First-look wedding photos may not be the newest trend in wedding photography, but they’re still a hot topic with newleyweds-to-be.
Unless you’ve never looked at any wedding photography before, you’re sure to have seen the trend for having highly anticipated 'first look' moments. Those shots of anxious brides' sneaking up behind their partner, tapping them on the back, and then revelling in their fiancés' emotional reaction. It seems like a fairytale, and it feels as though everyone is doing it these days. While the first look has definitely been a rising trend, there’s still a fair share of couples that stick to tradition (or superstition) and save that special 'first look' moment for the altar, or end of the aisle. So, why plan it? Or, why not do it? We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of a first look shot, so you can decide for yourself.
The pros and cons of doing a first-look shot on your wedding day
We share our thoughts on first-look shots and how they actually work, so you know just what to expect.
Less time is needed between the ceremony & reception
For practicality reasons, first-look shots save a lot of time by taking a bulk of the photos together before the ceremony. After the first-look, it’s easy to carry on and take the portraits of the couple, followed by the wedding party and even the extended family. Meaning the three main portraits are done before the ceremony.
After the ceremony, with fewer photos to take, couples can get to their drinks or reception sooner, and for the photographer, there’s less of a need to rush.
No one is observing you
Because the wedding party is not around, couples normally feel more comfortable because they’re alone with their photographer/videographer. This makes portraits a lot more relaxing for most people, and achieves better-looking shots. Couples also tend to react more naturally, and authentically, when they’re alone, and not surrounded by hundreds of their loved ones.
It gives you time to yourselves
The first look shot allows couples a moment together before the chaos of the big day really begins. Weddings are very busy occasions that demand a lot from a couple; therefore it's nice to find a few minutes to step away and really take in the day. First-looks provide that chance to connect and relish in the day before being surrounded by hoards of well-wishers.
It doesn’t spoil the reveal at the altar
If you're worried, the first look shot definitely won't spoil the big reveal at the altar! The wedding day is so exciting that you’ll both still be overwhelmed with emotion when you meet at the end of the aisle.
It guarantees daylight for portraits
Unless you're having a summer wedding, it can get dark early. But if you plan to have a first look shot, you'll guarantee you can get portraits taken during daylight.
Your chance to get creative
We've seen couples read letters to one another from opposite sides of a door. Couples standing back to back, before turning around to reveal each other, and we've seen brides arriving by lift to meet their groom. A first look shot is your private moment to be yourself, and share your creative side.
Tradition is broken
The first con goes without saying: you lose out on the big reveal at the altar. And if you’re superstitious, or hard set on sticking to tradition, then the first-look shot may not be for you!
You’ll have to start the day earlier.
Because first-look shots are another event to tack on earlier in the day, before the ceremony, you’ll have to get ready and be prepared earlier. And if anything runs late before the first-look, then the time for it, and the bride and groom portraits could be rushed. Or the whole timeline may have to be shifted a bit, not ideal.
Your family won’t be a part of the first time you see one another.
Typically, first look shots are done in private, which means your wedding party won’t be a part of the first time you see one another. If you’re not convinced on how they feel about it, just ask them and see if their response will factor into your decision.
You won’t actually be married in your portraits.
For some, not being married in their portraits bothers them, for others, it doesn’t make a difference. Either way, it’s something to think about, and consider.
It could be awkward
With your photographer and videographer documenting you, you might feel a little staged and uncomfortable in what is supposed to be a candid moment. Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, instead, means you don’t really need to worry about how you react or what you say when seeing your fiancé.