When fashion-expert Melanie Elturk e-mailed me to ask if I had any requests for her next style article I raised my hand and said, “Oh oh, pick me! Pick me!”. (Except I tried to sound a little more casual. It is super-cool Melanie, after all.) I realize most people aren’t wedding photographers, but I think her advice could apply to other situations where you need to look professional at a social event.
So without further ado….here are Melanie’s style tips for photographers:
As a photographer, you’ve probably asked yourself, “what should I wear?” more than once. While there are no hard and fast rules to dress for a wedding shoot, there are a few guidelines one should follow. Read on for some insight and great tips to help you choose the perfect ensemble for shooting!
While you want to look professional, comfort is key. Three piece suits or high heels are not ideal to be running around in all day. You want to move around easily, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and consider layering to account for temperature changes throughout the day. It may be a good idea to wear something with pockets to stash your extra lenses, batteries and other accessories for easy access.
Black Tie Soirée or Beach Bum Event?
What you wear to shoot a wedding may depend on the atmosphere. If the wedding is a black tie event at a five star hotel, you may want to consider slacks and a jacket or even a comfortable cocktail dress for women. If the wedding is on a beach and the bride and groom are wearing flip-flops; khaki’s and a loose top or a sundress may be appropriate. When in doubt, consult the couple! Ask them if they have anything in mind when it comes to attire. Not only will this give you clarity, it will demonstrate your concern for every detail of their big day!
When in Doubt, Wear Black
Wearing all black is a safe option. It’s a good idea to try and blend in rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Want to look more like a creative professional rather than a vendor similar to the wait staff? Consider adding a scarf or some other unobtrusive accessory to spruce up your outfit. Wearing all black is versatile as it works well for casual and more formal events (Karen wore black pants and a black polo-shirt to my formal-wear wedding and it was perfect!).
Many churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have different dress restrictions, so be sure to check with your clients about certain dress requirements when shooting religious ceremonies.
Image is Everything
Keep in mind there are potential clients at the event. Portraying yourself in a professional manner through your dress and actions is extremely important. When in doubt, err on the side of dressing conservatively. While your image starts with your appearance, it ends with your competency, confidence and courtesy. Dressing the part will help you carry out the professional image you want to portray. The bottom line? Look respectable and you’ll get respected.
What to Avoid
– Avoid wearing all white at the wedding. White is for brides only!
– Jeans are generally not a good idea as they take away from your professionalism.
– Stay away from bright, flashy colors. All eyes should be on the bride and groom, not you!
– Avoid big, clunky jewelry and accessories that may get in the way of your equipment.
– Try not to wear overly revealing clothing, as it can be distracting.
And special thanks to my good friend Nikki at Mascara and Building Blocks who built a style board based on Melanie’s tips!