The Pros And Cons Of First Look Photos


Photo via Heidi Lau. As seen in this real wedding.

First look photos are shots captured during a private moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. Because these photos are taken before the wedding ceremony itself, there is ongoing debate as to whether or not this modern practice takes the romance and excitement out of a bride’s walk down the aisle.

While traditional brides will balk at the idea of seeing their betrothed before getting to the altar, many others are seeing the benefits of this popular wedding photo trend.

We wanted to hear more about the pros and cons of first look photos from the people snapping them. Here three top Canadian photographers offer up some advice on the ups and downs of opting for first look photos.


You can experience one of the most romantic moments of your day in private.
“First look photos give you a moment in your crazy day to tell each other how much you love each other in private,” explains Carleigh Babiak from Carleigh Babiak Photography in Manitoba. This alone time will allow you show your true emotions and maybe get some tears out before the ceremony.

“When you see each other for the first time at the altar, you can’t really touch each other or talk to each other,” says Kim Payant from Kim Payant Photography in Alberta. “My husband got emotional during the first look because no one was watching, I’m sure if we saw each other the traditional way, we wouldn’t have gotten as emotional.” she adds.

You won’t miss cocktail hour.
Scheduling first look photos before your ceremony saves valuable time that you can spend actually enjoying the party you spent so long planning. Schedule your family and wedding party shots directly after your first look photos before the ceremony and then you’ll be able to proceed to cocktail hour with the rest of your guests!

Your photographer will be able to capture more raw emotion.
“At the church it’s not always easy to capture these shots because there’s lots of people around and the couples are usually not as emotional,” says Payant. “I usually do the first look right before the ceremony somewhere quiet and private.”


It’s bad luck to see each other before the ceremony.
The idea that it’s bad luck to see your betrothed before you get to the altar originated when marriages were more commonly arranged and the bride and groom would be kept apart just in case one didn’t like how the other looked.

“Happily, in five years of shooting wedding photos, I’ve never seen a modern couple call it off at the last minute due to surprise hideousness!” jokes New Brunswick-based wedding photographer Kandise Brown.

“Ultimately when it comes down to whether or not to see each other beforehand, I always tell my couples to go with their hearts,” says Brown. There’s no need to cause yourself undo stress on a day when emotions are already running high.

It may take away from the excitement of walking down the aisle.
“When couples are considering not doing a first look, it’s for one of two reasons: either they’ve heard it’s bad luck, or they don’t want to ruin the excitement of the walking-down-the-aisle moment,” says Brown.

This is a non-traditional wedding practice.
If you’re a traditional girl who wants to tie the knot the same way your mother and grandmother did, then this modern wedding photography trend is probably not for you. Older generations also may not understand the allure of this type of photo session and if they’re helping to foot the photography bill, their opinions might come into play.

No matter what you decide to do, the moment you and your partner see each other for the first time will undoubtedly be an unforgettable moment so choose what’s right for you and enjoy your big day!