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How to Photograph the Couple’s First Look before the Wedding

The First Look is a private moment when the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. Typically, the wedding photographer is present to capture the moment. Usually, the groom has his back to the door where the bride will enter. She then walks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder, signaling him to turn around and see his bride for the first time.

When you’re photographing this moment, grab your 70–200mm lens (if you have one) and be prepared to do some sprinting!

  • Get shots from in front of the groom as his bride walks up to him.

  • As the bride walks up, stand in front of the groom and take one picture with him in focus and another with the bride as the focus as she approaches.

    [Credit: 25mm, 1/320 sec., f/2.8, 200]
    Credit: 25mm, 1/320 sec., f/2.8, 200
  • Then sprint around and grab a few pictures from behind the bride as she gets closer and taps him on the shoulder.

  • Position yourself so that you can capture the look on his face when he sees her.

    [Credit: 38mm, 1/640 sec., f/2.8, 200]
    Credit: 38mm, 1/640 sec., f/2.8, 200

The First Look is a great part of the wedding day for several reasons:

  • You get an up-close and personal view of some of the sweetest emotions of the day. The First Look is often filled with tears of joy from both the bride and the groom as they see each other for the first time.

    This moment is a prime opportunity for you to take some amazing candids as they wipe tears from each other’s eyes, laugh, kiss, and just act head over heels in love.

  • It helps alleviate nerves for the couple. Often the bride and groom begin the wedding day feeling quite nervous. After the couple sees each other, the wedding day takes on a more relaxed feel.

  • You can get most if not all of the formal portraits done before the ceremony. That way, after the ceremony is over, the wedding party and family don’t have to worry about sticking around for their portraits with the bride and groom. Everyone can head straight to the reception, and guests aren’t kept waiting for an hour or two for the bride and groom to arrive.

When you’re communicating with the bride and groom in the months before the wedding, don’t be afraid to suggest a First Look and explain its benefits to the wedding day.

Though a First Look can be a very special moment to capture, some couples are very traditional and don’t want to see each other until the bride walks down the aisle at the ceremony. Be aware that not all couples choose to have a First Look, and that’s okay!

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