23 May 2013

First Look

Greetings, Ten Feet Off Beale readers!  I'm so excited that Alyssa invited me over to hang out today.  As a soon-to-be-bride, Alyssa told me she's thinking about "first look" photos with Jeremy on their wedding day!  I adore first looks but not everyone knows what they are, so I wanted to share what a first look is all about, why you should do one, and some of my favorite first look images.

Here's the thing about having first look photos: you have a moment to yourselves, instead of in front of your entire congregation of wedding guests, to see each other for the first time on your wedding day.  As a wedding photographer, I really love first look photos because it lets up on some of that pressure to take a ton of portrait photos in the crunch-time that happens post-ceremony.  This also means you get to your reception (and start to party down) a lot sooner!

Photo by Andria Lindquist

Here's a quickie list of awesome reasons for doing first look photos (and many thanks to The Things We Would Blog for helping me with this list).

  • You'll still have the impact of seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, but it's a bit more private.  You might be worried about losing the "wow" factor of seeing each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle, but you're still about to get married.  The moment is EPIC. 

  • The two of you can have that moment in private and really enjoy it together.  A bride I'm working with for her September wedding said that, despite the tradition of waiting until the ceremony to see each other, she'd rather do some first look photos; she knows she'll feel anxious and excited, and thus might feel awkward once she gets to the altar to marry her groom, because she'll want to chat with him in the excitement of the moment.  You can't really do that with your guest list looking on as the ceremony begins, but you can do it with first look photos!

  • You'll get to your reception faster (as I mentioned earlier), and as a result, you'll feel less rushed and less stressed.  The number of photos you have to take during the cocktail hour will drop significantly if you can take bridal party and bride-and-groom portraits before the ceremony instead of trying to squeeze them in with all your post-ceremony, pre-reception family photos.

  • This is a somewhat lesser reason (in my opinion) in terms of the overall unfolding of the day, but your hair and makeup look fresher if you do portraits with your man before the ceremony instead of after!

Here are some of my favorite first look images; my truly ultimate favorites are the ones with tears involved (I LOVE an emotional groom!).  I was also recently introduced to the concept of a father-daughter first look, which I recently shared on my blog -- so sweet!

Just pretty pictures. Photos by Simply Bloom

I just LOVE this bride's dress and how she's swishing it behind her as she sneaks up.  Shots by Katie Day

So darn sweet!  Photos by Stacy Jacobsen

photos by Kym Ventola

I can almost HEAR this groom saying "WOO!"  Photos by Sweet Little Photographs

There's that emotional groom I was talking about.  :)  Photos by Brandon Kidd

And, if you still really, really want to wait for the ceremony to see each other for the first time, you can still take first look photos.  There is no shortage of cute ideas for taking photographs together without actually seeing each other.

Around the corner, by Lara Hotz

Blindfolded!  By Logan Cole

More around the corner, this time outside.  Photo by Captured by Kate

What is your take on first look photos?

Here's some more first look goodness on a Pinterest board I created just for pre-ceremony and first-look photographs!  Enjoy, and thanks again to Alyssa for having me!  :)

Love these pictures so much!! Thank you for sharing, Emily :) 

Did any of you take first look pictures when you got married? What are your thoughts??



  1. We are definitely doing pre-ceremony photos. I really like the idea of having the pictures done beforehand and not having to make guests wait around after the ceremony, but I also feel like it will take a whole lot of pressure off!

  2. these are just gorgeous pictures! I love how the groom get a little teary eyed on their wedding day.

    Delightful Ideas

  3. Awww! What great examples of a well done first look! And you make some really good points! I was firmly against a first look--I wanted Pete to be surprised when he saw me at the other end of the aisle, but we only had 4 hours with our photographer and there was no way to get all of the portraits done after the ceremony, so we had to do a first look. I had my sister take the pictures, which made the moment even more intimate because the three of us are really close. Except the courtyard we chose ended up being directly below the room that the groomsmen were in, and they started banging on the windows and hollering at us right after Pete saw me! LOL! But despite that, it was one of the sweetest moments of the day and I'm so glad we did it. Here's a post with the pictures: http://widgeonnest.blogspot.com/2012/10/year-1.html

  4. I have always been against any pictures together before the ceremony....until I got engaged. It was like I immediately decided we were going to do first look pics. I read an article that a photographer wrote that changed my mind. I think the biggest reason I want to do first looks is so we can have that emotional moment just to ourselves. Have you decided what you are doing yet??

  5. LOVE this! Chris and I will be doing a first look!

  6. I am totally for first looks! I had a really frustrating morning before my wedding and being able to see and talk to my groom was pretty much all that held me together for our ceremony. Hopefully others won't have as negative mornings as me but I still think they're important. Also, it's the first time I ever saw my hubby cry. ;-)

  7. I agree for time alone these are SO GREAT! I've shot two weddings where all of those portraits are smashed into this tiny amount of time before the reception, and you miss out on a really great photo opportunity.

    We did the extreme of a first look ourselves. We got dressed up and took the photos a few days beforehand. No can tell in terms of the photos, we got to bring the dogs, and it was a much nicer day for photos than our actual wedding day!

  8. Love your blog girl!! These photos are amazing!

  9. We are getting married this coming January and we have decided to have a first look. It just seems so romantic and intimate. Perfect for us

    Happy Apple Blog


I appreciate each and every comment!! I love hearing from my readers :)