’t have to worry if your makeup needs to be applied. Seems silly, but every bride thinks about it!

YOUR DAY LAST LONGER

This might not seem like a benefit until you think about this. You’ve spent the past year planning every last detail of this day. And if you don’t have a first look, you only have a few hours to enjoy it as newlyweds. If you have a first look, you can add up to three hours of time to your wedding day to enjoy it with one another!

ENJOY THE PARTY

If you opt for a first look, we’ll likely complete all couple photos (minus our sunset + night portraits), bridal party photos and family photos before the ceremony. This means that your guests won’t have to wait around. This means that you get to go to your cocktail hour and enjoy your party. This means that you can actually hang out with your best friends on your wedding day instead of being rushed. It’s a win-win!

**Bonus Bridechilla Benefit**

YOU WILL HAVE A SUPER CHILL DAY

Wedding days with a first look are 99.9% of the time way more relaxed and chill of a day than ones without. You’re not playing this stressful game of keep away all day and you get to hang out with all your bridal party and family without having to be separate. It just makes for an overall more relaxed wedding day vibe.

Plus if you’re lucky, you’ll get some pretty amazing and emotional photos!

About Kaila

My name is Kaila, and as you might have guessed, I’m a wedding photographer. I specialize in full-day wedding celebrations because I don’t want to miss a moment of your #bestdayever!


My goal is to make things fun and easy so you can stress less and experience more. I am a firm believer that wedding days should be filled with joy, laughter, fun, and a whole lot of happiness!


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