What is the dress code for a photographer?

As a budding photographer, one of the biggest questions that will eventually come to mind is, “What should I wear to a photoshoot? Is there a photographer’s dress code?” The answer varies widely depending on the type of photo shoot you’re conducting, the specific client you’re working with, your overall style and brand as a photographer, and the region’s culture where you’re shooting.

A portrait photographer, for example, may have more flexibility in how he or she dresses compared to a corporate event photographer. Finding that delicate balance between wearing something functional, professional and kept myself looking and feeling good was something I struggled with for a while. What does a professional even look like for someone in the creative field?! Nowadays, I’ve come to realise that what you wear to work isn’t that complicated. I view how you dress as designing your uniform that is simultaneously functional and acts as a visual billboard of your professionalism and branding.

With that being said, it’s difficult to define what a photographer should wear to work precisely. Granted, there are a few factors to be mindful of, but there’s also so much room to add your flair to it.

So, what should a photographer wear to an event? Depending on the event you’ve been hired for, you can choose either a casual or formal outfit. However, the company you chose should be practical and professional. You want to select attire you can move freely in that makes you look professional. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

When you’re trying to decide which outfit to wear to an event as a photographer, the answer will depend on the type of event and your overall style. Fortunately, with the correct information, you should be able to pick the right outfit for the day. In this article, you’ll find a comprehensive guide on how to go choose what to wear to your next event.

Invest in a solid, comfortable pair of shoes

Regardless of what kind of photoshoot you’ll be conducting, start with shoes. Consider that you’ll likely be standing for hours on end, so comfort and ergonomics are critical. 

Also, think about the terrain you might encounter during your shoot and the seasonal weather. Will there be grassy fields, sandy shores, or other outdoor elements you might be venturing into to get unique angles? If so, shoes that can take a light beating and still look good will be of utmost importance. 

A typical day can run from 3-14 hours, and for the most part, you’re probably going to be up on your feet. Having a good pair of shoes with great support will make a huge difference in preventing fatigue by lessening the impact of your steps, preventing you from slipping and falling on your face, and by cushioning your feet when lifting heavy objects (sandbags, light stands, etc.) 

Speaking of heavy objects–while on set, I will never wear open-toed shoes. You’re just asking for something to fall and squish your toes otherwise. Running shoes or a pair of boots is perfect.

As a photographer, one of your top priorities should be the type of shoes to wear to the event. Remember, you’ll be required to stand throughout the event to capture the best memories. For this reason, you need to choose a pair of shoes that’s comfortable.

When you’re choosing your shoes, consider:

  • The type of terrain or flooring you should expect at the venue
  • The weather
  • How long the event will last

Let’s break down the elements of what makes a good shoe for taking pretty pictures:

  • SUPPORT. You will be standing or running around holding equipment of varying degrees of heaviness all day, every workday. Make sure your shoes have sole proper permission and get additional inserts if you need them. A lack of appropriate only support will hurt your knees and back, potentially growing distractingly painful.  
  • QUIET. You can’t afford to distract your subjects with squeaky sneakers.
  • CLEAN. Keep your shoes clean; wipe them down if you need to. Wear non-scuff shoes. You can’t afford to scuff the floor; your clients/subjects will know you’ve been snooping.
  • CLOSED TOE. There are situations where flip flops or sandals would be appropriate, but 99% of the time, they are not. You are not on vacation; you are on the job where you have no time to worry about your toes’ safety. You may also need to run away or jump a gorge. Always be prepared to escape in a mad hurry to protect your photographs’ safety and jump over a valley.
  • GRIP. Your shoes must have adequate gripping to avoid slipping and ruining everything. Any excess movement from falling around could ultimately prevent you from getting a clear, focused shot. Get some good friction between you and the ground.
  • STYLE. You need to look the part, but much more importantly, you need to get the picture. Function over fashion, unless the type is the function. 

You can wear black leather boots for the cold season, and black leather shoes are perfect for the warmer seasons. Dressy black leather sneakers are perfect for outdoor photoshoots in venues where many outdoor elements could interfere with your movements.

You may have noticed a theme – black shoes are a staple for a photographer because the colour is classy, and it matches most everything. Our exclusive range of Melbourne wedding photography will help you not miss a thing on your wedding day.

Cover up

As a creative photographer in constant search of creative angles, consider the possible physical maneuvers such as bending, stooping, and squatting that you might be pulling off during a shoot. Dress accordingly, making sure to wear an outfit that will allow you to be physically flexible without giving your clients an eyeful, or worse yet, causing a wardrobe malfunction. Ladies, this means avoiding low-cut tops, ultra-short skirts and dresses, and skimpy outfits. At the very least, bring a blazer or sweater to cover up. Gentlemen, don’t forget a belt and a longer shirt that can be tucked in.

Dress in all black

This is a contestable point, as it can also be argued that dressing according to your brand is a better strategy. However, it’s a general rule of thumb that wearing all black is best for being as invisible as possible at a photoshoot. That way, you won’t stand out and take attention away from the main photo subject. Not to mention, dressing in all black makes you look more official, like a staff member, which can help navigate a venue.

This uniform consists of mixing and matching the following selection: one pair of skinny black jeans, one pair of black slacks, a black leather belt, several button-down black blouses, several black polo shirts, and a black blazer. Whenever possible, try to buy black clothing in lightweight, moisture-resistant fabrics rather than cotton to avoid sweat absorption.

Add a personal touch.

Some photographers might contest the above point of dressing in all black to argue that it’s important to dress according to your brand. This is something I believe in as well, but having brand elements infused in your style of dress can also be done while still wearing all black. As an example, I always wear a few pieces of statement jewellery to accent my outfit and serve as a conversation starter. I have a couple of pairs of unique earrings, necklaces, and watches that almost always attract comments or questions, but they are also subtle in size, so they don’t stand out too much.

What is the dress code for a photographer?

Another idea is to custom-order black clothing with your logo on it, such as a polo shirt with a subtle branding element. A photography colleague of mine has done this with tremendous success as it further reinforces his brand while also making him look and appear more official at photoshoots. 

When in doubt, ask

If you’re truly stumped on what to wear to a photoshoot, ask your client if they have any preferences. This is likely less important if you’re doing an intimate portrait session, but for event photographers, in particular, it never hurts to ask the client. At the very least, it’s essential to find out if the dress code for your shoot is formal, semi-formal, or casual and what exactly those terms mean to the client.

There are instances where your couple may have religious or cultural requirements for attire. Make sure you discuss these with your clients if you are unsure. In some cultures, the colour white symbolises death, and you may greatly offend your clients if you show up in a white shirt. Always ask if the wedding is formal, semi-formal, or casual, defining what each of these terms means.

Colours

There’s so much you can do with colour! There’s a lot of freedom here; however, be mindful of your colour choices within the context of your shoots. For instance, wearing obnoxiously bright colours could quickly become a distraction for the subject you’re photographing. Or wear colours from a rival sports team while photographing a team sport might not generate the best rapport. The usual go-to’s are black pants and neutral colours.

Clothes

This is where the delicate balance of professionalism, style, and functionality come into play. You want to put it together and professional, but not dull and conventional. You want to be comfortable but not overly casual or sloppy. It would help if you also based your wardrobe on shoot factors such as the weather, location, and time of day. Don’t wool in the desert and don’t wear shorts when it’s -10°C. Approach your wardrobe as an extension of your brand and personal style. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

Pick an Outfit that Screams Professional

Most photographers decide what to wear to an event by considering the type of event it is. For instance, if they’ve been hired to take wedding photos, they’ll wear a dress or a suit to match the occasion. On the other hand, some photographers don’t put much thought into what they wear because there is no formal rule about the dress code.

So which approach is better? While there are no official dress code rules for photographers, there is certain dress code etiquette you should have in mind when choosing an outfit for an event.

Whether you’ve been hired to take photos at a wedding or a kids’ party, your priority should be to choose an outfit that makes you look professional. Dress like you’re going to meet your next biggest client. An experienced company not only boosts your confidence but also puts the guests at ease.

Not to mention, you’re more likely to get job offers from the event if you’re dressed the part because people will take you more seriously. But what exactly constitutes professional attire? Here are some tips to help you decide. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.

Don’t Steal the Show.

When you’re picking an outfit for an event, you have to remember that a photographer’s job is to stay in the background. Therefore, you should choose a company that doesn’t make you the centre of attention. Avoid going for statement jewellery, over the top outfits, overly bright colours and anything that will draw too much attention. Instead, go for laid back businesses. Choose darker colours instead of bright ones and stay away from too much print!

Modesty Is Key

When choosing an outfit for an event, you also have to remember to be modest. Photographers have to maneuver a lot to get the perfect shot. You’ll need to go on your knees, bend in awkward ways, and sometimes lie on the ground to get the best picture.

Therefore, you need clothing that’s not too revealing. For female photographers, this means staying away from short skirts, low cut tops, and anything that could easily cause you to have a wardrobe malfunction.

For guys, ensure your trousers are well secured on your waist with a belt and always wear long t-shirts to cover up.

Consult the Client

If you’re not sure what to wear to the event, it’s always a good idea to consult the client. Find out if there is a dress code for the event and any outfits you should avoid. This is an excellent idea if you’re covering a shot for a themed party.

The last thing you want is to show up at a black and white themed event in a red outfit or a colour that draws too much attention to you. Therefore, even as you consider the tips mentioned above, always consult your client to know what they expect.

Avoid Colours That May Affect Your Results

The outfit you choose will not only affect how your client and other potential clients see you but may also affect your shooting results. One of the colours you should avoid is white. Because the colour white reflects light, you may find that you are a walking reflector, especially when you’re shooting in harsh sunlight. This will affect the quality of your pictures. Therefore, always choose colours that won’t interfere with your results. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

Don’t Forget About Your Brand.

Because the event is a professional setting, you should also consider choosing an outfit that builds brand awareness. Suzi Pratt of Digital Photography suggests adding your business logo to an all-black outfit. Doing this allows other potential clients to identify you quickly and makes you appear professional.

Another way to add a personal touch to your outfit is to wear muted jewellery, pins, or other unique items attached to your brand. However, remember not to go over the top or dress in colours that may end up drawing too much attention to you.

Outfit Recommendations for Professional Photographers

The best formal outfit for a male photographer is a formal shirt and comfortable slacks. This type of business makes it easy for you to move around. You can pair it with a pair of comfortable black or brown leather shoes. Go for well-fitting clothes that make you look professional and avoid baggy clothes at all costs. For casual events, consider jeans and a V-neck t-shirt in a solid colour.

For ladies, it’s best to wear trousers instead of dresses and skirts because of the excessive movement involved in photography. Consider wearing well-fitting trousers and a comfortable blouse that offers excellent coverage. You can pair these with a blazer or cardigan to complete the look. For the shoes, choose dark-coloured flat shoes in the warmer seasons, and opt for leather boots in the colder season. Avoid high heels and any other shoes that may restrict your movements. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography

Now Go

As you can see, many factors come to play when you’re considering outfits for a photography gig. When choosing your business, your priority should be picking attire that makes you look professional. Remember not to dress in anything that makes you stand out because your job is more in the background. And when in doubt, ask your client what dress code they’d prefer you to stick to.

To some photographers, what you wear to a photoshoot may not seem like a big deal. But we firmly believe in how you dress your brand, so considering every element of your outfit is crucial.

In conclusion, make sure you dress appropriately for whatever climate you are going to be working in. The most important thing is getting the picture, and if you are unsafe or uncomfortable, you won’t be able to accomplish that.

The top things to remember:

  • Dress for comfort over style
  • Dark colours do not reflect light
  • Play the part
  • Consider the environmental factors and safety concerns

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