Wedding photographers appearance

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by chad_hoelzel|1, May 20, 2009.

  1. I have a quick question. This is going to be my 6th paid wedding. All my other weddings have been outdoors. They have been for family and friends mainly. Since they were outdoors I've always requested permission to wear more comfortable clothing and footwear. Example of this would be semiformal pants (loose enough to move around in) and a short sleeved front button shirt. Footwear wise I would wear all leather (single color) trail walking shoes for the grip. Again with permission of the bride and groom I also wore the Lowpro Street and Field padded belt (with the loops on it) and various lens cases etc. attached to it. A lot of these weddings were of friends that were climbing/hiking buddies so it wasn't a big deal in regards to looks.
    This being my first indoor wedding I've made the appropriate upgrades to faster lenses and more Canon Speedlite flashes. My next question is in regards to acceptable attire. The couple is more mature for this wedding but seem really relaxed (again family friends). My challenge is that the church is very small with tight quarters so there is no where to put my gear in such a way to make changing lenses/bodies easy. I'm sort of reluctant in wearing my lowpro street and field belt and lens cases. My second photographer (my wife) isn't going to move around a lot and will be more stationary. What is your suggestion for gear handling? I haven't asked them (about the belt) yet because I want to sort of weigh my options first.
    Thanks for your suggestions
  2. Many photographers wear photographic belts to even the most formal weddings. As long as the belt doesn't look like you use it to go hiking every weekend, it should be fine. The Lowepro belts qualify, I think. I have the light belt, and wear it to church weddings sometimes. Lately I've stopped doing that, but not because I'm concerned about the appearance.
    If you want to appear sleeker, get a Boda Bag or Shootsac or Tamrac messenger bag--the slimmer bags--and change out the lenses you need from a larger case or a case your wife can keep an eye on.
  3. I don't use photo belts anymore, but I did back in the hasselblad film days. The belt would hold 2 film backs, a norman 400 battery which weighed about 5 pounds. Anyway, with a dress coat, suit coat, you look pretty professional, and most of the gear was covered.
    I now carry a Quantum battery that clips on a standard belt and again it's pretty hidden when wearing a suit.
    I usually put my cases behind where the last people sit, not by the exit door, which is pretty much a gift to a thief. For the wedding I use up to 3 lenses ranging from a fish eye to a 400mm lens. The zooms work great on a pod. If you are not able to use flash and required to shoot from the back use a 70-200mm for the closeup shots
    Video folks are always bulked down, dressed in black. They look professional. I think it's a given that pros dress well and carry the needed setups to do the job. If you blend in with everyone else you will be fine.
  4. How you dress is a part of the image you portray. I'd say to dress in accordance with everything else you do as a professional. Clothing, appearence, grooming, how clean your car is, your studio's condition.......everything is a part of your professional image. And, people will remember.....regards, Bob
  5. Chad, consider the possibility that if you do not wear your belt and have to return to your main stash of gear to swap lenses more often than once or twice, you will be more of a distraction than if you wear the belt in a small church. To echo what Nadine said; if the belt looks presentable, then wear it. If you are concerned about all of the bulk on you, you might also consider removing some of the lenses off of it and keeping only the ones on it that you are most likely to switch to.
    I wear a belt at the ceremony. For me, the benefits of having what I need at hand outweigh the issue of appearance. I think people realize that you are a professional and you are working. So long as you are not knocking those lens cases into things as you move around, and you move around as quietly as possible in general... you should not have a problem.
  6. Vlad - Reminded me of dropping a lens hood on the hard marble floor at the church. Those lens hood were metal back then! Needless to say everyone turned around and looked at me stupidly trying to stop this bouncing bell ringing clunk of metal, making a ton of noise. Probably due to my juggling act, this is why photographers have to shoot in the back of that church now!
  7. I found this kind of an odd topic. I would never consider asking a couple what it would be ok to wear, I just wear what makes it easiest to do my job. Of course I look smart, but I tend to wear at least some sort of belt, or small bag. Plus I always wear practical shoes.
    If your getting paid for weddings then a couple will assume you know what your doing and this covers what you wear too.
    Remember you are doing a job - it's not the same as being a guest. Wear what will help you do your job best and the couple will thank you for it as you'll get the best shots you can.
  8. You are doing your job, but you're a professional- so look the part. But don't stick out like a sore thumb either.
    I think you should blend in with the guests. A dress suit for a female photographer looks great in the fall and winter. Never a skirt- you never know where you will have to climb to get a killer shot. Summer, a dress shirt and pants. Ballet flats- no heel. Men, should always wear a dress shirt- a tie if you're shooting in a church. Always wear pants that fit...I once saw a brand new female photog with a G-string hanging out of her pants...whoa. I did tell her. That vision has stuck with me for life!
    A photo vest looks ridiculous unless you're bird watching. Photo belts are ok. Comfy shoes are a must but no tennis shoes. I never thought I'd have to ask a assistant what shoes they were wearing. Now I always do! I have also seen a photographer wearing flip flops and looked like she just stepped off the beach just before she shot the wedding. It was in Hawaii but that was so wrong!
    The shootsac is really slick. It fits so much stuff in it too and hugs close to your body so you don't hit anyone in the face with your giant photo pack. Plus you can move quietly and non-intrusively.
    The Quantum battery pack fits on a belt but I got a Gucci fanny pack that looks really slick plus it's great for holding memory cards.
    Appearance is everything-but make it functional!
  9. Clothing-wise I wear a black linen suit with nice shirt. No tie, as I find it gets in the way. It's a convenient look because it dresses up or down and therefore fits almost everywhere.
    For gear, I carry two cameras on straps, one over each shoulder, with any spare lenses, batteries and cards in my jacket pockets. Absolutely no bags, photo belts, hoops, pouches or anything along those lines on my person. I stay light, mobile and (most importantly) slim enough to wander in and around groups of people without getting in anyone's way.
    I have a small billingham carry bag with the rest of my gear that I can just park somewhere convenient if I need it.
  10. I'm the opposite of Nicole who posted above - I don't like to dress like the guests, because I'm not one. The waiters, DJ, band etc don't dress like guests - neither do I. There are so many guests these days that have flashy cameras, you need people to tell you apart from them. It's not so important when you are doing the candid stuff, but when you're doing the more posed stuff I find it useful to stand out so people can tell exactly who the pro is in the crowd (although I have quite a large personality, so I tend to stand out in most crowds!) - plus I have bright pink streaks in my hair, so I'm pretty easy to see!
    But I guess it depends what sort of photographer you are. I couldn't even wear a suit as it's too restrictive. But I tend to be climbing around a lot or lying on the floor etc! People have described me as a funky photographer, so I guess I dress to match that.
    Each photographer is different, you'll find what you feel comfortable in over time, but just use your best judgement and keep refining it at each wedding.
  11. Thanks so much for the feedback. I'm sort of a little nervous about this wedding because I've never been to the church (due to distance issue) so have only had things described for me. I'm just trying to do as much homework as possible before I get there. My wife is shooting the bride getting ready and I'll take a few quick shots of the groom getting ready. That'll still give me a chance to have a look at the church before everything starts.
  12. My wife and I usually wear black pants and a black or darker colored top with black shoes. She has a solid black Shootsac and I have a solid black Tamron slim messenger bag that we carry the entire wedding. We are working professionals and wearing black is usually the best way to not be noticed. Our shoes are black tennis shoes so you don't hear us either as we've "heard" other photographers at weddings where we were guests. Stealth is our game, we do not want anyone to know where we are or if we are even there.
  13. I always wore a suit and tie. It is surprising how many MF backs you can stuff in your pockets.
  14. Look at like this, are you trying to get into ther wedding photo business ? yes ? dress professional, future brides are at these weddings. And majority are not climber/hikers. They might not like the "toolbelt" either. They judge you on your appearance too. Remember it is a wedding, not a sporting event. Shoes are exception, I wear solid black tennis shoes, Rebok makes one. I have always stored my camera cases on the front pew/chairs during photo sessions. Of course I have a smaller bag that has flash reflector, light meter, occasional film/backs( roll stuff that goes in the back of the camera), lens, flash cords, tools to repair candles, & emergency stuff.
  15. We dress up for every wedding, and if it's going to be not super-hot we even wear a suit jacket. We bring nothing with us but our cameras and our ShootSacs and super-comfy shoes. I think anything less than that is questionable.
  16. I belive attire should be (dirty word) professional . Just to give an unfortunate example. Number of years ago I was working for a studio shooting stills and at last minute videographer got ill; last minute (day) the studio got someone else. I saw that wedding video and it was GORGEOUS , however the videographer came in jeans and some hawain looking shirt. He was dressed nice and casual but not what was expected from him at the wedding. Costumers hated the video aspect of the package and their complaint was his lack of proffesional attire. On the job the guy was very polite and respectful to guests, workers, etc, but his attire gave him a very bad reputation.
  17. I always wear a longer skirt (never had an issue climbing or moving in it, I'm a modest girl) or dress pants and a dress shirt. Always in darker colors. I want to blend. I found the greatest shoes ever at Target of all places, a pair of black ballet flats that are dressy and incredibly comfy.
  18. Chad,
    Darker colors are always best. It's all about being professional, NOT about being comfortable. You've stated more than once that you're nervous about this and that. I think if you're questioning your attire, you're not totally comfortable. You should really be at the point where you're not asking permission to dress down. Do the right thing on your own and have some self-confidence in your decisions. Scope out the church ahead of time and be prepared.
    Also, be hopeful that your clients aren't reading this forum as they will be the ones being nervous....-Aimee
  19. The wedding photographers I assisted in Los Angeles in the early 90's always wore tuxedos. Assistants wore tuxedos or suits and ties. Some wore comfortable, black walking shoes instead of dress shoes. I once ran into a photographer I knew at a casual party in Pasadena, and I almost didn't recognize him because he wasn't working and wasn't wearing his tuxedo. I agree with the importance of looking professional over being comfortable, but your mileage may vary.
  20. Why are you even asking permission to wear something other than what you know you should wear, that being formal attire? For chrissake, it is a formal affair, and you are trying to break into the professional wedding market? What sort of image do you think you'll project showing up in anything less than proper wedding attire? Quit your whining and dress the part!
  21. A lot depends on how you cover a wedding... whether you only shoot for two hours or like I do.. shooting a solid 8 hours or more. I wear comfortable black dress shoes (or solid black tactical boots for outdoor events), black dress slacks, black polo shirt and a dressy black jacket. I wear a utility belt with business cards, memory cards, lens cleaning tools, and lots of extra batteries as well as my Canon flash battery pack to power my 580. I wear two cameras (which can get uncomfortable). Once body has the 70-200 2.8 IS and the other has the 17-55 2.8 IS. The camera bags stay in the car. I have great endurance, but in my early 40s, the button down shirts tend to get untucked or gap and look really BAD under the duress of work. The black polo works fine and I actually change to a clean polo halfway through the day on summer shoots.
  22. This is funny reading. Like reading about correct dressing up for oil drilling on Mars.
  23. Please click here for your viewing pleasure >
  24. I don't think formal wear is essential. IMHO, a wedding photographer should look like a stagehand, all in black, not like one of the star players.
    Plus, if you wear black-colored clothing, you have a lot more leeway in what kind of clothing you actually wear, and you might end up feeling a lot more comfortable. You could wear a casual button-down or polo shirt and casual slacks, all in black, with black socks and black comfortable shoes or (clean!) black sneakers. Avoid any weird clothing accessories and keep it simple. If you have gear bags or belts, etc., make sure they're black, too.
    As long as your clothes are neat and clean, people will regard you as a professional doing his job, and they won't care that you're not wearing a suit or a tux. They certainly won't care about your gear belts and equipment, which of course are a necessary part of doing your job.
  25. Looks like on one extreme I'm getting flamed for not wearing a tux or suit and for not using just one camera body and one lens (so I don't need to wear any other cases). On the other hand a lot of people are suggesting to go with what I have been doing ... dressing comfortable, yet clean and wearing the gear I need on me. As mentioned I don't have the privalege of using the end of a bench for my gear. The church is so small the children are being left at the reception hall. Also the formal pictures are in and around a farm so I'll probably be getting dirty getting that perfect shot. Lastly I'll probably be on my feet close to 10 hours.
    Thanks again for everyone's input
  26. As soon as you enter the church with your camera around your neck you are representing an esteem profession. You are representing thousands of photogs. Photography IS a profession as much as law, banking, medicine, ect. Dark business attire is always in good taste. I have shot many a wedding and worked up a good sweat wearing bulky suits, but my profession came first NOT my comfort. Wedding photography today is no different than the past only the gear has changed. If you are shooting digital you need one camera and a 18-200 lens. I would go to the church in advance of the service and shoot some trial shots to see if the lens and flash are sufficent.
  27. No offense, but I don't see photographers in the same category as lawyers, bankers, and doctors! What percentage of photographers have formal degrees, let alone masters or doctoral degrees LOL. *I have a masters in education by the way :)
    My personal opinion is that it depends on your situation. I prefer to work in what is comfortable. All black at a summer beach wedding is ridiculous. Sportcoats or tuxes, really? I'd rather not sweat a gallon or be asked to take a drink order. I've been known to lay on the floor, dive into the sand, wade into the ocean, or climb onto a lifeguard chair to get the shot I want- that's what my clients want, not for me to limit what I do because I'm not dressed for the part.
    I've been told to wear shorts to weddings and have. Khakis and a dress shirt are pretty standard for me. With Memorial Day here, I'll be able to wear my linen shirts again. Anyone who thinks we have to suffer to be professional is mistaken. We're professional by our actions and our photos- not because we wear a tie. Used car salesmen wear jackets and ties and look at their percieved professionalism.
  28. I always wear a black bat suit and shoot from the rafters...with a tie of course to represent and look professional.......kidding....I dress in gray slacks, black polo and good black leather slip on shoes with insoles. I also wear a belt with a few lens cases. When the question comes up at the initial consultation about what I will be wearing i usually tell the B&G bermuda shorts and suntan lotion and see how they far no takers! :) I tell them I will be dressing business casual/comfortably. We do all day wedding photography so I make a point to tell the B&G that we need to be able to be comfortable. I have never had a bride tell me that she wants me in a suit or given me a dress code to abide by. I have shot several weddings, both indoors and outdoors, elegant and laid back and I have never had anyone say something to me about what I was wearing. I say go with a clean look and dress comfortably. As far as taking one lens with you, well, that all depends on how you shoot. If you want to use a 3.5-5.6 lens with a flash in a dark church then that is all you but if you have a range of 2.8 lenses that need to be swapped out occasionally then i don't see a problem with wearing the gear that will set you up to be successful and get the shot that is going to show off your talent. Don't limit yourself creatively just for the sake of "professionalism". Just my two cents.
  29. Hal I disagree about comparing myself to laywers, doctors, etc. I'm going to wear what looks appropriat but most importantly I'm going to wear what keeps me comfortable enough to move, etc. so I can take the pictures I was paid for. My main reason for the post wasn't what clothes to wear but if I should use the Lowepro belt and lens cases because I had no where to put my gear.
    On a side note my gear is: 20D, 40D, 1VHS (few roles of film for wide angle), 2X 550EX, 580 II, CP-E3/CP-E4 (battery packs), 17-40 F4L, 28-70 F2.8, 50mm F1.8, 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8, 100-400 f4.5-5.6 IS and dripods. I feel reasonably comfident with my latest upgrades to get the job done.
  30. As soon as you enter the church with your camera around your neck you are representing an esteem profession. You are representing thousands of photogs. Photography IS a profession as much as law, banking, medicine​
    Really? You can become a photographer just by buying a camera. I don't think anyone ever became a doctor just by buying a stethoscope :)
    You're not representing thousands of other photographers. That's a very strange notion. The only person you're ever representing is yourself.
    But it's worth taking it seriously and thinking about the image you're projecting because weddings are full of future clients. If you get your image and product right it can be a strong source of business. I haven't had to advertise in three years - many of my clients are guests or friends of guests from previous weddings.
    BTW, Chad - I strongly suggest you rationalise some of your kit. You'd do well keeping only what you need on your person, with the rest locked in the car for contingency.
  31. Chad. Try a ShootSac or a Jack bag. Both rock.
  32. I've had several officiators look me up and down, and say something to the effect of "I like the way you're dressed. You can do anything you want, just try not to blind me", and then go on to describe how they make the guys wearing t-shirts, sandals, and photo vests stand in the back.
  33. You're not representing thousands of other photographers. That's a very strange notion. The only person you're ever representing is yourself.
    Neil, I'm sorry but your wrong. I lost count of how many venues have changed their rules regarding photographers and photography during the ceremony because of just ONE photographer. All it takes is just ONE photographers to close down the ceremony for every single photographer who comes after the ONE photographer who decided to either act and/or dress like a buffoon.
  34. Chris, I respectfully disagree. I've been to plenty of venues where the officiant had preconceptions about what they would permit. It's never taken more than a couple of minutes of conversation for them to change their minds. For the simple reason I'm representing myself - not thousands of other photographers - and prefer to be judged that way.
  35. Neil, I am sure that your not saying your batting 100% with your ability to change officiant minds. We too have had limited success in that regard as well but I think you've also proved my point. How many photographers who came after you received relaxed restrictions based on your conduct? I know for certain of 2 venues who have changed their rules because we were able to convince them to give us a chance, which benefited one photographer, a friend, who shot at one the following week. He told us specifically that we were the reason for their change and he had better not screw it up, which he didn't. The ONE photographer thing works both ways but at the end of the day, we're all lumped together as wedding photographers.
  36. you actually bring all that stuff with you to a wedding? And...uh...why?
  37. "Probably due to my juggling act, this is why photographers have to shoot in the back of that church now!"
    So this is all your fault eh Bob? Dogpile on Bob everybody! LOL
    I remember when I used to use a Fong lightsphere on my flash. I was standing right next to the altar in a very live acoustic church, flash was still on camera from the processional. Right in the middle of the ceremony the old Fong Dong fell off and rolled down the steps. Gulp! That was so embarrassing. I don't use a flash much even for processionals anymore, but if I do, it sure isn't going to have one of those things on it.
  38. Yeah I bring all that. You never know when something will fail or what situation your shooting in. Last wedding and this one I didn't see the venue ahead of time due to their distance. For example the B&G want the formals out and around the farm where the groom grew up. If it rains I might need to move the formals into a barn or into the reception hall. That would require some more light to look good and brighter lenses. I just can't tell what is going to happen ahead of time so lots of gear in this situation is good.

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