It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
Hold a photo party. A wonderful way to bring people together, share photos and learn a little more is to hold a photo party. Invite family and longtime members of the community to peruse boxes, piles or albums of photos placed around the room and just let people mingle and remember. Have a notepad near each stack and ask guests to share what they know. Send each person home with a small box of treasured photos or create a scanned album of favorites to share online.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.