Pros, Cons, and Photos We Love

First-look wedding photos may not be the newest trend in wedding photography, but they’re still a hot topic. As your big day approaches, you’re probably wondering whether you want first-look wedding photos—or whether you want to wait until you walk down the aisle for your big reveal.

What Is the First Look?

The first look is when a couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. This intimate moment typically makes for an emotional photo opportunity.

Here, we asked the pros (i.e., fantastic wedding photographers) to share their expert thoughts on first-look photos and how they actually work, so you can know exactly what to expect.

The Pros of First Look Wedding Photos

“Couples should consider the first look for more than just the practicality of timing,” says Caroline Lima. “It’s a great decision for couples who want to spend some quiet time together before the ceremony."

  • You can get many of the photos taken before the ceremony: “Personally, I loved having a first look at my own wedding,” remembers Ashley Sawtelle. “It gave us a moment before the day officially started to connect with one another and take a deep breath.”
  • It gives you and your partner a few moments together: “A first look definitely does not spoil the ceremony,” says Carrie Patterson. “You’ll be overwhelmed with emotion no matter what, so if you want to see your partner, don’t skip it.”
  • You can capture an emotional moment on camera: “A wedding is an intimate, emotional experience, and a first look means I can capture a couple together in that moment,” says Cat Mayer. “Yes, walking down the aisle is emotional, too, but you’re not together in those photographs.”

The Cons of First Look Wedding Photos

“Remember that you can always change your mind—even on the day of your wedding!—and opt for a first look if you decide you need to see your partner,” says Mayer. “A skilled photographer will be able to adapt and help you make that moment happen.”

  • You'll have to get ready earlier: “If you’re having a ceremony earlier in the day, a first look will mean you have to be ready even earlier than you’d planned—which means you have to start getting ready earlier, too,” says Sawtelle.
  • Lighting may not be ideal: “Yes, your photographer and videographer will try to be discrete and as far away as possible, but we will still be around,” says Lima. “Lighting during a first look isn’t ideal. They usually happen during the day, when lighting is harsh, so you’ll probably need to take more photos after the ceremony anyway.”
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