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THE FIRST LOOK - doing it right

Philip Anema

You’ve seen First Looks done poorly and absolutely wrong many times. You know the shot - where the groom has his back to the bride and he turns around as she taps him on the shoulder. It’s as forced as can be and the camera picks up on it. Captured for Facebook friends worldwide, this ultra contrived and inorganic moment is entirely avoidable.

Almost all of the brides to-be and former brides I speak with know this moment too well, citing reality TV and viral Internet garbage as what not to do. And I get it. Trust me, we are on the same page here. No bride wants their wedding photos to look cheesy, forced or worse, both. And when not done right, the familiar First Look is the epitome of forced cheese.

Lately, as a result and prevalence of that infamous pose, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a stigma against First Looks all together.

But how about leaving it up to the photographer to create a First Look that actually works? Here are just a few scenarios built on that natural and effortless feel:

- The groom enters the bridal suite while the bride stands in the center of the room. This is the simplest scenario from a logistics stand point, as we already have the desired location at our disposal. It also tends to be the most natural and down-to-earth moment, too.

-The bride comes down stairs or a long hallway as the groom waits for her. This shot is all about glamour and build-up. We can take advantage of a grand staircase or capacious room for added drama, too.

- The groom stands with his back against a wall or obstacle as the bride comes around the corner so we see the bride and groom from the front. This is ideal for when only one photographer is present.

Shot by Shawn Connell, these First Looks organically showcase the happy couple while maintaining the build-up and raw emotion on the first day of the rest of their lives.

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