Importance of the First Look


Wedding Cinematography


Lesson Info

Importance of the First Look

so now we're gonna talk about the first look how many of you guys have done first looks before never never okay traditional that's the key but what have we done with wedding cinematography we're kind of like we're breaking tradition slowly but surely we're breaking tradition because traditionally they never used to have first looks right I don't remember back when I started anybody doing first looks but now it's become so common and it really is such a great moment but you do have some bribes from the south that are traditional right and they don't want their man to see them before the ceremony and I have rights like that most of my brides that encounter they'll tell me I'll ask are you doing first look ono oh no he's not seeing me till I get to the church okay uh what time's your ceremony oh seven p m I said okay great what you gonna do right after the ceremony we'll take family pictures it's ok and what do you do after that well we do some candid photos I said it's gonna be dark out ...

right and then they go into shock wave do photos like together candid photos right so they're like oh my god what ideo says you do a first look take care of the photos before the ceremony that way after the ceremony you can just enjoy cocktail hour and then go on to the reception and you have all your candid shots but not only that you have what another amazing moment besides the point where the bride's coming down the aisle right and the group's team for the first time now you have this intimate setting where he's seeing her for the first time and I tell the bride so listen one situation has nothing to do with the other just just because of the fact that he's going to see you at the first light it has nothing to do with setting at the church because at the church he seen you for the first time in front of like three hundred people and he's seen you for the first time being walked down the aisle by your father I mean the nerves were completely different the butterflies are still going and I've had grooms on hour after the first look crying like babies when the bride comes down now so it's a completely different environment it's a completely different setting so I try to just get the bride at ease and really try to get her thinking about doing the first load because the first look is so advantageous and there's no drawbacks to do on a first look not a single one unless your traditional bride that just sat on the fact that you don't want him seeing you before the game and that's right and that's fine and I always tell the bride this is very important you never want to change their vision for the wedding the only thing that we do as professionals because we're all experience and we know what looks good right we just offer suggestions I just offer food for thought and I tell the bryce listen I'm just gonna offer you some food for thought based on the things that I know are going to look great you can either take them or you can not take them but at the end of the day I don't want to change what whatever your vision is for your wedding I don't want to change that so be very careful not to kind of be so overwhelming with your requests you know our suggestions that you just she just gets kind of scared that you're gonna change her whole day and her whole vision and things like that so just merely same thing with lighting and same thing with one we're doing bride perhaps we're just offering suggestions on things that are we make her and this groom look their best and trust me most people want to look their best so ninety nine percent of the time or hundred you're going to get what you want you just have to kind of educate them and let them know why they maybe should think about doing it first because maybe they're getting married at night and they still want to take with him all these memories of them passing time together in beautiful natural sunlight when they were dressed like this you know with great tux and the bride in her beautiful dress so talk to them a little bit and explain to that I always explain to them the advantages of doing a first look because I'll tell you most especially the groom's I gotta tell you before this is all about the party for them they just want to hang out with the boys and drink and have fun and party and then they usually tell the wife this eliza just tell me where to show up with time and I'll be there that's that's their best they're kind of approach to this whole wedding day whereas the bright it's not like that this is the main event of their life this is one of the main events of their life it's so important something that they dreamed about soto them it's so much more important important so when the groom's sitting with her with a bride and he's like I don't know about this first look thing and I said we'll think about it instead of doing photos you go drink with your boys before the reception I'm down with the first look you know so all all of a sudden you've got the groom right away as soon as you tell him he'd go drink with his boys during cocktail hour you got the groom now you just gotta work on the bride a little bit now here's the thing with the bride when you do the first look this is one thing it guarantees that the brights not gonna be late to the ceremony it's a guarantee because she's already dressed makeups already done because she's doing all these photos before the ceremony so number one it's impossible that she's late to the ceremony because of lack of makeup or she's not dressed or she doesn't have her accessories on or anything like that it's done number two say she does all these photos they see each other beyond the great moment that you're gonna have for film um if she does all this stuff she does all the photos and she has an extra thirty minutes to spare before the ceremony it's only a good thing right because now she can do what she can relax she could get touched up she can refresh he can unwind she could get ready for this big ceremony now if she's fighting the clock right and she's gonna be later ceremony what's happening it's creating stress and the stress is creating unflattering imagery for you for her these memories okay so it's kind of easy to talk them into a first look situation especially if they're getting married at night if they're getting married at night and you can talk them into a first look you have to like just restructure your approach because that should be one of the easiest things to negotiate is a first look if they're getting married at night because honestly unless you're doing it after shoot after the wedding they're not gonna have any candid moments together not in natural light and if they're spending a lot of money to get married in you know this grand places that's got this you know this majestic views and the architecture is just phenomenal and it just looks maybe you can't see that at night at all they could give me they could be getting married at the holiday inn across the street and you would know the difference you know because it's night time so I'm definitely a proponent off first looks number one why it's going to give us more content and really really good content especially when you do the first look you think about making up the groom because what happens when they meet there's beautiful words that are being spoken and that is that's major content beyond the visual eye candy stuff like the shots that were using our own creativity to get when you get words being spoken that's much better than the visual I can all day long that's better that's more compelling than the visual I can't because when they're watching the film they're actually being connected to what's going on right from that wedding day it's not like there's like handy where it's just kind of you know it sprinkled over music and things like that audio connects them tow what's going on that that's why we do time shifting and we use speeches and vows and and letter writings and all this stuff because we're one add interest but we want to connect the viewer to the film so first looks is a great way to connect uh the viewer to the film so you talk to the bride you convince him to say you know what maybe we'll do a first look now great ok and a lot of times why do a lot of brides do first looks what has already convinced them to do a first look even the traditional ones they've seen it in your work they've gone on your website they've looked at a film and they're like when did they do this it looks like it looks like he saw her before the ceremony like yeah that's that's the reveal or the first look it looks beautiful it's gorgeous and I highly recommend but I don't want to change the vision of your day but it's a great idea and I explain why it's a great idea so you really have teo you've got a baby that first look because I always want a first look situation photographers always wanna first look situation because a lot of times they have a list of all these family members that they have to photograph during formals and all this stuff and the bridal party and you still want to do candidates and there just so limited on time that they're also big proponent off the first looks at least the ones that that I work with so you've convinced the bride to do this first look she's seen it and you were you know a lot of brides draw ideas from what they see in your work I can't tell you how many wedding the way that I was out last week they hired the rabbi because they saw him in one of my films and this guy is so eloquent when he spoke the words he speaks are just beautiful and they're like who's that rabbi I want the rabbi you know like I get this right by so much business just up and he actually has one of my films running on his web site because it's just this guy is like a dream for all for a for a storyteller for a filmmaker you know editing this movie together because he's so well paced his voice is so rich and he's eloquent and he actually during his service he tells a unique story about the couple right so basically what he does is he sends he has the groom right that basically write down his feelings about the bride and why he wants to get married and spend the rest of his life with this girl and then he does he has a bride do the exact same thing but he reads it at the ceremony and the way that he reaches is just like wow tohave that and that's that's why I tell you the importance of audio is just it's so critical because imagine if you didn't have that audio or nice rich audio of this rabbi so audio is just so important but also important is inspiring your brides you know they're inspired by by things that they see in your work whether I its first look whether it's personal vows even gift exchanges I remember one time I had a bright asked me she said is my wedding going to go on your website you know like the highlights or whatever and I said I don't know I haven't filmed your wedding yet and I started to explain to her that you know to really do highlights nfl we need a lot of content so the highlights doesn't look like a repeat of the film or vice versa so she goes what do you mean content and I said well you know sometimes you know you get to these white days and they have like personal vows they do a first look they do gift exchange the letter and they do all the stuff and and I left it at that and then a year passed by and I was at the wedding and I met bright perhaps and I'm filming and the bride's like in a beautiful natural light and I hadn't even adjusted anything in a high chair and everything's just gorgeous and I'm really gorgeous bride and I looked over and I saw one of the bridesmaids and she's like in perfect light she's sitting on a college and she's writing out her speech for the night right on and I was just like and I'm bouncing around the room and I'm in heaven I couldn't believe it so then I looked across this way and I see like the maid of honor and she's in perfect light and she steaming the dress like this almost like scripted on I was just like this is crazy and I sort of I sort of got this true story they start doing gift exchanges letter writing speech writing writing vows I mean the make of the whole bit and I was like wow and then finally one of the bridesmaids she asked me she says uh ray are you getting enough content today you know for the film she has me just like that and I totally forgot the conversation I had with the bride you know a year earlier and I started laughing I could not believe it but I literally had more content than I'd ever had because she got up she basically got all the bridesmaids maid of honor on the same page as faras natural light and contest she basically educated them and what I had educated her at the console so they do listen and trust me they're inspired work it's just like a bride that gets ah a certain very weighing dress or certain uh louboutin shoes you know whatever they're called maybe she's seen those and she's been inspired she's seen a certain wedding cake they're very inspired by our work and things that they see in pictures and video andi I've had a lot of brides you this a lot of the same music you know for the first dance for instance you know like that I've used in one of my highlights I'll see it in their first dance as sita their ceremony ah lot of things a lot of these ideas like there are it's like going on a wedding inspiration site and drawing that inspiration for your own wedding they're doing the same thing with our work they're seeing you working they're like wow I want my wedding to be just as beautiful maybe by a lot of the same things I'll have the chance to have you know film that has all these beautiful things so trust me they're drawing inspiration from your work and they're seeing things that are kind of given in the ideas and then they're even asking me like hey what was this that this book I did and what was that that this you know and things like that and in the end everyone he's going to be unique because you'll always have different people different personalities and different environment different of course so it's never going to look the same they may do some of the same things but it should never look the same all right so let's talk about my favorite thing to do one of my favorite things to do because it's just a content builder uh besides preps is his first look but what's one of the problems has that look appear um what's one of the problems we have during first looks outside anything outside we talked about this earlier lighting it's bad lighting it's harsh light it's usually two o'clock lighting three clock lighting four o'clock lighting it's not it's not that magic hour that beautiful lighting that we're looking for so you have a lighting issue so you always have to make sure that whatever you're cameron was right we need to discuss cameron was here in a few minutes that every angle kind of has a nice a zb estas possible you have a nice even lighting you know so in this situation here this is perfect lighting for this crime this murder is a little bit overexposed but you don't see any shadows you don't see any any of the effects from the hard light right it's coming from up above and behind him I've got all this green stuff that's kind of blocking all these blown out areas from that from that harsh sunlight so this is the front angle and this is this is a result then you can see as the bride's coming she's nice and evenly lit so you have to consider every angle and then this is this is another angle and you'll notice I'll go through another one you don't see the site angle here but I'll show you sighting on another one generally for the first looks I'll set up two cameras will have one that's kind of shooting long from in front of the grown backto where the brights making that long walk and then I'll have one on the side now the reason that I have one on the side is this groom is going toe ultimately turn away from my camera and I'm just going to have his back so I need a camera that kind of gets both side profiles and that's where the side and I love to have that camera just be static because I don't want that camera moving and like I tell you before we've all seen it if we have a second camera person they have the tendency to kind of fiddle with the camera maybe move the camera make some adjustments that we just don't need you know we just need to set the camera compose it from the get go so you always have the groom out their first saw check lighting generally it's hot I make my assistant the groom and I'll just stay stand here I think alex did we do that yeah one of our one of our attendees here in the live studio he actually came out and helped us with a shoot here in california and same thing he could tell you I used him he was basically the stunt double for the groom and I had him there and I positioned where I wanted the groom to be positioned I checked the lighting to make sure the lighting was gonna be okay that it was gonna be overexposed and once I was ready in the spot was set I brought in my main player which was the group because you don't want the groom out there being hot and uncomfortable and going through this whole pre preparation of the first look you know you kind of just want to leave him alone let him be relaxed but you need to know like exactly where you're going to need him to stand in relation to your camera the type of land use and whatnot here's another one not this one this one was unique because it was so the light was so harsh outside and there was no shade there was nothing we actually took him inside of the building just inside the building but it was open to the outside right so so had the natural light coming in and and as you can see the light in there it looks great and it's nice and dramatic it's not so flat and this is his future wife and I was actually even though what's behind her is blown out I was actually able to do some silhouette stuff here which looked very dramatic and I'm always going for the more dramatic look in my work using the lighting to create dramatic imagery that's what I'm looking for so here and now she's coming down and you can tell she's well lit the whole time and then at some point I'm even going to get her reflection in the mirror back there is she coming down the stairs so you can think of all these things as you're setting the shot and and here's when they meet and you can see as the groom turns away and faces a bright now they're both evenly lit okay and look at the reaction I like you want to just leave this moment alone you never want to give any type of verbal direction for a first look you know because every the whole reaction that's going to be happening is so natural it's so compelled the last thing that you want to do is mess with this moment I mean you can't there's no verbal command for what you're seeing here this is just like wow and you know just the the happy emotions of her seeing this groom for the first time now imagine look at this imagine not having these shots for your film right is it is it kind of a shame you know for that's bride not tohave this intimate moment with her future husband I mean it's almost like an injustice not tohave these are lose out on this because guess what when she came down the aisle the girl was crying you know so now you have another beautiful the moment you know so but just imagine ripping out this content from your film it's just it's really just an injustice now here's another one this was really tricky because if you notice on the floor there their spots where it's blown out than its shade blown out than its shade on dh this gets really really tricky and of course um the background on the other side's was all blown out so now what do you do so now basically what we were doing here was we're using the broader party and that building back there too kind of block out that that harsh light but then you still have a problem because he's under a tree and the sun's kind of cricket through the trees and creating this mix light situation where you have areas that overexposed and then you have shaded areas and it's overexposed shaded you definitely want to have him in the exposed area and not a shaded her because what happens is if you have him in this shaded area and you try to expose his skin it's just gonna rule really blown out what's already blown out um so it's going to create a very bad situation but here we have a pretty even lighting and you can see here we're kind of using this background here as a canvas because what happens is if the camera's still just a little bit this way it was all blown out on this side because there was nothing to really block out the sun so here we're using all of this as a campus to kind of block out that harsh light and you could see how even in soft lighting is on him which you're gonna be great for when the bride comes up and now we have you know this is new york city so now we have all the uh other photographers amateur photographers out there but that's fine um and and you see nice even lighting when he turns they're both going to be very well lit together and this is in a very bad situation I tell you most of the situations that I've just shown you were all bad situation where there's very harsh light out and I tell you most of the situations they're going to deal with is all harsh light it's all for very blown out you have mixed lighting situations you have underexposed overexposed so it's just finding spots that kind of not only work for you but they also uh I have to work for the photographer remember solid shooting because you have to be solid and this is this is my rules for solid shooting is uh tripod for anything that deals with dialogue mono pod for everything else the only time you have to be really on a tripod or at least have one shooter on a tripod would be for speeches and ceremony anything to deals with dialogue even first looks because sometimes there's some there's some dialogue involved I've done first looks on a mono pod so it just depends what you want to do you know if you want a battle a seventy two two hundred on a mono pod and do rack focuses and all that that's gonna be very challenging so it just depends what your style is and what kind of shots you're going for um if you just have a fifty on your on your camera you're not going to be doing many rack focuses you could probably get away with even doing a model pot for a first look actually the wedding last week that I told you about where the power went out I did first look at a model because was very fast you know you have time to set up a tripod it just get it to go you know so you have to be prepared that sometimes you're going to end up in situations that are not perfect and you're gonna have to deal with because you still have to be able to capture the first look what I prefer to bend lock down on tripod of course but you just deal with it and hopefully you're well versed enough with a model pato where you can hold a you know semi solid shot and like some of the audience members asked about stabilizing filters just drop stabilising filter on there you know just make sure you leave yourself plenty of room in your in your frame toe where it can kind of punch and if it needs toe uh did you guys have any questions in regards to the first looks when you do the first look are you setting that up or does the photographer senator I will set it up but I will make sure that it's kosher with the photographer the photographer has an idea and here's the thing most of the weddings that I go to already scout this stuff in advance so I'm basically predetermining the spot and then I'll get with the photographer and I'll says hey I got this great spot so I basically done the work for the photographer and they love that unless they just have this idea in their mind when they have to do it somewhere else but I've never seen that happen where they said no I don't want to do it somewhere in fact last week they wanted teo the photographer had a re scouted the area and the place where we wanted to do the first look it was just never good and he was a traveling started he was actually hey actually flown in from new york so he wouldn't really know the venue like I knew the venue and I was like this is okay I know a better spot and then it was like let's take a look and then I went over there I showed him each angle he's like this is spot okay so sometimes you know if you talk to him you know you sound like you know what you're doing a little bit they might listen to you so you can come to a compromise you know now listen if he just had his own if he had his own idea in the first look away should happen you have to understand the first look is live you know it's it's kind of like it's one of those times during the day where it's motion video you know things were happening words you're being said there's a lot of there's a lot of activity going on within the frame whereas for a photographer first look may only mean a couple of photos whereas for us this is like a very this is a very critical part of our film is the first look because there's so many different elements involved so many different emotions words being spoken visuals so for us it's a lot more important then a photographer that's just getting a cup of photographs but maybe that photographer's got a better idea than you have so it's always good to listen scout it out if you come to you know an agreement together as long as the light is good honestly and I've got some natural even lighting I don't care where they do the first look you have tara for or whoever has an idea now the last thing you want is to have a wedding planner control where your first look happens and I've had venues that I showed up to and the wedding planner says oh my brides to do the first look here and it's like in the worst possible situation like indoors on a staircase where there's like no lighting and it's not a good situation and you just really have to assert yourself in that situation and said that's fine but today um you're bright so I do it this way you know because we've been hired to do it a certain way and it wasn't that way that type of thing so you just have to be careful but I've had situations where you know maybe there's a wedding planner there are coordinator and that they kind of have like their own ideas you know but they're not they're not the cinematographer you know they've got no background or experience or anything like that and they're not responsible for producing the film so you've got to kind of know when you need to make certain command decisions and not let other people interfere with what you got to dio many other questions questions online so a question came up from kobe kobe wanted to know do you ever read take the first look just so you can have different angles would you ask her to walk back out I know you wouldn't exactly capture the same emotion yeah so there are times and we'll see we'll see a film later on I think like on day three uh where I'll do some glad himself you know we'll take a guy camp stuff behind them I think on the shoot that we did with alex we did it like cam shot and the reason that I don't do the glide cam shot live is because you're going to be everybody shot not only yourselves we're going to be in the photographer shot and things like that so you have to be considerate you have to kind of compromise and say you know what let's just be solid for the actual first look because we'll capture the motions will capture the words too which is the most important thing and then after that if you want to get creative and get a couple candy shot some you know some visual eye candy we'll do it afterwards and not a big deal now you want to make sure if you're going to tie that into your sequence of the first look that you do it right away don't let the couple leave this spot now and start doing photos and things like that and then try to get them back because it's just gonna waste too much time you literally have to say if you have it in your mind that you're going to get like a great of shot that you want to tie together with the first look you got to do it right now and say hey you know tell the photographer say hey listen before you move them let me just get one shot real quick take like thirty seconds and you get the shot and then you just move on from there but yeah we definitely we'll definitely tie in some shots especially good guy camp shot because it does it does raise production value and as you'll see in that film the way that we used it in the first look it's a cool looking shot did you see it yeah so it looked good huh it looks really exactly if you tight and that's the reason you wanted you want them to do it right then without moving because there's kind of still in the zone of the first look I don't actually have them uh meet a second time because that's just fake that's not like the real actual emotions only thing I want is the bright actually making the approach of walking up to the groom so that's kind of ah the thing that I love to do because it's such a dramatic shot uh itt's visual eye candy it raises production value and and it's nice up in up close and personal but I still remember what do we have to do with the bride to make it look real what do we have to do what you have to evoke emotions right I have to get remember getting them in the zone so I have to go to nyu so listen I'm gonna get going to get a closer shot of you but I'm gonna walk with you you know with a guy like him I just want to get a different perspective but as you're walking up it's gotta be like the first time you walked up you know let if you love this guy you know just really get him in the zone and just concentrate on him think about him I want you to be happy and natural and all this so now like when you're walking with his bride and glide cam she's got this look on her face of anticipation because he wants to see this guy just like the first time when they met and now you can easily tie that into your sequence because what happens is if she was happy on the approach on the original one and then on the second one she's just like you know it's just kind of like walking normal you're gonna have a tough time kind of time that together so that's why it's important always to try to evoke some emotion you know to get her back in the zone get the emotions flowing naturally again that's really the purpose of a vulcan emotions is to get them acting natural again and let them know hey it's okay to be on camera it's okay just to be yourself again and just be natural and happy and and and I'm anxious to see him again that type of thing and they're always anxious to see him again because face it it's their wedding day they should be happy er there should be tons of smiles and love and laughter and things like that

Class Description

Ready to find out what separates wedding videographers from sought-after wedding cinematographers? Join acclaimed event cinematographer Ray Roman for a crash course in wedding cinematography.

As he shares what he’s learned about filmmaking working with NBA All-Stars, high powered CEOs, and everyone in between, Ray will guide you through every stage of filming a wedding, from first looks to post-production. You’ll learn about the key gear needed for documenting weddings. Ray will cover basic film structure and time-shifting methods. You’ll also explore both basic and advanced composition techniques that you can easily integrate into your workflow. Ray will also share his proven sales and marketing techniques for connecting with clients and turning consultations into sales.

By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills you need to market your services, capture weddings on film, and give your clients a jaw-dropping record of their once-in-a-lifetime event.