The First Look
Please don't skim over this. Every sentence has been thoughtfully and purposefully crafted. I know this may seem like a lot, but I actually could have written more. A lot More.
Being a wedding a photographer is certainly a job like no other. It is amazing to get to see so many different people express their love for each other by joining together as one, in the union of marriage. One of the moments we treasure the most for our clients on their wedding day is the First Look. The First Look is when the bride and groom see one another for the first time before the wedding ceremony in an incredibly special and private moment. Words can not describe that moment when the couple sees each other for the first time on one of the most important days of their lives.
Why We Believe In The First Look
Cry it out baby. The First Look is truly a special moment. No audience. No pressure. No show to put on. Just pure, raw emotion. Do what you want - cry, laugh, pray, make out, play a board game. This is your moment. Make it special. Whatever you choose, we recommend taking at least 10 minutes completely alone - it is an incredibly precious moment and it is likely the only time you will be alone the rest of the day.
Freeze it in time. Want that special moment captured? The first look is the ideal way to capture that moment you first see the love of your life. Trying to capture that moment at the ceremony comes with a lot of obstacles, some avoidable, some not. Lack of space, awkward angles, venue restrictions, bad lighting, jump happy people with iphones, ipads, cameras, bladder spasms, or big heads - just some of the obstacles during the ceremony. With The First Look we avoid all those obstacles and choose the most beautiful place possible to have that moment.
Fluidity. Believe it or not this actually a huge reason to do the first look. Having to avoid the other party and coordinate when and where people can be or be seen can create a lot of stress for not only you, but for your bridal party, your vendors, and anyone else helping that day. And it doesn't just stop at pre-ceremony, after your ceremony you have to rush to family photos, then rush to the reception, then rush to the first dance, then rush to eat, then rush to the toasts, then rush to the other dances, then rush to the cake cutting, then rush to bouquet and garter, then dance again, then rush out of the venue, then - then it's over. There is a lot of potential for stress on on a wedding day, why add to it?
Its nice to your photographer and it's nice for you. Most clients who opt for a traditional wedding cram family, bridal, and couple portraits in between the ceremony and reception during the cocktail. To be completely candid - this is really outrageous and impractical. And even though the cocktail session is an hour, the portrait session really needs to be concluded in about 30 minutes when you include the time it takes to separate the guests from the family and bridal party and then get the bridal party to the reception and prep for the grand entrance. In no other world would a photographer ever consider taking a full blown portrait session of 50 family members, a buddies session of 20, and couples session in 30 minutes or even an hour for that matter. Fairly standard procedure for any photographer for a normal couples session (that is 2 people) STARTS at 1 hour. You are paying a lot of money for your wedding photos, heck even if you weren't paying anything at all, you wouldn't want your photographer to rush your photos on any other day, why rush them on the one day you can never do over?
Addendum B - A lot of people think that doing part of the family portraits before and part of the family portraits after the ceremony makes things easier. It doesn't. It just makes 1 job into 2. It's kind of like starting to bake a cake but having to wait three hours until the flour and sugar arrives.
Photograph Quality. For a lot of photographers this is the main argument for doing the first look, but for me, it is honestly one of the last. I really, really believe The First Look is a special and important moment, all photography aside. That being said, it is still a completely valid point to be made. If you do The First Look you will get better photos. And that's what we want to give you - not just better photos, but to give the best artwork we possibly can. The First Look provides pictures that wouldn't otherwise exist.
It's nice to your guests. Have you ever been a lonely guest at a wedding and had to wait hours for the reception to start? It can be a hard wait and some guests won't even stick around. I typically favor the bride over guests on any point - after all it is your day - but this is one area I think that can be a win-win for everyone. When you do the first look, your guests don't have to wait and you can spend more time enjoying them.
Walking down the aisle is still special. Kim and I did the first looks at our wedding and we don't regret it one bit. The only thing we regret is that it wasn't longer. It was an awesome moment and it didn't detract from walking down the isle. That moment was still special. I still cried. For me the first look actually enhanced the moment she walked down the aisle. I already communicated everything I needed to. I didn't have to hold anything in or let anything out. I just got to enjoy the moment.
While The First Look comes highly recommended by us, we know it isn't for everybody. We would never want our clients to be pressured into something they didn't want
Fun Fact: Curious why we traditionally wait until the ceremony to see the bride? Click here to find out why.