Today I want to talk about first look pictures. Originally known for being an American tradition, I am increasingly asked by my couples to do them for their UK weddings and so I thought I’d offer my advice on how to make the most of your first look photos with just the two of you. Before I go any further I wanted to say that I LOVE first looks! They aren’t for every couple, but if you like the idea I’d say go for it. Not only can it help ease nerves by seeing each other before the ceremony, but it allows more time for photos of the two of you. It also means that you have more of the reception time to spend with your guests. The biggest plus is for Winter weddings where the daylight disappears early.

What is a first look on your wedding day?

First looks and first look pictures are where the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony on your wedding day. It’s a lovely moment that can create some emotional photographs, just the two of you. Some couples prefer to wait for this moment while walking down the aisle, but whether you want to do the big reveal just the two of you or in front of all your loved ones, it’s good to consider your options.

How to plan your first look at your wedding

Where will your first look happen? Where will you stand for your first look?

The venue will be able to advise on private spaces where you won’t be disturbed and your photographer (hello!) will be able to show you where to stand to get the best light and angles. I am very happy to help plan first looks, it’s something I have done a number of times and its as exciting for me as it is for my couples!

Who walks up to whom at a first look?

Between you and your partner, you could choose to hold hands around the door frame, both turn round at the same time or one of you could face away and the other one of you could walk up to them. There is no set way, it’s up to you. Trust me, it will be very emotional either way.

Do you have time for first look pictures on your wedding day?

You should build this into your wedding day schedule (check out my blog about planning your ideal wedding day timeline here). You’ll need to get ready earlier than anticipated, but this is probably a small price to pay for those extra moments together, where you can get those lovely photos taken before the ceremony and enjoy the moment.

When should have a first look happen on your wedding day?

Your first look usually happens before the wedding ceremony, when you’re both ready and dressed for the wedding. It won’t take long for the first look (maybe 10-15 minutes), but it’s nice to plan for a little time after to capture relaxed photos of the two of you.

Who should be at a first look on your wedding day?

Traditionally, it’s just the two of you who are at the first look. If you’re thinking of inviting others to witness this moment, then do take a look at my blog – should you have a first look or not where I talk through the different options such as including your wedding party, your immediate family or your parents.

Can you kiss during a first look?

Yes, definitely! And no it won’t ruin the ceremony kiss. You’ve kissed before, and you’ll still have that kiss when you’re announced as married in the ceremony. There is so much emotion on your wedding day. You do not need to worry about ruining any moments. Walking down the aisle towards each other will still be everything you want it to be, in front of all your family and friends.

Is there anything else to consider for first look pictures?

Discuss this idea with your hair and make up team (if you are having that done) as they will likely need to look at their schedule to make sure you are ready in time. Think about where you would like to do the first look. It could be at your wedding venue, where you are getting ready, or at a different location en route to your ceremony. If you have a first look at your wedding venue is there a room or space you can go to after to hide away from the arriving guests. An experienced photographer will know where to stand and how to capture your first look whilst also being unobtrusive so you can enjoy the WOW moment of seeing each other for the first time. If you love the idea of doing this chat to your photographer and make it part of your wedding day plan!

I do hope these tips were useful and you enjoyed the natural wedding first look pictures I’ve been lucky to photograph. To check my availability, to photograph your wedding, please do check out my wedding photography pricing page here.

And for more advice posts please do take a look at my wedding planning guide where I share my expertise and advice from photographing weddings for over 10 years.

Thanks for stopping by

Fee x