No matter where you live in the US, if you Google “wedding photographer,” your search engine will generate a list of at least ten professional party photographers in the vicinity. In addition to those listings, another dozen or so sponsored links attract clicks with discounts, free albums, and other deals.
So if you’re running a photography business, you can bet your clients expect you to show up on time and dress professionally. While different types of weddings will have different dress codes–for instance, you probably don’t have to wear a suit to a beach wedding–there is one crucial rule to keep in mind when dressing for the job: Don’t stand out.
How do wedding photographers dress? Here are some general rules for how to dress at any type of wedding, regardless of location or religious affiliation:
- Look sharp. Iron everything. You won’t be in any of the photos, but guests will notice the shabby guy or gal running around with the photography equipment.
- Wear sensible shoes. You’ll be lugging around heavy equipment and may be climbing ladders and chairs. A small heel is OK for a female photographer, but sneakers, sandals, and flip-flops are a huge no-no. (Unless, of course, you’re snapping shots on the sand.)
- Don’t dress in street wear. Ever. Don’t wear baseball caps, saggy jeans, or t-shirts (especially those with inappropriate sayings or images). For a very informal wedding, say, a courthouse nuptial and backyard party, you can probably get away with black slacks, shoes and black tee.
Most wedding photographers can gauge appropriate attire during their interview with the bride and groom, during which it will be revealed if the reception is going to be religious, black tie, informal, or themed. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when asking yourself how to dress:
- Religious and cultural weddings. For certain types of religious weddings, men and women have very strict clothing requirements. For a conservative Jewish or Muslim wedding, females may be required to wear a dress or even a head covering.
- Formal weddings. Fitting in is your best bet. That goes for staff as well. Showing up in a shabby, off-the-rack suit will make you stand out among the sea of tuxedos and gowns. At the same time, lay low on the jewelry. For men this shouldn’t be an issue. But female photographers should resist wearing their best sparkling jewels.
- Informal affairs. It’s impossible to predict how guests to these affairs will show up. While some backyard parties are elegant events with tents, fountains, and carved-ice sculptures, others are BBQ shindigs with guests sporting their favorite sports jerseys. Often, male and female photographers can get away with the all-black get up: black jeans or slacks, tee or button-up, and black shoes or tennis shoes. If you’re sure the informal party has no dress code policy, khaki pants with a white tee or button up is perfectly acceptable attire. For professional purposes, you should still avoid dressing down in shorts, a t-shirt, a baseball cap, etc., regardless of how the guests are dressed. Every affair is an opportunity to hand out business cards.
Since it’s impossible to predict what kind of expectations your bride and groom will have for the wedding staff, asking your clients how they expect you to dress is the best approach. And don’t hesitate to remove your tie or stash less formal wear in your car if you show up in a nice suit and find that you’re sticking out like a sore thumb.
About the Author
This article was written by Ross Taylor on behalf of e&b photography from Oakland, California. They always dress right for the occasion when performing their services, whether they’re in the capacity as a wedding photographer or at a corporate event.
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: