Wedding: To do a First Look or Not to

post filed in:

All Posts



March 1, 2016

Wedding: To do a First Look or Not to…

To do a first look or not to… that is the question… and it’s a questions I get, a lot from the Bride. Then the Groom usually looks over at me and goes, “What’s a first look?”

Can I just say, those are some of my favorite moments? This is why I am here! To answer these questions and make sure you know all your wedding photography options. While many of you may know what a first look is, I always love getting to share with couples or more often Grooms what the first look is and the different benefits of doing a first look.

To start, a first look is simply the first time you see each other on your wedding day.

Photo Collage 1

Traditionally, this is when the Bride walks down the aisle and the Groom sees her for the first time. The couple anticipates this moment all day and the guests get teary eyed as they experience this first look together with the couple. It’s a beautiful moment and if time allows, it’s a fantastic moment to share with your guests.

However, sometimes time doesn’t allow.

When a photographer or friend asks, “Are you doing a First Look?” they typically mean, will you be seeing each other before the ceremony.

My couples are about 25/75. A lot of them see each other for the first time walking down the aisle, most of my couples see each other for the first time before the ceremony. If you’re not sure which you want to do here are a couple things to think about…

  1. What time is Sunset?

This is the first thing to consider when deciding weather or not to do a first look. It’s first because when it comes to daylight, if you’re running out, I highly recommend a first look. To get the beautiful outdoor photos you’ve been pining for months, you have to have daylight.

Daylight comes into play mostly November-March or when daylight savings is in effect, but it could be a factor no matter when you’re getting married. It all depends on your wedding day timeline.

Here are a few other things to think about…

  1. How long do you have between your ceremony and reception?
  2. How long are you comfortable having your guests wait?
  3. Do you anticipate wedding jitters?

When deciding weather or not to do a first look, consider the amount of time between your ceremony and reception. Then consider how much time you want to have for professional wedding photography. Most likely, one of the reasons you choose your venue because you love the grounds! You want to make sure you have enough time to get to all your favorite photo spots.

A lot of my couples will only have about an hour between their ceremony and reception, maybe an hour and a half. As a general rule, family photos take 30 minutes and you may need to travel between your ceremony and reception location. All that time bites into your photography.

In a perfect world, I get 30 minutes for family photos, at least 60 minutes for Bridal Party photos and a minimum of 45 minutes for photos of just the Bride and Groom which means with travel time and getting set up for your reception grand entrance, plan for at least two and a half hours. If you want to do photos somewhere other than your ceremony and reception location, which I often recommend, you’ll need more time in between.

If you have enough time between your ceremony and reception, save the first look for the aisle! It’s a beautiful moment to share with guests, but if you don’t. I suggest a first look.

When you do a first look, we scope out a really cute place for you and your soon-to-be husband to see each other for the first time. We get some beautiful photos of the moment, give you a few minutes, which is often nice for wedding jitters, then we knock out all your wedding photos. It’s kind of the the best of both worlds. You get an intimate moment with your soon-to-be husband and plenty of time with your photographer without guests having to wait too long.

That just leaves family photos for between the ceremony and reception then a few more fun shots of the Bride and Groom because you can never have too many of those!


If you thought the blog was helpful, let me know! Interested in other topics? Send them my way at:

Thanks and keep your eye out for our next blog about choosing an awesome first look location!


Till next time,



March 2, 2016






Based in Batavia, Illinois


work together 

3 Steps for a more personal engagement session


Shouldn’t your engagement session be as unique as your story? I think so! Get the guide for 3 simple steps to make your engagement session as personal as you.