There’s a thing that happens at weddings that can either really excite people, or really make them nervous.  That thing is a couples first look!!  I’m of the opinion that it’s your wedding and if you want to do a first look… AWESOME.  If you don’t…. AWESOME.  (yes there are going to be photographers that read that and decide they don’t like me because I’m not taking a stance.. but in reality it’s NOT my wedding day and if a couple does or does NOT want to do a first look… well, that’s their decision and I’m okay with it!!) 

One of the things I tell couples prior to hiring me is that I’m 100% okay either way they go… but if  they choose NOT to do a first look, let’s make sure ceremony time is early enough so that we have enough daylight AFTER it to get photos like the ones you see all over my website, AND make sure you give me ENOUGH time afterwards to get ALL the photos taken that need to be taken (because if there is no first look that means family, full bridal party, and the reason we are there… THE COUPLE… all still need to be photographed!!  And while I’ve been known to work miracles with very little time, we do need time to get all of those photos done and done well.. so let’s plan accordingly!!) 

I know that may sound crazy that I ask that of my couples, but the couples that hire me, hire me because there is something about my photos that they love, and they trust me.  I have had it go a few different ways when I’ve asked that of couples.  I’ve had couples then decide that they still don’t want to do a first look but they want photos with natural light so they move their ceremony time up.  I’ve had couples that were opposed to first looks but don’t want to move their ceremony time and also really want photos that look like what I post everywhere so they end up doing a first look and 100% don’t regret it… they turn out super happy and advocates of a first look. 

I have couples that love my work but just don’t want to do either and while I know and am confident in using flash for portraits I do refer them to someone that uses flash 99% of the time because those photographers are going to be best suited for portraits where there is NO natural light.  For any couple that inquires with me I want them to know that I have their best interest at heart and even if that means referring them to someone that may be a better fit for their needs I’m good with that because at the end of the day I want them to LOVE their wedding images. 

So back to a first look.  While I go either way with a first look, I will shout it from the rooftop… I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE FIRST LOOKS!!!   There I said it and now I want to give you my top three reasons why I love them and why you should do one if you are getting married!!

  1. First Looks Allow You To Start Your Day Together Earlier!! I’m all about spending as MUCH time with your partner on your wedding day as possible.  When you do a first look you get the chance to spend almost ALL day with them as opposed to maybe just a few hours.  First looks usually happen about 3+ hours prior to the ceremony so that’s three more hours with your wife or husband and that makes me all sorts of excited!! 
  2. First Looks Allow You to Start Celebrating Earlier!!  When you do a first look we get the majority of your portraits done prior to the ceremony.  The only photos that may be left to take are photos with extended family and then a few with the two of you now that you are married!!  So instead of 1+ hours of photos AFTER the ceremony (or longer depending on photographer) when you’re wanting to get the celebrating started and to your guests, you maybe have 20-30minutes of photos tops (granted it depends on how many photos need to be taken but usually you don’t need a lot of time after a ceremony if you’ve done a first look!!).  My goal is to get my couples to their celebration as quickly as I can!!!
  3. My third and biggest reason for doing a first look is the time you get with it just being the two of you (granted there may be a camera there, but you’re not with anyone else, it’s just you two!!)  First looks allow for emotions to happen in private that don’t always happen when an entire room of people are present.  It allows the first time you see one another to be super intimate.  It allows for hugs.  It allows time for you two to embrace and cry and talk.  Wedding days are full, and so with no first look usually it’s dinner (if you decide to eat away from everyone) or AFTER your sendoff that you get time alone.  A first look really does allow for you two to have time together on y’alls wedding day!!

So yeah… I’m a big fan of a first look!!!  But, if you ask ANY couple that I’ve photographed over the last 11 years they will tell you I am here for you and go with whatever y’all decide you want to do!!! 

Below are a sprinkling images from first looks that happened over the last few years on wedding days!!

This is Cameron & Eric and y’all it was POURING so their first looked happened in the only covered area I could find and it was sooo soo sweet!!!!! These two could care less about the rain, they were just so excited to see one another. I remember Eric telling me he was nervous and excited 🙂 and the look on Cameron’s face as Eric turned around… I LOVE IT!!!!

Kaitlin & Andrew decided about a month prior to the wedding to do a first look because they wanted time together and y’all I cried during this one. I am soo soo glad they decided to do a first look because they then spent the rest of the afternoon together and they were all smiles. And Andrews reaction as Kaitlin walked down the aisle towards him was JUST as special as it was during this moment!! Love that when you do a first look you get TWO moments of seeing each other for the first time!!

When Jordan & Crawford first booked me they were adamant about NOT doing a first look. They wanted to do the traditional see each other at the end of the aisle. Well the day of their engagement photos I slipped into their backseat to chat prior to their session and they said “we want to do a first look”… It was another one that I will never forget!! Jordan is sooo soo joyful and Crawford’s reaction to seeing her still makes me smile from ear to ear.

Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding
Greenville Wedding Photographer | Southern Bleachery Wedding

Kaite & Crawford’s first look makes me SMILE!!! I remember Crawford asking me “what do I do when I see her” and my response was “I can’t tell you how to react… but you are seeing your soon to be wife for the first time on your wedding day so I’m excited to see what you do”… yep I’m no help 😉 and y’all his reaction I LOVE because it is soo him!!!

Kendra Martin Photography | Spartanburg Wedding Photographer | Carolina Country Club Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Spartanburg Wedding Photographer | Carolina Country Club Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Spartanburg Wedding Photographer | Carolina Country Club Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Spartanburg Wedding Photographer | Carolina Country Club Wedding

I 100% cried during this first look!! Elleson & Andrew are two of the kindest people you will ever meet and so after getting to know them through the wedding planning process I knew that this moment was a big deal for them… and Andrew’s reaction to turning around to see Elleson for the first time was soo sweet. LOVED getting to witness this moment between these two!!

Kendra Martin Photography | Greenville Wedding Photographer | One Building | Grace Church Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Greenville Wedding Photographer | One Building | Grace Church Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Greenville Wedding Photographer | One Building | Grace Church Wedding
Kendra Martin Photography | Greenville Wedding Photographer | One Building | Grace Church Wedding

As you can tell probably with everything I’ve said… I’m a big cry baby on wedding days and the first looks have me tearing up because y’all this is the moment a couple sees one another for the first time on THEIR wedding day. It’s a day they have been planning and anticipating and praying about for a long long time. So the fact that they see each other and have these raw emotions is something soo special to see and document and it’s why I love first looks so soo much!! I remember laughing with Ryan just moments prior to Erin walking out to do their first look and y’all the moment he turned around and saw Erin he took her in and then embraced her and as I sit here and type am getting chills all over again because it was an honor to be right there during all of this.

Kendra Martin Photography | Cliffs at Glassy Wedding | Greenville Wedding Photographer
Kendra Martin Photography | Cliffs at Glassy Wedding | Greenville Wedding Photographer
Kendra Martin Photography | Cliffs at Glassy Wedding | Greenville Wedding Photographer

First looks are something super special and when a couple tells me they want to do one I am always so honored that not only I get to witness them but that they asked me to photograph their wedding day. To be part of one of the biggest days of their lives. Do all first looks have a sappy reaction.. not always but a lot of the times they do. People do them for all different reasons and I NEVER know what’s going to happen during them but I am ready to capture it all. I always giggle because it happens after every first look… the couple takes as much or as little time as they need to and then they all turn to me and say something along the lines of “okay Kendra what’s next”!!

Excited for all the weddings I’ll be photographing in the coming year and excited for the first looks (whether before the ceremony or at the ceremony)!!!

Thank you so much for stopping by!! One of my favorite things to do is share my clients’ images!! It gives you a look at the kind of images you will receive if you hire me to be your photographer.  If you would like to see what a full session or wedding looks like, please feel free to ask!

If you are interested in having me as your Wedding or Portrait Photographer, please fill out this form and I will get back to you with all of my information.  For a quick glimpse of who I am click here.  Here is a glimpse of investment information.  If you’re ready to book your wedding or session go ahead and click on the contact button above or email me at kendramartinphotography@gmail.com.

I am currently booking Winter 2020 Sessions & 2020 – 2021 Weddings.  I take a limited number of weddings & sessions each year so that I can focus on giving my clients the best possible experience & so I can spend time with my sweet family.  I love what I do & I am looking forward to chatting with you!!

First Looks | Greenville SC Wedding Photographer

December 19, 2019