When you should consider doing a first look

Many couples love the idea of doing a first look regardless of the timeline for their wedding day. They want the heartfelt photos capturing their collective reactions of their “first looks” of one another. They like the idea of having some extra time together before the celebration gets underway. With the benefit of having more time together, we also get more photos taken before the ceremony….which leaves more time after the ceremony for the couple to enjoy the party. From a photographer’s standpoint, it gives us more opportunity to be creative with the bride and groom and it also gives us a time cushion in the event the weather is questionable that day.

Basically, having more time & more bride/groom photos is a bonus of doing a first look.

FIRSTLOOKThis post is for the couples who are rooted in the tradition of Weddings. They want to have the excitement and anticipation of the wait to see each other until the ceremony. I do love this tradition and respect the couples who wish to wait. The important thing to consider (if you wish to see each other first at the ceremony) is timing and your expectations of photography. If you are planning a wedding ceremony for early afternoon, you will have no issues with timing. But, if you are planning a wedding with a late afternoon ceremony (4pm or later), with a reception to follow shortly after, timing is something you have to think about.


Let’s say your ceremony begins at 4:00 pm. It will end about 4:30pm. If you greet your guests in a receiving line, it will take at least 30 minutes. That puts the day at 5:00 pm. Your guests will enjoy cocktail hour and we’ll be tackling photos. During that 5:00 – 5:45 cocktail hour, we will be completing family pictures along with photos of the entire wedding party and most importantly photos of the bride & groom, before heading inside for dinner.

You should also consider the available daylight you have on your wedding day.


During the months of May – September, sunset is quite a bit later. So, we can always do more photos after dinner before the sun goes down. If you have planned a fall or winter wedding, sunset is usually during the meal, so natural light photos are not an option later. (Night photography can be quite amazing, but you should always ask your photographer if he/she is comfortable shooting it and has the necessary equipment to pull off the style you want.)

no first look

Think about what your expectations are for photography. Any photographer can work with the schedule you create for your day, but you need to think about what you want from your photographer. If your pinterest board is filled with photos of a bride and groom outside using the sun as the light source, you will want to give your photographer enough time to be able to capture that for you. An hour between the ceremony & reception might not be enough time for everyone. Each photographer works at a different pace. It’s important to discuss the schedule so everyone is satisfied with the end result of your wedding day :: the photos!

Ultimately, you and your photographer should share the same

visual expectations of your wedding day.  


I work on timelines with each of my couples before even booking the day. If you need help with your own timeline, feel free to shoot me an email! jodee@lifeandstylephotography.com Good luck with your plans! -Jodee

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