I feel like this is one of those topics that everybody should already know the answer to, but I'm constantly astounded by horror stories from friends. Emily, you'll never GUESS what the photographer was wearing!? Sweatpants & a tank top...with cuss words on it! No, sir! Not aloud! I'm also amazed at how many people I work with at my weddings that have never been to a wedding before, so they may not know the etiquette.
So, just in case anybody is starting out with their first wedding, or are simply curious, read on.
I showed up to my very first wedding wearing high heels. Why did I think that was a good idea?! I guess in my mind, heels suggested professionalism. I never made that mistake again.
I'm on my feet anywhere from 6-10 hours every wedding day, & am only sitting when I'm scarfing food down my face at the reception, making my one trip to the bathroom, or driving between venues. I like to look cute & nice, but I need comfort.
For years, I wore the cutest black ballet flats I could find at DSW. I would wear them out, suffer through some blisters, & wake up the next day afraid to put my full body weight on my feet for fear they'd fall off.
Finally, I saw the light & bought the ugly shoes. I bought...memory foam. My world was changed. Yes, my feet still are little tired the next day, but it's no comparison. It's true that they're not the cutest shoes in the world, but they blend enough with my outfit that people aren't questioning my fashion sense. At least to my face.
Sketchers has a nice line of cute-ish black slip ons that I've found work nicely. (This is what I'm currently wearing.)
Save yourself the footache & buy the ugly shoes.
I've long abandoned the notion of wearing a dress to a wedding when working because I'm constantly squatting or bending over for different angles. I've watched other photogs wear dresses all day, & I honestly have no idea how they do it.
is white ok?
For the longest time, I thought I had to wear solid black because it was professional. However, after coming very near to passing out from heat strokes at a few weddings, I finally decided it was ok to wear a white shirt to a wedding, especially if it was an outdoor wedding. (Or, white pants & a darker top. Don't wear all white!) Texas summer heat is something to take seriously, & white makes sense. No one wants a passed out photographer. I think it's fine to wear colors as long as they're muted & neutral. I also like to avoid loud patterns or anything that could possibly draw attention.
Because I switch so frequently between lenses, it's handy to keep them within easy reach. I also need to keep the printed out timeline, spare batteries, memory cards, & my phone with me, so a bag makes sense. Years ago, my friend introduced me to the Shoot Sac & I've loved having it by my side. While it technically has 6 pockets, it can only hold up to 3 big things (3 lenses, 3 flashes, etc.) at a time. Smaller/flatter items can be stored in the remaining 3 pockets.
I've only gotten frustrated with it when I was trying to hold 4 big items, but that's rare. I have my 3 go-to lenses, & one is usually on my camera.
Bonus, the cover/flap doubles as a lens wipe.
This is totally up to you, but like I've mentioned before, I live in Texas & summer heat is real. My hair is up, back, & sprayed stiff. One time I tried wearing my bangs down at a wedding & I lasted 30 minutes.
Most people are satisfied with just their phones, but I've found it so much easier to have a watch on. I used to hate watches (I'm not a huge bracelet person to begin with) but on wedding days I can make an exception. Besides, I don't have to worry about getting distracted by text messages or emails from other clients when I need to be focused on the now. It's also one less chance of me dropping it trying to get it out of my pocket.
extras: sunscreen & bug spray
Sunscreen doesn't need any explanation (again, Texas summers!), but wearing bug spray was something I learned the hard way.
A few years ago, I woke up the morning after a wedding with a whopping 97 mosquito bites, mostly concentrated on my ankles. Let me repeat that.
NINETY SEVEN MOSQUITO BITES.
Those little pests were even biting through my clothes. The three days following that wedding were pure agony with itching. At the following wedding, I wore mosquito repellent bracelets, even though I was on the top floor of a downtown sky-rise building. I was taking no chances.
pack an emergency kit
I have a little bag of small necessities that I keep with me during photo shoots & wedding days. It's saved me or my client a few times. In that bag is:
- hair spray*
- contact solution*
- an extra pair of contacts
- makeup (mainly powder)
- mouth wash
* travel sized!
Most of the above is personal preference, so you do you. I knew a photog who was always sure to ask his clients what the dress code of their wedding would be. He would then wear jeans to a cowboy wedding, or a suit to a church wedding. He wanted to blend in.
Be comfortable. Be practical. Be professional.
- respect the bride & groom (like I said, no white dresses, please)
- respect the venue (especially if it's a church)
- blend in with the guests (for example, wear a tux if it's a black tie wedding)