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August 10, 2016


AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO-8Ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your attention?!

I like first looks and I cannot lie…

If you already think you’re against one… be open to what I’m about to say…


My job as a wedding photographer is to not only taking amazing photos but also to inform, educate, and communicate with my couples so we are all on the same page as far as expectations go for the wedding day. Remember, every single person in this whole world thinks differently. We all have “ideas” and “thoughts” and that ultimately comes down to creating our own expectations. The last thing I want to do on your wedding day is disappoint you or ruin your expectations.DesmondWedding-279_WEBDesmondWedding-291_WEB

One of the most important steps in organizing the wedding day is the timeline. Planning and making sure you have enough time for everything is always a struggle, but as your photographer, the last thing you want to skimp on is portrait time. After all, portrait time is going to give you the photos you’ll hang around your house and put into picture frames and “share with your grandchildren” as the saying goes… This is why I STRONGLY suggest doing a first look! What are you thinking? Brett – no, I really don’t want to or Brett – that sounds like a good idea! If you’re on the No side – give me a chance to change your mind…

So I’m here to help your figure out whether or not you think a first look is for you.


Three reasons why I really love first looks

  1. You can enjoy yourself! You’ve spent loads of time planning your wedding. It’s the one time that all your family and friends are gathered in the same spot to celebrate the happy occasion with you!! I want you to ENJOY it! I want you to be able to go from the ceremony straight to cocktail hour to start mingling and partying! I want the last thing on your mind after the ceremony to be “UGH… we have to do pictures now?” you should be able to enjoy the party you spent months planning for!


  1. Weather. You may have looked at the forecast and late in the afternoon it calls for torrential downpour and hurricane winds. It would be in your best interest to take as many photos in the beginning of the day as possible. If you can be flexible, you’ll be able to have great photos outdoors or with better light. I’m thankful that Bjorn and Karoline chose to do a first look because as soon as their ceremony is over the sky was dark and the angry Hurricane Joaquin clouds moved in. Even during the first look, it was raining but we had a big open porch for photos!KB-WEDDING-56_WEBkarobjorn-17_WEB


  1. It’s okay to be emotional. This moment is for the TWO of you. I’ll be there… but I’ll be “shooting” you from a distance so I’m not all up in your grill. I want to capture the raw emotion… the smiles, the “I’m never letting go” hugs, the crying, the intimate moment you get to share together! You don’t get that when you walk down the aisle… you have to WAIT until you’re announced husband and wife to hug and kiss… but a first look? The first look is YOUR moment. It’s private. There aren’t 50+ pairs of eyes on you as you’re crying and telling each other what you love about each other. It’s a moment to feel relaxed and to forget the stresses you’ve built up in your head about the day. Take a deep breath. This is why you’re here… why we’re all here today, you’re marrying your best friend and you deserve those moments of peace before the rest of the day. It might be just the thing you need to let your nerves go.


4. You’ll look your best. I’m not saying you’re not going to look great later – I’m just pointing out that your make-up and hair will be perfect instead of waiting 4 hours to take photos until after the ceremony where you might have already cried some of it off. MorDan-62JMM3-9_WEBNow, please, don’t get to the end of this post and think I’m not going to shoot your wedding because you DON’T want to do a first look. That’s not it at all… I will completely respect your decision when it comes time for organizing your timeline. I just want you to be aware of the perks that come from having a first look. You’ll have more time for photos and more time to spend with your guests who are all gathered for this one day just for you.

Here are some common reasons for why couples DO NOT want a first look:

  1. It’s Tradition. Yes, I’ve heard that… it has been a “tradition” but who started that? Do you really wanna know? The tradition of not seeing the groom/bride before the ceremony originates back to the times of arranged marriages. It was said they didn’t allow the couples to see each other in fear that the bride/groom would find the other unattractive and flee. SERIOUSLY? Can you believe that?! I think we all know that these days, that is NOT the case!Drake Wedding
  2. It ruins the moment. The other reason I hear is that it ruins the moment of you walking down the aisle. I’d have to politely disagree. The moment will not be ruined. Your heart will still beat out of your chest when you two lock eyes – I promise, I’ve seen it happen between my couples. They don’t see anyone else but their future spouse and their smiles are bigger than this world. Recently – due to restrictions in the chapel, I convinced a bride and groom to share a first look because I wouldn’t be able to capture their expressions due to where I was allowed to stand in the chapel. I knew that the first look photos were #1 on the bride’s list and I didn’t want to disappoint her after the wedding by saying “well – I didn’t get the shot” – that would have been horrible. After an email explaining that to her – she agreed to a first look and really, I’m not just saying this – but I think it helped the bride relax. As soon as she saw her groom she teared up, he hugged her, and softly rubbed her back. The tension in her shoulders released.VolantWedding-138
  3. He’s not going to cry. Really – I’ve gotten that reason before. I promise you – he cries again. Sometimes he doesn’t cry at either time but sometimes he cries both times, and sometimes he cries at the ceremony and not at the first look.WilliamsGS-2_WEBSEE MORE CLIENT EXPECTATION POSTS HERE!

    xoxo bd


  1. Lundi says:

    Oh Brett Lee this had me laughing (“I like first looks and I cannot lie”) and crying. Great communication! Just brilliant

  2. Christine says:

    This is SO TRUE. Love first looks. All great points!

  3. Laura says:

    I agree and you captured so many great first look moments!

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