First Look

Fist look… Should I? or Shouldn’t I?I just want to make sure I explain everything really clearly so that we’re 100% on the same page when it comes to the timeline and the amount of images, etc. and quite a few of my weddings last year had an INCREDIBLE amount of fun portraits because they opted for a first look. The few couples that decided not to have a first look built in extra time in between their ceremony and reception to get all of their portraits accomplished. Their guests had to wait for a while but we were able to get everything done since they allowed time for me. So the options are to either do a first look or promise your photographer we’ll have ample time to get everything accomplished after the ceremony. So before you make your decision 100%, I just want to share what I share with ALL brides.…. Here’s my  ideal “first look” timeline.Here is my normal timeline (with first look):

12:45ish Brandi begins with details and the bride getting ready!
1:30 The Dress is on, take a few fun bridal shots:)
2:15 First Look privately! and then the B&G’s romantic portraits!
3:00 All bridal party portraits
3:30 Groomsmen usher early guest / bride touches up makeup and goes into hiding!
4pm Ceremony
4:40 Family formals
5:15 A few more romantic portraits for the newlyweds!
5:30-6ish, The Party Begins and the B&G can be introduced immediately!


Timeline without first look:

2:00 Brandi starts with details and then gets “getting ready shots”
3:00 Dress on!
3:15 Bride with Bridesmaids for a few portraits
3:30 Groomsmen usher early guest / bride touches up makeup and goes into hiding!
4pm Ceremony
4:40 Family formals
5:15 Bridal Party Portraits
5:45 Romantic portraits of the bride and groom… as many as we can do in 20mins!
6:15 Lineup for introductions
6:30ish party begins!!!!


I definitely don’t want you to feel like you HAVE to opt for a First Look because you definitely do NOT! I totally understand wanting to do it the traditional way and I used to want that too!!! And then I became a wedding photographer:)



The First Look! Why Do it?!

– You’re paying a pretty penny for your wedding photography and with a first look, you get 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you decorate your first home with! This is a huge investment for you and so obviously your photography is a BIG deal. With a first look, you make the most out of this huge investment and get the most for your money.


– You actually get intimate time on your wedding day with your partener. Normally, most people think walking down the aisle is the BIGGEST, most emotional moment of the whole day because that is what the tradition is. But people don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look… he can’t touch you or embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 40 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 40 minutes of gazing into each other’s eyes, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.  Coming down the aisle in and of itself is a powerful moment!! You can’t change how special that is… even if you’ve already seen each other, it’s still the emotional HIGH POINT of the ceremony no matter what.


– First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time.  With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for bridal party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day.


– First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. I tell my couples “I’m going to back up… you two take as LONG and you want and enjoy this moment”.  We cried and laughed and cried some more… and then that put us in the PERFECT mood for our romantic portraits. Normally portraits are rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode. When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other and I get some SWEET images during those moments!


– You get rid of the nerves. I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have done a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms that initially weren’t a fan of the first look.. but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony. It’s a LOT of pressure on the two of you… the whole day is revolving around you! So when you have a few moments to be alone before the craziness sets in…. it will calm both of you down and you’ll be able to enjoy your ceremony so much more!

Dylan & Taylor

Ahhh.. I cannot say enough about these two love birds. They beam with sweetness for each-other. Every time they share a glance they giggle and basically purr. I am so in love with what I do and this is one of the many reasons. I feel we all learn so much from every person we meet. May we only take the very best of what this glorious life has to offer.

Aaaand, here are the best from their day…

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Alicia & Ryan


Alicia and Ryan chose to get married in her hometown, Ojai California. They are absolutely  full of life and playfulness and it is so wonderful  to bask in the love-glow of these two soul mates. Here is there story….

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Patrick & Kim

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Erika & Mark


A glorious and bluebird day in Ojai, California. This adventurous couple decide to start their magic together at Meditation Mountain, a scared and magical ground with native plants and the best view in the Valley. So joyful to get to spend the day frolicking in my own back yard with these two awesome people and their […]

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Doug & Jennifer

Rustic engagement photographer in the Ojai Valley

Jennifer is a lifetime friend of mine. There isn’t anyone in the world who makes me laugh as hard or goes as far as we do with hypothetical scenarios. She has now met someone who makes me laugh equally as hard and when together they are an unstoppable and funny riot. I am pleased to share […]

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The McKinnon Family

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Jason & Chelsea

Ojai backyard wedding

Jason and Chelsea are two of the most spunky and lighthearted couple I have met. The day involved a secret flash dance put on by the wedding party and half the audience and fog horns on every table. They are truly perfect for each other and righteously crazy for one another. Here is their story…

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The Dekker’s Family Home


Christmas time at the lovely Dekker home. The pitter patter of feet that belong to three unique little ladies fill this joyful home. Even a tiny little peak into this family’s life is truly a blessing.

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Taylor & Erin


Romping with these beauties in Malibu California. We visited the Adamson House and here is their story…  

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