You are currently viewing First look at wedding, from the lens of a South Florida photographer.
This first look took place in the Ocean View terrace at the Marriott Harbor Beach.

First look at wedding, from the lens of a South Florida photographer.

Sharing is caring!

Working as a South Florida wedding photographer, I find the first look at wedding always makes for awesome pictures.

Writing note, I’m well aware that first look at wedding doesn’t read well.  However based on my wedding website research I have found the this set of words is very popular on-line, so let’s just go with it.  

Wow, One simple word but what makes it special is the meaning behind it. There will only be one time when the groom and bride will see each other all dressed up in their wedding attire for the first time. The way the groom lights up when he sees his future wife in her wedding dress will be unforgettable. The smile the bride wears knowing that in a few minutes the man of her dreams will officially be her husband will be timeless. Its an intimate private time for the couple by themselves before going out to celebrate their love in front of all their family and friends.

Photo of a grooms face during the first look.
This first look took place at the Hillsboro Club in Fort Lauderdale. The groom stood with his back to the bride, then he turned around and saw her for the first time. By doing their first look in private this couple was able to share this intimate moment in private. If you are planning a wedding in Broward County I urge you to make a visit to the Hillsboro Club. The Hillsboro club has a beautiful large lobby area which is perfect for the first look. In addition to a large lobby this South Florida venue offers a beautiful beach and a deck which is perfect for a wedding ceremony. At the end of the Hillsboro Club is a unique lighthouse which makes a great background for those romantic wedding pictures.
A very excited groom during the first look.
First Look photo taken during an Ocean Reef Club wedding in South Florida. One of my favorite places to photography weddings is the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. I have a ton of beautiful pictures from this Florida Keys venue. This wedding venue has so many awesome places to make wedding pictures. The views at the Ocean Reef Club range from Ocean Views to Beach Views, as well as great golf course views. This first look photo took place at the venues reception halls outdoor deck. Weddings at the Ocean Reef Club are laid back yet classy.


Here are some more links to wedding pictures I have taken at The Ocean Reef Club.

Bride and Groom share a special Ocean Reef Club moment

Ocean Reef Club black and white infrared photo.

Ocean Reef Club golf course wedding picture

Did you know we also offer videography?  Below is a link to a wedding video we shot at the Ocean Reef Club.

Wedding highlight video from there Ocean Reef Club

A first look at wedding is a moment usually arranged by the couples wedding photographer wherein he is staging the first time the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony.

Wedding picture taken at the Hillsboro Club in Broward County
First Look photo taken during a wedding in Florida.

Your weddng photographer should be an expert at arranging the perfect first look location that is not only beautiful but also private. Most of the time, the wedding couple wants the first look moment to happen in a secluded location away from distractions and other people. However, this is not always the case. I have also set up the first look in locations where parents and the bridal party can watch as well. Its very important for your photographer to check with the bride and groom to make sure its ok for others to watch.

This first look at wedding was taken just out side a wedding ballroom.
First Look photo taken during a wedding in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you are interested in getting married in Broward County then consider visiting Fort Lauderdale Beach. This first look photo of the grooms face seeing his bride for the first time was taken at the Westin on Fort Lauderdale beach. Even though this venue is located directly across the street from the beach, this could wanted their special moment to be private.  The hallway just outside the ballrooms provided a nice background for this action photo.  If you are looking for a beautiful ocean view hotel in Broward County here is the hotel’s website.  The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Once the bride and groom have been brought to the first look location and the groom knows the bride is ready and waiting, he can tell the groom to turn and see the bride. Its also at this moment that your photographer should turn off the need to jump in and pose the bridal couple. The few seconds when the groom actually sees his bride is the same time when your photographer should back off and photograph this moment as a wedding photojournalist . This means no interference and no posing. Your wedding photographer should let the moment happen and simply capture whatever happens. Too often the photographer is too quick to jump in and and pose the couple. Interfering during this time is a huge mistake because it disrupts an intimate moment between the bride and groom and eliminates the opportunity for the photographer to capture the true emotion of the first look

Bride with her hand on the grooms face, taken just after the first look.
This first look took place in Miami at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne. The Ritz on Key Biscayne is one of the mist beautiful beach side wedding venues. The grounds around this five star resort are perfectly manicured and the inside if the hotel is noting short of stunning. If you are planning a large wedding with 400 guests or an elopement for 2 you can count on getting great scenic places to take pictures at this venue. This side view of the bride touching the grooms face shows both expressions. Whenever I orchestrate the first look I try to start out shooting the grooms face first. This is because the bride is the one who usually has the fancier outfit. Seeing a bride in her wedding gown gets a more emotional reaction from the groom most of the time. The second I know I have captured the groom facial reaction I move two this side shot showing both faces. If the couple decided to have 2 photographer coverage of the wedding day I’ll place one photographer in the side shot position. Working as a wedding photographer in South Florida I always taken the position of the sun into account when deciding where to stage the first look. The part of the hotel were this first look happened is always covered by shade which is cast from the west setting sun.


As a South Florida wedding photographer I love it when the groom uses his hands to express the emotions of the first look.
First Look photo taken during a wedding in Florida.

While a first look is not a requirement for the weddings we photograph, we highly recommend it to couples as there are many advantages in doing a first look.

The grooms expression during the first look is amazing.
First Look photo taken during a wedding in Florida.
Emotional first look between bride and her father.
First Look photo of bride and her father taken during a wedding in Boca Raton, Florida. Usually when a wedding photographer talks about the First Look people envision the first look between the bride and groom. I have found the the first look between the bride and her dad is often more emotional than that of the groom. After all the brides father has seen his little girl grow up for a tiny baby girl to a woman ready to be married. There is so much more that is going inside the fathers head, his daughter is changing her last name, She is starting her life with another man, I find that it’s more emotional for the brides father than the groom. It’s also more emotional for the bride as well. The first look signifies that the bride is leaving her family to start a new life. The last first look I shot between the bride and her father was so emotional for both of them, that the bride had to re-visit the make-up artist after seeing her father.

The wedding day is huge big event for every couple. It is quite normal that they will feel a bit jittery. The first look can help to ease the wedding day jitters of the couple. Some brides are uneasy about the groom seeing her in front of all the guests. A first look will give the couple time to savor this moment privately. This a special moment between the couple that they dont want anyone else see

This photo shows a sequence of all the emotions during a first look.
First Look at wedding photo taken during a wedding in Palm Beach
Groom using his hands to express emotions during the first look.
Grooms using hands to express emotional moments always makes for the best first look pictures.
This sequence of photos shows the full range of emotions at a first look.
This first look happened at The Breaker in Palm Beach Florida.

In addition to executing a first look between the bride and groom, your photographer can also organize a first look between the bride and her father. The moment when a brides father sees his daughter in a wedding dress for the first time is very emotional. This special moment should be photographed in such a way as to capture the feeling of both the bride and her father.

(Below) – The bride walking down the stairs toward the groom is a dramatic way of revealing the bride to the groom

Having the groom watch his bride walk down a staircase is always a great way to do a first look.

A couple can also personalize their first look. Aside from capturing the priceless moment of the groom seeing the bride for the first time, the photographer can also capture some fun and creative photos such as the couple holding hands while hiding behind a wall or door as if drumming up the excitement more. Another good idea is to capture the brides face as she stands behind the groom or her shooting the groom from behind before the groom faces her bride for the first time. Some couples exchange gifts or read their letters to each other. The possibilities for getting creative photos are endless.

(Below) – This phone booth provided a fun way for the bride and groom the share the first look.

Having fun and being creative during a First look at wedding always results in great pictures.

A first look at wedding gives the families an opportunity to have their portraits taken before the ceremony. Getting the family portraits earlier in the day will make the timeline of your wedding day more streamlined and as soon as the wedding ceremony concludes, everyone can go and enjoy the cocktail hour without having to worry about taking any more formal photos. Doing a first look will alleviate any rushing before getting all the bride, groom and family pictures done. Also, if your ceremony is at late afternoon, doing a first look will also allow photos to be taken while there is still natural light which is a great advantage as well.

(Below) – The grandmother seeing the bride for the first time.

The gist look between the bride and her grandmother.
Working as a South Florida wedding photographer means that you alway need to be ready to capture a emotional photo-journalistic shot. I alway make it a point to have a camera ready to fire the second I enter a wedding venue. This shot took place while walking the bride over to see the groom for the first time. We were at the Eau Palm Beach waling does the hallway when the brides grandmother was wheeled around the corner. I think the grandmother’s hands on her head tells the viewer all you need to know.

What if you dont want a first look? We assure couples that not doing a first look is ok and we will work with the couple to organize an advantageous timeline according to their wishes. We always discuss the benefits of doing a first look, but are happy to arrange the day whatever way the couple prefers.

Groom with his mouth dropped at his wedding first look.
This photo first look happened at one of my favorite wedding venues in Key Largo. The Ocean Reef Club is nothing short of amazing. The bride and groom wanted their first look to be completely private so they rented a home on the resort. This is actually one of first weddings I shot at Ocean Reef. Since this wedding I have shot many weddings are this great Key Largo wedding venues.


If there is no first look, then coverage usually begins with photographing the bride and her bridal party along with her family. The groom is somewhere else so that he doesn’t see the bride. Afterwards, the bride will have time to relax while we will photograph the groom and his groomsmen and his family.

(Below) – Before the groom actually saw his bride we had her do a little posing from behind frosted glass.

This bride did a few pre-first look posed before the groom saw her.
I think this is one time when I had the most fun photographing a first look. Taken at the Harbor Beach Marriott, the bridal suite had these double frosted glass sliding doors. Before the bride and groom saw each other I had the bride model some unique poses for the groom from behind the frosted glass. The groom was crying by the time the bride slid the glass door open.

After the wedding the ceremony, the couple, the bridal party and family members will do the group photos during the cocktail hour. Its much easier to get away with not doing a first look if there is a good amount of time between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception. For example, if the ceremony is over at 2PM but the reception doesnt start until 5PM, you will have enough time to finish all the group shots. This is often the case with a church wedding, but not necessarily if the wedding is at a hotel or other similar venue.

(Below) – This album page is dedicated to the first look between father and daughter.

The brides father really enjoyed this first look during a wedding in Florida.

We hope this article has been somewhat helpful.  Their are many benefits of doing a first look at wedding. I understand that every couple is unique. My ultimate goal is always to produce the best possible photos.   No matter how they would like to arrange their wedding day I’m always going to give my best advise and be as helpful as possible.   I have years of expertise working with all kinds of schedules and requests, so couples should always feel free to have a discussion with me about exactly how you’d like your wedding day coverage to unfold.