First things first, I want you to understand that this is 1,000% a personal preference. Many photographers have a hard stance on this, however, I am of the belief that it is your wedding day and you should do it the way you want to do it.
My opinions as a wedding photographer have really morphed over the years on the subject, and here is what I currently can tell you about doing a first look…
NOT doing a first look:
Seeing each other for the first time is only something you get to do ONCE on your wedding day. There is definitely something magical about that happening down the aisle.
Having been a wedding photographer for so long, I have a love/hate relationship with MANY wedding traditions, however, this one…I’m a bit of a sucker for. You’re both at two ends of a long aisle that represents the last moments you will be two separate entities. Your wedding day is the day you come together as one unit and those last few moments of 2 chapters ending, and a new story beginning is just FREAKING. BEAUTIFUL….ok, maybe not the most eloquent way to put it, but I just go SO EXCITED during this moment. Most of the time, I barely know my clients at this point, so if I’M feeling butterflies and magic and glitter and rainbows…can you imagine how YOU are going to feel?
All of those emotions come out perfectly for the camera…You can look at those photos and really FEEL all of these things happening all at once. The last few steps of singleness, the two of you coming together as one, the love of your life standing there ready to commit themselves to love you forever…it’s HUGE and BEAUTIFUL and ROMANTIC and WONDERFUL and BURSTS OF JOY will metaphorically be exploding all around you. Tell me that doesn’t sound appealing.
“Victoria…It doesn’t sound appealing…it sounds like a lot of pressure and anxiety….and you’re making me NERVOUS. How dare you.”
Alright, alright I get it, it’s not everyone’s flavor, haha! So here is why you SHOULD.
DO the First Look:
Like I said above, you don’t want all of that pressure!!!! For some of you lovelies, that sounds like a freaking nightmare, and I get it. SO. Doing a first look is a great way to take that pressure off and just relaaaaaaaax. Rip the bandaid off in private, take the pressure off, enjoy it as an intimate moment, and feel great about moving on with the rest of your wedding day.
It will be a more intimate moment. It may not be traditional, and someone’s mother will likely have something to say about it, but it ain’t anyone else’s day, honey! It’s yours! And your wedding day is about YOU. So do what you want! *rages in hype girl* Enjoy your moment of exploding rainbows and sunshine with just the two of you….and also me…but I don’t count so it’s fine. I’m like a shadow, I swear. Photographer’s honor.
Logistically speaking, first looks are also awesome. You can get sooooo many wedding photos out of the way by doing this. We can have your first look and go right into bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits, or even family portraits…but know your people. When it comes to family portraits, it is sometimes easier to do them after the wedding ceremony when everyone is already gathered. But then again, some of you may have…aloof…family members who will scurry away to the bar & hors d’oeuvres the moment the ceremony is over…and that in and of itself is it’s own kind of headache. So just…know your people…I’m not going to spend too much time on this cause that could be it’s own separate blog.
The only negative about doing a first look that I can speak to as a wedding photographer is timing. Typically, if you do a first look earlier in the day, that means wonky natural lighting. However, that can be worked around. Again, I won’t spend a lot of time on this because it could totally be it’s on blog post.
Ultimately, again I say, the choice is up to you.
This blog post brought to you by: Men Who Burrow Their Faces When They Get Emotional.