When you book your wedding photographer, one of the first questions we go over is whether or not you want to schedule a first look with your boo. Pinterest makes a first look on your wedding day seem like the trendiest thing to do on your day. But is this non-tradish moment worth it- from your photographer’s perspective? In this article, I’ll break down some pros and cons about having a first look, and share a few tips on how to make your first look magical.
SCHEDULING YOUR FIRST LOOK If you decide you want to have a first look, I recommend scheduling your first look two hours before the ceremony. This way, you will have an hour to have your first look, take a few portraits right after, squeeze in some formals before the ceremony, and still have time to hide away before guests arrive. Scheduling your first look two hours before the ceremony also allows for wiggle room in the timeline if getting ready runs behind. I’m type A with timelines, so whether or not we work together to create it, or your coordinator creates one for you, we are sticking to it as best we can!
WHERE TO HAVE YOUR FIRST LOOK MOMENT First looks are usually early in the day. A typical wedding day timeline looks like this: Ceremony two hours before sunset, portraits to follow for an hour, reception to follow- with some daylight still available (in case your reception is outdoors- major dance moments will still be lit beautifully around dusk).
Scheduling your first look two hours before the ceremony means the sun will be HIGH up in the sky! You can avoid harsh lighting by having this moment in a shaded area, or somewhere with indirect natural light:
- In the hotel lobby
- In your reception space
- On a pretty patio or deck
- In a shaded garden
- In full sun- on the beach, or overlooking an epic view.
The first look you see here is a little different – instead of having a walking down the aisle moment, they had their first look before their elopement ceremony started. That’s why the lighting is delishhhhh. Check out this whole El Matador Beach Elopement here.
I REALLY WANT A FIRST LOOK. IS THE TIME OF DAY A MAJOR PROBLEM Short answer- no. I got you girl. If you wanna have your first look at noon in full sun, it’s still gonna be beautiful. Your photographer will scout out the perfect location that will be beautifully lit, keep you two comfortable, and create some incredible photos!
I DON’T REALLY WANT A FIRST LOOK, BUT MY PHOTOGRAPHER IS ADAMANT ABOUT HAVING ONE Girl, I hate to tell you, but if your photographer is trying to persuade you into having a first look, it’s for one of two reasons:
1. They aren’t comfortable getting enough photos after the ceremony- whether it’s not confident photographing in certain lighting situations or the tight schedule to get family formals and bride and groom portraits before the sun sets.
2. You haven’t booked your photographer for the right amount of time to get the coverage you are dreaming of.
Always ask your photographer for full wedding day galleries, to ensure you are hiring someone who is knowledgeable in different lighting situations, wedding venues, and timelines. Trust your photographer if they suggest you need more wedding day coverage. We recommend a certain amount of hours, because we know how wedding days go! We know what moments we can fit into a tight timeline, and we do the best we can with the amount of coverage you decide on. We are here to serve you, and you hired a professional to make this day run super smooth. Trust our recommendations.
FIRST LOOK PROS You two can calm your nerves before the ceremony, and have an intimate moment together before celebrating with friends and family. You’ll be done with formals faster, so you can move on to the party!
FIRST LOOK CONS A lot of brides think this is a con- but from what I’ve seen, the walking-down-the-aisle moment is just as special as it would have been without a first look. There’s still tears from your boo The lighting during your first look may not be ideal, but hiring the right photographer can make any lighting situation work!
#WORTHIT? It was a huuuuge Pinterest trend a few years ago, and many brides are choosing to keep this part of their day traditional, so there is no pressure on my end for you to choose to have a first look on your wedding day. Every day is unique, and it will be documented in that way. First look or not, the moment your boo sees you is gonna be magical, and it will be in your wedding gallery!