There must be something in the water because my schedule over the next few months includes a LOT of maternity sessions.  In the case of Miranda and Danny’s shoot a couple weeks ago, they wanted the setting for their photos to be somewhere simple, casual and that would match their laid-back vibes. (A couple after my own heart!)  With that in mind, we chose a spot downtown near the LA Arts District.  I thought it would create an interesting backdrop without competing too much with my two gorgeous subjects.  And, I think we succeeded in meeting their criteria.  They were great at relaxing and getting comfy in front of the camera and we got some pretty sweet photos!

Urban Maternity Photography | One Eleven Photography
(Hair & Makeup by Meek’s Boutique)

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Last year, I got an email from Brittany, a fellow family photographer in the Pasadena area, who wanted to know the location of a maternity session I had blogged about.  We struck a little email correspondence and then a few months ago, she shared the great news that she and her hubby Steve were expecting their first child.  It seemed only right that we should do their pregnancy photos at the location that started it all… Arlington Garden.  It is such a beautiful spot that’s kind of hidden in plain sight.  The light is always gorgeous and, because it’s a garden, it’s always evolving so no matter how much I shoot there the photos always look unique.  I love that!

I have also decided I love photographing other photographers.  Brittany and Steve were great at trusting my vision and, as a result, we got fun, creative, relaxed photos that I could not wait to share.  Oh, and I also love their dog, Marley.  I think he’s going to make a good baby doggy. ;)


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My favorite part of a wedding is my time with just the bride and groom taking sweet, romantic, beautiful photos.  Every time, without fail, I feel so lucky to witness their immense joy and love and capture it in a timeless way that they will love for years and years to come.  It might sound a little cheesy but it’s absolutely true.  They are also the images that my clients want to print, hang all over their houses and share with family.  (I know I did from my wedding.)  So, making sure there is enough time devoted to portraits on the wedding day is very important to me.  That’s where First Looks come in. First looks are becoming more and more common at weddings and, as a photographer, I am definitely a fan.

It is a private, candid moment when the bride and groom get to see each other for the first time, sharing a few quiet minutes together away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding.  They are always such a treat to photograph.  You never quiet know how each couple will react but it is always filled with rare, intimate, unrivaled emotion.

Before I go much further, I should say that as much as I may encourage clients to consider incorporating a first look into their wedding timeline, I understand that they are not for everyone.  And that’s totally fine! Whether you choose to do a First Look or wait to see each other for the first time at the ceremony, with proper planning, we can ensure you get beautiful photos of the most important parts of your wedding day.

wedding first look | one eleven photography
wedding day first looks | one eleven photography

The reasons for including a First Look in your wedding schedule are many.  For me, the biggest benefit is that it can create a smoother, less stressful schedule.  Because you have seen each other, there is no need to cram all the portrait and group photos into the cocktail hour just after the ceremony.  Instead, we can get much of that taken care of earlier in the day and let you spend more time with your guests.  After the First Look, I typically move right into those romantic portrait photos of the bride and groom I mentioned above followed by photos with the wedding party and family.  Doing this before the ceremony means more time and more time means more natural, relaxed, creative photos.

First Looks are especially handy if the ceremony is happening in the evening or in the winter when it gets dark so much earlier.  As a natural light photographer, the key ingredient to my work is sunlight (as covered here).  After the sun sets, those soft, romantic, lovely photos are just not possible. There is also the added bonus that your hair and makeup will be fresh.  Doing a First Look ensures everyone will look their best in the finished photos.

wedding day first looks | one eleven photography
wedding first look | one eleven photography

Finally, the main reason I hear from clients against doing a First Look is that, more than the tradition or superstition of not seeing each other until the ceremony, they want to experience the reaction and emotion in front of all their family and friends.   But, from my experience, that moment is still just as incredible whether you do a First Look or not simply because it is SUCH a powerful moment minus some of the jitters.  There is just nothing quite like it.

So, there you have it.  I wanted to write this post because it is a fairly new aspect to weddings that is worth considering.  It has so many advantages from a photographer’s standpoint and I want to provide all my clients with the best photos possible of their most important day.

wedding first look | one eleven photography

  • September 6, 2014 - 8:28 am

    Lighting for Great Wedding Day Photography » pasadena photographer – candid, creative, modern - […] First Look: From a wedding photographer’s standpoint, there are many benefits to doing a first look.  The main reason I’m a fan is because of lighting.  Specifically, weddings in the fall and winter don’t have the advantage of daylight savings.  That is to say, it gets dark much, much earlier.  Often, it’s pretty dark by the end of the ceremony.  Doing a first look means we can take advantage of daylight before the ceremony for the photos typically done after the ceremony including portraits of the bride and groom, family photos and photos of the wedding party. (For more, check out “Wedding Day First Looks“) […]

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