Ten Reasons to Have a First Look by Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Brandi Potter
I LOVE shooting first looks. Not only can they be a huge time saver in your wedding day timeline, they can really give you those emotional photos couples love. I also know that some couples want that moment of the bride/groom coming down the aisle to be special, but I’ve had several couples who still had VERY emotional moments even after doing a first look. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, and you will still probably have a reaction during the ceremony. I’ve never been married, but I imagine that a first look and coming down the aisle are two entirely special instances.
And there are so many options in how to do a first look, even if you decided you didn’t want to actually see one another you could still have a moment on either side of a wall or door. You can do the classic first look of the bride sneaking up behind the groom or even be back to back and turn at the same time. There’s no wrong way to do it, and you should totally talk with your wedding photographer about different options.
Without further delay here are my top ten reasons to have a first look, in photos (and some explanations).
Brooke and Raychel’s venue is really unique. They have big open windows to the front (to the left in the photos), and then incomplete walls through the front half of it creating smaller sections. We had them write letters to one another and stand on either side of one of these walls, and it ended up being absolute magic. The 4th photo (b&W) is one of my all time photos I’ve ever taken, and one of my favorite moments I’ve ever witnessed.
Paige and Brandon’s wedding was unique in a lot of ways. 1. She made her own wedding dress 2. They got married on her families property in front of an old house that’s still standing. 3. They fixed up said house (repainted, refinished, etc etc) JUST FOR THE WEDDING. Obviously, we did their first look in one of their favorites rooms. I had Brandon walk into the room and face away from the door so Paige could come in and he could turn around.
Makenna and Jamie’s first look is also unique in the sense that I’ve never shot one with this many people around. I guess when you have your Cinderella moment in the middle of Central Park though you’re going to have an audience. I normally prefer for no one else to be around, but I feel like all the extra people worked to our advantage.
Makenzie and Brandon’s wedding is one of the most emotional ones I have ever been part of. They were with one another through college and grew up together (as adults) and that really added to the emotional aspect of things. During prep Makenzie was writing Brandon a letter to give to him before their first look and I suggested that we get him to write one as well. I wanted them to read them to one another before they turned around to amplify the emotions that were already happening as they got ready to say I do. I’m including some of their ceremony photos as well, because they both teared up when she came down the aisle and throughout the ceremony.
Amanda and Ryan had such an exciting first look. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bride as excited as her when they saw one another. They opted to do the classic, have the bride walk up behind him, first look and it was definitely perfect.
Stevie and Ollie got married in September but it was SO HOT outside. We decided to do their first look in front of the beautiful stained glass in the church. I think the backdrop really added a unique aspect to their first look that most other couples don’t have. I also had them back to back and turning at the same time since the room was a bit small and I wanted to be sure to get their reactions.
I was only second shooting Ashley and Parker’s wedding, but I LOVED their first look. They have such an amazing connection, and I loved watching both of them react to seeing one another for the first time on the wedding day.
I haven’t blogged Haley and Luke’s wedding yet, but it was full of emotional moments. We had their first look in a little patch of trees in a local park so that we could wrap up bridal party photos and family photos before the ceremony, that meant immediately after the ceremony we were able to run out and shoot most of their portraits during golden hour, which is always my goal. Oh, and seeing Haley beforehand didn’t keep Luke from having a reaction seeing her come down the aisle either.
Ashley & Brad had their first look in my favorite way, the standing back to back and turning at the same time. It was a little cramped since we did it on the landing of the stairs, but I like having the closeups instead of the full body photos in this instance.
And finally one of my favorite first looks ever. DD and Shawn are such amazing people, and I really wasn’t expecting the reactions that happened when they did see one another. It was an absolutely beautiful moment I’ll never forget.