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Photography Question 
Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005

What Does a Wedding Photographer Wear?

As a wedding photographer, I dress in a more dressy attire whiling filming. Would it be wrong to wear a uniformed T-shirt and khakis? I am a hired vendor and am not there as a guest. DoI have to dress up for the event?

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5/11/2006 2:40:50 PM

Kerry L. Walker   Well, I usually wear faded jeans, a T-shirt and sandals myself. Seriously, you are a hired vendor but it is a wedding for goodness sake. You are a professional and should dress the part. Even when I have shot a backyard wedding I wore a suit.

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5/11/2006 2:59:15 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  It could play to an advantage if you dressed not necessarily in your best, but dressed up enough to blend in. Make it easier to get candids. And get other people relaxed. I wouldn't do a suit if it meant getting hot and keeping up with a jacket.

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5/11/2006 4:37:40 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I've worked for many years as a caterer, and most of the photographers I've worked with dress as the guests do. Not flashy or sartorially eloquent like the bridal party but not like a slob either. It's usually somewhere in between.

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5/11/2006 5:37:06 PM

Paul Tobeck
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/19/2005
  I would say khakis, a nice polo and perhaps a blazer at the minimum to show respect for the couple. You don't have to wear a suit, per se, but you don't want to get the reputation of being a slob, either. It's all about appearances and being a professional.

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5/11/2006 5:38:56 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  I did a wedding interview once and the mother of the bride told me that she went to a wedding where the female photographer was wearing a see-through blouse... I was shocked. I then went to a wedding and the wedding coordinator had the shortest skirt in the room and was drinking a martini to boot. Now as for the guests, it always amazes me how in this day and age 'anything goes' - one guest is in jeans and the other in Oscar De La Renta.
I say dress professional. I always wear a black pant suit (with pockets) as not to be too noticed by the guests. I agree that you have to be comfortable ... but there are lots of potential clients at that wedding (including the bridal party), and the way you present yourself is of the utmost importance.
Good luck!

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5/11/2006 6:14:18 PM

Deborah Liperote
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2006
  I always wear a very flowing pair of black pants with a dressy top, and you wouldn't believe the compliments I get on how professional I am. Show your customers respect and they will recommend you! If you dress nice, then you train people how they should treat you ... with respect!

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5/11/2006 6:45:52 PM

Holly Marie Spoonley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Thank you for the feedback. I always make an attempt to dress nice. I just wasn't sure if I had to get dressier or less dressy. I thank everyone for their time and comments!

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5/16/2006 12:37:41 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  I usually wear black pants, a nice top (make sure you can't see down it when you bend over, or your groom will be copping an eye full!) and make sure you wear flat shoes!!!!

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5/16/2006 6:28:29 PM

Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  GREAT TOPIC! I've been wondering about this, too. I have my first wedding next month...a SUPER casual wedding on the beach in Houston in June (H-O-T!!!) and I have NO idea what to wear. I don't want to be TOO dressed up (in a suit as I had originally planned) and stick out like a sore thumb, but not too casual as to be unprofessional, either. In this case, since it's a khakis and white shirts barefoot on the beach style wedding, would it be best if I dress down a bit in similar clothing (maybe linen pants and a nice white top)?

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5/17/2006 12:23:57 PM

Dale    Dear Holly,

Yes, it is recommended that a photographer dress up to shoot a wedding. Everyone at the wedding will be watching your every move, and how you present yourself will be a reflection of who you are. At weddings, people often first notice what type of photographic gear you're using, then they begin to take notice what type of attire you are wearing, and how you go about presenting yourself as a professional photographer. The way you interact with the guests, the manner in which you ask people to pose, your tone of voice, your command presence as far as do people perceive a sense of confidence and style as you're going about shooting the wedding. Even if you don't regard yourself as a full time professional wedding photographer, it is important to dress for the occasion to avoid the risk of insulting someone. A simple rule would be to dress as if you were one of the guests attending the event.

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5/17/2006 12:26:00 PM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  Laura, yes I think that would be ok being that it is a beach wedding....BUT....I would show up with a jacket over it just to start off...than take it off as the wedding starts and you get down to work. HVE FUN!!! I have a beach wedding in June and I love them. This one is at 7:00 pm so it should be nice.

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5/17/2006 12:41:23 PM

Barbara Wenneberg   I usually try to wear something along the lines of the colors of the wedding. Nice slacks and a blouse in the wedding color. Comfortable shoes is a Must.

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5/17/2006 2:14:13 PM

Jo Shastri   I wear black pants, a white shirt and a black vest. I don't wear the jacket as our summers are very hot in Australia. Looking professional like this has got me a lot of other customers at weddings I have shot. As you may already know...Image is everything in our business!!!

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5/18/2006 12:22:10 AM

Jerry Frazier   It totally depends on the image you want to portray. Professional is good, whatever that means. I want to look like a creative professional, NOT like a vendor. I want to look different than the caterer and DJ and waitstaff.

I also want to blend in a bit.

At a beach wedding, I always ask the couple what the situation is, and then depending on how they answer will depend on what I wear. Often, to beach weddings, I'm casual. Pair of Khaikis, a nice aloha shirt, and dress sandles. If it's more dressy, white linen slacks, a nice off-shite dress shirts, and dress sandles. If it's formal, then I just wear a summer suit, and take off the jacket once I'm there.

There's much mor eto the image than what you wear at a wedding. It's also in how you approach your job. But, I do agree that images is really important. Be careful with that one. It's always best to err on the side of being conservative. But, again, it depends. I know guys who do not want that image. They want to be known as the crazy creative photographer. And, they are known for that, and they do quite well being uncommon. But, if you are asking here, you are probably not that type anyway.

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5/18/2006 5:28:42 AM

David King   In the advertising world there is a concept called "Implied Value." It means that people will make judgements about the quality of a product based on the quality of the packaging. That may not be fair -- for people or for products -- but it is reality. If you are in this to make money and to gain the widest range of clients possible, look professional. If one does not know what that means they are in the wrong profession. For every potential client out there that wants the wild and crazy shooter there will be ten that would be turned off by it. And if you aim for the major events, the large ticket weddings, the odds are heavily in favor of them wanting to hire someone that comes across like there is a chance the delivery will be as promised not forgotten in some daze because the vibes weren't auspicious. The poster noting that others are present and watching is right on point. A lot of future work comes from the guests and the more expensive the wedding the more cautious the potential clients because more money is going to be riding on it. What you do not want is them snickering at you and casting doubts.

The comment about your image being more than dress is also important. It starts with the appearance -- there is no way around that -- but then they also have to see a competent, confident person in charge of their activity and presence doing what THEY think is a good job.

Yes you are a "vendor" in a sense. But you are far more than that. You are a professional service provider whose work will last far beyond the cake and rubber chicken. Yours is the product that will remain on the table, whose images will go to family and beyond and be on mantles and shelves for (hopefully) a long time. Long after the jokes about the catering go away those images will be around and, if good, and if the memories of you and your presence and work are good, serve as long term advertising pieces. So don't get the uniform of the caterer or the rented tux, wear something tailored that fits and also provides ways for you to move and carry your needed equipment. Look like you respect the event of two people starting new lives together, respect the client who is paying you, and most of all, respect yourself and the status of your work. If you dress like you don't care, the odds are they will pick right up on that... and be right.

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5/19/2006 7:43:25 AM

Be Prepared
Adapt to the Situation.
I have been doing Weddings, events, parties, and a wide variety of photography for many years.
When I first started I wore a suit and tie...even to some outdoor weddings and other events.
Now most of the time I dress causual...but nice. Usually Black or Gray pants, and a nice shirt.
Over this a wear a Photographers vest most of the time. This allows me access to an extra lens, cards, batteries, and a few other things...such as business cards notepad and pens without running to my camera bag very much...Important in a wedding.
Once in awhile a jacket....depending upon the wedding, or event. And the Bride and Groom, and how the guest are dressed. The location to. I never wear a tie any more unless requested by the Bride and Groom. You can ask this question as a preference when you talk to them about hiring you as their photography. The more helpful and more concern you show them. The better chances you have of becoming their photographer.
I have been shooting Digital only for about 4 years now. I started using Digital cameras in 1993.
One more time :)
Hope this helps a little*****

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6/3/2006 11:59:21 AM

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