First Look or No First Look?


Should we do a first look?


A lot of brides and grooms are wondering about whether they should see each other before the ceremony or not. From a photographer's perspective, both are great options. Tradition is to avoid seeing the bride before the actual ceremony but sometimes the schedule makes it difficult not to. Hopefully, the post below will help you.

Get a first look if:

  • You have a late ceremony. If your ceremony is past 4:30pm, you might want to consider a first look so we have time to get pictures before. It's very likely we will have to run to the cocktail hour straight after the ceremony and thus have very limited time for creative. No time = no crazy artistic photos

  • You are looking for a creative alternative. First looks give us a chance to set up somewhere nice and really take the time to get both reactions in a perfect lighting, which we wouldn't necessarily be able to do in a church for example.

  • You want to share this moment with just your beloved. Some grooms or brides hate being on the spot, and it puts a lot of pressure on them to have everyone looking at them during the ceremony when their bride/groom passes the doors because let's face it, everyone expects to see a few tears.

If your ceremony is quite early in the day and you want to keep it traditional, by all means, go for it. It is your wedding and you should make all the decisions. The build-up and cute nervousness of both partners before the ceremony and the reactions of the guests is also beautiful to capture.

Get it right

We personally prefer doing the first look with just the bride and groom because it is more intimate that way. Having the bridal party or family takes longer to organize and makes it difficult for us to capture since you can be sure everyone will have their phones out, which is extremely important not to because...

We personally don't re-do first looks. Shooting in a duo allow us to get both of your reactions simultaneously. Do overs are not genuine anymore and we believe this reaction shouldn't be staged.

Non-exhaustive list of first looks

The walking in.
Groom (or bride) is waiting at a certain spot facing away while the bride (or groom) walks towards him (or her. You get the idea). The groom turns around and boom: reaction

The wall
Our personal favourite. Just so the bride can also get the full surprise of seeing her man in his suit. Both partners are side by side, eyes closed leaning against a wall. They open their eyes at the same time to look at each other. A little more challenging to capture but we usually get the best reactions from these.

The door
If you are a pinterest lover, you may have seen the door picture. The groom is staying on one side and the bride on the other, holding hands. Not a huge fan of this set up as it is tricky lighting wise and slightly uncomfortable for the bride & groom

The blindfold.
We have yet to see this one live! Groom gets blindfolded and the bride sits next to him and undo it. Would love to capture it.

Final words

Make sure to at least schedule 10 minutes for setup for your photographer. It takes a little bit of coordination to make sure no one sees anyone before the due time! Again, we don't re-do first look, this is our one chance to capture it properly!

Hopefully those tips were helpful to planning your timeline for the big day! Don't forget, great organization = stress free wedding!