What do Wedding Photographers Wear - Colleen Bies Photography

What do Wedding Photographers Wear

February 24, 2021

What do Wedding Photographers Wear

After 10 years of being a wedding photographer, I’ve certainly had my share of outfits.

When I first started wedding photography, I really didn’t know what to wear. For 2 major reasons.

  1. I had never really attended a “western” wedding
  2. I had absolutely ZERO styling ability

 

I began to think about what it was that I wore for my first job interview. At the adult age of 15 wearing black slacks, a button up blouse and dress shoes; how could Taco Bell NOT hire me?? Let’s just say I was far too over dressed for the occasion. Learning from that embarrassing moment, I found it useful to watch others first and see what other people and workers were wearing and follow suit. How else was this no stylish little girl going to figure out what the world was like when my home world being Hmong was so vastly different from my American life.

Fast forward to wedding photography.

I had only attended 2 weddings in my life at this point. The first was a good army friend of mine. And guess what?? I showed up wearing a white dress. YES. I said that. A white dress to a wedding. I was completely clueless. Oh….and get this. I also showed up not only wearing said white dress, but I also brought along my point and shoot camera and took photos when the professional was taking photos. (insert face palm here)

To be fair, I have absolutely no clue what kind of etiquette there was or that there even was any. Having learned many many years later…I tried to bury this memory but it didn’t take. (perhaps electroshock therapy can help here)

When it became that time for me to enter the wedding photography world, I was lucky enough to shadow a wedding photographer, Lisa Ann Krutzik. She had been in the industry over 20 years and had also taught photography at the tech college. (where I found her) I honestly don’t even remember what I wore to that first wedding I assisted with her. But what I do remember, was her telling me to dress like a guest so I don’t stand out. Funny cause I didn’t know how to dress like a wedding guest and because I was going to stand out anyways as the only person of color in a swarm of 400 white people.

As I watched the crowd, I started to understand what it was that most folks wore to weddings. After that, I started to dress more business casual when I worked weddings. Nearly 11 years later, I’m here today to share what my normal is. Because it took me quite some time to figure that one out.

 

So here is my list of key points for picking attire for wedding photography.

  1. Choose something that you can easily move and work in. I once wore a skirt that was super flowy on a wedding day that windy. It flew everywhere and I spent much of my time trying to hold my skirt down to avoid flashing the wedding party.
  2. Carried on from the first point. Dress appropriately for the weather.
  3. Choose something comfortable as you’ll be in it all day. That includes shoes. Last thing you want is trying to care for a blister as you are also trying to work and capture moments.
  4. Try to choose darker colors as to blend in and to avoid sensitivities. What I mean by this, is that some people with light eye colors are more sensitive and they tend to blink more than those with darker eyes. As a photographer, you want to wear darker colors that are not reflective so that you aren’t accidentally reflecting bright colors towards the couple and causing extra blinking or squinting.
  5. Better to overdress than to underdress. Last thing you want is to show up to a black tie wedding in jeans and a sweater. You will be the eye sore of the wedding, and the guests WILL notice that.
  6. Invest in quality clothing. I once wore a dress that was super flimsy and it tore during the wedding and I had to run quick to the store to get something else. Luckily it happened on my way to the wedding and I had built in time to stop at target and pick up a dark green jumpsuit.

What did I come up with?

With all these things in mind, I landed on jumpsuits, tunics, and dresses. Good quality ones that not only feel comfortable, but are also made of good materials that still appear to look professional. I always try to avoid items that are super wrinkle prone or are made of cheap materials.

Jumpsuits and dresses are my favorites because they are one item only. The less decision making I need to do before the wedding day the better. But I also will wear long dressy tunics with nice black leggings.

Below are some photos behind the scenes of me at weddings showcasing what types of outfits I’ve worn in the past. I purchase most of my wedding attire from Black House White Market, JCrew, Nordstrom and ASOS.

I hope that this finds those that are still in search of getting that little advice on what to wear as a wedding photographer.

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