And is it right for your wedding day?


A first look is a planned meeting between you and your husband or wife to-be on your wedding day,  prior to your wedding ceremony. This can be done in lots of different ways, but generally involves a “reveal” of sorts. First looks have been popular in the United States for the last couple of years, and the idea is increasingly gaining in popularity in Australia.



There are a number of reasons why couples choose to have a first look:

A Moment Alone

Many appreciate being able to experience such an emotional and intimate moment in privacy, with just the two of them, with just their wedding photographer present to capture the moment. For some, this privacy allows them to express their emotions more openly, without the self-consciousness that may come with an audience, though that audience be made up of family and friends.

Having this moment together also often allows for a release of some of the nerves that have built up throughout the morning, before the next wave of emotion that inevitably arises during the ceremony.



A first look is generally followed by a bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) portrait session. One of the advantages of a first look is that it allows for a longer time to be dedicated to these portraits, without any concerns about having guests waiting for your return or missing out on your own party. This extra time may also mean that it’s possible to photograph your portraits in several locations.

Additionally, photographing this session earlier in the day means that you are feeling fresher, with your hair and make up still perfectly in place.

You may also decide to schedule your formal family portraits at this time, when your family is also still fresh.




As a professional wedding photographer, my first consideration is always light. Couples generally choose their ceremony time based around having their bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) portrait session in the softer sunset light. That doesn’t in any way mean that we can’t capture stunning images earlier in the day, but be aware the quality of light is not the same. Of course, you can always break the portrait session into two shorter periods – one following the first look and one closer to sunset.

Another important consideration when having your portrait session closer to the middle of the day, especially for a Queensland wedding, is the heat. Particularly in traditional wedding attire, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that you may become sweaty and flushed standing and/or walking around outside in the sun.


Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, not everything on a wedding day will necessarily run in accordance with your wedding day timeline. If it so happens that your hair and make up, or getting dressed, runs late, this can effect the amount of time that you will have allocated for the first look and wedding portrait session. If this is the only time that you have allowed for your portraits, it may be a major issue for you. When the portrait session follows the ceremony, this tends to be less of a risk, as for the most part the ceremony will run on time, or pretty close thereto.


Many couples don’t consider a first look simply because they value the tradition of seeing their fiancé for the first time on the day at the other end of the aisle. Others fear that the special feeling of that moment will be diminished if they have already seen each other earlier in the day. While I certainly cannot speak to the feelings of every bride or groom, in my experience as a wedding photographer, there are no fewer tears shed or smiles shared by those who have already had their first look. However, I would suggest that many brides and grooms are able to relax more in that moment, having got over their initial nerves at the first look.


Is a first look something that you would like to incorporate into your wedding day? Only the two of you can decide that, but this article will at least give you some guidance in terms of aspects you may want to consider.

Of course, I am here for you every step of the way for your planning as well as your day, so I am more than happy to discuss with you whether this might be the right option for your wedding day.