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5 reasons why first looks are valuable

If you think this is a post to change the mind of the bride who is against first-look portraits, you’re wrong.  I simply want to give you a perspective of why first-look portraits are quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  I used to be against first looks myself, until I started to capture them.  This is what I’ve discovered: five reasons why first-looks are valuable:

  1. Focus on the Moment: Let me paint this picture for you.  Again, although I’m still a HUGE fan of the walking down the isle moments, I feel like there’s so much to take in.  In less than one minute you are supposed to allow yourself to feel the rush of emotions happening.  You’re supposed to take in the fact that your father, who raised you and loved you so well, is walking you down the isle to give you away to the man you love.  You’re supposed to take in all the nerves that tell you “ok, keep it together, DON’T FALL and trip over your dress in front of all these people!”  You’re supposed to ignore all the people as you’re walking down the isle to focus on the man that you love waiting to receive you.  I feel like that is a lot to take in in a matter of minutes, seconds if your venue has a short walk down the isle.  When you have a first look, you can really walk in a little calmer.  The nerves have settled in, and you can focus on whatever is important to you in that very moment-in this case, I think that if you have a very involved and loving father…this would be his moment.”
  2. Intimacy: Wedding days are full of a rush of “to do’s.”  From the moment you wake up you’re in hair and makeup and before you know it you’re dancing the night away!  I feel that there is no time for a bride and groom to silence the noise and the to do list and take in the moment….unless you create that time.  When you do a first look, you get the time to silence the noise.  You get this intimate moment that you won’t get otherwise.  You get to see each other before the wedding program begins.  It makes the rest of the day feel relaxed. 
  3. Photography Flow:  When you are having a wedding where the ceremony and reception are at the same venue, it can become really hard to find that in between break away moment to take photos.  Most of the time what we are left with is squeezing in one to one an a half hours to capture family portraits, bridal party, and bride and groom portraits.  That’s the amount of time I actually like to spend on bride and groom alone!  So it makes it really hard to make that happen and still create beautiful heartfelt magical photos.  When you allow a first look, you are also allowing time to free up the program flow.  Meaning, most of the time we get to capture at least the bride and groom portraits before everyone even arrives on site.  We even capture the bridal party after bride and groom have had their intimate moment, leaving only family portraits pending for after ceremony.  It also helps that hair and makeup is fresh and on point before everything begins and that no one is lost running around.  The flow of portraits is so much better this way!
  4. Enjoy the Party: One of the biggest reasons why brides cut their photography time so short after ceremony is because they are eager to get to their reception.  I’ve heard it time and time again.  Not only have I heard it, I’ve seen it.  There’s this anxiety that happens with couples where they are eager to move on to the next and they don’t allow themselves that time to enjoy the photography process because they feel they are leaving their guests too long.  Another thing that happens is that for whatever reason, this photography process is rushed by family/friends and sometimes even coordinators anxious to feed the guests and to get the program rolling.  When you allow for a first look you don’t have to deal with the stresses of this transition.  You can simply prepare yourself to flow right into your reception without having to make your guests wait for you or DINNER! (Side note: if you don’t have a first look, make them wait, they won’t starve to death 😉 lol or allow them to be fed without you there-point is…don’t rush the photos).
  5. Creativity:  There are a lot of factors that play into creative photography; and distractions and noise can most definitely dampen creativity.  When a photographer is given the space, the silence, and opportunity to tunnel vision…amazing things can happen.  In some scenarios photographers are expected to do so much with so little.  You almost have to create space for these moments to happen.  When you allow a first look, you’re freeing up space and time.  You’re allowing for time to be still just a little longer.  Your venue becomes a canvas to draw on as we navigate through it before it is crowded with people.  With fewer distractions a photographer has time to free their mind and see things a little more creatively…therefore birthing more creative shots.

In conclusion, I will always respect and love my brides who choose a traditional way of doing things.  I will always make the best out of the time given, but I have most definitely compared the two and as a photographer who values intimate and solemn moments…I’ve gone over to the other side and believe that first look photos are absolutely perfect!