Consider a first look on your wedding day

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In May I photographed Ashleigh and David’s wedding at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College. Ashleigh and David are both graduates of CC and wanted to get married where they began their courtship.

Ashleigh and David also wanted to have fun on their wedding day and were not opposed to seeing each other before their ceremony. Not everyone thinks having a “first look” on your wedding day is the way to go, but I always defer to the couple to decide whether to see each other before the ceremony.

There are a couple of advantages to doing it this way, and some strong arguments for getting most of your pictures done before the day begins in earnest.

I want to start by sharing with you here what a great first look looks like:) Ashleigh and David decided to meet each other at the labyrinth just outside the chapel. I love the excitement and passion they shared with each other in these first few moments.
Ashleigh approaches David during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ashleigh approaches David during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College.

David sees Ashleigh for the first time during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • David sees Ashleigh for the first time during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College.

Ashleigh and David kiss during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ashleigh and David kiss during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College.

Ashleigh and David embrace during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ashleigh and David embrace during their first look at Shove Chapel on the campus of Colorado College.

Now, on to the other good reasons — besides great, emotional pictures — for doing a first look.

Don’t Keep Your Guests Waiting


During my meeting with a wedding couple, they often share horror stories about photographers at other weddings they’ve attended. The story I hear the most is the 'waiting on the photographer' story. It goes something like this: “We waited an hour for the couple to arrive at their reception because the photographer took so long.” Another version of it goes like this: “I was in the wedding party and we spent so long taking pictures that we were late to the reception.” The photographer always takes the blame here. But actually, it’s the couple that made the choice to have photos taken at these times, and the consequences were that everyone ran late.

Keep Things Relaxed and Fun

I love doing portraits of the couple before their wedding ceremony because it’s more fun. When I’m pressed for time afterwards, I end up ordering rather than suggesting. To illustrate, here’s a fun photograph of Ashleigh and David. This only happened because we had the time to do it. Consider that if you make the investment in professional photography, the odds are very good that your pictures will be better if you give yourself the time to have some fun.

Ashleigh and David having fun together before their wedding ceremony. Because of time considerations, this photograph would not have happened if they had waited to do pictures after the wedding ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ashleigh and David having fun together before their wedding ceremony. Because of time considerations, this photograph would not have happened if they had waited to do pictures after the wedding ceremony.

Make A Grand Exit

Because Ashleigh and David saw each other before their ceremony they were able to make an exit in a getaway car to their reception. Consider the pictures that don’t happen because you’re taking time away from something else to do your family photographs.

Ashleigh and David make an exit to their wedding reception at The Warehouse. Making a grand exit from the chapel is difficult if you spend your time taking family pictures after the ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Ashleigh and David make an exit to their wedding reception at The Warehouse. Making a grand exit from the chapel is difficult if you spend your time taking family pictures after the ceremony.

I hope these tips help you avoid the bad photography experiences I hear so much about and that you get to enjoy your wedding day that much more!

Colorado Springs-based wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. See his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the pages of the Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image — no more than two a week, please — to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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