What to Wear as a Wedding Photographer (Top Picks)
Deciding what to wear as a wedding photographer was a bigger decision than I first imagined. The key to an appropriate wedding vendor dress code is to strike a balance between blending in and feeling comfortable all while looking professional at the same time.
I’ve spent some time researching what a photographer should wear to a wedding and now I can share my thoughts below. Read on to discover some great tips for wedding vendor attire.
What to wear as a wedding photographer? Photographers should make sure to wear dark or neutral-colored clothes that are comfortable, low-key, and appropriate to the event. Male photographers could wear dark slacks, a neutral-colored shirt, and perhaps a waistcoat and casual jacket. Female photographers could wear comfortable dark high-waisted pants, a neutral-colored blouse, and a cardigan or jacket if working in cooler temperatures.
What to Wear as a Wedding Photographer
Recommendations: Female Wedding Photographer Outfits / Clothes
I’ve taken some time to recommend some specific items of clothing and footwear that female photographers or videographers could wear for shooting weddings. This list of recommendations contains affiliate links.
Recommendations: Male Wedding Photographer Outfits / Clothes
For male wedding photographers/videographers, here are some suggestions for what to wear when working. This list of recommendations contains affiliate links.
Wedding Day Pants
Why should wedding photographers wear the correct attire?
There are 3 key benefits wedding photographers receive from wearing the right clothes while working at a wedding.
- Better comfort.
- Improved discretion.
- An improved mindset.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
You know, because you’ve been there many times, when shooting a wedding, you’ll find yourself squatting down to get a low-angle shot, stretching over a fence or wall, or skipping through a field of long grass. Do you really want to do all that in an expensive tuxedo outfit? Heck no! Never. Besides the tux getting completely destroyed, you’ll risk splitting your trousers and also, you just won’t have that flexibility that you need to shoot at a creative level.
A good tip is to always keep spare trousers in your trunk. They can (and do) split and you’ll be eternally grateful to me for this tip if it ever happens to you at a wedding and you just happened to have a spare pair stowed away based on this advice.
An expensive suit or tuxedo simply isn’t practical to shoot a wedding. Years ago, the old school advice was “always wear a suit and tie to photograph a wedding” but this came from a place and time where the creativity level was nowhere near the level it has evolved to today. Sorry, Uncle Bob!
If you only take one thing away from this article it is this: Comfortable shoes for weddings are ESSENTIAL!
This is so true. Besides the fact that you’ll be standing for like 12 to 14 hours straight, you might also find yourself walking on all kinds of terrain. Comfy shoes for weddings are worth their weight in gold.
For ladies, no heels! Unless you’re crazy that is. Except of course, if you’ll be confined to the beach. Also, no open toe styles like sandals.
I almost forgot to mention sunblock. A smart outfit is not the only thing you’ll want to wear to weddings. You’ll definitely need to consider applying sunscreen if there is even the slightest chance of getting sunburnt while filming or photographing a wedding.
Any smart wedding photographer or filmmaker today will do their best to discreetly blend in like a guest and not draw attention to themselves. Guests in attendance will often judge the photographer or videographer simply by what they are wearing. If they are doing their job right, they probably won’t even be noticed. There is sometimes an expectation for the wedding vendors to wear all black. Unobtrusiveness is another nice word to describe this level of discretion.
How can a wedding shooter remain discreet?
By wearing plain, dark clothing and no fancy bling jewelry that attracts a lot of attention from people. Most professionals opt for black but if it’s too hot, greys or beige can work well too. Again, it’s all about blending in.
What should a male photographer wear? For men, the general idea is to wear comfortable slacks or dark golf trousers, a neutral professional-looking shirt, and perhaps a casual jacket. A waistcoat can look good too, as long as it isn’t flashy. A tie is optional. In a nutshell, what you wear should match your branding.
Others will advise female photographers or videographers around the world to dress like they were wedding guests. Now, while they’ll certainly blend in, I disagree with this advice for a few reasons. Firstly, I think it might only confuse people and secondly, high heel shoes and a long skirt with tighter fabric is just not going to be practical to wear during a fast-paced wedding shoot.
I’ve already mentioned some old school advice above. Another gem from that era is to cover up any tattoos or piercings. That’s debatable today. Tattoos are so much more popular now and if you have a lot of ink and your couples love that, then you’ll know exactly what to do. Clients who are a good fit for your brand would simply not care!
In short, clients and their guests will appreciate it if you’re doing your best to blend in unnoticed.
An Improved Mindset
Wearing the right clothes while shooting a wedding will change how you feel. Besides the more obvious advantages of blending into the background and feeling more comfortable, you’ll also be able to ‘get into the zone’ by feeling good while filming. This will ultimately have a positive impact on the quality of your wedding photography or film, right?
Dressing well can really improve your mindset and help get you into the creative zone. If you feel good, your creative juices will be flowing and you’ll perform better.
Choosing the right attire will definitely change how a wedding photographer feels on the day.
Other Dresscode Factors to Consider When Deciding What to Wear to a Wedding
We’ve covered the basics, but there are other factors to consider.
Is the wedding formal or casual?
Very broadly speaking, a wedding will loosely follow one type or the other.
A formal wedding might involve a ballroom situation where everything is happening indoors and the only appropriate thing to do is dress more formally. That’s OK. As we’ve mentioned above, the important thing is to blend in with what you wear to a wedding.
On the other extreme, a very casual wedding, let’s say on a beach, will call for something more relaxed in terms of what a photographer should wear. In these circumstances, sandals and a shirt hanging out might be totally fine. If in doubt, always ask the clients.
For adventurous wedding shoots, you might find that you’ll need to wear hiking boots or even gum-boots (wellies) to go over rougher terrain. It’s a clever idea to keep a spare pair of pants in your trunk just in case!
Etiquette & Culture
Speaking of asking the clients, if you’ll be photographing a wedding that has cultural elements that you’re unfamiliar with, always check with your couple or their wedding planner if you’re unsure what to wear. In some cultures, the color white is associated with death. So wearing white in these circumstances is a big no-no because it may offend clients and their guests.
Why do photographers wear black?
Wearing black helps a photographer or videographer to blend into the background much easier. Another reason why seasoned wedding professionals often wear black is due to the fact that it’s more difficult for grubbiness to be seen on darker clothes. It’s impossible to remain completely clean after working hard for 12 to 14 hours, right?
Best practices for what NOT to wear when working at a wedding
The idea here is that we’re trying NOT to stand out. Here are some best practices for what you should avoid when deciding what to wear to weddings:
- Don’t wear bright, flashy colors in case you end up in the background of photos. You’ll stand out like a sore thumb.
- Avoid flip flops, sneakers, sandals, and yes, even your favorite slippers!
- No denim jeans or jackets.
- No shorts, no t-shirts.
- No tuxedo, unless it really is appropriate to do so.
- For ladies, low cut tops are not ideal as they will attract attention and that’s not the aim of the game. You might be bending over to get a shot down low and end up giving the entire bridal party a right eyeful. (It was a female videographer friend that suggested this tip to me when I was asked for her feedback on this article).
I hope you found this ‘what to wear to a wedding as a wedding photographer or videographer’ guide helpful. It’s unfortunate that there’s more to worry about than wedding photography on the wedding day. You’ll need to make sure that your outfit makes you look like a true professional. Now that you have a better idea of how you can be comfy and look smart at the same time go and make some awesome wedding memories!