Boston Wedding Photographer - Pros & Cons of a First Look



Splitting up formal photos. I find that when couples squeeze all their formal portraits (couples portraits, wedding party portraits and family portraits) all during cocktail hour, it can cause them to get a little burnt out of taking photos… understandably so! However, if you opt for a first look, we’ll take your couples portraits, wedding party portraits and family portraits, directly afterward. This allows you to enjoy cocktail hour. Splitting up your formal portraits helps break up the schedule, gives us more time overall, and helps ease any rushed feelings.

Enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. Piggy backing off the first point; since we’ve taken all your formal portraits before the ceremony, you get to spend cocktail hour with your guests! While optional, I suggest taking 20 minutes out of cocktail hour for couples portraits.

A moment just you two. A first look is against tradition, but it gives you the opportunity to take 5-10 minutes just you two before seeing everyone at once. It’s also a great option for couples who are a little shy or nervous, because it takes a little pressure off that big moment of seeing everyone at the ceremony at once. From a photographer’s standpoint, this moment also allows for such emotional and beautiful photographs. We all love first looks.

More time for photo opts. Depending on your timeline, you’ll have to start your day at least 30 mins to an hour earlier, which means you’ll have a longer timeline in the day for more photo opts.

Father/mother first look. If you don’t want to do a first look with your partner, but you like the idea of spending some time with everyone at cocktail hour, consider having a first look with one of your parents. Directly after, you can take some formals giving you more time back in the schedule during cocktail hour!

More natural light. If you’re getting married in the winter, early spring, or late fall when the sun goes down early I highly recommend a first look so there’s enough natural light during formal portraits.


Going the non-traditional route. For many grooms/partners, they have probably thought of and dreamt of the idea of seeing their significant other walk down the aisle for the first time. It’s true that when you walk down the aisle and look at your partner, it won’t really be the first time.

Getting ready earlier. If you want to have a first look and take all your formals directly afterward, you’ll have to start getting ready at least an hour earlier.

Hannah Cochran