After a few months off (new baby break!), we had our first wedding of 2014 a few weeks ago. Since then I have been talking to more Brides about wedding day photography, and I have noticed a reoccuring trend. It seems everyone wants to know – How can we make the First Look unique? 

With so many Brides saying they want to try something different than the traditional tap on the shoulder approach, its got me thinking…

When we first speak to our couples, we’ll typically go through a run down of their timeline. We’ll review things like start times of their ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. We’ll find out when and where they are getting ready. And, of course, we’ll talk about photo shoots – including if there will be a First Look. (For those who aren’t familiar with a “First Look,” it is a couple photo shoot before your wedding ceremony.)

The benefits of a First Look include:

  • Its intimate. Its special time just for the both of you.
  • You’ve just gotten ready. Hair and makeup is fresh and you look amazing.
  • Doing your couple photo shoot in the morning allows for more time with guests during the day.

The catch…  you’ve got to plan for it…

You’re going to want to think about how you and your fiance want to first see each other.  Here are a few tips to help you plan your own unique approach to the first look.

Here are 5 ways to approach the First Look…


The Classic First Look – Tap on the Shoulder or Turned Backs

Try approaching your fiance while he has his back turned to you, then tapping him on the shoulder so that he turns around. This creates a layer of suspense that will look great in photos, and gives you a few seconds before your fiance sees you for the first time. Alternatively, try turning your backs to each other and then turning around at the same time. You can count down to the moment!

The Glamourous First Look – Behind a Door

If you have access to a beautiful bridal suite or a pretty door, standing behind a door as you await your first look can create a romantic, mysterious feel. When you’re ready to see your fiance, either walk out of the door or have him knock to open the door.

The Romeo and Juliet First Look – Standing on a Balcony

If your venue has a beautiful staircase or balcony, try approaching your fiance from above. Stand on a balcony and look down at him, or walk down a flight of stairs. This gives your fiance a few moments to get more excited as he sees you get closer and closer. (It also will help you create beautiful panorama shots.)

The Surprise First Look – The Unplanned Planned Moment

If you want first look photos that are totally candid, why not plan a surprise first look?  Of course, your fiance needs to approve of the first look in advance; otherwise he might feel like you’re breaking tradition. If he’s up for it, you can surprise him at any moment in the morning. One idea would be to surprise him as he is getting ready (just make sure the groomsmen have cleared out)!  He’ll be so surprised when he sees you walk through the door!

Approaching One Another

Your fiance doesn’t have to stand still and wait for you. Why not walk toward each other at the same time? This option works well if you have access to a field or large courtyard. The images of you and your fiance moving toward one another will capture such a romantic moment!


No matter which option you choose, remember to think about your fiance as you approach him. A first look photo is designed to capture emotion. This is a magic moment and one you will never forget. So ignore the photographers and the videographers and focus on the fact that today is the day you marry the love of your life.

If you have any ideas on what you would want your first look to be like, or if you have any other unique ideas for how to make a first look different, please share your thoughts with us in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!