What makes a sophisticated wedding? Timelessness over trending, certainly. While your wedding can incorporate trending elements, a classic wedding will stand the test of time. The story of a sophisticated wedding relies heavily on a wide array of wedding captures and portraits of the people, the place, and the details that personalize the event.

Here are 21 wedding portrait ideas for sophisticated couples.

Wedding Portrait Ideas for Sophisticated Brides


Wedding Dress


Sophisticated weddings are a culmination of many elements coming together in a beautifully, curated detail. A bride’s wedding gown is the centerpiece of every moment of the day, reflecting her style and personality on one of her most glamorous days. Having a beautiful document of the wedding gown (or after party dress, as shown above) and its unique luxury details, from fabric to buttons, is a great way to remember your ultimate style at this moment in time. 



First impressions are everything and most wedding stories begin with the invitation that is sent to guests. Your invitation holds the key to not only the nuts and bolts of the who-what-and-where of your event but also the overall vibe of the weekend. Will is be breezy and casual or traditional and formal? The clues are all right there in your first communications with your guests. And what a keepsake for the weekend, a thoughtfully designed paper suite.

So much personalization is preserved in these beautifully crafted ephemera. Having your photographer artfully document the invitation suite is a great way to capture these timeless mementos.

Getting Ready


Excitement builds and getting dressed is the moment where much comes together. Emotion, energy, love, and laughter are in the air. Photos of this time can be some of the most candid and memorable. Consider a small amount of art directing by dressing the wedding party in coordinating robes and picking a location with ample natural light. Have the champagne ready and you’re all set for an amazing set of pictures with your dearest friends.

Bridal / Individual Portraits

A natural portrait rendering your beauty and joy in the day is the ultimate record of a wedding day. Leave enough time in the wedding day schedule to allow your photographer to work several locations. One mistake I see many couples make is not allowing enough time for the earlier part of the day. Hair and makeup timelines should be very generously padded to account for unanticipated elements or key players getting pulled away from their preparations. Remember your hair and makeup is literally in every picture so it’s important to get them exactly right. I also highly recommend doing a test run (or two) prior to the wedding day. Document everything with pictures so you can reference it at key moments. Once you are ready, let the portrait session begin, hopefully with ample time to take explore different locations and lighting situations.


Your Partner

Portraits of both partners should be considered into the timeline. Many couples get ready separately so this photo session could happen during the getting ready part of the day or just prior to the first look. Cultivating a relaxed atmosphere is a good way to keep everyone’s nerves at bay.

The First Look


The first look can be an emotional moment. It is the last time you spend together before your ceremony and party begins. And it goes by in a blink of an eye so it’s important to take time at the first look and just revel in the moment.

Some couples may choose to leave the first look for the ceremony. It’s obviously a very personal choice but from a photographer’s perspective, I see that a first look prior to the ceremony has many benefits. First and foremost, it provides privacy for this important moment. Many couples worry that their emotions will make them feel vulnerable in front of a crowd. Second, it allows for a more relaxed photo session since you will not be rushing in order to join cocktail hour. And third, it’s cherished time together on a day that goes by too fast already. I’ve literally never had a couple tell me they wished they hadn’t done a pre-ceremony first look.

Bridal Party


Your bridal party is full of people you love most in this moment in time. It is special to get to share this day with them! Show your appreciation for their support by having the beautiful memories captured. Work with your photographer to set up your bridal party session for success, such as finding a good location and making sure people are comfortable in the elements. If needed, provide a place to retreat from the elements. Consider bringing in seating and work with your photographer on inspiration photos to make sure this part of the day meets your expectations.

Children at Weddings


Nieces, nephews, children, and friends are all valued guests at your wedding, but extra sweet are the ones that participated in the ritual of your wedding ceremony. And these children will always remember their moment in the spotlight. Be sure to have your photographer capture the little ones! Sometimes it requires a quick session after the ceremony as many children are napping during the afternoon.

Framing up the Altar


This is the moment that makes is all official. Your ceremony is the culminating moment of the day, the part where it all comes together. Work with your venue or florist to make sure the scene is properly framed up. It’s also crucial that you understand where the sun will be during your ceremony time to make sure you and your guests are comfortable should it be shinning at full force. Many people opt for an arch or a traditional chuppah to create a focal point for the big moment. The decision of your ceremony scene is top consideration, don’t put off making plans for its design and execution.

Landscape of the Venue


The choice of where you get married is as much a part of the story as everything else. Having gorgeous captures of your location is part of the full picture of your wedding. Time to explore is another great reason to do a first look prior to the ceremony. This allows you to take advantage of all the best parts of your locale.

Florals and Details


What I remember about my wedding is that everything is a decision, from the flowers you carry to the presentation of the menu on the plate at the reception. Make a list of all the critical details, from the flowers to the printed goods and gather samples for your photographer so they don’t miss documenting any of your personalized items.

Luxurious Tented Weddings


If you’ve chosen to create a luxurious tented wedding, don’t forget to highlight the elegance of the space that you created.

The tent and landscape have come together to create the wedding venue of your dreams, so talk to your photographer about capturing the fruits of your hard work. I like to photograph the tent both in the daylight and also at twilight, with the lights glowing within. Magical, right?

Reception Decor


Your reception space is special. It houses the energy, emotions, and party that follow the ceremony. And just like your ceremony, you want to capture the space before the day inevitably ends too soon, and maybe before the party gets a bit wild.

Place Settings


You spent time and money picking out the place setting for a meal that is sure to impress. Make sure your photographer (or if necessary the second shooter) has access to the reception before guests are allowed to enter. This ensures their ability to capture the place settings and printed goods before they are used. Don’t forget to request that candles be lit prior to this window.

Your Parents

If you are lucky enough to have your parents at your wedding, it’s essential that they be captured on their own. Not just a participant but as a key player to the day. I like to make sure as a minimum that they be captured individually as well as as a couple, if married. A picture of the parents and kids without any spouses is often a fun one to have for posterity!

Overviews of the Design


A great shot for the memory books may be an overview of the wedding design. This can be done by capturing the essence of the day with your invitations, flowers, and small decor together. I like to capture this with a tripod which shows a bit of movement with the people but the decor elements stay locked down in the photo.

Intimate Portraits


Talk to your photographer about being present for the intimate moments between you and your partner behind the scenes. These photos can really capture how it felt to be there on the day.

Candid Moments


Laughter, tears, and the fleeting moments tell the story of the day between the main events. Some of the best photos are the ones taken when no one is looking! Or (in the case above) when the photographer says “all done.”

First Dance


This is a moment that you’ll want captured from different angles! The moment of the first dance is often the most joyful of the day. If you rehearsed a special dance that was choreographed, be sure to tell your photographer about any key moments (such as a dip at the end) so they can be in the right place to capture it.

 The Party


The energy is high and the dance moves are big! This is when the lights dim and the music is loud. After such a beautiful day, it’s time to let loose! Your photographer can capture some really fun shots during this time. A confetti bomb is a great photo opp as well.

The Last Moments


Create a photo opportunity that culminates the day in a memorable way. Sparklers, throwing rice, ribbon wands are all ways the guests can celebrate you one last time. Leaving on a high note will not only give you (and everyone, really!) another warm feeling about the day but may also provide the best shot of the day.

All photos are the exclusive property of Liz Banfield and are protected by copyright.


21 Portrait Ideas For Sophisticated Weddings

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