Is a first look right for you?

I work really hard to provide my couples with as many resources and education as I possibly can when it comes to planning your wedding day. Hopefully you only do this wedding thing once, and so it’s nice to make sure you have it exactly the way you want it to be! I wanted to share a little more information on a first look to help you further decide if having one is right for you! Some people don’t do a first look and that is TOTALLY fine!

What is a first look?

It’s a time for you and your partner to see each other for the first time before the ceremony. The key here is that the first look is ONLY you, your partner, photographer and videographer! It’s such a sweet time to have together to really take it all in! It’s truly one of the only times of the day that you’ll have entirely alone, and that is so important to have on the day you start your married life together! If you want to know more about a first look, here are a couple of other blog posts I’ve written over the years about it that go into more detail!

>> What is a first look? <<

>> How to have a great first look! <<

Emily and Nick were married at Stone Mountain Arts Center. Click here to see more wedding images by Linda Barry Photography.

Why photographers love it!

I know a lot of photographers love it for two reasons: because it helps you get that time with your partner ALONE and away from the chaos of the day; it really helps out with the timeline. If you have a first look, you’re able to get the portraits of the two of you alone, the wedding party and your family formals done BEFORE the ceremony! Even if you don’t get through it all beforehand, it really helps cut down on the amount of photos taken after the ceremony! Then you’re free to join the cocktail hour! My couples get a little mini guide all about a first look that really dives DEEP into the “why” behind the first look!

Meaghan and Brad's first look at their home!

What my brides have thought about it!

Here are some “testimonials” from some of my past brides who have done a first look and what their feelings about doing it are! Side note, I was digging deep in the archives for these photos! So fun to look back at these sweet weddings I did in Maine and Massachusetts!

Jane: “While our initial reason for wanting to do a first look was purely logistical (we wanted to take our family pictures before the ceremony so we could all spend more time enjoying the reception), the moment ended up being incredibly romantic and magical. It felt so special to share some of the final moments before our wedding alone together—and to have those moments captured for us. It’s not often in our lives that we have some of our most emotional moments documented! Being warmed by the August sun as we shared or final thoughts and feelings before officially becoming a family is a moment I will never forget.

Also—on the logistical side—it did work out beautifully! After the first look, the pressure was off for me to hide away before walking down the aisle—I actually got to mingle and enjoy the beginning of our wedding with everyone! I loved taking our family pictures as guests started arriving—it was absolutely joyful to take quick breaks from pictures to run over and hug loved ones as they arrived at our venue. It was just the kind of happy, love-filled experience that I was hoping for.”

Jane and Noah's first look in Round Top Barn!

Erica: “One of the first decisions I made when it came to photos for our wedding was to have a “first look”. I felt as though it would help my nerves and set the tone for our wedding. I couldn’t have been more grateful for the decision I made. Leading up to the first look I became increasingly anxious. Once I saw my husband that all melted away. We were able to share some special moments between just the two of us before saying our vows in front of everyone. We were able to have time just focused on us and the pictures I wanted with Linda and her second shooter. These are probably my favorite photos. I believe the lightheartedness of this time together set the tone for our ceremony. We were in such a happy, fun place and most importantly for me, as a person who tends to be extremely nervous- I felt at ease.

I also believe making this decision helped the time immediately after our ceremony flow seamlessly. We were able to focus on family and bridal party photos and get a few more extra ones of just the two of us in because of the time we saved.”

Erica and Tom's first look at York Harbor Inn!

Ivy: “We initially chose a first look for practical reasons – specifically to have more time to take family/wedding party photos before the ceremony, since Matt has a large family and we had a pretty big bridal party! It ended up being the best decision for us, but for a different reason than I initially expected. I was feeling so much anxiety the morning of our wedding, and wasn’t able to fully enjoy the getting ready and pre-ceremony festivities. Once I saw Matt at our first look, I instantly felt more at ease and remembered that the day was really about us and all the details running through my head started to fade away. By the time we walked down the aisle I felt completely comfortable and at easy and just so, so happy! Of course, another added bonus was that post ceremony we had some time to do photos just us two, and were able to join cocktail hour in time to say hi to family and friends!”

Rustic Warren Conference Center Wedding Photos by Linda Barry Photography. Ivy and Matt's first look together!

Ashley: “At first, I was worried that doing a first look would ruin that perfect moment during our ceremony and break traditions, but I am so glad we did it! Our first look gave us a chance to get rid of our pre-wedding jitters and happy tears! It was such an intimate moment for just the two of us to share and really let it sink in that we were getting married! Doing a first look session allowed us to take most of our group photos before the ceremony which not only was a huge time saver but also let us enjoy our cocktail hour with our guests who traveled so far to share our special day.”

Ashley and Nikko's emotional first look at Lake Alamoosook!

Julia: “We chose to do a first look because we wanted to have one special moment together before all of the craziness of our wedding day began. It was also a way for us to shake off the pre-wedding jitters and share in the excitement about what the day brought us. Having a first look gave us one moment to be completely focused on each other with no distractions from what was happening around us. Our entire wedding day was beautiful, but the first look was our favorite moment shared together.”

Well, my friends, I hope that this post can be helpful to you as you start to plan out your wedding day and whether or not you want to do a first look with your partner!

If you’re interested in learning more about how I approach photographing a wedding day, and what I offer, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch within 24 hours! 🙂 

Linda is a Portland-based photographer specializing in weddings and creating family legacies from Portland to Boston and across New England. You can see more of her work online at, on Instagram, or on Facebook. If you want to reach out directly:

Linda is a Portland-based photographer specializing in weddings and creating family legacies from Portland to Boston and across New England. You can see more of her work online at, on Instagram, or on Facebook. If you want to reach out directly:

Is a first look right for me? What it means from a photographer's perspective and what brides think of it as well! Photos by Linda Barry Photography, a Boston based wedding photographer.

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Katie and Nick were married at the Whispering Pines Conference Center in Rhode Island. Click here to see more wedding photos by Linda Barry Photography!

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

I share all things personal, business, tips, and life as a mom and business owner here on the blog!

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