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How to Get MORE Portraits on Your Wedding Day! // Why A First Look is a Great Choice

February 15, 2019

Filed in: Tips

If you’ve been planning your wedding for a while, you’ve probably heard about a first look!  It’s a great option that about half of my couples decide to do, so I thought I’d chat about some of the pros and cons for it today!

So what exactly IS a first look?  Well, picture this: the doors open up, and you head down the aisle towards your almost-husband.  This is the first time he’s seen you all day!  It’s a huge moment–this is IT!  The only sound as you walk down the aisle is the music playing softly.  You finally get to the altar, and you hold hands with your fiance.  Then the officiant starts talking.  For the next few minutes, you have to be quiet!  For some couples, they’d prefer to be able to talk to each other, hug each other, and enjoy that moment alone instead of in front of all their friends and family when they see each other for the first time on their wedding day.  That’s where the first look comes in!

If you decide to do a first look, you’ll still spend the morning separately, getting ready with all the anticipation you’d have without a first look.  About two hours before your ceremony time, I’ll find a secluded spot for you two to have that moment together!  I’ll stand back with a telephoto lens and document you as you approach your fiance!

First look at Quimby's Pond Wedding in Dayton, Oregon Hillsboro Wedding Photographer

I love doing first looks by having you call your fiance’s name from a bit of a distance.  That way, he turns around and gets the full impression of you in your wedding dress walking towards him–just like down the aisle, but when you get to him, you can hug, talk, and he can spin you around and see how BEAUTIFUL you are!  You can take as much time as you’d like together, soaking in that moment.  And I’ve heard from my couples that have chosen to do a first look that as an added bonus, all those pre-wedding jitters basically disappear once you see your future husband that day!  There’s so much calm to be had in that moment!

First look at Quimby's Pond Wedding in Dayton, Oregon Hillsboro Wedding Photographer

What I love even more about first looks is that once you’ve had your time together, you can signal to me and we can officially start your portrait time!  We can take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on your timeline, to get almost ALL of your wedding portraits done, before the ceremony even starts!  That means that we’ll only need to do family portraits after the ceremony, getting you to your reception that much faster!  AND you know there aren’t guests waiting on you during your portrait time, so it’s way easier to relax and take time for your portraits!

First looks aren’t for everyone.  I get it.  I have a lot of couples who prefer to stay more traditional and see each other for the first time at the ceremony.  And that’s totally okay!  Those couples just plan a longer cocktail hour so that their guests are entertained while they do their couple portraits as well as their bridal party and family portraits.  Often, this does mean that they have fewer couple portraits since instead of an hour and a half of portraits pre-ceremony, we’re usually doing just 30 minutes to fit all their portraits into cocktail hour.  You’ll still get plenty of variety, but we might do fewer locations overall.

Traditional brides, maybe all that sounds good to you!  You’re not doing a first look with your future husband and you’re set with a timeline that allows some portrait time post-ceremony.  But you love photos of first looks!  What to do?

I’ve got a great solution!  Parent first looks!  If your father is walking you down the aisle, have him get ready with the guys.  Then you can set up a first look moment where he sees you for the first time!  I LOVE these moments!  There are almost always tears!

father daughter first look - hillsboro wedding photographer

father daughter first look at carlton oregon wine country wedding - hillsboro wedding photographer

I hope this is helpful for all those brides and grooms out there planning their weddings!  Timelines are HARD and there are a lot of choices to be made that impact the rest of the day AND the photos that you’ll get!  I love walking my couples through these choices to help them have the wedding of their dreams!



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