There are many words that come to mind when thinking about wedding ceremonies, but one word that often surfaces for me is transformation. On the incredible day of a wedding, two separate families transform into one supportive, loving community, two souls transform into a deepened, unified bond. There is a moment when the groom looks at his lover, who then becomes his beautiful bride for the first time. I love documenting First Looks because they are completely raw and emotionally authentic. There is no set reaction, and every First Look is different in how the couple shares their intimate moment of transformation. Always together.
What is a First Look?
The First Look is a moment for the couple to simply enjoy each other before the wedding — before everything gets a bit crazy. Traditionally, when couples see each other for the first time, it’s when the bride walks down the aisle. The First Look is an opportunity for the couple to have a quiet and calm moment together, to have a connection before the day begins.
A First Look is also an opportunity to exchange gifts and letters to each other. These could be extended vows or secret notes. And lastly, this moment is just for you, and once you’ve seen each other’s transformed selves, really enjoy the moment.
How Should You Prepare For a First Look?
First and foremost, the location is key. Be sure to choose somewhere that’s unique to you. Maybe it’s the first place you’ve met? The place of the proposal? Another element to think about is light and what time of the day you want the First Look to take place. The First Look often happens in the afternoon before the wedding, so think of shaded areas to avoid glare from the sun. As your photographer, I’ll help guide you through this so that you are comfortable and so that the images are timeless.
How is a First Look Different From Other Photoshoots With Your Photographer?
On a personal note, the First Look really lends to my style and aesthetic as a documentary photographer. First Looks take as long as they need to take. When I document this moment, I allow room for it to breathe and naturally unfold on its own. The only other time I get more involved is during portraits. First Looks by their nature are unrehearsed, so I don’t pose, but I do direct a little bit to help the photos be the best they can to allow the moment to happen naturally.
The Role of a First Look In Your Wedding Timeline?
The First Look happens as soon as the couple is ready. It’s best to have the First Look session before the ceremony when both the bride and groom are looking their best and freshest. When planning the logistics of when your First Look happens, think about how many locations you want to take photos at. This factors heavily into how much time you want to devote to the first look shoot and how long it takes to travel to each location.
Often, it’s good to take the family photos before the ceremony right after the First Look. An ideal schedule for photos would be 1. First Look, 2. Bride and Groom portraits, and 3. Family portraits. By taking all of the group photos before the ceremony, it allows more time to spend with guests during the reception instead of rallying everyone for photos, creating more stress than necessary. This schedule makes sure the energy stays high. Take the photos when everyone is still in great anticipation and buzzing before the ceremony.
The Importance of A First Look
It’s always important to remember that it’s all about you and you can share the moment however want. A few things to remember are bringing gifts, vows, and make sure to not put your phone in your back pocket. It sticks out, I promise.
Lastly, remember why you’re at your First Look. Enjoy and be present. This is what it’s all about. Embrace it and never feel rushed.
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I love shooting first looks at weddings or elopements. This city has so many perfect backdrops to suit all needs and I would jump at the chance to shoot your wedding and include a first look. If you’re getting married in Vancouver and you like what you see above, then please get in touch. I’d love love to get to know you and hear more about your Vancouver wedding and plans!
// sachinkhona.com //
Wedding & Elopement Photographer based in Vancouver, BC