Sometimes it seems as if wedding photography is an unevolving art, with most couples ending up with pretty much the same collection of “classic poses.” With a bit of research and some conversations with some rising stars in the world of wedding photography, one quickly realizes that this is simply untrue!
Fresh ideas are constantly generated in this artistic business, and brides and grooms owe it to themselves to hire photographers who will think outside of the box when creating the collection of images from this emotional day. I spoke with one such enthusiastic portrait and wedding photographer, Stephanie Messick (from the Northern Virginia area) about a new trend that she absolutely LOVES: first look wedding photographs.
“One of my very first weddings I have ever done had a first look photograph, and it seriously gave me CHILLS! I could not help but to be in awe over the situation, and I now advise all of my brides to possibly consider this fresh idea for their wedding day!” stated Stephanie.
So, what exactly IS a first look photograph?
“The groom will stand facing in the opposite direction from which the bride is coming. The bride will walk at her own pace across the field … beach … room … porch … whatever location it takes place … and when she approaches him, she taps him on the shoulder to give him a sign to turn around. And that is when emotions are at the highest, which makes for absolutely wonderful moments to capture! Now, every bride and groom react differently to their first looks. There are those who cannot help but cry (both bride and groom), and those who are just full of excitement and cannot help but to smile and laugh! The personality of the bride and groom SHINE in these portraits! I think it is so cute when you can tell that the groom is nervous, so it is always fun to capture that as his bride is on her way,” explained Stephanie.
There are a few things to consider when exploring this idea.
“I think one of the most important things about this moment is that it stays secluded! I believe to capture the most genuine moments of this first look, it should just be the bride and groom and obviously the photographer to capture the moments,” stated Stephanie.
“Since the first look happens before the ceremony, we are able to budget the time and plan beforehand on a meeting time to take portraits after the first look. Honestly, this is probably the BEST time to do portraits because the couple is not stressed for time (as they are traditionally when portraits are taken between the ceremony and the reception). At the weddings I have done where we have to squeeze in the portraits between the ceremony/reception, we are pressured to about 10 minutes of photographing! Whew! That FLIES by so fast! So doing a first look and having that great amount of set time with no pressure from guests and family will expand a couple’s wedding photography DRASTICALLY! Seriously, couples will end up with SO many more awesome portraits of just the two of them because they are more relaxed in front of the camera and have more time for MORE photos! Couples may as well get more for what they pay for right?” Stephanie continued.
So what about the traditionalists who believe the groom should NOT see the bride before the ceremony?
“Now, if the couple is dead set on honoring this tradition … there are ways to work around it and do something cute and sweet without seeing each other. I have seen a bride and groom meet at a door and hold hands at the edge, but they could not see each other. One of my best friends, Charity and her now husband Chris, did this actually. Another idea is to meet at a corner (possibly of the church building) and hold hands at the corner. One last idea I have seen is to blindfold the groom and have the bride see him and give him a little tease before walking down the aisle. All of these ideas are very cute and sweet, as they capture the couple getting together for one last moment before the ceremony. Some couples even take this time to pray together,” explained Stephanie.
Stephanie is located in the Northern Virginia area, but travels extensively to capture amazing wedding moments through her photography.
To contact her regarding your wedding or portrait photography:
Phone: (540) 272-3807
Here are a few examples from a first look photo session that Stephanie did for fabulous couple, Lauren and Ryan!