Greetings from DSmithImages Wedding Photography, Portraits, and Events! As the spring time takes hold, I wanted to devote a little bit of time to offer some wedding and portrait photography advice and commentary. I hope to do this on a weekly basis as well.
For this piece, though, I wanted to offer some words and comments on something I think should be included in as many weddings as possible. It's the "First Look" and the subsequent photo opportunities that come with such an event. For those who do not know, the First Look is when a bride and groom see each other for the first time on the wedding day, but it is not during the ceremony. It is specially designed and crafted to create some sweet and lasting memories for the happy couple.
Now I know the "tradition" has been "It's bad luck to see each other before the ceremony". If you are saying that, though, I wonder if you know where that tradition came from and developed. It stems from the practice of arranged marriages where, yeah, you really didn't know who you were marrying. With that in mind, does the tradition seem so important or worth maintaining?
Now I don't want to step on toes if you are really committed to maintaining this tradition, however, I also don't want to see it maintained just for the sake of it "being a tradition". Some traditions need to be broken and stopped, especially if people have no idea why they are being practiced or observed. That is why a First Look is such a great replacement and substitute. A couple can get so much more emotion and meaningful wedding photos by doing a First Look.
When a couple chooses DSmithImages Wedding Photography, Portraits, and Events to photograph their wedding, I give them the option of having a First Look. Most do opt for it, however some decline. If they decline, that is their choice, and I will fully respect it. I structure the photographs and schedule of the day with that in mind to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. As I always say, I'm not the one getting married so, if a couple doesn't want to do a First Look, I am not going to force them to do one. That would just be foolish.
Those who do opt for a First Look, though, again get some wonderfully beautiful and tender photographs of when they both see each other for the first time. I position the couple back to back where I take several photos of them in anticipation. I then count to three, and they both turn around. This makes sure they literally see each other at the same moment. I then don't say a word and just let them react to each other for as long as they need. It is a method that I have found great success with and will continue to incorporate in weddings.
A First Look is also recommended from a practical aspect. If you do a First Look, that is a whole chunk of time you do not have to use after the wedding. You can get ALL the photographs done before the wedding, and, as a result, you do not have to lose time at your reception. Your reception should be about visiting friends and family. It should not be about taking an hour to do photographs you could have done before the ceremony. I have had to do that before, and, well, it can get uncomfortable when you leave guests waiting a long time.
I hope this bit of advice and perspective has helped, especially if you were on the fence about doing a First Look. Ultimately, whatever choice you make, the choice should be yours and your partner's. Do not let anyone else dictate or force you to do something. If you do not want to do a First Look, more power to you. Again, it is your wedding. It is your decision. A vendor who does not respect that should not be one you use.
If you are looking for a wedding photographer and want to discuss details, such as a First Look, I would love for you to check out the rest of DSmithImages Wedding Photography, Portraits, and Events, especially my Wedding Photography Investment section.
Take care, and I'd love to hear your comments and perspective on First Looks at weddings!