If you've shot a wedding, or been married, or been to a wedding, or seen a wedding on TV, you probably are aware that the day is pretty busy. It is filled with so many moments that need to happen on schedule and yet it is also a day that so many people from the couple's lives are there to celebrate with them. It can be an absolutely confusing day for couples. On the one hand, they want to be sure that they are doing all of the traditions and getting all of the perfect shots for posterity, but they also want to celebrate with their guests. It can feel overwhelming to try and achieve the perfect balance.
This is why we offer a First Look session to our couples. Usually this session takes place a month or so before the wedding. It is along the lines of traditional bridal photography, where the bride in all her finery is photographed so that images can be used at the reception and kept for memories. But we also add in the groom to the shots. If possible (and desired), we go to the couple's venue at a time when the light is just magical, usually Golden Hour, and we capture the first time the groom sees his bride in her gown, and we provide a more personal, leisurely photography experience for the couple. It is often a little oasis of time in the hectic wedding preparations where the couple can be together and focus on each other and at the same time have their images made in perfect conditions.
This also gives the couple a bit of a break on their wedding day. There are still a lot of formal portraits of the family and guests to be made, as well as detail shots, candids and a few formal couple portraits, but the pressure is off of the couple to pose for portrait after portrait, in hopes of getting every detail of their wedding captured. Now, they can focus more on the wedding day and less on the formal portraits. The day becomes less about posing for pictures and more about their love and those who love them
The upside for the photographer is that it also alleviates stress. There are MANY details to be captured, but the photographer knows that the couple has been captured at their best and in the best light, rather than leaving wedding portraits to chance. Inclement weather, wardrobe malfunctions, harsh overhead sun? Those won't be as pressing of issues for the photographer or couple.
We recommend that the session be not closer than 2 weeks from the wedding, since the dress might need a dry-cleaning and the photographer needs time to edit the images for the couple and deliver them and have prints made for the reception.
Our couples who have chosen First Look sessions are always so positive about the experience.
Below are images from a recent First Look Session:
These images were taken on a lovely spring day, when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and the weather was nice. On their wedding day, the blossoms were mostly gone, and there was a fierce 65 MPH wind, followed by rain that evening. But there was very little stress about the misbehaving wedding weather, because everyone knew that the portraits were "in the bag" already. We got some on the wedding day, but when it got uncomfortable, we packed it up with no regrets. (Edited with Pure Presets 1 Basic Workflow in Lightroom and then finished with Sunny Matte from Pure Matte in Photoshop.)