Today I’d like to share a little look behind the scenes of a First Look photo shoot. (For those who aren’t immersed in wedding lingo, a First Look is what we call it when a couple decides to see each other prior to their wedding ceremony. Check out some pros and cons of doing a First Look here.)

One of the things I love about wedding photography is the unpredictable nature of what we do. We may have a detailed plan get derailed for any number of reasons, but there is always a way to adapt and make the best of the situation that we possibly can.

Jen and Josh had their first date at the (now closed) Pittsburgh Public Market in the Terminal Building. If you don’t know the Terminal Building by name, you’d know it when you see it – it’s that long building on Smallman Street in the Strip District that runs from about 16th Street to 21st Street.

Just like at their first date, Josh bought some flowers for Jen. He then waited under the overhang for Jen to approach.


Here’s what you don’t see. As Jen started making her way up the steps to meet Josh, a small group of people (some wearing really bright colors) arrived and plopped down just a little way past where Josh stood. Jen was already walking… I had no time to stop the moment and ask the people to move. So, I did what any wedding photographer would do – I adapted by changing my composition a little bit to avoid getting them in the background, as in the photo above. But, I also shot a few that included them to document the surprise background element!

Pamela, my second shooter, didn’t have it any easier, as with her angle she had to work around a pile of garbage bags. (And me!)

I definitely would have preferred an alternate scenario where these folks did not sit down at this particular moment. But, this is all part of the job when you shoot weddings. Whether it’s a guest stepping into the aisle to snap an iphone photo during a ceremony, a unity candle positioned in front of a fire extinguisher, or a dark reception room, we always find a way to make it work.

Are you planning a wedding? I’d love to talk to you about it! Contact me to see if your date is available. I make videos, too.