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Saturday, March 26, 2011

First Look Wedding Photography - Edinburgh USA | Maris Ehlers Photography

Raymond and Arianne's First Look - March 25, 2011

In today's wedding world, with the hustle and bustle of coordinating the event itself and managing the timeline of the day, many couples decide to get most of their portraits done before the wedding, including what is now popularly coined as the "first look".

The First Look.  What is it?  If you are planning a wedding, you may be asking your self "Should we or shouldn't we?" 

Honestly, my job as your photographer isn't to convince you one way or the other.  It's simply to help you understand the pros and cons of having one.

The idea of a first look is to create an quiet and private opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time that day.  It takes about 15-20 minutes, and it's really the only time during photographing a wedding that I have a hard rule.  That rule is that no one but the bride, groom and photographer(s) be present.

The first look typically happens after I am done photographing the groom.  We end up in the location where the first look will take place.  I will then send my second photographer to go get the bride so that we can photograph her walking up behind him and then hopefully capturing the moment when they first see one another.

Raymond realized he had his hands on her dress while kissing her.  I love it because while he was willing to pull his hands away from her dress and hair,  he apparently wasn't willing to stop kissing her!

I always use a telephoto lens for this, and I typically shoot for about 5 minutes or so before I say anything or interact with them.  It gives them a few moments to themselves, to forget I'm there and to enjoy the moment.  There are always tears (sometimes by both the bride and the groom), and it's so fun to watch the groom react to seeing his bride in the dress that she has been so careful to avoid him hearing even the tiniest detail about.

The pros of a first look before the wedding ceremony:
  • Allows the bride and groom to soak in the moment and to enjoy seeing each other in private.
  • Takes away some of the tension of the day.  Portraits after the first look are always so much more relaxed. 
  • It's hard for most couple to share really special and intimate looks and gestures if the entire bridal party is present.  
  • Provides your photographer with some uninterrupted time to focus on just the bride and groom.  The excitement of just seeing each other for the first time makes for some great imagery.  
  • Revealing the first look photos AFTER the wedding is always a lot of fun, since no one was able to see them being taken that day.
  • A first look before the wedding frequently ties in to photographing all of the formal "portraits" of the wedding party and family before the ceremony, but not always - nor does it need to. 

The cons of a first look before the wedding ceremony: 

  • The only negative is if you are a purist at heart and really want your "first look" to be as your bride walks down the aisle. 

These next few images aren't from Raymond and Arianne's first look, but we captured them after the ceremony.  Locations can be really tricky - light changes from hour to hour, week to week, season to season.  Their wedding was at Edinburgh USA, which is a gorgeous public golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II and operated by the Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks Department

Because of the amount of snow on the ground, we were very limited in terms of where to take pictures on site, but the challenge of many weddings is to make the most of the location you have, and Raymond and Arianne were really good sports about being outside in the cold, especially in a strapless dress! 

Speaking of being good sports, here are Arianne and Raymond being photographed (amidst paying patrons) at the Clubhouse Grille and Sportsbar, Girvan Grille

This last one was in the lobby of Edinburgh and is a dramatic way to end their first (and second) look shots. 

In the end, having a first look or not is just like everything else on your wedding day.  It should be your choice, and if you do have one, it should reflect the relationship you have together.  

My advice:  Trust your photographer.  If the lines of communication are open, and if you have shared the objectives of your day, he or she will know if a first look is a good fit for your wedding or not.  Also, they'll know if it will fit well into the timeline for your day.  

My professional opinion is that while you may feel like a first look takes a little something special away from seeing each other for the first time during the walk down the aisle, the closeness and enjoyment of seeing each other for the first time without the whole world watching (only me) adds a lot to your images and can result in warm, loving, intimate photographs that you will cherish and remember. Forever.  

Are you planning on having a first look at your wedding?  If you're already married, did you have one?  


Arianne said...

We are so glad we chose to do the "first look" pictues this way! They turned out so well, I cannot decide which I love the most!
Thank you Maris!

matrimony said...

Fabulous 'First look' pictures, i am so happy with this post. Thank You.

Sri said...

Bride look gorgeous, the pictures seems very beautiful & nice costumes.
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