First Looks

 
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A first look is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time in a private setting before the ceremony. It doesn't have to be a grand staged moment, and honestly, we prefer it isn't. Here's some pros about having a first look.

It gives you an intimate & genuine moment alone.

Having a quiet moment to see each other before the ceremony can calm the nerves and really help you to stop and take in everything before the day gets started. It can bring you back and remind you why you are having a wedding in the first place. It also gives you a chance to feel like you can show your emotions without being in front of 100 guests. (P.S. I know that some couples want that moment of the bride coming down the aisle to be special, but we've had plenty of weddings where the bride and groom opted in for a first look, and still got choked up at the ceremony. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, and you will likely have a reaction during the ceremony. So if you really want to have a first look, go for it!)

It can potentially ease your timeline.

If you decide to have a first look, you have the option to knock out both bridal party and family photos before the ceremony. Meaning that after the ceremony ends you don't have to spend the whole cocktail hour wrangling family members and taking those then. Depending on the location you choose for a first look though can actually make your timeline more stressful. Choose a spot that is close to where you are getting ready, and close to the ceremony venue.

Lighting

If the thought of getting all of your group photos out of the way right after the first look appeals to you, then perfect! Just remember that you are always working around whatever the sun is doing. First looks tend to start a little earlier in the day (depending on the timeline.) and could put you in a harsh light situation. Outdoor lighting at any point between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is generally pretty harsh (which means harsh under-eye shadows, squinting eyes, shadow puppet shows on the bride's face because the groom's hair keeps blocking the sun, etc.) so if your first look is being held during this time of day, I might either stick you indoors or outside. Keep an eye out for densely shadowed areas. We'll likely use it as a backdrop for your bridal party and family photos, or we can plan to do those later when the sun is lower.

Here are some examples of first looks in different lighting...

 Soft diffused lighting. This first look was shot indoors around 1 p.m.

Soft diffused lighting. This first look was shot indoors around 1 p.m.

 Harsh sunlight. We shot this is in an open field with zero shade. But it still looks good because there were no trees that created uneven speckled shade on their faces. Shot around 11 a.m.

Harsh sunlight. We shot this is in an open field with zero shade. But it still looks good because there were no trees that created uneven speckled shade on their faces. Shot around 11 a.m.

 Speckled shade. This is one of the trickiest (but most common)  lighting situations to work with because at any point, a person could move and quickly go from being shaded to standing right in a sunspot. This was shot around 12 p.m. and I just made sure to stick them in a spot that was 90% shady in the park.

Speckled shade. This is one of the trickiest (but most common)  lighting situations to work with because at any point, a person could move and quickly go from being shaded to standing right in a sunspot. This was shot around 12 p.m. and I just made sure to stick them in a spot that was 90% shady in the park.