February 17, 2013

The First Look • Advice from a Sonoma County Wedding Photographer

“The first look with Shane was the best decision we made as a couple.  We were both unsure of seeing each other before the wedding and
breaking tradition.  However, the moment I touched his shoulder to turn around and see me the for the first time as his bride was truly magical.
The moment was intimate, sweetly emotional, and something I’ll cherish forever from our wedding day.  Looking back at our pictures from this moment
solidified why I would recommend the first look to any bride and groom.” Jen Evans, 2012 Bride


The Intimate benefits…

I’m a traditionalist in many respects so the idea of the couple seeing each other before that momentous walk down the aisle didn’t really click with me….so I had to recalibrate my thinking when I began hearing about First Looks and how much couples were really loving it.  All it took was one shoot for me to realize that there is something uniquely special about this experience.  Not only does it not ruin the sparkle of the walk down the aisle but also allows for an added layer of beauty on the wedding day.  Let’s take a look at the wonderful benefits of a First Look and I am betting that in the end any reservations you may have had will seem small.

It’s just the two of you! Seeing one another for the first time without a sole around to affect this incredible moment (aside from you photographer inconspicuously capturing it all) allows for an intimacy that can be lost when tens or even hundreds of family and friends are witnessing it all.  You will be focused solely on one another rather than on everyone watching you, performing your vows perfectly etc…  In the safety of that private intimate moment, you will exchange looks and words that you likely will not during your ceremony. And in spite of the rumors, it will NOT take away from the specialness of you walking down the aisle later; as many who have opted for a First Look will tell you.  That moment will still have a uniqueness of its own.

You will get AMAZING photographs!  Exchanging that first look in private will make for pictures that convey your true emotions, unhindered by nerves and self-consciousness.  And though the posed couple photos and those with the bridal party and family will surely be wonderful, these uncontrived First Look images will offer an added beauty to your wedding photo memories.

You can relax a little!  I’ve heard it said that now that the pressure of seeing one another for the first time before the wedding is relieved, the couple is less nervous during the big event and can actually engage more fully in the ceremony itself which can often be a blur in the midst of nerves.

 Additional benefits…Less of the bad and more of the good!

Less waiting!  One disadvantage to taking all of your photos post ceremony is that it keeps your guests eagerly waiting…and waiting…and waiting!  If you’ve already taken some of your photos, the post ceremony shoot will afford you some cushion for freshening up and likely get to the reception and your excited guests earlier than is typical.

Less stress! If you are the type that hates to make people wait (like me) your anxiety about your waiting guests and the impending reception just may take some fun out of the process and may show up in your photos!  A shorter post ceremony session will wash away some of that stress!

More celebrating! A shorter post ceremony session will allow you to get on with the celebrating! They entire day is already a whirlwind. Having more time at the reception to dance and play will bless everyone!  Couples who choose to have a first look get to spend on average 90 more minutes with their guests than non first-lookers.

More photos!  You are actually likely to get more of those wonderful shots if you break the photos into sessions.  And you may even have the energy to take a few more than you may have if you had squeezed everything into just one session!  First lookers receive 40%  more couple photos, and these shots are always beautiful and intimate.

So couples, if all of this has not convinced you, I recommend you take a look at some of my First Look shots or better yet, ask a bride who has had a First Look session. Waiting until you walk down the aisle for that First Look may be a tradition you consider breaking.

For another great informative article on First Looks, follow this link to an in-depth post from Katelyn James, one of the industries leading wedding photographers.


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