First Look Wedding Photos: Pros and Cons From a Wedding Photographer

May 26, 2022


As weddings become smaller and more intimate, we’re seeing more and more couples opp for a private first look rather than seeing each other for the first time at the altar. As a result, first look wedding photos are taking the 2022 wedding season by storm. 

But before you consider adding the emotional moment to your day, here are my thoughts as a wedding photographer on the pros and cons of first look wedding photos.

What is a first look?

A first look is when a bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. The intimate moment is shared between the couple with the wedding photographer present to capture photos of when they first see each other. 

The Pros of a First Look 

If you’re on the fence about having a private first look with your partner, four benefits make the moment worth every second. 

  1. Great for when the days are shorter. First look wedding photos give you more time to take your couple portrait photos while there’s still plenty of daylight. This is especially important when you’re having a Winter wedding and the days are shorter. You can rest assured that you have already captured your wishlist of photos before you tie the knot. 
  2. A moment alone. One of the biggest reasons people choose to have a first look is to share the moment alone instead of in front of their guests. And contrary to popular belief, first looks don’t ruin the moment but get you even more excited to walk down the aisle. 
  3. You’re next to each other in the photos. When you plan to have a first look, you can capture your and your partner’s reactions next to each other. When taking photos during the ceremony, the photographer has to switch between photos of your reaction and your partner’s reaction. 
  4. It’s fun and creative. Wedding day first look photos are the perfect time to get creative and have fun. Common ideas include the groom turning around to see the bride, revealing the bride behind a door, or walking into an area where the bride is standing. 

The Cons of a First Look 

If you’re leaning towards having a first look, then here are a few cons that you might want to consider before settling on your decision. 

  1. Your family and friends won’t be there. Because a first look is between the bride and groom, friends and family won’t witness the moment. However, for some couples, sharing the moment with their loved ones is important. 
  2. You won’t be married in the photos. It’s important to remember that you won’t actually be married in your portrait photos if you decide to take those after you see each other. 
  3. You have to get ready earlier. Depending on the time of the ceremony, planning to have a first look might mean that you need to get ready for the day earlier, which can affect the schedule for the day. 
  4. There’s an unexpected pressure. That first moment you see each other, you’ll be overwhelmed with happiness and love. But afterwards, you might feel pressure to have the same level of emotion when walking down the aisle. 

Alternatives to First Look Wedding Photos 

Here are a few alternatives for those who want to capture the same intimacy and romance without having the first look. 

  1. First look but leave something out. A really great alternative is a variation of first looks. For example, you can hold hands while you stand on the other side of a door or send a video for them to watch before meeting at the altar. 
  2. Do a half first look. Another option is to do a half first look. For example, you can meet your partner outside with just your hair and makeup done. 
  3. Do a family first look. Family first looks are a popular alternative to first looks between the bride and groom. Usually, the couple will have unique first looks with their parents, siblings and wedding parties. 

Wrap Up 

Overall, first look wedding photos are an excellent opportunity to share an intimate moment with your significant other before officially tying the knot. It allows you to capture some beautiful photos, get excited together before walking down the aisle and use the daylight for Winter weddings. 

If you’re worried about ruining the moment when you walk down the aisle, consider some alternatives, such as a half first look or first looks with family.

Still looking for a photographer to capture your wedding day? Check my availability here.

Xo, Sonya

I'm Sonya and I'm so happy you're here. This blog is a journal about real weddings, real couples, editorials and all about my travels, fashion, and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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