This is how you’d see me at a destination wedding in the tropics.
- Shoulder Bag: ONA, Bowery in Field Tan. ONA makes wonderfully stylish bags. This one is holding three additional prime lenses and a lens cloth. It also contains my passport, which I keep on my person at all times during a trip. My passport and my used memory card are the two things I am determined never to lose. It’s a useful obsession.
- Shirt: Ralph Lauren, in Navy and Pink Check. This shirt is labeled ‘non-iron’. I iron it, of course, but it doesn’t wrinkle too badly during the day. I always roll up my sleeves when I shoot – it’s relaxing and I feel ready to use my hands.
- Necktie: Jos. A. Bank, in Navy. I virtually always wear a patterned shirt with a solid, nicely textured tie.
- Pants: Polo Ralph Lauren, Linen Cotton Preston in Navy. I’ve worn Polo pants my entire career. They sit very well on me and they’re durable. All my wedding clothing gets destroyed during the course of a season. My RL pants have always held up for a long time without fraying or tearing.
- Belt: Orvis, Braided Latigo Leather. Very thick, with great texture and a brass buckle that matches the brass hardware on my ONA bag. It’s the little things.
- Shoes: Clarks, Watkins Park in Taupe Nubuck & Suede. My Clarks are as comfortable as sneakers, with a casual look acceptable for a beach event.
- Camera: Canon 6D with 50mm 1.4 lens. Light and remarkably quiet when used in silent shutter mode.
For domestic weddings my attire is more formal and includes more black: black pants, belt, shoes, and shoulder bag. But I still wear a colorful-but-conservative shirt and necktie.
No matter where I’m shooting I have three requirements when selecting my clothing:
- Acceptably Formal. I believe in dressing at least as well as an ordinary guest, which means I always wear a necktie. A blazer is too cumbersome and too hot for me, so I omit that, but everything else is typical of what a guest would arrive in. I’ve worn true suit pants before, but I’ve found chinos to be less likely to suffer a regrettable split.
- Deceptively Athletic. Shooting a wedding is a highly physical endeavor. My clothes need to be light weight, relatively breathable, and loose enough for crouching and running.
- Entirely Forgettable. I’m a photojournalist, so I usually want to keep the lowest possible profile. My attire is intentionally conservative, largely thanks to a solid necktie.
Finally, I bring a couple of nearly-identical shirts to every wedding. Sweating during an outdoor ceremony is unavoidable, but a wet shirt doesn’t need to be part of my night. With a fresh clothing change I can shoot in the middle of a crowded dance floor without feeling self-conscious.
So why is this posted under Automation? Because most people are used to seeing lesser-dressed photographers. Looking better than average shows you care enough about someone’s event to make the effort. Which gets you an instant measure of respect and gratitude from clients and their families. Which gets you remembered positively. Which gets you referred.
Dressing well is a way of automating your referral efforts.