How To Do a "First Look" Shoot at a Wedding (Okay, Not Really)

The tradition of not seeing the bride before the wedding is "passé", and this wedding is no different. Well, it is different. It's a cat wedding. It's a wedding of two felines. Actually, it's a wedding of two stuffed felines: Valery & Tabitha (Valery is the groom). My 5 year old daughter insisted on one and who am I to judge?

 First, start with the groom facing you so that the bride can walk behind them and not let them see each other's faces until you are ready. For fun, get photos of one or the other in focus, and lighting permitting, both of them in focus. The bride was late, so we didn't have time for more than one in focus of the groom shot. I don't generally center my shots unless i've got enough to crop out later, but in this case, there things to the right of the bride I didn't want in the shot.

First, start with the groom facing you so that the bride can walk behind them and not let them see each other's faces until you are ready. For fun, get photos of one or the other in focus, and lighting permitting, both of them in focus. The bride was late, so we didn't have time for more than one in focus of the groom shot. I don't generally center my shots unless i've got enough to crop out later, but in this case, there things to the right of the bride I didn't want in the shot.

 This is where your assistant wedding photographer is helpful, getting a flatter angle on the bride walking up behind the groom. It's ok if you're accidentally in the shot. You can be cropped or Photoshopped out later. Case in point: you don't see my lens, do you.

This is where your assistant wedding photographer is helpful, getting a flatter angle on the bride walking up behind the groom. It's ok if you're accidentally in the shot. You can be cropped or Photoshopped out later. Case in point: you don't see my lens, do you.

 Give a head nod to the bride that it's time to tap her groom on the shoulder. They'll know to turn around because you discussed this with both of them before hand. This is where having your DSLR set to burst shot comes in handy. Sometimes, it's not about posing but rather capturing a moment.

Give a head nod to the bride that it's time to tap her groom on the shoulder. They'll know to turn around because you discussed this with both of them before hand. This is where having your DSLR set to burst shot comes in handy. Sometimes, it's not about posing but rather capturing a moment.

 My assistant snapped this great shot of them seeing each other for the first time. This is a good time to back away and take a few shots without being on top of them. I recommend nothing wider than an 85mm lens unless you mean to include their surroundings. I usually have my assistant use a 50mm lens to capture more scenery.

My assistant snapped this great shot of them seeing each other for the first time. This is a good time to back away and take a few shots without being on top of them. I recommend nothing wider than an 85mm lens unless you mean to include their surroundings. I usually have my assistant use a 50mm lens to capture more scenery.

 It's perfectly ok to take pictures of them smooching, but try not to gawk. Once you're certain you got some good shots of them being intimate, signal your assistant to leave with you. They had a lot of nervousness leading up to this shoot, so let them talk and deflate a little for a few minutes before you whisk them away.

It's perfectly ok to take pictures of them smooching, but try not to gawk. Once you're certain you got some good shots of them being intimate, signal your assistant to leave with you. They had a lot of nervousness leading up to this shoot, so let them talk and deflate a little for a few minutes before you whisk them away.

 Afterwards, take a bunch of posed shots of them together. Outside of group shots, this is the only time you have to work with them. Most of the shots they'll love will to come from this group, so have a plan of where and what you are shooting. A photographer is great winging it when there was no time to prepare, but too much improv can tire them out quickly. Remember: they have a long day ahead of them!

Afterwards, take a bunch of posed shots of them together. Outside of group shots, this is the only time you have to work with them. Most of the shots they'll love will to come from this group, so have a plan of where and what you are shooting. A photographer is great winging it when there was no time to prepare, but too much improv can tire them out quickly. Remember: they have a long day ahead of them!