What to Wear as a Wedding Photographer

what to wear as a wedding photographer

Jai Long

May 13, 2022

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Gear, check. Back up memory cards and batteries, check. Run sheet, check. Set alarm, check.

Aside from ticking off your day-before checklist and checking in with your couple, you also need to decide on the outfit you’ll be wearing as their wedding photographer. Considering you’ll be on your feet all day and potentially getting into awkward positions to capture all the beautiful moments from their day, you’ll want to choose a comfortable, functional outfit that’s also on-brand.

As a general rule, you should opt for a smart-casual outfit to respect your clients and their guests on their special day. Whether it’s a black-tie extravaganza or a casual backyard wedding, looking professional also shows that you’re taking your job seriously and will help you make a positive initial impression on everyone – don’t forget, every wedding you attend is a chance for you to make new connections and encourage word-of-mouth referrals! Treat every guest and vendor as though they’re a potential client.

Simple guidelines/ consideration factors on what to wear when shooting a wedding

what to wear as a wedding photographer

  • Type of wedding – Is it a luxury black-tie event or is it a casual beach wedding? Are there any cultural, traditional or religious elements that you need to be respectful of?
  • Location & venue – Is it indoors, outdoors or a mix of both? If it’s a destination wedding or elopement, do you need to trek up a mountain or get into the water?
  • Weather – Will it be hot or cold? Will it be raining? Is there going to be a drastic temperature change from day to night?
  • Comfort & functionality – Choose fabrics that have adequate stretch or “give” when you need to climb, squat, kneel or bend over. Comfortable shoes are a must!
  • Avoid flashing anyone – The only flash we want is the camera flash going off! Steer away from short hemlines, low-hanging pants and plunging necklines.
  • Neutral colours – Don’t steal the show by wearing loud, distracting colours or patterns. It also prevents unwanted colour casts in your photos.

7 outfit tips from wedding photographers in our Six-Figure Business Map community

To help you pick your perfect wedding photographer wardrobe, we asked our Six-Figure Business Map community for their go-to outfit advice from experience!

From generous pockets to versatile jumpsuits and personal shopping picks, keep reading to see what they’ve said – you can also show them some love and connect with them by saying hi via their Instagram links. Meet our other sailors here.

 

Outfit Tip 1. Anything with POCKETS!

Whether it’s for your lens cap, batteries, tissues for teary couples or a protein bar for a quick refuel, pockets are convenient for stashing small important things throughout the day.

The deeper the pockets, the more stuff you can store and not worry about anything falling out or getting misplaced.

“Pockets all the way……..” – Nic Brearley from Place of Love Photography

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Place of Love Wedding Photography

“ANYTHING WITH POCKETS 😂 I have a few dresses that are my go-to because they have pockets 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 ” – Jess Manthey from Auburn Photography

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Auburn Photography

 

Outfit Tip 2. Don’t wear a white shirt and pants (and get mistaken for a server).

Laser-focused on getting “the shot”, the last thing you want is to miss a key moment because their wedding guests have mistaken you for a server, demanding more food and drink top-ups. Or if you’ve only got a quick minute to pop out for a much-needed toilet break.

While a shirt and slacks will always look professional, try your best to avoid potentially looking like the venue’s staff.

“Don’t wear a white shirt and dark pants. You will look like a server at the reception if you put down your camera. I speak from experience. 🤦🏼‍♀️
Also, dress up so you look like a guest. Not sweats or jeans or casual hooded sweaters. Just my opinion.
Black is nice so you blend in if you have a second shooter or another photographer doing video.”
– Jenn Roach from Jenn Roach Photography

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Jenn Roach Photography

“All black doesn’t work either from my experience. I got asked for more chicken wings once even though I was holding a camera. Lucky for him, I had one left in my pocket, so I gave it to him. We’re still friends today.” – Marcus Page from A Couple of Pages

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

a couple of pages wedding photography

 

Outfit Tip 3. Dress smart casual or like a wedding guest.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you don’t want to turn up in a stained tee and flip flops out of respect for the couple. They’re celebrating what will be one of the most memorable days of their lives, so make sure you wear smart casual attire to not stick out like a sore thumb.

Secondly, you’re a walking billboard for your brand! Treat every single wedding as an opportunity to market yourself and every guest/ vendor as a potential client or referral. Dress investment-worthy sharp and make those first impressions count.

“Denim button-up shirt with black stretchy chinos and brown boots.. smart casual and comfy!” – Mark Evans from EVN Creative Weddings

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

EVN Creative weddings

Blending in so I look like I guest, a nice long floral dress WITH POCKETS! ” – Claire McLean from Claire McClean Photography

Claire’s personal recommendation: Uniqlo V Neck 3/4 Sleeved Dress 

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Claire McClean Photography

“I go quite smart, not casual. For footwear, I almost always wear black RM Williams boots.– Nicole Johnstone from Nicole Gourley Photography

Nicole’s personal recommendation: R. M. Williams boots

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Nicole Gourley Photography

 

Outfit Tip 4. Factor in the wedding location and weather.

While you’ll always want to be wearing your finest smart casual attire, it’s essential to dress for the wedding’s location and weather. If it’s an elopement or destination wedding where you’ll be navigating tricky climbs and prickly bushes or getting wet, restrictive clothing and high heels aren’t going to cut it. Prepare a functional outfit that will allow you to capture those money shots with ease, even if it’s from difficult or precarious angles.

You’ll also need to consider extreme weather conditions or day-to-night temperature changes so you can stay comfortable throughout the day, without worrying about sweat stains or numb fingers and feet.

“For adventure elopements it’s all about being prepared with the right GEAR. Gotta know the terrain and weather to be prepped. Not so much about looking fancy because we are out trekking in the wilderness 😂” – Kayla Donelle from Northern Voyages Co

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

“Totally depends where you live/work… a lot of the time in Perth we’re shooting in 35C-40C days outdoors and the question is more like “what to wear as a wedding photographer that will cover the sweat marks and not make me die from heatstroke” 💁🏻‍♀️ I have not yet cracked it. BUT a change of outfits for the reception goes a long way if it’s poss to schedule in 10 mins to freshen up and outfit change!!” – Cathy Stewart from Kitty Loves Love Photography

Cathy’s personal recommendation: Rollie Nation Shoes or Frankie4 Footwear

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Kitty Loves Love Photography

“Different looks for different wedding locations. But mostly I wear a black or tan jumpsuit.” – Jana Sauer from Jana Sauer Weddings

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“Board shorts and singlet all the way for adventure shoot so you are ready to jump into the water – G2G” –  Christian Miran from Paper Bear Photography

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Paper Bear Wedding Photography

“It’s currently 10000% degrees and about 90% humidity here in Hong Kong, so I need light, flow-y, loose clothing to get through the sweating (I wish I was exaggerating. I’d give anything for cold temperatures). I’m usually in a light cotton midi shirt dress that ties at the waist and most importantly, it has pockets! It’s the right amount of put together yet functional/casual.” –  Kasia Kolmas from Kasia Kolmas Photography

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Kasia Kolmas Photography

 

Outfit Tip 5. Choose comfortable shoes.

You’ll be running around all day so be kind to your feet! While it may seem obvious, we often overlook our choice of footwear. Skip the hobbling caused by painful blisters, sore feet and knees by choosing comfortable, supportive shoes. Avoid impractical high heels to save your arches and leave the slippers at home to avoid potentially nasty slips and trips.

If in doubt, invest in a pair of sturdy sneakers, flats or boots from your favourite brand. If they’re brand new, make sure you break them in well ahead of time too!

“For me it’s all about the shoes! These bad boys are waaayyy comfier than even my sneakers – got a nice lil support for arches 🥰 9-10 hours in this and I’m fine! ” – Laity Finlay from Jypsea

Laity’s personal recommendation: Reef Women’s Cushion Vista Slides

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jypsea perth photographer

“Ohh this is such a current thing for me. Just got my first pair of R.Ms” – Liam Burrows from Skylark Media

Liam’s personal recommendation: R. M. Williams Men’s Boots

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Skylark Media Wedding Photography

“Noskin Boots!! Keep it ethical and vegan 🤩🔥🌱” – Jai Long from Free The Bird Weddings

Jai’s personal recommendation: Noskin Boots

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Free the Bird Weddings

 

Outfit Tip 6. Wear neutral colours.

Try your best to stay away from vibrant colours and loud distracting patterns, unless the couple has requested otherwise. Not only will it make you stand out unnecessarily, but it might also cause an unwanted colour cast affecting your photos.

Your safest bet is to stick with neutral or solid colours.

“Neutrals. No colours that’ll bounce tinged light into a shot. White adds light.” – Jewel Chenoweth from Jewel Chenoweth Photography

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

“This is pretty much my go-to outfit for weddings. I wear black trousers for pockets and just to elevate my outfit a little bit and a plain black top, which is essentially just a simple cotton top that I can move around in. The fanny pack is also key for me, it’s SUPER helpful! ” – Madi Ellis from Madi Ellis Photography

Madi’s personal recommendation: Blundstone or Allbirds for shoes

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Madi Ellis Photography

 

Outfit Tip 7. For the ladies, jumpsuits are a winner!

Jumpsuits were a no-brainer suggestion from many of our female wedding photographers. Easily dressed up or down, jumpsuits offered versatility and most importantly, stylish comfort throughout the day. They allow you to move around quickly and easily, climbing up and down between shots, without the risk of accidentally flashing someone.

Despite minor bathroom inconveniences, most jumpsuits also come with handy pockets for storing items while you’re on the go.

“I love wearing jumpsuits of varying color to weddings!! First for functionality because I want to be able to move quickly and easily, get up on chairs, and handle all kinds of weather conditions without fearing that my clothing limits that. Secondly, I believe it’s important to look put together – I’m attending a wedding so I want to blend in with guests without calling a ton of attention in the front of the ceremony!!” – Lily Notz from Lily Notz Co

Lily’s personal recommendation: Free People Lennox Jumpsuit and Kohl’s Sleeveless Woven Jumpsuit

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Lily Notz Co Wedding Photography

“Old Navy Jumpsuits do it for me! I have this same linen (and other fabrics but same style) jumpsuit in 4 colors and a bunch in black, I wear them ALL THE TIME for all types of weddings! They can be dressed up or down very easily, you can toss a blazer or vest over it for instant upscale, and the black always looks great. Works so well with a fanny pack or a belt holster and is a super affordable option. ” – Renata Rose from Renata Voci Photography

Renata’s personal recommendation: Old Navy Sleeveless Linen-Blend Tie-Belt Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Renata Voci Photography

“For me…jumpsuits! All of the jumpsuits. Dressy, casual, adventure. There’s all kinds. And it’s the most comfortable for me to move around in. I do what needs to be done for the shot.” – Corinne Jackson from Corinne LaLoba Photography

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Corinne Laloba Photography

“Literally just bought a black jumpsuit that would have to be the absolute comfiest thing I have ever worn to shoot a wedding, or anything for that matter.
The only downside to jumpsuits is basically undressing to go to the bathroom 😂
But other than that I’m now converted from black pants/jeans and a blouse to a jumpsuit wearer!”
– Renée Rametta from Two Wild Hearts Photography

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two wild hearts photography

“I usually wear a jumpsuit! So comfy and easy to move in! Can get a very professional looking one, or more laidback look!” – Sailor Hinegardner from Sailor Breez Photo + Film

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Sailor Breez Photo + Film

“My top two go to wedding jumpsuits for the ladies 🥰” – Berkley McGaughey from Berkley McGaughey Photography

Berkley’s personal recommendation: Lulus Black Strapless Jumpsuit and Nasty Gal V-Neck Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

👋 Say hi: Website | Instagram

Berkley McGaughey Photography

 

Dress for the occasion and have fun!

When in doubt, it’s always helpful to consult with your clients and seek their opinion. This is particularly important if there are any cultural, traditional or religious aspects of their wedding that you need to be mindful of. For example, black is often considered an unlucky colour in Hindu ceremonies, while both black and white symbolise death and mourning in Chinese culture.

Dress to impress, stay comfortable, and prove that you’re worth every penny of their investment!

 

What to Wear As a Wedding Photographer

Meet the Author

Obsessively wordsmithing and hyping the living daylights out of anything and anyone, Mel is our in-house word nerd and coach.

You’ll also find her regularly dropping hot website/ biz tips inside the Business Map and yelling at people for downplaying their wins (“big” or “small”, every win is still a win).

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Mel

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