A Guide to the First Looks – Pros & Cons


DISCLAIMER: As mentioned on the previous page; I am entirely in favour and supportive of same-sex marriage. Some of the text below might just be for ‘wordings’ sake, and I sincerely apologise if I cause any offence or inconvenience by this. This information is just a guide and completely customisable for any couple of any sex, colour, shape or size. If you are planning a wedding that doesn’t involve both a ‘bride’ and a ‘groom’ and would like to go over some customised plans that don’t fit into the ‘mould’ below, please just get in touch with me, and I’ll do my absolute best to help in any way I can.



Strap yourself in. There’s a lot of information here but if you take the time to look through it all, I promise you when I say that you’re going to have ingested a whole lot of valuable tips about this ever growing popular trend. If you’re looking for a quick answer then the below paragraph is definitely for you.

If your wedding is in Adelaide from October – March, most of the time you don’t need to do a first look. There’s plenty of time (and light!) post-ceremony for couple photos. If your wedding is from April – September, I would strongly consider doing a first look or planning your ceremony early enough in the day to ensure there is enough time (and light!) after your ceremony for couple photos.











The Express Train to Calm Town

If you’re looking for ways to spend more time to do the things you want on your wedding day, like spending time with your guests or even EACH OTHER, then a first look is a really good option for this. The first look is where you see each other before your ceremony and do the bulk of the location/portrait photos here at this time. Typically I find that most people are quite adverse to this idea, mainly because of pre-conditioning, believing this goes against religion or tradition. Remember though, traditions were new ideas at one point. #BREAKTHERULES.

Some positives to having a first look that have nothing to do with photography are –

  1. You get more time together on the day. Time alone too. Major bonus.

  2. You have more time with your guests. Once your ceremony finishes it’s party time because you’ll be straight into Canapés Hour with your besties. Everyone wins here.

  3. If you’re pre-empting you’re going to be nervous before the ceremony and want that to change a first look will help and you’ll be boarding the Express Train to Calm Town. It’s awesome.

  4. You get to keep that first moment seeing each other solely for yourselves and no one else (except me or your photographer of course)

The wedding day will be a huge blur and completely fly by. Laura and I did a first look on our wedding day and it extended the time we had with each other which was something I’m personally so glad we did.

As an Adelaide Wedding Photographer I can tell you when you have a first look it’s an extremely special memory because the emotions are more heightened with things being more private.






It’s best in my opinion to do your first look at the same venue where the ceremony is taking place. If you were having a 5:00pm ceremony, we would do the first look and photos from 3:30 – 4:30pm. This leaves 30 minutes for the girls to hide from the other guests and freshen up in the bridal suite and the dudes head off to greet the guests as they arrive. It works like absolute clock work. The bridal party doesn’t always have to view the first look either. A lot of the time the couple prefers to keep things private and I prefer things this way too.

Remember to #BREAKTHERULES and do what you want though. Everything above is just a guide and what is “normally” done. You can both get ready together; you can both greet the guests together at the start of the ceremony, you can both walk down the aisle together.

Having said all that, traditions are still great. There are some fantastic ones out there. Just make sure that you are doing things on your wedding day for the two of you, and that’s it. Not for anyone else, and not for any traditions, but that it’s what you want to do, and you will have the most incredible day that is a beautiful reflection of who you are!






If you’re still on the fence and wondering when the cons are coming, wait no longer. Here are the ‘tricky’ things to consider when talking through first looks. The pros far outweigh the cons but I’m sure you appreciate honest feedback. That’s always valuable right?

Having a first look in the warmer months/daylight savings prepare yourself for the following —

  1. It could be 30+ degrees so doing portraits at that time of day could be uncomfortable for everyone involved. You’re likely to be out in the mid-afternoon sun which also means……

  2. The light could rather unpleasant compared to the softer more pleasant light you get later in the evening.

  3. Aunty Mabel could arrive early and have that fluorescent pink iPad out ready and catch a sneaky photo of you before you even want to see other people. We try and avoid this by finishing before your scheduled arrival time for guests but Aunty Mabel’s are sometimes a thing that can’t be controlled lol.

  4. You may find walking around the venue seeing the setting up and logistics of the preparation playing out in front of you to be a stress inducing exercise. It really depends on your personality for this one. This could result is stress and lead to fewer portraits happening. We can do your first look off-site if you think this could be a problem for you but you still want to do a first look. Most of the time though, couples want their photos done at the wedding venue because they fell in love with the place!






Again depending on the kind of person that you are — some brides stress out. Sometimes this can be brought on by bridesmaids too. It happens and it’s unfortunate. Choose wisely haha. A common concern is they don’t want to get their dress dirty before the ceremony. I’m not saying go jumping through mud puddles but don’t let the idea of getting a little bit dirty unknowingly hinder your enjoyment during the first look and portraits. I understand why you would want to keep things clean and it is a relatively minor point but worth bringing up anyway.

Ultimately doing a first look comes down to making the day your own and doing what you want to do. That’s the essential part.

But other factors, like the time of year, the amount of time your venue has allocated between the ceremony and reception, might be contributing factors as well. For example, if your ceremony is in the Adelaide Hills at 4:30 pm in June and you want natural light portraits it’s is safe to say that it will be pretty much dark by the time your ceremony is done, a first look is much more inevitable. Or, if your venue has allocated a ceremony start time of 5:30 pm and a reception start time of 6:30 pm, this gives us about 10 minutes for the couple photos. Do-able, but pretty rushed. So again, first looks usually happen in this case too. If you’re unsure, just call or email me, and we can discuss the timing/logistics of your day in more detail.






Golly, that was a lot of first look info! Just give me the short long! Well done for still being here and getting this far.

Consider doing a first look if – you answer ‘yes’ to most of these.

  1. Your wedding is not during daylight savings (i.e., winter) and we’re pushed for time or natural light, post-ceremony for photos.

  2. You both are chill and relaxed about not following ‘tradition’.

  3. You’re getting ready together or on the same property.

  4. You don’t care about some guests, possibly seeing you before the ceremony.

  5. You don’t want to be away from any of your guests at all after the ceremony.

Possibly don’t worry about doing a first look if – you answer ‘yes’ to most of these.

  1. Your wedding is during daylight savings (i.e., summer) and there’s plenty of time post-ceremony for photos. It’s not necessary for so many reasons.

  2. If one or both of you is naturally quite an anxious or nervous person.

  3. You’re going to be apart from each other the night before the wedding & the morning of.

  4. You’re traditional at heart.

  5. You’re worried about some guests possibly seeing you before the ceremony.








June 23, 2023

Alex Szczesniak







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