What is a First Look & Should You Do One

What is a First Look & Should You Do One

What is a “First Look” & Should you do one?

The short answer to this is: YES!  Yes you should do a first look. There are many reasons why and lots of ways to do a First Look. In this post I will go over all of them and give you tips on how to execute an amazing First Look!

What is a First Look? This is the first time you are seen in your dress on your Wedding day. Traditionally it is you and your Groom seeing each other for the the first time, as he also will be the snazziest he’s gonna be for a long while! It is such a beautiful moment and can be one of the most emotional, fun, and photographable moments of the day!

While a first look is usually between a Bride and her Groom, anybody can join in on the fun. It’s ALMOST always the Bride, But who is seeing her for the first time can vary. I’ve shot first looks with her Dad, Her Grandfather, her Family and her Bridesmaids! 

Here is how it typically works. When you hire Joe Curry Photography, I have One Simple Package, this package includes a 2nd shooter. During Prep I am always with the Bride and her girls, and my 2nd shooter is always with the guys. My shooter and I are in constant communication. We usually have already scouted a location. If you have a spot in mind, please let your photographer know. The venue or planner may also know some good spots. I will always do my best to do as my Bride wants and ultimately will abide. That being said, as a photographer I’m looking at LIGHT. So we want to find a beautiful location, with a good background and awesome light. Next we have our 2nd shooter bring our Groom out to our location, positioned so that his back will be to his Bride. I will usually ask the bride who she wants me to focus on, her or her groom (or whoever the first look is with), my 2nd will focus on the opposite. Then we signal the bride to come. We always want the bride to take her time, smile, good posture etc, but mostly BE IN THE MOMENT! We will have discussed this ahead of time but when she has reached her Groom, she can tap him on the shoulder, wrap her arms around him, call his name, flick his hear or smack his butt, whatever she wants…and then the moment!! We snap away as these two see each for the first time on one of the biggest days of their lives. Maybe a Dad is seeing his little girl all grown up in a wedding dress, a grandpa seeing his first grandchild, who he used to hold and change, getting married! Maybe childhood girlfriends seeing that little fourth grader marrying the man she loves. No matter what, it is alway a genuine beautiful moment.

There are a number of other ways, other than walking up behind. You can be back to back, start with a first touch, and then turn around at the same time and face each other. You can be on two sides of a corner, on a wall, holding hands at the corner and then come around to face each other. Really anything works. We can be as creative as we want.

Now for some technical reasons why, as photographers, or planners, or venue managers, we LOVE a First Look. TIMELINE!! Bottom line is, if we do a first look directly after prep, that means we can go right into Wedding Formals (Family, Wedding Party and Couples Portraits), and we don’t have to squeeze ALL of these photos during cocktail hour, which in turn means you get to enjoy your cocktail hour!

Doing a first look opens up and completely relaxes your Wedding Day Timeline. It allows you to build in time for all the portrait combos you want. It takes away the stress and rush of having an hour or less to do all of these formal photos. It allows you to enjoy cocktail hour and maybe sneak away for 15 minutes just the two of you, you may even be able to have a Reception Room Reveal with an awesome Bride and Groom ballroom shot, because you aren’t somewhere else cramming in a million photos in one hour! One of the ultimate goals at Joe Curry Photography, is for the Bride and Groom to ENJOY the entire day as much as possible. We want to take away as much stress as possible. We want you, your groom and your friends and family to have an amazing day, staying present and savoring each moment, while getting fantastic photographs along the way. A First Look is an easy way to achieve this.



Beautiful Brooklyn Wedding-Greenpoint Loft-New York

Beautiful Brooklyn Wedding-Greenpoint Loft-New York

Wedding Prep at the Box House Hotel, Brooklyn

An old friend from my restaurant days referred Chelsea to me, and I am so glad he did!! The first zoom call I had with Chelsea and Kerel, I knew we were gonna have a blast. She had so many great ideas, she knew what she wanted and she was super organized. Ahhh the perfect Bride!

I showed up with my 2nd shooter Chris at the Box House Hotel and we grabbed a bite to eat (one dude running all the tables and killing it, and delish breakfast!) while we discussed the plan for the day. The Box House is amazing. I can only hope to shoot a full wedding here one day. So many little awesome spots for photos, including an old-school NYC Yellow Cab out front.

I went up to Chelsea’s Bridal Suite. It was obviously beautiful and overflowing with light. Chelsea was there with her MOH and I got started doing what I love! Chris went down to join Kerel and his boys. Besides the very colorful conversation, I loved watching Chelsea read Kerels note and opening her gift. Apparently she has a thing for Gnomes and he found her a Bride & Groom set. It was fucking adorable!

Ceremony & Reception at Greenpoint Loft-Brooklyn Wedding-NYC

We headed to Greenpoint Loft, another first for me. (2nd coming later this year) What an amazing venue. Big open space, lots of windows. Very rustic/industrial, with lots of old barn-like wood and brick and sliding metal doors. There is a 2nd level that looks down on the first floor and a large outside with great views of Manhattan. The staff here was flawless! We did a first look with Chelsea’s bros and Dad, banged out the family formals and were able to get a few shots of the B+G, although I wish I’d had more time with the two of them, sooo many good spots to shoot in this space and outside (this is the min reason I always suggest a 1st look for B+G Pre-Ceremony)

The ceremony was genuine and funny and just very heartfelt. I watched Chelsea’s Mom go from laughter to tears in a matter of what seemed like seconds. The vows were so wonderful and they topped it off a Broom Jump, always fun to photograph!

…and then there was an epic party!!!

I really do love all my weddings, big or small, but this one was a standout. It was my 1st wedding of the year at two great venues with a couple I genuinely enjoyed. It seems like maybe we are coming out of Covid-times and you could feel a bit of that nervous excitement. But I think what I really enjoyed seeing was a zero-tension union of an interracial couple. These two families were largely meeting for the 1st time and it was seamless. Let’s be honest it could have been bad. It isn’t great all the time right now out in the world, but inside the walls of the Greenpoint Loft in Brooklyn, New York on 3.13.22, it was a beautiful fucking night!!

Thanks Chelsea & Kerel!

Check out the rest of my faves from the night and be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a list of vendors!

To see more photos of my awesome couples and their epic weddings click here!

Or just hit me up and lets talk about YOUR Wedding!

Planner: Nico Ramirez

Flowers: Brooklyn Blooms @brooklynbloomsnyc

Hair: Megan Hazard @makeup_by_mae_

Dress: Kleinfeld @kleinfeldbridal & Rivini-@ritavinieris

Jewelry: Oscar de la Renta @oscardelarenta 

Shoes: Stuart Weitzman @stuartweitzman

DJ:Jon Klaft @jonklaft

Caterer: Bassett Caterers @bassettcaterers

Tux:My Suit @my.suit


Venues: The Box House Hotel @theboxhousehotel & Greenpoint Loft @greenpoint_loft