4 Steps to Taking the Perfect "First Look" Photo

Learn how to make sure you capture the memory of a lifetime.

4 Steps to Taking the Perfect "First Look" Photo

Photo: Carasco Photography

how to take the perfect "first look" wedding photo

Having a “first look” before the ceremony is such a big trend that it’s barely even considered nontraditional anymore. Sure, there are still couples who embrace the custom of not seeing each other until they walk down the aisle, but most people will not bat an eye if you tell them you and your future spouse will take pictures together before exchanging your vows.

The benefits of a “first look” are numerous and well known: It can calm the nerves to see your beloved, you’ll have more time to enjoy cocktail hour, and your hair and makeup will be fresh. However, because the “first look” is so popular, it is important to make sure that these photos come out perfectly. Capturing the moment you and the love of your life first see each other on your wedding day will be a treasured memory – not to mention that the pictures taken soon after will likely serve as your official portraits from the celebration.

Here are four tips on how to make sure the photos are picture-perfect:

1. Find a picturesque location. “A beautiful garden can be a wonderful option for the ‘first look,’” suggests Cara Nava of Carasco Photography. Work with your photographer to find the best spot near your venue.

2. Get the timing right. You don’t want to be squinting or overexposed because of harsh lighting. If the start time of your ceremony means golden hour is impossible, indoors might be your best bet.

3. Allow plenty of room in your schedule. You don’t want to rush through such a special moment. Not only could that mean you end up with less than satisfactory photos, but this is also a sentimental moment between you and your sweetheart and it’s important to take the time to let everything sink in.

4. Bring a touch-up kit. Even though you’ll likely have just finished getting your hair and makeup done, you never know what could happen. You’ll feel better if you have the ability to fix smudges or pin back flyaway hairs. 

Read more of Cara Nava's photography tips here and see 12 of our favorite "first look" photos from real weddings

Opening photo by Carasco Photography