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I'm Emily. Welcome to the blog!

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I'm an Austin, Texas Wedding and Senior Portrait Photographer! I hope you grab a glass of something yummy, settle in and stay awhile! Here you'll find inspiration for stunning Weddings and gorgeous Senior Portrait Sessions, but also touches of me and my life as a wife, photographer, Doodle owner, and believer! 

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Should You Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day? | Austin Wedding Photographer

First and foremost, every couple is different. So of course, every wedding day will be different! The one question each couple has to answer is, “Should I do a First Look on my wedding day?” And it’s true: First Looks won’t be right for everyone. But after years of shooting weddings for all different kinds of couples, I can confidently say that I believe it is a great decision for most couple for ONE BIG REASON alone. 

Here’s the deal. I don’t have the experience of a first look personally. Kenton and I opted to go the traditional route where his first moment seeing me was when I appeared at the top of the aisle holding my dad’s arm, all smiles. It was super special and very dreamy! However, after being married for almost six years and watching countless couples walk through the First Look debate themselves, I look back at our wedding day and think the one thing I’d loved to have added is a First Look because of the value they add to your marriage.

This is the one BIG reason I believe in First Looks. They enable you and your future spouse to together set an intention for your marriage on your wedding day. No other tradition does that. I can say with confidence that a First Look would have added very significant marital value to our wedding day. We would have been able to look into each other’s eyes and, for no one else but us, with no one else but us, have our own private ceremony expressing our commitment to one another. There’s just no other time on a wedding day where that kind of significant moment can occur. Lots of couples opt for passing notes to each other or saying a prayer around a corner, and I’m always super happy to photograph those alternatives! They’re special and beautiful in their own way. But I believe that a First Look holds value–value that is poured into your marriage–that no other alternative can attain. And since I love marriage and find it to be the most precious thing I possess, I want to take every opportunity to feed it with things that will make it lasting and healthy. I personally believe a First Look does that!

So a second ago I said something and I want to go back to it. I said that I’d have loved a first look for my own wedding day “to look into each other’s eyes and, for no one else but us, with no one else but us have our own private ceremony.” Here’s the deal: I’ve never had a couple opt for a First Look who didn’t want me around to respectfully document that once in a lifetime moment. And you better believe that I’m alllll about being there to capture that for my couples. However, if I had a couple to told me they wanted a First Look with absolutely no one around but them two, you also better believe I’d be the one guarding the door to the room they’re in!!! This First Look is a beautiful stepping stone into your marriage, so I’m excited and willing to do whatever my part may be to help make it as meaningful as I can. If that means keeping spectators at bay, I’m your bulldog. If that means taking photos for you to look back on, I’ll be crying behind my camera with you! 

So, in summary, as a normal person who had a wedding and is married, that’s my one BIG reason why I recommend First Looks. Wedding days are for marriage. I think First Looks help set you up for marriage. However, I’m also a wedding professional. If I’m to put on my “wedding professional” hat I see a lot of logistical benefits to First Looks that enhance my couple’s wedding experience and enable me to serve my couples even better. So, logistically speaking, here are a few LITTLE reasons why First Looks are a great idea:

  • Your Timeline — Because First Looks remove the necessity to keep the Bride and Groom separate before the ceremony, they open up the wedding day timeline significantly so that we can take full advantage of the two finite resources on a wedding day: TIME and LIGHT. With a First Look, I can accomplish ALL Bridal Party photos before the ceremony and give my couples MORE Bridal Party photos than if they don’t opt for a First Look. I can take ALL family portraits immediately after the ceremony, and in some cases, even get some family photos done before the ceremony, too! Additionally, with a First Look, I get FOUR opportunities to take Bride and Groom Portraits of my couples. Once during the First Look, twice after the First Look, three times during cocktail hour, and four times (depending on the ceremony time and sunset time) during golden hour! Do you realize how much variety you’ll have in your photos this way? All these pockets of portrait times basically doubles the amount of Bride and Groom photos you could get back in your final gallery! So for me as a photographer, I see that First Looks, simply speaking in regards to time and light, adds so much value to your wedding day timeline.
  • Rain And Other Uncontrollable Circumstances — Here’s another benefit of First Looks: with all those pockets of time for photos, the chances of successfully navigating complications we can’t control (like, rain) increase dramatically. For instance, let’s say you don’t opt for a First Look and it’s sunny all day until suddenly (because #Texas), it decides to pour after your ceremony. Now we have a huge list of photos to accomplish with only one hour of sunlight left and the ground is muddy and it’s raining. That is a stressful situation and I wish it for no one! On a day like that, if nothing else, a First Look would have guaranteed photos of the Bride and Groom in sunlight. More than likely, all Bridal Party photos and potentially some family photos would have been accomplished as well. So when all that rain comes it’s not a big deal at all! 
  • Cocktail Hour — Couples who opt for a First Look are far more likely to attend come of their cocktail hour than those who don’t. This is because group photos take time. Here’s the deal: once a group photo is organized, it takes me about 10 seconds to get the shots I need. But it can take up to 2 minutes to organize a group photo of just six people! Six! That’s not even your big family/bridal party photos. Inevitably, someone wandered off. Inevitably, a groomsman is at the bar. Inevitably, your niece took her shoes off and it takes a whole minute just for her to FIND her shoes let alone put them on. You see what I’m saying? Variables always happen! And I have all the patience in the world to make sure my couples get the group photos they want with their people on their day. I’m all for it! But it does take time. So the two best ways to save time after the ceremony so you can some of your enjoy cocktail hour are to limit the amount of group photos you select and to opt for a First Look.

So there you have it! That is my one BIG reason and my few LITTLE reasons why I recommend a First Look. But if you’re still mulling it over, here’s what a few of my EBoone Brides have to say about their First Looks!

“Dooooo iiiiiitttttt! Obviously you don’t really chat with your almost-spouse all day so it’s happy to see them before! Such an intimate moment even though people are watching you from afar. But we got to pray over the ceremony, our friends, and families. (Actually, most people discouraged us because it’s not “traditional”). Major plus- all the pics we got out of the way 🙌🏼 So we could spend the most time possible with all our guests! Pretty sure if Emily hadn’t watched the clock we’d have still been sitting there together when guests showed up. 😭” – Amanda

“Our first look was one of my favorite parts of the day. It was so special and intimate getting to see one another and tell each other how beautiful (handsome) the other one looked. Those 15 minutes still make me teary eyed to this day. The nervousness and butterflies and then the calm of getting to say words to each other. I would recommend it to anyone!!” – Katie

“I LOVE our first look pictures! Logistically it’s nice to have pictures before the ceremony (especially after melting in our outdoor ceremony in the TX heat). It also calmed me down a lot to see him before. I think it would’ve been way more nerve wracking for me if we saw each other for the first time in front of everyone else. It was special that we had a moment to ourselves first. Oh, and Emily made it feel super special and fun and easily directed us while also letting us be ourselves, so it wasn’t awkward at all. 😂” – Mary Beth

“Absolutely highly recommend! I was so on edge all day long (getting ready and being on time are not my strong suits) and as soon as a saw him it all went away and I felt calm again. It was so nice to have that moment to ourselves instead of in front of an audience. Yes it takes pressure off your timeline, but it also takes pressure off of YOU! I was so glad I got to see him before our wedding, he’s my best friend and not being able to talk to him or see him on one of the biggest days of my life was super stressful. Seriously the best decision I made that day. Loved being able to have a moment all to ourselves, considering that is what the day is all about!” – Krystal

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