Pinterest – An Asset or a Curse / Part 3 of 4

July 17, 2014


Jed Smith

If you are just joining us, this is part 3 of 4 in a series I am writing on Pinterest! I would encourage you to go back and read articles 1 and 2: HERE before reading the following article as I will be referring back to the previous articles in the series. We've talked about whether or not Pinterest is a curse or an asset for us as photographers and how to use it as an asset in how we communicate with our brides and manage their expectations in regards to getting ready photos and couples shots. Today we are going to talk about ‘First Looks'.


joe elario photography

Photo By Joe Elario Photography

Brie Marie Photography_7711

Photo By Brie Marie Photographers

Every bride whose wedding I have photographed has made a point of requesting above all else that I get a picture of her groom when he sees her for the first time on their wedding day. It is one of the most precious parts of the entire day, and every Bride wants to remember the way her man looked at her in her wedding dress for the first time- captured in a photograph that she can treasure until her dying breath. [pullquote]It is an irreplaceable, unexplainable, once in a life time moment and an expression that is gone in a few seconds. [/pullquote] It is one of the moments throughout a wedding day that I am the most careful and prepared to capture.

Many times this request from my Brides is attached to a very similar or sometimes even the exact picture as the above photo by Joe Elario Photography, which is one of the most popular ‘First Look' images on Pinterest. As photographers we know that we have no control over where the groom stands during the ceremony. Often times the lighting at wedding ceremonies is difficult at best. The groom could have half his face in solid shade and the other half blown out by direct sun exposure. The ceremony could take place in a poorly lit church that won't allow any sort of flash or speedlite during the ceremony. The groom could be standing underneath a tree with blotchy harsh sun spots on his face making it difficult to capture any sort of expression at all. There really are a hundred different scenarios and then some. No two weddings are alike.

If you've been following this series and read my previous posts on this subject you probably know what I am going to say, but I am going to say it again anyways. When you're client shows you a photo from Pinterest like the above image, use the opportunity to COMMUNICATE with them. Explain what a First Look is and the differences that come with a first look which is a relatively controlled environment (meaning you have control over where they stand, the kind of light you want to shoot in, how close they are to each other when he sees her etc etc etc) vs. an uncontrolled environment, where the groom stands at the alter wherever the coordinator has told him to stand and the bride walks towards him from any number of distances depending on the venue. Will you be able to get a picture of the groom at the end of the aisle when he sees his bride for the first time? Absolutely. Will it be like all of the first look photos the Bride fell in love with on Pinterest? Most likely not.

I know that everyone's business models look different. Some photographers require their couples to do a first look because they believe they can better serve their clients by requiring that extra bit of time with the couple in order to get more or better quality couples photos. This works for some people, however it is not the business model for Brie Marie Photographers. We have come to the conclusion that the best way we can serve our clients is communicating with them, giving them as much info as we can and letting them make the decision that is best for them based on that info. It is very important to some couples that the first time the groom sees his bride is when she is walking down the aisle on her Dad's arm towards him. It's tradition and it is a precious moment that cannot be replaced, not even by a first look. I personally don't feel comfortable trying to talk my clients out of something that is important to them.

I explain to my clients that:

  1. There is always a first look. It is either a private, intimate first look with just the bride, groom and a couple of photographers there to capture it or it is the traditional first look when the groom sees his bride for the first time walking down the aisle towards him to become his wife. Both are incredible moments.
  2. The groom's reaction could be different depending on if he is up in front of potentially hundreds of people or if it is just he and his bride.
  3. The difference between a controlled environment where the photographer sets up the first look based on where the lighting and scenery is best vs. an uncontrolled environment where everything depends on the set up of the venue, time of day, where the coordinator tells you to stand etc.

Once I have communicated all of this to my clients I ultimately let them make the decision based on what is most important to them. It's just another way to use Pinterest to have open and honest communication with our clients to help them make an informed decision.

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