We're Nic & Kayla
Meet the johnsons
A husband and wife wedding videography and photography duo who are passionate about telling authentic forever stories along the Gulf Coast and beyond.
tips & Planning
One of the first big questions we see couples debating on their wedding day is “should I do a first look?”
A lot of photographers will tell you that they are non-negotiable if you want your day to run smoothly.
But… if you haven’t figured it out yet… WE AREN’T MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS!
Honestly, it’s about 50/50 whether our couples decide to do a first look or not but here’s a few things to consider when deciding the pros and cons of a first look!
Close your eyes and imagine your perfect ceremony you’ve been planning for months and months.
Do you see a mountain backdrop?
Are you at a historical estate surrounded by fresh blooms?
Is the sun setting behind you as you say “I do” with the man of your dreams?
Are you in the church you grew up going to?
Or is it just something you’d rather get through so you can get to dancing with your friends and family?
The timing of your ceremony is incredibly important when it comes to considering whether or not to have a first look.
We recommend taking newlywed portraits in that perfect golden hour glow which is about an hour before sunset (when the sun is no longer visible on the horizon line) which helps determine your timeline for the day.
If your ceremony is going to be near sunset, doing a first look would be the right choice for you and your fiancé that way you have plenty of time to get all of your traditional family portraits, bridal party portraits and newlywed portraits out of the way before the ceremony even begins!
Then we can freely sneak away for a few minutes with you and your *HUSBAND* after the ceremony without the stress of rushing because we can’t find your Uncle Joe for family formal portraits.
NO FIRST LOOK TIP: If you feel strongly about not seeing each other before the ceremony, we recommend an earlier ceremony time — typically two hours before sunset so we can fit all of your must-have wedding portraits in!
Are you the shy type? The introverted bride? What about your fiancé?
Does speaking in front of a crowd make you a nervous but you still want to tell your husband how much he means to you on your wedding day?
Doing a first look is a great alternative if you’re worried about reading your vows in front of your guests at the ceremony. When it’s just the two of you, you can feel comfortable expressing those heartfelt words to each other and don’t have to worry about anyone watching.
We’ll document it all in a totally unobtrusive way. This is absolutely one of our favorite times of the day to just be a fly on the wall and give you space to soak in what’s happening. Take your time and embrace the love that brought us to this big day!
Planning a gift exchange? Even more reason to consider a first look! Nothing beats getting to see the look on your partner’s face when they open up that sparkly new watch or bracelet… or whatever you come up with!
NO FIRST LOOK TIP: If you’re not wanting to see each other before the “I do”, a “first touch” before your ceremony might be an alternative to consider. We typically find a corner — or even a doorway — so you’ll be out of sight from each other but still get hold hands to say your vows, read a letter, say a prayer, exchange a gift, etc. in private.
Hear us out on this one…
Trust us, *NOTHING* can prepare you for that moment when you walk down the aisle.
The music hits. All of your family and friends are standing there. The doors open and you see each other for the first time.
It’s a wave of emotions and everything’s a blur.
Time seems to stop and yet disappear so quickly that the moment feels like a blink in time (hi, remember that’s why you’ve hired us).
From what we’ve witnessed, doing a first look doesn’t spoil/ruin/take away from the burst of emotions as you walk down the aisle at your ceremony.
Worried your groom-to-be won’t be emotional if you do a first look? We hear this from time to time and want to give a little bit of advice…
Have realistic expectations and remember that everyone shows their emotions and love differently. As much as we love tears bouncing off cheeks and encourage everyone to embrace all the laughter, tears, smiles and hugs, we understand not everyone feels comfortable.
If your significant other tends to be a little shy, maybe don’t tailor your day around an emotional first look moment. But we will say, sometimes, even the “tough guys” surprise us and let out a tear or two!
NO FIRST LOOK TIP: If you want to savor ALL the emotions for the big moment, we recommend exchanging letters earlier in the day! There’s no such thing as too many “I love you’s” on a wedding day!
We almost always recommend it for ease and flexibility for your timeline BUT ultimately, no matter what you choose, make sure you’re choosing what feels the most “right” for you two.
Don’t ever feel pressured to make a decision strictly based on the timeline or anything other than what you want. A quality wedding photographer knows how to adapt and will work with you on crafting a perfect timeline for the day! And remember, at the end of the day, you get to be MARRIED — that’s what the celebration is all about!
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