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Should We do a First Look? A Guide to Getting the Best Wedding Photography Possible Part III, and some Godfather references

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I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for part III of the Getting the Best Wedding Photos Possible series. Well, it’s here and it’s as exciting as the first and second. Unlike the Godfather Part III (but I love the first two).

So you’re super set on the idea of not doing a first look. Either you think they’re cheesy, or you think doing one will ruin the element of surprise and that first moment of seeing one another. Well, there are a few reasons why first looks can be great, and by the end I may bring you back around to the idea of doing one.

I’ll start by saying that I’m pretty much always in favor of doing a first look, and I’ll outline the reasons below. However, if you don’t want to do one, I would never push that upon anyone. If you’re kind of neutral on the topic or debating whether or not you might want to do one, keep reading. Although first looks sometimes get a bad rap, yours doesn’t have to be cheesy, or staged – it can actually be one of the most beautiful parts of your wedding day. So without further adieu, my 4 reasons in favor of doing a first look:

1. One of my favorite parts of my wedding was the time I had with my husband before the ceremony. We were able to joke around, relax, and calm each other down before the guests arrived. I also love the portraits our photographer captured during this time. Since we were shooting before the actual event, we had time to slow down without feeling rushed or like we were missing our own party. If you didn’t get to do an engagement shoot it’s also a nice way to get portraits of the two of you. When I shoot first looks I like to leave a nice long window of 45 minutes to an hour, so there is really time to get creative.

2. The walking-down-the-aisle portion of the ceremony goes by quickly. A first look is intimate and private, and gives you time to appreciate that first moment of seeing one another. I really don’t think that the moment walking down the aisle is ruined by a first look, as anyone who attended our wedding can confirm (I cried uncontrollably the whole way and a lot of stuff was running out of my face).

3. A first look also makes your timeline easier – family and bridal portraits can be done before the ceremony, so you and your guests can enjoy cocktail hour instead of missing it for portraits.

4. Depending on when the sun sets, it may not be possible to get those beautiful outdoor couple portraits without doing one. If your ceremony is at 6:30 in October, by the time it’s over it’s going to be too dark to shoot outdoors. And the lighting at sunset is incredible. If you’re having an earlier ceremony we could always do most of your portraits beforehand and then sneak away for 15 minutes at sunset and catch some of that amazing light as well. No rules!

If the element of surprise or traditional aspect of not seeing your significant other is more important to you than any of the above, it’s completely understandable. If not though, consider doing a first look. Maybe I’ve…pulled you back in to the idea?

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  • August 13, 2016 - 10:40 pm

    Laurie Telesco - I agree that some of my favorite photos in all of my daughters’ weddings were shot during the “first look”. The tenderness and emotion between a couple is so apparant at that moment and the resulting photos are very personal and uniqueReplyCancel