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First Look | The Pros + Cons

Full disclosure: I cry behind my camera at weddings likeeeeee a lotttttt. #supesprofesh. I usually can hide it pretty well with minimal, quiet sniffles and a quick tissue swipe, but after photographing weddings for almost 10 years, I still can’t hold it together when I’m witnessing a pure, heart warming, true act of emotion + love.  When you read your letter to each other in the morning,  when you guys see each other for the first time, when you say your vows, all the way to when dad cries during his speech at the reception, I’m usually shedding a tear behind that camera of mine. As a photographer I live for these moments, because I know that if I’m crying, I’m capturing something truly real and special. Something you can’t “create”.

A lot of people think about those special moments on their big day, and those tears especially when it comes to “the first look.” We meet a lot of couples who are torn on which way to do it, and at the end of the day, whatever feels right to you guys, is perfect for us. It’s our job to give you all the info you need based on our experience and role as your wedding photographer to help you make the right decision for you! 

Here are some super honest, and hopefully very helpful PRO’s and CON’s to doing a first look before the ceremony vs. doing a first look during the ceremony. Let’s dive in!



More intimate between just the two of you (oh, and of course me)

My hubby is someone who doesn’t necessarily LOVE being the center of attention, so the idea of big crowd with all eyes on him waiting for his reaction, wasn’t necessarily his jam. It was so special to have that moment when we saw each other and say and do whatever we wanted without any formalities.

Helps relieve anxiety + stress

I am a super anxious person, and I knew for a fact that with a 5:30 pm ceremony there was nooooooo way I was going to keep it together and actually enjoy my day if I didn’t get to see my hubby until that late at night. I wanted to spend as much of the day with him as I could!

You are done with photos before the ceremony

All of your formal photos are done before the ceremony, so that once that you walk down that aisle, you can be completely present for the rest of the night, no interruptions. More time to enjoy your family + friends and that dance floor, girl!


With a first look at the beginning of the day, you are keeping your schedule more flexible, so that if anything were to come up, like bad weather or something un foreseen, we have time we can sneak in more portraits in between the ceremony + reception, or at sunset.


You have to wake up probably a little bit earlier

Since we have about 3 hours worth of portraits to do before your guests start arriving to the ceremony, unless your ceremony is later in the night, you may not be able to sleep in! Something to keep in mind when partying it up the night before!

harsher mid-day lighting

Lighting isn’t always ideal in the morning or in the afternoon if it ends up being a super sunny day, so we may have to do some shuffling around to find the perfect lighting spot that isn’t too harsh.



More authentic reactions for some (aka big precious tears!)

If you’re fiancé is someone who is a total romantic, they might be an absolute cutie pie the moment those ceremony doors open (cue all the tears) You know them best!

You may be able to get everything done in 8 hours of coverage

Since there isn’t a ton we can photograph before the ceremony without you two seeing each other, we use the time for the ceremony + reception for all of your portraits, so you usually don’t need the 10 hour package.


No alone time 

This means no time to bar hop or drive around on the party bus since we will be doing portraits the entire time.

Shortened times for all of your portraits

Since most people don’t want their guests waiting for 2-3 hours in between the ceremony + reception (especially if they are at the same venue) we have to GO GO GO to get your family, full wedding party and couple portraits done in time for your reception, and their truly isn’t really any downtime for you once that ceremony starts. 

So there you have it folks! We got plans to make it work for you either way, so that you can decide what is right for you and your fiancé! In a nutshell, if you are someone who is anxious, likes a good safety net and wants things to be a little more laid back, a first look is probably best for you. If you are someone who is more traditional, or if your fiancé is someone who adores grand gestures, and you are having a big gap in between your ceremony + reception due to logistics, you are totally good to go with that first look during your ceremony. If you guys have any questions at all, we are always here to help give you feedback and help you find the right choice for you!