Photojournalism Weddings | What to Wear?

What to Wear?

February 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

How should your photographer dress?

You're ready to find a photographer for your wedding day and its time to play "Match Game".  OK, maybe you don't remember the lame 80's game show of the same name so let's do "take two"; it's time to play The Bachelorette and you're JoJo. Now you've got to find that photographer who's going to dress right for the big day. Really, do you want the photographer looking like he/she just came from the gym?

Let's read the script for this soon-to-be hit show;

You (JoJo): Photographers, how will you dress for my wedding day?

Photog 1: Well I'm a casual person so generally I wear what's at hand that morning, clean but not necessarily formal.

Photog 2: Does it matter? I mean I'm taking pictures of you so I'm concentrating on that and besides no one is looking at me, right? Not sure that's too important.

Photog 3: A wedding ranks very high on the formal-dress-required list so I dress appropriately,  usually in neat and clean black with dress shoes. As your photographer, I reflect your choices and values, so it's important to me that your guests see me as a classy and expensive photographer because that's the kind of person you are. Plus it goes without saying that dressing well is always a sign of good taste and respect.

Obvious choice for classy JoJo: Photog 3.

Do you even have to ask the photographers you're considering what they'll dress like? Damn Yes!  Yet, I'm never asked, so I make it a point to let her know I dress up.  Listen, the dress code for wedding photographers seems to have gone the way of film.  For some reason, many photographers - new and veterans alike - dress way too casual or even sloppy for a wedding.

Here's why that sucks: It's disrespectful of you, the client, who's paying a lot of money for the biggest party of your life (so far) and here's this photographer showing up like it's just another day, another pay. It's not!

It's a sign of a bad manners; It's a Wedding! Duh! That's totally formal, take a shower, wear your favorite dress up duds, dress for fun and show off your glad rags. I mean WTF? Who raised these slobs?  I wouldn't be caught dead in less than my best wedding day work outfit!

So what should the well dressed photographer wear on your wedding day?

Rule #1 Black is always in fashion. It's the wedding professionals' go-to color.

Rule #2 No sneakers, sandals, headbands, funky hats, cargo pants, jeans, shorts, biker vest, wife beaters, or tank tops.

Rule #3 Hot summer day wedding day? Short sleeve dress golf-type shirt with collar is acceptable.

Way back when, like the 70's and even the 80's  - photographers actually wore a tux. Whoa! - But that was when a photographer used one camera and shot maybe 120 photos - most posed.

Now, we use multiple cameras, shoot over 1,000 digital frames and move around quite a lot to capture spontaneous moments.  So we need to wear clothes that are comfortable, functional, yet stylish.

What you should expect your photographer to wear: At a minimum, black slacks with a matching black collared shirt (men), black dress shoes. For me (except in hot summer weather) I wear long sleeve black dress shirt, a really nice matching tie with a fitted formal vest.

On several weddings I've seen other professionals show up - and work! - like this: in a sweat suit; in a wrinkled shirt and tan denim pants; wearing cargo pants, with old running shoes and a plaid short sleeve shirt; denim jeans, a denim jacket over a green shirt not tucked into pants. "Hey can you do an oil change on my car after taking those pictures?" What a jackass.

But one "guest" at a very nice wedding at a classy country club was possibly the worst dressed slob I've ever seen at a wedding. He showed up in old cargo shorts, a plaid short sleeve shirt - again hanging out - work boots, no socks, a filthy camo hat and stunk like an ashtray. Everyone was dresses to the "nines" except this hillbilly whose main activity after dinner was to sit on the patio smoke and drink.

Back to the topic: When you interview photographers ,please, I beg you, ask how the photographer dresses at weddings. Make it a point! Insist that they dress "at the minimum" as I described above.  If they balk, drop 'em from consideration.  A professional worth their fee will answer like JoJo's pick of Photog 3.

It's your party so set the dress code for your photographer.


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