3 Reasons to consider a "First Look" for your Wedding Day

You may have heard the term “First Look” while browsing Pinterest for your Wedding planning. Do you know what it is? We always ask our Brides & Grooms if they are considering this during our discussions before their wedding day. Some know exactly one way or the other, and some are like “What’s a First look???” A “first look” is when the Bride & Groom see each other prior to the Wedding Ceremony. Why? Well there are a number of reasons the Bride & Groom would consider this option, versus the traditional “Groom seeing the Bride for the first time when she’s coming down the aisle.”

One reason: the ugly cry. Yep, we said it, because we’ve seen it! Oh, and it wasn’t just the Bride! Grooms can ugly cry too! For the brides & grooms to be, the wedding planning has been a roller coaster of emotions and now the big day is finally here. This can be a little overwhelming, but in a good way! This also allows for make-up touch ups for the Bride if the emotions made your make-up less than perfect. And maybe your make-up artist would be willing to stick around for a few extra minutes to help if needed.

A second reason, and one we can attest to as well: you won’t get much alone time during the wedding/ceremony. Yes, the day is celebrating the love between two people, but it’s much more than that. It’s a family/class reunion, a dinner party and a night out dancing all rolled in to one giant event. You will be pulled in a million different directions, and we often see the Bride & Groom separated after the ceremony, by no fault of their own. For example: the Bride’s mom pulls her aside to introduce her to the table full of her co-workers. The groom disappears with the Groomsmen outside to light some cigars. You blink and it’s last call. The First Look allows you to take a few moments before the ceremony to enjoy each other’s company and a little calmness in all of the chaos.

Lastly, this allows for more time for photos before the ceremony (ok, maybe we’re a little biased on this one!). If you opt for a “first look” this lets everyone know that hair & make-up need to be completed earlier in the day than a traditional wedding day timeline. We can complete some of the family/bridal party photos before the ceremony, thus leaving more time to focus on the Bride & Groom photos after the ceremony. Your bridal party will also love this, since they can go enjoy the cocktail hour while you’re having photos taken!

Before you decide if a First Look is right for you, there is also the “Modified First Look” or as we often refer to it: the “First Touch”. This is a nice compromise for those that want the traditional aspect of the surprise of walking down the aisle, but want some of the benefits of the first look. We’ve had several couples elect to do just that this past year. We find a location at your venue and set you both up on either side of a wall, a doorway or even a large tree. You can reach out and hold your partner’s hand and then either exchange letters or spoken words to commemorate your day. You don’t see each other, but you get to experience each other’s presence, again to enjoy a quiet moment before the whirlwind of the day continues.

If neither of these “Looks” sound appealing to you, that’s ok. It’s YOUR wedding. You’ve had a ton of opinions thrown at you throughout the entire process (use this vendor, pick this color, choose those favors) that this is one decision you can make based on what is best for your relationship and your wedding day.

Of course, we have some examples of the First Look, the Modified First look, and the traditional “groom seeing the bride for the first time coming down the aisle.” In any case, it’s all about capturing the emotion and excitement of the day so that you have memories to last a lifetime!

The Bride tapping the Groom on the shoulder to turn around and see her for their First Look.

The Bride tapping the Groom on the shoulder to turn around and see her for their First Look.

The Groom reacting to seeing his beautiful Bride during their First Look.

The Groom reacting to seeing his beautiful Bride during their First Look.

Bride and Groom holding hands during their Modified First Look or First Touch

Bride and Groom holding hands during their Modified First Look or First Touch

Bride and Groom exchanging letters during their First Look, Modified First Look or First Touch

Bride and Groom exchanging letters during their First Look, Modified First Look or First Touch

Bride & Groom holding hands during their Modified First Look or First Touch

Bride & Groom holding hands during their Modified First Look or First Touch

Groom reacting to seeing his beautiful bride for the first time while walking down the aisle

Groom reacting to seeing his beautiful bride for the first time while walking down the aisle

Groom seeing his stunning Bride for the first time while walking down the aisle

Groom seeing his stunning Bride for the first time while walking down the aisle

Thank you, next...

We just wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2018, which was our busiest year to date. We simply could not have experienced the amazing growth of our Photography business if it weren’t for our awesome clients!

Let’s start with our Studio:
We celebrated our 1 year anniversary in our Studio space! We completed the renovations on an additional, larger shooting area in our “back room.” This allows us more room to work with Headshot clients, kids, families and dogs. We added several new backdrop colors and an amazing clawfoot tub…can we say “milk bath” session, anyone? We re-organized our working area to add additional desk spaces for Tim, Jen & an open desk for our part-time Studio employees to work at as well. Oh, yeah, we hired part-time Studio employees to help us with various on-shoot duties. We are so excited to be creating jobs for our local economy. Keep an eye out for the Spring - we’ll likely need a few new faces to help with Spring Sports Photography…which brings us to our next area!

We grew in our Sports Photography business as well:
We added twice as many Sports leagues as we had in 2017! We love working with our local youth sports organizations to bring a higher quality image than the cookie-cutter Sports photos. We still have room for a few more leagues in 2019, so be sure to contact us to schedule your Organizations’s photo day(s). Ask us about our referral bonus and donation program!

And lastly, let’s not forget about Wedding Season:
We had our largest amount of Weddings to date in 2018, and have already booked a few more than that for 2019. We saw lots of new, amazing venues. We dealt with rain, rain & more rain, but still we able to capture the love of each couples’ special day. We had our first “Snow Day” wedding.

We also had some exciting personal growth as well:
Our family grew by four feet with the addition of Alpha, our rescue Pit Bull. He “found” his way to us in mid-April and he and our older Pit Bull, Caesar have become best buds. You’ll often find them hanging out with us at the Studio while we’re working.
We traveled to Oregon in July to visit with friends and absolutely fell in love. We hiked almost every day and saw some of the most beautiful parks, rivers, waterfalls and lakes we have ever seen. We can’t wait to go back again in July 2019 to do more exploring.
Jen went to part-time at her “9-5” to focus more time on the Photography business (and have a better work/life balance), but still maintain the all important health insurance benefits offered by a larger company.
We attended the PhotoPlus expo in New York City at the end of October. What an amazing experience to check out all the new gear from Sony and rub elbows with some of our “celebrity” photographers we follow on YouTube!

We cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for us and our Photography business. We are excited to work with all of our 2019 Brides & Grooms, our Sports Leagues and all of the returning & new photo session clients!

We’ll be posting our “Top 9” photos on our Instagram page later today, but here are a few of our favorite images from this past year.

Comment below on which photo is your favorite and receive a free 8x10 print with any session booked with us in 2019 (including Weddings!). Are you or someone you know in the photos below? The “winning” photo client will also receive a free 8x10 print from their session!

Our favorite sunset Wedding photo of 2018. The wedding was held at the Groom’s family home in LIttlestown, PA

Our favorite sunset Wedding photo of 2018. The wedding was held at the Groom’s family home in LIttlestown, PA

Our Snow Day Wedding at Liberty Mountain Resort

Our Snow Day Wedding at Liberty Mountain Resort

Sunset Engagement Session at the Castle Monument at LIttle Round Top in the Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA.

Sunset Engagement Session at the Castle Monument at LIttle Round Top in the Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA.

Destination Engagement Session at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA

Destination Engagement Session at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA

The hugging dogs from our 2nd Annual BARk in the Studio event.

The hugging dogs from our 2nd Annual BARk in the Studio event.

Senior Portrait Session at the historic Strand Capitol Theater at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts

Senior Portrait Session at the historic Strand Capitol Theater at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts

Downtown York Senior Portrait Session

Downtown York Senior Portrait Session

Pin-up themed Portrait Session of one of our Brides that she did as a surprise gift for her husband-to-be!

Pin-up themed Portrait Session of one of our Brides that she did as a surprise gift for her husband-to-be!

Pregnancy announcement photo session for our of our 2018 Brides & Grooms.

Pregnancy announcement photo session for our of our 2018 Brides & Grooms.

Athlete of the month photo shoot for the Brittany Insider Magazine

Athlete of the month photo shoot for the Brittany Insider Magazine

Brittany + Craig Wedding, Liberty Mountain Resort

Brittany & Craig’s provided many “Firsts” for our Wedding Photography business this year:
~ They were our First FaceTime consultation (because they were our First clients from Virginia.)
~ They were our First out of State Engagement Session
(and Second furthest distance traveled for a session.)
~ But the most memorable First was that they were our First “Snow Wedding”. And boy did they hit
this one out of the Park!

On Thursday, November 15, 2018 (the day before their Wedding), the South Central PA area was hit with Winter Storm Avery. Snow in November? Yeah, that won’t amount to much! WRONG. Most local areas received anywhere from 6-10 inches of snow. Assuming PennDOT was prepared for this would be like saying the women on that show “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” were prepared to have a baby. So, we got up early and set out on our journey to Liberty Mountain Resort. Luckily, the roads had been pretty well cleared overnight and we didn’t have any trouble getting there. Some of their guests couldn’t say the same. One couple we talked to at the reception were traveling during the snow storm from Northwestern PA and what should have only been a 3 hour drive ended up taking almost 8. Yikes.

We get to the venue and are floored at the beauty. The lodge was warm and welcoming and the fireplace was roaring. The views from the deck off of the main ballroom were stunning. It was a perfect day for a Wedding!

The ceremony was held a Elias Evangelical Lutheran Church, a cute little chapel in Emmitsburg, MD and the ceremony was officiated by a Pastor who was a friend of the Bride’s family.

After traveling back to Liberty Mountain Resort for the Reception, we stole the Bride & Groom away to take some photos outdoors in the snow! Brittany may have just slightly regretted the choice of a strappy, open-toed shoe, but she was a trooper and we think it was worth it!

Below are a few of our favorite images from their Wedding Day. We wish them the very best in their new married life together. Congratulations Mr & Mrs Makufka!

Warming up for a moment by the outdoor fire pit

Warming up for a moment by the outdoor fire pit

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Craig’s “First Look” at Brittany

Craig’s “First Look” at Brittany

Natali & Fidel Engagement/Family Session

Natali & Fidel’s Engagement Session in November was our last one for the Fall Season. We had a great time getting to know them and their Daughter, Ariana during their combo Engagement/Family session. We include a Complimentary Engagement Session with every Wedding Photography package we offer, and sometimes that includes the couples’ kids - either human or furry!

We decided to shoot their session at Pinchot Park, but we shot in a few different areas than we usually do. The fall colors were beautiful and the weather was brisk, but not too cold!

We have even worked with them again since the Engagement Session, because Natali brought their dogs, Kiko the Boxer & Max the Bulldog in for our BARk in the Studio event. We can’t wait to work with them for their wedding in May 2019 in Gettysburg, PA!

Here are some of our favorite photos from their session!

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2nd Annual BARk in the Studio

We just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in our 2nd Annual BARk in the Studio Dog Portrait Mini-Session event last month! As dog lovers ourselves, this is one of our favorite shoots of the year. We get to meet and work with so many great dogs (and their humans)!

If you aren’t familiar with this event, here’s a little synopsis: Dog owners contact us to schedule their dog for a Pet Portrait mini-session. They pay a deposit to book the appointment, which entitles them to a photo print of their dog after the session is complete. We edit the photos and upload them to an online viewing gallery.

This year, our photo print item that everyone gets is a 8x10 2019 Calendar Print. On the day of the event, they bring a 15lb bag of dog food for each dog as part of the “payment” for the session. We donate the dog food collected to BARk.

The BARk program (Borough Animal Response krew) is a 501(c)(s) non-profit organization made up of volunteers who respond to any emergency involving any animal that is lost, stolen, found, hurt during a fire or motor vehicle accident, tethered outside for long periods of time or abused within West York Boro.  BARk accepts donations all year around for pet food, bowls, leashes, etc.

Each year, BARk holds a Needy Pet Food Drive, which is where the bulk of the donated food goes to from our event. Local residents can apply to receive food, treats and other supplies for their pets.

This year, we photographed 48 dogs and collected 856lbs of dog food to donate. Last year we collected 1,065lbs of dog food, making our 2 year total almost a TON of dog food!

If you missed this year’s event, follow us on Facebook for the announcement of the dates for the 3rd Annual BARk in the Studio event (typically held in mid-late November). We have a new idea for next year and our goal is to collect even more dog food to help the needy pets in our area!

The photo galleries from the event can be found on our website. Prepare yourself for cuteness overload!

This is a photo of the 856lbs of dog food we collected at this year’s event with our two Pitbulls, Caesar (dark brindle) & Alpha (light brown). They are so glad we all help their doggie friends have full bellies!

This is a photo of the 856lbs of dog food we collected at this year’s event with our two Pitbulls, Caesar (dark brindle) & Alpha (light brown). They are so glad we all help their doggie friends have full bellies!

This is an example of the 8x10 2019 Calendar Print that everyone will get with their dog’s session this year.

This is an example of the 8x10 2019 Calendar Print that everyone will get with their dog’s session this year.

We had lots of good boys and good girls in the Studio for the event, but these two could “hug” on command from their human!

We had lots of good boys and good girls in the Studio for the event, but these two could “hug” on command from their human!

Jen and Laramie Engagement Session

It’s been quite a while since our last blog post, so we thought we would re-start our blogging by featuring one of our recent Engagement Sessions. We include a complimentary Engagement Session with every Wedding Collection we offer. We typically schedule at a location that may have a special meaning to the Bride and Groom, or sometimes we just find a mutually convenient location that features the “background” the clients are looking for.

In the case of Jen & Laramie, they wanted “woodsy” and by water if possible. Well, Gifford Pinchot State Park in Wellsville, PA hits both of those requirements, and was a halfway distance for us all to travel since the couple lives in Dillsburg, PA.

Jen and Laramie’s Wedding will be at the The Bridges Golf Club in Abbottstown, PA in August 2019. This venue only books a few weddings per year, so the Bride & Groom were lucky enough to make the cut. It will be a “first” for us at this venue as well and we are looking forward to scoping out all the best places for some photos, including their signature Covered Bridge!

Here are a few of our favorite photos from their session! Be sure to contact us if you or someone you know is getting married. We have some 2019 dates left and we are booking 2020 weddings as well.

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Melissa & Ryan Wedding, Grantville, PA

Where do we start with Melissa & Ryan?  From our first meeting over craft beer, we knew they were going to be a blast to work with.  Later on came an email about a Mechanical Bull.  Yep - one just like you see at the local bar.  Sure, that sounds like an awesome photo-op!  Then came the t-shirts in the mail: "Wedding Photographer, what's your Super Power?" with the SpiderMan logo on them.  Get it?  Peter Parker was a Photographer!  The even deeper connection was that Sony produced the last SpiderMan film and we shoot with Sony cameras. It was meant to be!  Then we finally get to the day of the wedding. The "Bridesmaids Assembled" in their custom Avenger tank tops...so we felt like we were a part of the day, not "just the Wedding Photographers." The weather was spectacular and the venue was even more beautiful than we remembered from their Engagement Session we did there. If you are looking for a stunning Barn/Pond/Rustic venue in the Harrisburg area, we seriously recommend you give Wind in the Willows in Grantville, PA a look. Since the Bride decided to schedule her wedding during the Penn State game (her dad's words...not ours lol), they made arrangements to have the game on for everyone during cocktail hour.  We are...totally committed Penn State fans!  We met with Melissa & Ryan last week for their photo viewing at our Studio. We loved watching their reactions to all the little things they missed during their day...and the photos we captured of the Bride's parents riding the Mechanical Bull.  Congrats to the new Mr & Mrs Pattison! Thank you for including us in your special day. 

Ron & Sharon, Couples Session

Ron and Sharon contacted us for a photo session to commemorate their Elopement. They were married the Friday before this session at the local Judicial Office. We had a great time working with them, as they were both very photogenic!  Congrats Ron & Sharon on your marriage!

Location: Gifford Pinchot State Park

Sam & Jenn Wedding, Gettysburg, PA

Sam and Jenn were married on June 10, 2017 at the Gettysburg Battlefield Bed & Breakfast in Gettysburg, PA.   Remember that heat wave we had in June? Yeah, it was that weekend. The thermometer may have "only" said 85 degrees, but it felt like 100+. Nevertheless, we persisted...(and perspired).

As the sun started to set, we grabbed the newlyweds and went back outside to take some photos with the gorgeous sunset in the field behind the venue.  With a little help from one of the Groomsmen (Thanks Conner!) we were able to capture some fabulous images. 

Congrats Sam & Jenn!  Here's to many years of wedded (and air-conditioned) bliss!

Venue: Gettysburg Battlefield Bed & Breakfast, Gettysburg, PA

DJ: Then We Danced

Their full gallery can be found here:
Dennis Wedding Gallery
(You'll need the password from Sam or Jenn)

 

 

David & Holly Engagement, Hanover, PA

We are shooting David and Holly's Wedding this November. They will be getting married at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Hanover, PA and will have their Reception in the Cascade Room at Hickory Falls in Hanover, PA.  

We had a beautiful evening 2 weeks ago for their Engagement Session at Longarm Reservoir in Hanover, PA. We even braved a few raindrops during the session, but the clouds sure were spectacular for this sunset session. 

David and Holly wanted to have their dog, Duncan in some of the photos, and as avid dog lovers ourselves, we were happy to include him!

Congrats on your engagement and we are looking forward to working with you on your Wedding Day!

Tony & Michaela Wedding, Littlestown, PA

Tony & Michaela Williams were married on Saturday, May 20, 2017.  It was a cloudy and chilly day, but luckily the rain stayed away.  We got to know them before the wedding when we did their Engagement Session at Devil's Den in the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA.  In lieu of favors, they made a donation to the American Cancer Society in their guests' honor.  The personalized M&M candies with their names and wedding dates were a unique touch for the table decorations. 

We shared a few of our favorite photos below. You can see their entire album at: http://www.poormandesigns.com/williamswedding
(You'll need the password from Tony or Michaela)

Wedding & Reception Venue: Littlestown Eagles FOE 2226, Littlestown, PA

Congrats to the new Mr & Mrs!