View Full Version : Suitable dress for the role of Official Photographer

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08-10-2010, 05:25 PM
When photographing a wedding, what do people choose to wear? I've photographed a couple of weddings now as the 'official photographer', and I've always wore a suit (or shirt, tie and waistcoat at least as the jacket is often too restrictive) but I've been to several weddings this year as a family\friend guest and I've noticed the photographer has often wore an unobtrusive 'smart t-shirt' (polar neck with company name on the chest) or similar outfit - much more comfortable and practical and equally highlights him as the Official Photographer which, these days, with so many people owning DSLR's, seems to be increasingly difficult!) Equally, other weddings the photographer has been suited and booted so I don't really know what the norm is?

I have a series of smart black polar neck t-shirts and sweaters with 'Ted Smith Photography' across the back that I wear at less formal occasions. I'm not sure if this would be suitable for a wedding though?

What do you guys wear when photographing a wedding as the official photographer?


08-10-2010, 05:31 PM
Usually I wear dress pants and a dress shirt; no jacket or tie. Though I always bring a simple dark tie just in case there is a uniform police officer at the wedding, I have never lasted with one for more than half an hour of "serious" shooting, due to camera straps getting tangled and what have you. (If I must wear a tie, a bow tie it has to be. :D) For more informal weddings I wear ironed work pants (e.g. Dickies) and a short-sleeve button-down shirt (usually one of my vintage '50s numbers that I get in thrift shops as they come up).

As always, the rule of thumb is that it is better to be over dressed than under dressed.

Bob Carnie
08-10-2010, 05:37 PM
The brides parents are usually the ones footing the bill, I would be concerned that they approve of your wardrobe.
The legendary Rocky Gun would show up in blue jeans and white tshirt, but he was only photographing the bride and groom informals, the formals were shot by his assistants who always wore suits.

Dan Henderson
08-10-2010, 07:52 PM
At the few weddings that I photographed before deciding it was not for me, I wore a suit and tie. I felt that dressing appropriately was part of appearing to be a professional, along with behaving professionally and producing professional results. For the pre- and post-ceremony photographs, and while working at the reception if the hall was warm, I did remove my suit coat. Some wise person once said that you can never over dress for an occasion. If in doubt, dress up!

08-10-2010, 08:22 PM
I once worked for a photographer who went to every wedding dressed in a very high end tuxedo. His rationale was that he was never under-dressed for the occasion, and usually he was sufficiently over-dressed as to make an impression on every one there.

He was also very good looking (or so I was told) and seemed to attract inordinate numbers of very good looking women.

Marketing was definitely one of his strong suits :).

In my case, I used to always where either a suit, or a fairly formal dress pants and jacket outfit.

I used to base my suit/jacket purchase decisions on whether or not they had lots of useful pockets :).

I also used to look for lighter weight suits, because weddings can be really warm, even when the weather isn't!

08-10-2010, 08:41 PM
I'd wear the suit, at least until your reputation and demand is such that it wouldn't matter what you wear.

Casey Kidwell
09-09-2010, 10:45 AM
It depends on the clients. While I'd rather be overdressed than under dressed, you don't want to stand out too much by being the only one in a tux. I think t-shirts and polos are disrespectful unless at a very casual outdoor affair.

09-09-2010, 12:08 PM
Bermuda shorts, hawaiian shirt and a grass hat.

09-09-2010, 04:06 PM
Wear some sort of a uniform. A person dressed in a uniform will have the air of a person of authority or officialdom. Oh, and the uniform should also blend in and be non- threatening. A suit is a uniform for a business person. If its hot, then remove the jacket and your still in a shirt/tie, dress slacks/shoes.

Christopher Walrath
09-09-2010, 06:18 PM
Better than the guests, always. And I think a tux is a little over the top for a wedding photographer.

09-09-2010, 11:08 PM
At my sister's wedding (where I was the semi-official photographer) I had on a shirt/jacket/skirt that would be appropriate for an upscale office. One of the guests stopped me as I was scurrying around to complement me on dressing so much better than wedding photographers usually do, so for her jeans and tshirt are common, and didn't impress.

09-09-2010, 11:10 PM
I wear dress shirt, pants, no tie, dark solid colors. I found a tie gets in the way. Tried a bow tie, too complicated to get correct and the clip on falls off! I try to dress like the guests. I feel that if I get over dressed I will stick out. I want the B&G to be the focus with the bridal party, family & guests to follow. I'm a worker bee at a wedding. I want to blend in with the walls!

Worker 11811
09-10-2010, 12:33 AM
Better to have a tie and not need it than to need a tie and not have it.

Ask the client how they want the photographer to dress and, in the absence of information to the contrary, wear a coat and tie. You could always take off what you don't need. Leave the coat or tie in the car if you decide they aren't needed.

My stepsister recently got married on the beach. All the men wore dress pants and shirts with ties loose at the collar. Most of the women wore dresses but ended up going barefoot in the sand.

Made for some interesting photos! (Click.) (http://homepage.mac.com/randystankey/.Pictures/WeddingShoes.jpg)

Bottom line: Blend in.

09-11-2010, 11:29 PM
I would defer the question to the bride (or whoever is paying.)

If I did weddings on a regular pro basis, I'd probably have an upsell option where for an extra $200 I'd wear the shiny uncomfortable shoes, the strangulating tie, the overly toasty and lint free jacket, etc...

09-12-2010, 08:54 AM
If I did weddings on a regular pro basis, I'd probably have an upsell option where for an extra $200 I'd wear the shiny uncomfortable shoes, the strangulating tie, the overly toasty and lint free jacket, etc...

Now THERE'S an idea! :)

09-25-2010, 08:50 AM
Last month I went to a wedding - both photographers dressed in jeans and t-shirts. When I shot weddings for a living, I always wore a suit, tie and polished dress shoes. The bride and groom got about 120 images on average... which was virtually all I shot, with the exception for bad shots.

09-25-2010, 09:00 AM
There used to be a higher profile local wedding photographer (maybe there still is....I don't know and don't really care), who used to wear this awful White Suit. While its good to stand out as the photographer, that was way over the top. My Wife and I looked into using him for our wedding, but found him rude and a little bit over the top for our liking.

The moral? I would say definitely dress pants and dress shirt, with a tie in the glove box of the car.....but don't try and outdo the wedding party.

09-25-2010, 09:24 AM
Suitable dress ......

I'd recommend a hot RED miniskirt. Please post of photo of you in the miniskirt.

Sorry Ted, I just couldn't resist...

Rick A
09-25-2010, 09:24 AM
For my two cents worth, I would have to say look professional and dress like one. If you dress like a bum(jeans and tee) then you give the impression that your work is less than professional. Whether it be chinos or dress pants and an oxford shirt(tie optional) and possibly a sport coat, gives an air of decencsy and respectability, and a show of pride in yourself that should portray a sense of pride in your product as well.

09-25-2010, 09:41 AM
I think, we, men, have this easy. With a traditional and classic business suit, there aren't too many places or things we can't go and do wearing it. You can go less formal by simply taking your jacket off, and tie off if you need to, but I doubt you'll need to do that for a wedding. I find this VERY handy!

If your budget allows, consider getting one with higher grade fabric. While lesser grade ones will keep you hot and steamy inside, ones will better fabric (and usually better construction) will keep you dry and comfortable. Yes - it makes that much difference! You can find really good ones at deep discount at factory outlet stores if you can find one near you and it has the size you need.