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Q&A: First Look

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a sweet new Oregon bride about her wedding day details. She has the most ADORABLE, hand-crafted elements she’s been working on for her wedding day, and I CAN’T WAIT to be there to see it all come together! In the midst of going over her wedding day timeline, we briefly chatted about doing a First Look. After a few “UmmHmm’s”…she sweetly, shyly informed me that she really didn’t know exactly what to expect with a First Look and asked me to explain it further.

I adore when my clients feel it’s right for them to do a First Look. Selfishly, it makes the wedding day schedule so much more “photography friendly”, but overall, it’s exactly what I would do myself. The First Look is the only time during your otherwise very busy, guest-filled day, that the bride and groom get to share a quiet, private moment together. Sharing that special time together, getting to see each other for the first time away from any other distractions, and taking time to ground yourselves in the moment…are monumental, in my opinion. Later, when you walk down the aisle, you can better appreciate what surrounds you. You can calmly stroll down the aisle appreciating all those who have come to celebrate your union, smell the smells and experience the moment of this day, without the nerves that might have otherwise been there.

Your parents will still give you away, you may still shed a few tears as you gaze into your man’s eyes, but you’ll feel so much more peace about it…truly experiencing the moment for all it’s worth. And you’ll also know you already have the majority of your photography (family, formals, wedding party, couple) done, and instead of leaving all of your guests to rush off for photography, you can enjoy the cocktail hour with them…relishing in the knowledge that they traveled here JUST to be with you at this very moment.

I also completely understand that First Look’s aren’t a perfect fit for every couple. I just feel honored and blessed to be there to capture their wedding day.  No matter what the schedule looks like, as long as my bride and groom are happy, it’s going to be an AMAZING day!

When I am asked to arrange a First Look, I usually position myself with a long lens, in a semi-hidden location, with a clear shot of the couple. I also position my second shooter in the same way, but from an alternate view point. This way, both the bride and the groom’s expressions are captured…and we aren’t invading their space during such a sweet time. After the groom is set, with his back to where the bride will enter, we bring in the bride, instructing the groom not to turn around until she asks. Following their incredibly sweet, genuine, first glance at each other, I give the couple a few minutes alone to share it in private. After that, we continue on and photograph the couple together.

Getting to photograph just the couple, alone, following such an intimate moment, is my favorite time out of the entire wedding day. They feel connected, overwhelmed with love for each other, and yet still excited for the ceremony & festivities to begin. The twinkle is still in the bride’s eye, and she looks 100% picture perfect fresh…not melted from the sun or exhausted from the emotion of it all. The groom is gushing over her, and is in the sweetest of moods. 🙂 We stay secreted away, feeling romantic, dreamy and in love with the moment. After this private, intimate session with just the couple, we move on to the bridal party and group shots, if desired.

I feel eternally blessed to be able to capture these first few glances and intimate moments with my clients. It’s such a special feeling to witness the raw emotion as they fall deeper in love with each other on first glance.

Jarad & Jasmine’s beautiful First Look I had the joy of capturing at Ponte Winery, for my dear friend Heather (Vallentyne Photography) while she was on maternity leave.  Just adore them!

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