Why do photographers wear black?

If you have been to a wedding, it’s pretty easy to spot a wedding videography crew from the rest of the guest party. They are the ones dressed in all black bustling around. Have you ever wondered why they wear black? A fair assumption would be that it was their uniform, but you will notice that almost all wedding videographers have a similar outfit, and more often than not, it’s all black. Let’s talk more about the reason why that’s the case. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.

Why Do Wedding Photographers Wear Black?

The main question that needs to be answered is, why do the videographers wear black? The answer to this isn’t the big revelation that you were hoping for. They wear it to look professional, have a dress code to differentiate themselves from the guests, and not take any attention away from the subject. Remember, being professional is a great way to market yourself. 

So, why do they wear black? It turns out, dressing in an all-black ensemble is a general rule of thumb in the photography world, so photographers are as invisible as possible at a photo shoot. This way, they don’t take any attention away from the photo’s main subject or their ability to work. Dressing in black is also considered more professional if they’re hired for an event such as a wedding. This makes them appear as a legitimate staff member rather than a casual participant.

A black ensemble isn’t the only rule of thumb that many photographers adhere to. While it might seem like a photographer shows up to your photo session dressed relatively casually, chances are they put a lot of thought into their outfit and carefully selected everything they’re wearing from head to toe.

General Clothing for Photographer Outfits

Many photographers have an idea in their heads how they want to present themselves and even have pre-assembled outfits that are their go-to pieces for work. A photographer doesn’t necessarily have to have a uniform, but think of it this way—kitchen workers make sure they wear comfortable shoes such as sneakers or clogs because they’re on their feet all day. Being a photographer is another line of work that comes with specific requirements for clothing.

Although it’s not a uniform per se, a photographer will reach for the same things every time they get dressed. These things include:

  • Clothes in muted or neutral colours. If a photographer does decide to go against wearing black, chances are their clothing is still in neutral colours such as grey, beige, or white. They might dress things up a little with cool shoes or a jacket, but they even won’t bring attention to themselves or stand out.
  • Pants that have plenty of pockets. Photographers need to change equipment at a moment’s notice, and bags are perfect for holding backup batteries and memory cards, so they’re prepared for anything.
  • Sometimes, the photo session changes locations, or people end up taking pictures in the pouring rain. Photographers are always prepared for the elements—both with their camera equipment and in what they wear. They almost always have a hat to keep out the sun, and if they’re not wearing a hat when they arrive, they’re sure to have one stowed with their equipment just in case.
  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes. As they walk and climb to do their jobs, photographers spend their days on their feet, and their work requires a lot of physical activity. The last thing they want is to be in pain or become exhausted during the shoot, so they wear their most comfortable shoes.
  • Clothing that’s lightweight and moisture resistant. Again, photographers are working hard all day, and although their session could be interrupted by rain, they could be affected by other extremes, and they’re working outside in the hot sun. To keep their focus on their work and not how sweaty they are, their clothes are moisture resistant.

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What Does A Photographer Tend to Wear?

It’s a good idea for photographers to have a pre-assembled outfit or to at least have a few go-to pieces in their closet to wear for work. This gives them one less thing to worry about when they’re getting ready, and they can focus on having all of their equipment. A lot of photographers depend on these tried-and-true pieces for their uniforms:

  • Black or dark jeans
  • Black Slacks
  • A black belt
  • Button-down black blouses or black polo shirts
  • A black lightweight jacket or blazer
  • Black or dark tennis shoes
  • A hat with a floppy or flat brim that doesn’t interfere with their ability to take photographs

The idea is to look professional and polished but to avoid being any distraction whatsoever. There is no dress code. However, photographers have to balance looking good while also wearing something functional.

What Factors Does A Photographer Consider for Their Outfit?

Why do photographers wear black?

A photographer usually considers their outfit as an expression of their style and an extension of their brand. However, there are general factors that every photographer will consider as they carefully select their brand and style statement for the day.

  • They check the weather before they get dressed. A photographer is always on top of the elements, and they pay close attention to the time of day and the location of the shoot. This way, they can bring appropriate layers, wear sturdy shoes, or grab a hat to keep the sun out of their eyes.
  • They prepare for those weird situations. Photographers often end up in weird poses or situations (they end up lying directly on the ground or leaning out of a window to get that perfect shot). They’re always prepared for this, and they make sure they wear clothes that they’re OK with getting dirty or tearing up. This isn’t a job where their clothes will stay pristine and perfect—actual photographers are unafraid to get messy.
  • They wear entirely comfortable clothes. Photographers make sure they can move comfortably no matter what they’re doing. They know full well they’re likely to end up climbing, hiking, squatting, and lying in awkward positions, so their clothes allow for these activities.
  • They avoid wearing anything that might be too revealing. Photographers don’t wear anything revealing in case of those moments when they have to squat or bend over to get a good photo. Any severe photographer wears a belt with their pants, and they make sure they’re fully covered.

This is where the balance of style, professionalism, and functionality comes into play. Photographers should be comfortable but avoid looking too casual or sloppy. Nothing makes a photographer seem unprofessional more than being unprepared, so they are prepared for anything. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.

The Technical Reasons Behind Wearing Black

Beyond comfort and respectability, there are some technical reasons why photographers tend to wear black, or at least wear darker colours. The biggest technical reason is to avoid having their reflection end up in the photograph.

There are some technical benefits of wearing black, other than to avoid attention or getting mistaken for a guest. 

The first reason is the light. When taking photos, most of the light is reflected through the photographer or videographer onto the subject, and no one wants to see their reflection in the eyes or a brilliant yellow cast from the shirt they were wearing. Something like that could completely ruin the essence of the picture. Dark-coloured clothes prevent that from happening. They can comfortably stand in front of the subject and take loads of pictures without worrying.

Another benefit of wearing black at a wedding could be in the case of an emergency for photographers. Say the photographer wants to take a guest’s portrait, but the backlight is too much or somehow causing a disturbance. In that case, they could use their crew wearing a black shirt as a background, a sacrifice they would happily make for the perfect shot. It is pretty easy to photoshop/colour correct it to hide it from the audience’s viewing with the colour black. 

A little side bonus, too, is that videographers and photographers work in tough conditions all day under harsh lights, and the truth is told, it can get sweaty. Sweat patches aren’t the most appealing to look at, and the bride and groom don’t want to face that throughout the day. Black is pretty good at hiding those stains, so they can go around wandering all day, completely carefree.

Whether they’re taking pictures of a human face or some objects could capture their figure (windows, shiny cars), the photographer’s reflection is much more likely to be seen in the photograph if they’re wearing a white or otherwise light-coloured shirt. For example, say someone is photographing their dog. If they’re wearing a bright yellow shirt, you might be able to see their reflection in the dog’s eyes. Unless this was the intention, the photographer should wear a black or dark shirt, so they don’t appear to reflect in their pet’s eyes.

Dark-coloured cars can cause sneaky reflections in photographs as well. To avoid appearing in the picture due to a dark car in the background, photographers wear dark colours.

Does a photographer need to dress a certain way for a wedding?

One of the most common events photographers are booked for is weddings. In this case, it’s essential that a photographer looks professional and does not call attention to themselves. While a photographer may wear a bucket hat, jeans, and sneakers during their typical photoshoots, for a wedding, they should try to look a little more put-together and arrive wearing slacks or dress pants, black flats or dress shoes, and a button-down black shirt.

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What Should a Wedding Photographer Wear?

Dressing like a professional photographer is essential for two big reasons.

First of all, when you dress like a professional, you feel like a professional. That confidence will help put your clients at ease throughout their wedding photography photoshoot, which will lead to a better experience.

Secondly, this (hopefully) isn’t the last wedding that you’ll be shooting. Many other people are looking for a wedding photographer, and they will judge you by your attire. If you are dressed like a professional, people will reach out to you with positive queries for a photoshoot.

Here are some best practices that you should be aware of when choosing what to wear to a wedding photoshoot.

Don’t Dress Like a Guest.

You are dressing as the photographer is completely different from dressing as a guest. Don’t adorn yourself with jewellery or anything that attracts attention. Instead, you should dress to blend in with the background. Plain, dark clothing is usually a good choice. You can even wear all black! Just avoid “loud” colours and prints.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Wear a pair of shoes that you can quickly move around in. You never know what you’ll need to do to get the shot… You might have to step in a puddle or climb on a ledge. Closed-toe flats and sneakers are good choices. Avoid heels and sandals unless you’re shooting a casual beach wedding.

Look Sharp

Simple, tailored clothing is an excellent choice because it gives off a sharp, professional vibe. Avoid denim, shorts or anything too casual. But don’t get also dressed up either. Remember, your clothing needs to be practical so that you can quickly move around. While a tuxedo may look nice, it can become restricting throughout the event.

Be Modest

This is not the place for low-cut tops, form-fitting clothing or short skirts. Again, you don’t want to attract attention to yourself, and you need to move around freely.

Consult the Bride & Groom

When in doubt, you can always ask your client what the dress code is for their wedding. Ask them if it’s formal, semi-formal or casual. What do those terms mean to your client? Are there any colours you should avoid? For example, white symbolizes death in some cultures and may not be a welcomed colour at a wedding.

OK, now that you know some basic wedding photographer dress etiquette, let’s look at a few outfit ideas for male and female photographers.

Wedding Photographer Attire: Male Photographer

Why do photographers wear black?

For men, we recommend a formal shirt with comfortable slacks so that you can sit on the floor and move all around with your photography gear. You should wear dress pants, a button-up shirt, a jacket, and possibly a tie for formal weddings. Never wear shorts, t-shirts or baggy clothing when shooting a wedding.

Making sure your clothes are well-fitting will help you to look like a professional. As mentioned earlier, darker colours are preferable. Use these male wedding photographer outfit ideas as a starting point to create your own perfect wedding photography outfit for men.

Wedding Photographer Attire: Female Photographer

Women wedding photographers can be slightly more creative with their clothing choice. It’s OK to show your style, but don’t forget that you’ll need to be able to move freely throughout the shoot.

Similar to men’s attire, dark colours are best to avoid standing out too much. Remember, you don’t want to outshine the guests or take any of the focus away from the bride and groom. If you choose to wear a skirt, make sure it’s long enough that you are free to shoot from any angle.

These female wedding photographer outfit ideas can get you started and serve as inspiration for creating your wedding photography outfit. Starting to think about hiring a wedding photographer? Check out our range of Mornington Peninsula wedding photography here.

Accessories For Photographers

It would help if you also remembered that clothes aren’t the only thing that photographers and videographers consider when planning a wedding shoot. Even accessories like their shoes and hats are meant to increase productivity and are not just personal statements.

Shoes

The process of selecting the shoes doesn’t have any limitations; obviously, they do have to consider that they will probably be on their feet all day. So comfort is key. They leave the pair of heels and go for the worn-in sneakers; it doesn’t matter if they don’t match.

Sometimes to take the perfect shot, they have to maneuver around, stand in mud, puddles, lay down in contorted positions, and much more; if the shoes can’t support them through it all, then that pair can’t be worn.

Hats/Caps

Many people wrongfully assume that photographers and videographers’ hats and caps are to look the part. In reality, it’s much more than that. The hats do have a functional role, especially in outdoor weddings. You don’t want your photographer messing up the perfect shot because he was squinting from the sun in his eyes. And suppose you’re walking down the aisle, and the sun is directly shining above a photographer’s head. Not wearing a hat would deter them from doing their job.

There are many kinds of hats out there, but only certain ones will provide photographers with sun protection and allow them to do their jobs unhindered. These hats include:

  • Baseball caps. These caps are more well known for sporting events, but many photographers wear them while they work. These provide excellent protection from the sun and work well with a wide range of outfits. However, these won’t protect the neck or ears, and if the brim is curved, the camera will constantly push the cap upwards and off the photographer’s head.
  • Narrow-brim Fedoras. Fedoras are famous among photographers because they can be a significant aspect of their look and how they present themselves. It’s also a great costume piece to have on hand, depending on the subject or intent. This type of hat protects from the wind, sun, and rain, and if it has a narrow brim, it won’t get in the way quite as much as a baseball cap would.
  • Tweed driver caps. These hats are very stylish and make photographers look entirely professional. Their high brims won’t get in the way of cameras. However, they don’t offer a lot of protection against the sun and may be appropriate for only specific photoshoots.
  • Bucket hats. You’ll typically find these hats on fishers and wilderness explorers. Still, they also make an excellent option for photographers and are the most popular type of hat you’ll find for people taking pictures. The brim is comprehensive and very flexible. It doesn’t get in the way of the camera, and the wide hat provides complete protection for the neck and face. Although some people argue these hats aren’t very stylish and can ruin a professional look, it’s a favourite choice among photographers.
  • Floppy sun hats. Many female photographers choose these because they’re wide-brimmed and very fashionable. These also won’t get in the way of the camera, provide sun protection, and are perfect for a photographer’s look if they’re taking photos along a beach or in a field of wildflowers.

These hats are a traditional and functional aspect of a photographer’s outfit. They’re a tried and true means of keeping out the sun and saving photographers from having to squint. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

Dress Code

Some weddings have a particular and strict dress code, and while most of the time, it does not apply to the photographers and videographers, some couples prefer them to follow it as well. A male should wear a suit in those cases, but it should be comfortable enough to move around in. They need to be able to have the full range to capture all the moments.

Women, on the other hand, can go for a modest dress, remember that it should be low enough that they don’t have any problems shooting from various angles, cause they might have to sit on the floor or even climb on top of a ladder to get the perfect click.