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The excitement during the getting ready moments, the pure love and awe during a first look, the joy and happy tears during the ceremony, the tender moments during the first dances – the wedding day is filled with emotional moments. In this blog, we will talk about the first look wedding photos. A vulnerable and heartwarming moment, first look photos are without a doubt an important part of the wedding day story! First look photography is about documenting all the feelings your clients are feeling as authentically as possible. These wedding portraits are not ones that can be repeated or posed – at least not as organically as the real deal – so it’s important that you shoot quickly while also giving the couple some privacy. And by reading this blog, you are going to take away some tips that will help you take the best first look photos and save those beautiful memories for your clients.

What Is A First Look Wedding Photo?

a wedding couple seeing each other the first time in their wedding attireImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

A first look wedding photo is that private moment when the couple sees each other for the first time before the wedding ceremony. Although this trend has gained popularity over the last decade, the first look wedding origin dates back to the traditional arranged marriage concept when the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see each other before their wedding. Today, the idea behind first look wedding photos is that couples can share an intimate moment with no one else present to witness their emotions (except you, of course). It allows them to appreciate each other without any external expectations or pressures. 

First Look Wedding Photography Tips

In wedding photography, to create beautiful wedding first look photos that capture your couple’s emotions and connection, being both creative and strategic helps a lot. Here are a few creative first look ideas and tips for unique first look pictures:

1. Scout The Location

Scouting the location before shooting there is a tip that applies to all kinds of photos you will take on the wedding day, and it’s also an important part of first look wedding photography. Scouting the location ahead of time can help you find the best spots for the first look, which means that you will have a better idea of the kind of lighting you will be dealing with and find the spots that will offer the perfect backdrops for your couple’s first look wedding photos. 

2. Keep A Distance

a wedding couple sharing an emotional moment after their first look Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

One way to capture the best first look photos is to find the perfect spot(s) that offer a clear view of the couple. Here are a few first look photo ideas to help get those special shots:

  • Consider using scenery as a separation tool. Encourage your couples to take a few steps away from each other and try to incorporate elements in the background into your photos. 

  • Have your couple face each other but shoot from the back. Opt for wide-angle lenses that have enough range to capture emotions from large distances.

  • To get creative with your first look ideas, incorporate texture and layers into your composition so couples can feel connected despite not being close to each other directly. This could involve using objects, such as windowsills or balconies to showcase different perspectives of the same space.

3. Experiment With Lighting

Experimenting with different light sources can make a basic photo stand out, especially when doing first look wedding photos. For different first look wedding ideas, get creative and find unusual spots such as rooftops or secret gardens where you can experiment with the light. Make the best use of available natural light and in its absence, try incorporating artificial lighting to create the desired effect. For example, if you are looking for a dramatic effect, try shooting with backlighting. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an ethereal vibe, use available light, like window light, and create a warm glow around the couple. 

4. Shoot Candids

infographic stating during a first look, focus on organically capturing what’s unfolding right in front of you

The beauty of first look wedding pictures lies in their authenticity. As a first look photographer, try not to pose your couples for first look photos. Instead, focus on capturing what’s unfolding right in front of you as organically as possible. This can include capturing the groom’s facial expressions as he sees his bride for the first time or the bride’s reaction as she sees the groom. These candid moments will make for more meaningful images that the couple will treasure for years to come. You can also experiment with different wedding first look ideas by discussing them with your clients beforehand. 

5. Change Perspectives

a wedding couple kissing and greeting each other during their first lookImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

By challenging yourself with photography angles and techniques, you can get those first look wedding photos that truly stand out. Switching perspectives can also help to tell the story of the moment and create a more dynamic set of images for the couple. Following are tips that could follow to shoot from different POVs:

  • Besides traditional eye-level shots, get creative with different vantage points. For example, you could try shooting from a low angle to make the couple look larger than life.

  • Traditionally, the groom faces away from the bride if he is the one being surprised. But by mixing up perspectives and angles of shooting, such as lowering your shutter speed for intentional blur or shooting at different heights for altered views, you can engage with both composition and lighting to create one-of-a-kind shots. 

Further Read: A Guide To Photographing Emotional Wedding Moments

infographic stating to get the best first look photos, be prepared to shoot quickly

It might be difficult to think outside the box when it comes to first look wedding photo ideas, but aim to always do something unique for your couple. Think about wedding photo ideas they will want to add in their wedding album. The first look wedding photos before ceremony are personal and important to your clients, so make sure that you finalize a first look wedding photos timeline with them. From the first time the future husband and future wife see each other to the sweet moments they get to share right after the first look – these special moments won’t come back again, so stay prepared to document these fleeting moments as flawlessly as you can!

At ShootDotEdit, we strive to help lessen your post-production workload by offering professional photo editing services that match your style. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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