Everything you should know about a first look


Bride Tribe

First looks are something I feel people either love or hate. And while I love when a couple chooses to do a first look, I totally understand when they choose not to have one. However, I wanted to share a couple great reasons why having a first look on your big day can be a great way to maximize time and spend as much of your wedding day with your future spouse as possible. And, grooms love them too! I’ve shared a few groom opinions towards the end of the post.

Reason number one

Most of the weddings that we photograph, the bride and groom opt to share their first moments together privately through a first look. This can add three hours to their wedding day, meaning they get to spend that time together! When you do a first look you actually get to spend your wedding day with your future spouse. If a couple chooses not to do a first look (which is their right!) then they don’t get to spend any time together until after the ceremony, after family photos, and after all the bride and groom, plus full wedding party photos. Then it’s off to the reception when everyone else wants to talk to them and congratulate them. So reason number one: More time together.

Reason number two

Doing a first look allows me to shoot beautiful portraits before the ceremony of the bride and groom, the full wedding party, and family formals if the couple chooses. This helps create a stress-free timeline, and around 40% more portraits because we have more time to take the photos. I can personally say that our first look on our wedding day changed EVERYTHING for my husband and I! It was amazing! We loved getting to spend that time together, and get most of our must have photos done before the ceremony.

And, if a couple chooses to do family photos before the ceremony, it also means they can get to their reception that much sooner! If we don’t do a first look, I will need roughly 90 minutes to get all the family photos, bride and groom, and full wedding party photos done before the couple gets to the reception. We have quite a few couples choose to have all the photos done before the ceremony! After the ceremony we will do a few “just married” photos, and then I will steal the couple for five to ten minutes at sunset to get some golden hour photos.


I don’t say this to try to persuade you, I just always educate my couples about the benefits of having one on their wedding day. It’s completely fine to opt-out of a first look, but I just wanted to make you aware that if I have less time, you will have less portraits and images of the day.


Preston: “Before the wedding I never put any thought into first looks and always assumed it was just something the photographer staged. I thought the first look was one of my favorite moments of the wedding day because with all the excitement and nerves happening, that was the first moment I got to lay eyes on my beautiful bride and I also think it was the only five minutes we had with each other the whole day. My favorite part of our first look was the rush of emotions and the loss of words that I had the moment I turned and saw my future. And as I said before with all the people and the schedule of the day, that was the only time we had to ourselves which, looking back, made it that much more special.”

Crispin: “Before the wedding I was a big fan of the first look because it would allow us to get straight to the party after the wedding. It was a very special and intimate moment. With all the mayhem of getting ready with our respective groups and hustling to the church, it allowed us to stop and refocus our attention on one another before the ceremony. When I first saw Emma I could tell she was so excited. She looked gorgeous and she couldn’t wait to show me. That’s why my face lit up the way it did in the photos. I couldn’t wait to marry her.”

Want to get in touch?

I would love to be a part of your beautiful wedding day!! If you’d like to book your session or wedding, you can contact me at kelsey(at)kelseyalumbaugh(dot)com. Check out my Instagram @kelseyalumbaugh ! And like me on Facebook to see the latest blog posts. 🙂 If you’re curious about the investment, you can check that info out here, but please feel free to reach out so we can better address your photography needs.




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I believe in light and dance floors and romance, and a little extra magic. 


EST.         2015