Should I do a first look on my wedding day? YES!

What a first look is

Usually the couple sees each other the first time (on the wedding day) at the ceremony. Wedding photographers usually prefer to move this moment before the ceremony. They set up one of you at a beautiful spot and in good lighting. Typically the other one walks up from behind and taps you on the shoulder. The goal is to capture the emotional reaction and to create a very unique moment.

Why you absolutely should do a 1st look

Short answer: To have more time with your guests. Ask anyone about the one thing they struggled with on their own wedding day. Usually the answer will be that they couldn’t talk to everyone enough. There are so many very important people, some of them you can't even see that often and you want to maximize the time you spend with them.

Long answer: You will have more and better photos of the two of you. The first look allows you to move the couple shoot before the ceremony. Not only will it feel more relaxed and you could go to more locations. The rule is simple: The longer I have to create photos with the two of you, the better they will be. Yes, we could do beautiful photos within ten minutes. But there won’t be a lot of variation and we might not even go to different spots. If you are planning to do your couple photos within cocktail hour, please note that you will never have a full hour to shoot. You might spend 15-20 minutes to do group photos. Then you might need to get in line for the introductions a little before as well. That means, you might only spend 15 minutes with your photographer.

When I am okay with NOT doing the first look

Every rule has an exception. In this case, it is pretty simple. If the structure of your wedding day has a gap between the ceremony and the reception of about two hours or more, you have enough time to do the couple shoot in between. Also, if one of you doesn’t like the idea of the first look or always wanted to wait for that moment until the ceremony, we will definitely find a way to work around that! For example splitting the couple shoot between within cocktail hour and around sunset.

Bonus Tipp

You could even do most of the group photos beforehand as well. Definitely try to get the wedding party together to do some with them, just a couple of group variations and then individually you with each member of the wedding party. Family photos could be done as well, but you know best if your family will actually show up early enough to do that. I personally think it is easier to do family photos right after the ceremony most of the time.

Just take a look at this crazy beautiful first look in a field below. Maybe that convinces you more than all my words.

Wedding Venue: The Gallagher Barn

Makeup: Tricia Murphy

DJ: Moving Music

Frozen Yoghurt Truck: The Yoghurt Shack

Why you want wedding photos AND video

When I started covering weddings professionally I already had a lot of experience in making videos. I talked with my friend Kai about creating a combined wedding photography and videography package. We both believe this is the ideal coverage of your wedding day. Here is why. 

Video captures emotions in a more engaging way

I personally believe that video is the better way to capture the emotions of a wedding day. What I typically capture is your family and friends having a good time together, laughing, smiling. It just looks better on video. I started capturing highlight videos like the two below at weddings and during engagement sessions besides taking pictures. I probably dedicate about 20 percent of the day towards video and deliver a 1 minute engagement video and around 3-5 minutes of wedding video. 

The photo gallery combined with those videos gives you a way richer experience of what it was like on the day. To give you a different example, I also love watching my travel videos. I might hang a few photos of my vacation on my wall but what I mostly look at is usually the video I make. It is so much easier to relive the vacation through a video. Just watch the first couple of minutes of my road trip video from last year and you well get an idea of what I am talking about. 

I'm not saying the photos are not important. A photo captures one moment in time. It will make you able to relive a wedding day as well. But video is becoming more and more important and showing let's say your kids a wedding video might be a better way for them to get an idea what your wedding day was like.