I recently was asked by a bride what I intended wearing to her wedding. It’s a good question.
The bride in question had seen another wedding locally and the photographer was wearing – in her words – “shorts, tshirt and a pair of thongs. It looked like he just didn’t want to be photographing a wedding and would rather be at a beach barbeque.”
It was a beach wedding at Byron Bay so the photographer was wearing beachy clothes. Problem was the male guests were all in suits and ties and the ladies in elegant dresses. My whole ethos is about fitting in at the wedding. I don’t bounce about directing traffic and being a ‘look at me’ photographer. So my clothes reflect that. Other than the camera gear I have on me, you might think I am just another guest.
As a photographer you have to be comfortable but you can do it easily with clothes that fit in. I find jackets and coats too restrictive so only wear a shirt but I know another photographer who always wears a suit. Although he makes the concession of getting his jackets made a couple of sizes too large to have greater freedom of movement. Another photographer insists that he and his assistants can wear anything they want as long as they have on leather shoes, long trousers and a collared long sleeved shirt – and in any colour they choose – as long as it is black.
So what do I wear? It depends. I have been specifically asked by a bride and groom in the past to wear shorts and no shoes but that is the exception and they asked me to do it (all the guests did). Normally I am wearing black pants, black boots and a white Ralph Loren shirt. For a wedding in a big church or cathedral I normally wear an outfit based around a great pair of Rod and Gunn shoes that I can walk silently in on the polished stone floors of those churches.
An additional bonus of dressing like a guest is that you will know exactly when people are either hot or cold and as the photographer adjust your plan accordingly to make sure everyone remains happy and comfortable.