Tips for the First Look
First looks have continued to become increasingly popular, and for good reason! The couple gets even more shots of the bride with her groom. A first look also provides the couple time with just the two of them to be together on their day with no one else around (except for their photographer of course!).
I sometimes have a bride and groom that are adamant about not seeing one another until she walks down the aisle. And I totally understand. It’s a long-standing tradition, and there is something special about a groom’s face when he sees her for the first time. However, I do still get TONS of emotional groom images from the bride walking down the aisle. Even though they saw each other for a first look before, that moment is THE moment. There’s just something about the whole scene: music playing as she enters, and the raw emotions that come along with seeing his bride and knowing that this is the moment their hearts join as one.
I always recommend my couples do a first look, even when they are on the fence. I tell them all of the things I listed above and have a conversation to highly encourage a first look. More often than not, they opt for the first look and I have never had anyone say they regret it!
I’m going to share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way to achieve successful First Looks. I hope you will find them helpful! Enjoy!
This should be private and quiet away from the hustle and bustle. Avoid places where guests will be arriving, vendors are setting up, or the wedding party and families are hanging out. The space should have nice, even lighting, a decent area to walk around. Pro Tip: Always have a backup location. Every now and then something can change with the original location – especially if you picked it out a couple of hours prior and the sun has changed causing the lighting and shadows to change.
Tell them what to expect, explain to the bride what you want her to do and the groom as well. You want to make sure these instructions are very clear and easy to understand. This allows you to capture the exact moments the way you need to.
If you have the luxury of having a 2nd shooter with you, you are going to want to capture from both views. One shooter behind the bride as she walks up to him and the other with the wide angle shot to include both typically from the side.
Let them enjoy these moments together. Don’t rush the couple, and don’t bark orders at them. This is why clear instructions from the beginning is so critical. So you can capture those beautiful candid moments and capture their true love for one another.
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Magan Ward is a photographer, wife, mom of 3, and educator to fellow photographers. She has an unhealthy obsession with Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese, and has a bit of a love affair with dry shampoo – something she tried to avoid for years until the pandemic of 2020 occurred rendering her dependent upon the waterless revelation that saves her time, something now used to instead apply nutella to waffles for tiny humans.
Putting that Masters in Education to good use, Magan enjoys teaching her fellow photographers and online entrepreneurs the ins and outs of building a business that they love…and occasionally sprinkles in some encouragement for Mamas, because life with littles is just plum hard sometimes.
You can grab her free list of favorite tools for entrepreneurs here.