First Look: Pros and Cons | Perspectives of a Wedding Photographer

April 22, 2020 First Look: Pros and Cons | Perspectives of a Wedding Photographer

Let’s talk First Looks. There are hundreds if not thousands of articles by photographers related to “First Looks” on the internet. And nearly every one is the same: trying to talk you into it because it’s good for the photographer. Truthfully, as a photographer it does generally make my day way easier and stress free when a couple chooses to do a first look. But if the only reason you’re choosing to do a first look is to make my life easier, that’s not a very moving reason. This is your wedding day after all – you only get one shot.

So let’s ignore completely what would make my job easier and talk about it from the couples’ perspective.

Wedding couple first look in Asbury Park Emotional first look photo

Pros: Why to do a First Look

Here are some great reasons TO have a first look:

  • You get to share a quiet private moment together without everyone looking in. If you don’t love being the center of attention this is a really good way to make things easier for you!
  • But more importantly, we will help facilitate this time so you can go into it with a clear headspace and be able to make the most of the moment and take it all in. We won’t move on until you’re ready to do so. So take the time to talk, touch, twirl, kiss, catch up and live in that moment. When you’re ready to move on, we’ll move on. But this moment is all about you.
  • You get to go into the day side by side as a team. Without a first look, the first time you’ll be able to talk all day is after the ceremony, where you’ll be rushed through A TON of portraits in about 45 minutes and then pulled in a million different directions once you get to the reception. The first time you’ll be able to talk to each other alone all day will be AFTER the wedding is over. It seems sad to me to spend the bulk of your wedding day not together.
  • Logistically, if we get all of the photos done before the ceremony, you can spend your cocktail hour greeting guests – taking the pressure off to go from table to table during the reception, freeing you up to eat, dance and PARTY!
  • The flow of the day is much more chill! If you are prone to anxiety this is an amazing way to go because the timeline will be way more relaxed, and you get to approach the day together!

Emotional first look photo two brides before wedding at Elkridge Furnace InnEmotional groom before first look with his bride at their wedding at Pond View Farm

Debunking Myths

Myth: We won’t be as emotional at the ceremony.

This is simply not true!! We have couples all the time who are more emotional during the ceremony than they were during the first look. Seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day isn’t about what you’re wearing, it’s about the gravity of the moment and seeing the person you love before you commit to a life together. Seeing your dress or perfectly tailored suit ahead of time doesn’t take away from that moment when you see your beloved walking down the aisle. I’d even argue it enhances it. Why? Because you’ve already spent a few hours together, the nerves are much more calm, and you can be more grounded and present in the moment when it comes.

Myth: It’s bad luck to see each other before the wedding!

The history of this “tradition” is actually quite troubling when you dig into it. More than 75% of our couples over the last 8 years have done first looks and I think it’s pretty fair to say it’s not bad luck :)

Emotional Groom First look at Cylburn Arboretum

Cons to a First Look

There really aren’t any!

However, logistically sometimes it just doesn’t make much sense. We’ve only had probably a dozen couples ever (out of close to 400) opt to do a first look prior to a church ceremony. Usually with a church ceremony there’s a longer cocktail hour or a gap between the end of the ceremony and start of cocktail hour. In that case, there’s plenty of time to do all of the photos you want after the ceremony while also being able to make it to cocktail hour and take advantage of that time with your loved ones.

In the city it’s a little easier logistically do a first look and a church ceremony, but if you’re in the county where things are much more spread out, it doesn’t always make sense.

Funny first look photo at Historic Shady Lane

All of this to say…

If waiting until you see each other at the altar is the way you’ve always dreamed of it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it! Certainly not your photographer. We’re professionals and we can make amazing photos no matter what you decide.



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