We’re not going to say that what you wear to capture a once in a lifetime event is as important as your camera, your lenses, and the education and soul behind them.
BUT at the same time, show up to your event a wrinkled mess, hair a muss, and shoes a-flippin’ and a-floppin’, and yeah, the fact you’re the BEST in your market is not going to make much of a difference to your embarrassed clients and their shocked guests.
And while you are most likely not going to err this spectacularly, there are many key things to keep in mind as you prepare for yet another successful wedding season.
The indispensable point here is to not only blend in with the guests of the wedding but to choose attire that does not cause any distraction. You want to be unseen. Dark, neutral colors. No patterns. Simple tailoring. The more ninja-like you are, the less noticeable you’ll be. And therefore, the greater your ability to capture real moments because your subjects will not notice you and your camera.
Equally as important as becoming one with your subjects in terms of looks, is the comfort of your clothes. Shooting weddings is a long 8-12 hour day that will require a great deal of physical dexterity. Your attire should aid you in this endeavor, not hinder you. Natural fabrics like cotton are more comfortable. Skirts that allow you to bend, lie down, or climb atop objects are smart. And tops that leave your personal business hidden away are key.
It can not be emphasized enough the importance of a good pair of comfortable shoes. And by good, this means that yes, money spent on comfort here will literally pay off for you. It is super hard to push yourself to excel, to be that Energizer Bunny that you need to be as a wedding photographer to wow your clients, if your dogs are barking. All the weight of you, all the weight of your cameras and gear come down to the real estate of just your two relatively small feet. Treat them with respect. Buy supportive and cozy shoes. Add cushy insoles. And while you’re at it, make sure they are silent while you walk. It won’t do anyone any good to have you click clicking down the aisle of the church to get your shot. Your photos will be full of people looking at you and your noisy shoes.
Simple, neutral clothes. Sensible shoes. Not very exciting, is it? If you’re looking for a way to express yourself, here’s your chance. A statement necklace, tie, camera strap or bag. Say yes to those. Or consider perhaps a hair accessory that does double duty as not only a beautiful adornment, but also a functional device to keep your locks out of your viewfinder. But again, keep to the rule that you do not want to draw attention to yourself. This is not the time to wear a fascinator worthy of Royal Ascot. And make your accessories work for you further by having them also fit in with your brand. Are you a vintage-inspired photographer enchanted, as are your brides, with shabby chic details? Then reflect that in your personal details. Who knows, perhaps your style will attract the attention of a newly engaged bridesmaid or guest.
Hair and Makeup
As stated above, shooting a wedding is a long day. The work is physically hard. And the weather? Well, it could be warm to say the least. While no one is going to expect you to be picture perfect the entire day, you will be required to be neat and well groomed. If you color your hair, today is not the day to show up with two inches of roots showing. And choose a hairstyle that will function well on this busy day. Have contingency plans in place also with ponytail holders, extra pins, and barrettes in your bag for that rare occasion when you do get a chance to attend to your personal grooming. Just like your hair should be ready for a long day, so should your makeup. Waterproof mascara, powder, blotters, and lipstick for touch ups is a good thing.
We can honestly say that everything in an ER kit makes us giggle. Because it’s so preposterous that we’ll need these things, but at the same time: WE DO. Here’s the list:
Baby powder - Because baby powder has a wonderful ability to absorb sweat. When paper towels are not enough, baby powder will be your best friend. Plus, it smells nice. And for a beach wedding, it removes sand like nothing else. Enough said.
Extra shoes - Because shoes break, especially strappy shoes at outdoor weddings when trekking through nature. And it’s sort of embarrassing to borrow the bride’s extra shoes. Not that this has ever happened to anyone we know…
Extra clothes - Because guests spill liquids. And sometimes they spill those liquids on the photographer. And the photographer is just happy it wasn’t her equipment. Or sometimes it’s just really, really hot and no amount of baby powder is going to help the situation.
Band Aids - Because sometimes those shoes, despite being expensive, STILL hurt after 12 hours.
Sewing kit/safety pins - Because either you will have a wardrobe malfunction or someone in the bridal party will. And if you show up with the the needle and thread, YOU will be the heroine!
Ibuprofen/energy bars/water - Because paying attention to what your body needs is actually as important as making sure you have extra batteries. There will be no capturing the last dance if, because of a sugar crash, the photographer is unable to climb the stage to get the perfect angle.
A wedding day is amazing. The love, the emotions, the details. There is so much going on all at once. It really does take a superhuman to capture it all. And since most of us are not superhuman, we need to find ways to bridge that gap between an ordinary human and a phenomenal almighty. Choosing attire for success and following these rules is just that way.
Here are some of our favorite brands:
As photographers, we’re always on the lookout for new tools that will make our workflow faster and easier (while making our images look their best), and when we found Mastin Labs’ film presets for Lightroom, specifically Fuji Pro, Ilford B&W and Kodak Portra, we knew we had hit gold!
We downloaded and installed all three, and watched the included Getting Started tutorials Edit Your First Image and Using Tone Profiles that hold your hand and walk you through the presets and how they work.
The presets are incredibly easy to use, and quick to apply. And, we love that they are designed to replicate the films that we have known and loved.