The First Look is when the Bride allows the Groom to see her before the wedding. OK, I hear mom right now saying, “you can’t do that, it’s not traditional”, well lets look at the advantages of doing The First Look. There are sometimes where we do not reccomend the first look because the outside lighting conditions might be better after the ceremony rather than before the ceremony. In most cases it has several advantages.
1. You’ll get better pictures of that special moment when he first sees you in your dress. When we set up the first look, we are in total control of the background for your photos, whereas during the processional we are at the mercy of uncontrolled circumstances. We also can place your Bridal Party and Parents in the background so that we get their reactions as well and they will also be able to easily see both, you walking toward him and him watching you. We find the best spot that is going to give us the most favorable conditions for great pictures.
2. It is more intimate for you & your fiancé “A lot of the time when I’m shooting the bride beginning her walk down the aisle and I whip that camera back around to capture the grooms face, He’s not even looking at the Bride! He’s talking to his best man, or looking at the camera, and I only have so many seconds to get that shot of his reaction before I have to turn back around to get the bride walking down the aisle.” During the processional, there are many things that can distract the grooms focus, but during the First Look, it is all about his reaction to you. There is less noise & fewer distractions as he is totally focused on you. Once you meet we back off a little bit to give you a couple of minutes to be with each other. During the ceremony there is not this time for him to take in the essence of you, since you walk up to him and then the officiant begins the ceremony, with you two barely getting a chance to whisper anything to each other.
3. It allows you to spend more time with your guests during the Cocktail Hour. Some brides, who choose not to do the first look, will choose to do as many pictures as possible without the Bride & Groom in them to save time. This does not save very much time, because you still have to do most of those pictures afterwards to include both the bride and the groom. When we are able to do all the Formal Pictures of Family and Bridal Party at one time, it goes much quicker, because we have a set routine in doing them. We also find that it is easier keeping everyone in one area and we tend to get more cooperation with family and bridal party. When the formals are done after the ceremony, people have a tendency to disappear. As your wedding day progresses, more and more demands are placed on your time, for example, the venue coordinator is concerned about the food, (rightly so), and thus will put pressure on the photographer to hurry up. The more pictures you can do before the ceremony, the less you will be pressured with your time after the ceremony and thus, the more you will be able to enjoy your day. Depending on the time of sunset, we may want to take you and your husband out for pictures later, however, since we have done all your family shots, we can focus on creativity and getting the artistic shots that you will cherish for years to come.
One note too about the first look. We have had some weddings where the cordinator has had a idea of using blind folds, to bring the groom up with the blind fold and only when he is a couple of feet from the bride to take the blind fold off. This is not a good idea for photos. We would rather the groom see the bride at a distance and then as one of them approaches the other to document the whole progression of emotions as the groom and bride come together. When you put the groom imediately in front of the bride and then take the blind fold of or turn him around, its a “fire-extinguisher effect”, just too much “in your face” all at once. Also when we stage the groom at a distance, he sees who whole dress and gives him time to react as he approaches her.
We hope this helps you to make an informed decision, in regards to deciding to do the First Look or not.