What to wear when shooting a wedding is a question I have seen come up on forums tie and time again, and it is a question that sparks off a debate, which quickly turns in to an argument every time.
There are people out there who basically advise the wedding photographer to wear what they want (providing it isn’t offensive or going to cause offense) since they are going to always be behind the camera and never in front of it.
On the flip side there are other people who advise the wedding photographer to follow the wedding dress code. This means that if the dress code is a DJ the photographer should wear a dinner jacket, if the dress code is Halloween themed the photographer should go as Dracula or a zombie, if the wedding is naturist themed the photographer should wear a birthday suit….. I’m sure you get the picture.
I agree that the photographer is never going to be in any of the wedding photos, unless the photographer is a friend or family member of the happy couple and is snapped by another guest enjoying the wedding enjoying the occasion once all the official wedding photos have been taken. I also agree that the wedding photographer should have some awareness of the wedding dress code and follow it to a certain extent, but it is important the photographer is comfortable and can freely move around in the clothing to take the photos. Dinner jackets, ties etc. are restrictive and it is not fair to expect the wedding photographer to wear such clothes and also take photos is it?
The wedding photographer needs to strike a balance between following the dress code and also being able to do the job properly, and there are times when this isn’t always clear cut. In these situations the wedding photographer should ask the bride and groom what the dress code is, and also ask the bride and groom if they wish to dress in a specific way.
In the past I have been asked by the happy couple to wear a top hat and tails, and even though I explained this may hamper some of the photos because the clothing was restrictive the bride and groom were adamant. Because of this we pre-agreed the type of photos I needed to take and I explained there was no scope for me to go “off piste” which the bride and groom agreed with. Since I don’t own a top hat and tails, I told the bride and groom that they had to pay for the suit hire, which they agreed and was written in to the wedding photography contract. At the end of the day the bride and groom are the paying customers, and since “the customer is always right” I did what they requested although I made sure they footed the bill for all extras.
To be on the safe side I would always ask the bride and groom about the dress code and what they want me to wear on the big day and then take it from there. If there bride and groom are easy and give me free reign, i.e. let me choose, I will always dress smart and wear trousers, button down shirt (always tucked in) and shoes. I wouldn’t dream of photographing a wedding wearing jeans (or worse still tracksuit bottoms) and trainers as this doesn’t portray a professional image, and considering there may potential clients at the wedding, I don’t want to portray the wrong image and potentially lose out on more paid wedding photography gigs.
Below are links to other wedding photography related articles, posts and tutorials that may be of interest to you:-
“Wedding lighting tips and techniques” is an article full of lighting tips for weddings.
“The best lens for wedding photography” is an article exploring the essential lenses you should have to fully capture a wedding.
“Why you need to visit the venue before the wedding” is an article explaining the importance of re-wedding shoot planning and showing it is essential you, as the wedding photographer, goes to the wedding venue before the big day itself.
“The responsibilities of being a wedding photographer” is an article describing the responsibilities of a wedding photographer. This is an essential read before you take on your first wedding gig.
“Low light wedding photography tips” is an article providing tips on photographing wedding proceedings in low light situation.
“Taking group wedding shots” is an article full of tips and tricks on capturing awesome group shots at weddings.
“Wedding photography equipment” is an article detailing the photography equipment needed to photograph a wedding.
“Bridal portraits you have to take”. There are some classic and traditional bridal portraits you have to take as the wedding photographer, and failure to capture these moments would be sacrilege. If you want to know what these are you need to take a look at this article.
“Pre-wedding photography sessions” is something you have to offer in the wedding photography package to make sure the happy couple are comfortable with you, you are comfortable with the happy couple and everyone knows what they need to do to make the wedding photography a success on the day.
“Would you trust a wedding photographer with a cheap camera?” is an interesting article for a little lighthearted entertainment.
“How to win wedding photography jobs” is an article providing tips and tricks you can employ to bag those wedding photography shoots.
“Don’t shoot a wedding if you’re not ready” is an article about the dangers and pitfalls of taking on a wedding shoot if you are not ready. A wedding is an important event and you need to be one hundred percent sure you can capture it before taking on a wedding photography assignment.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.