As an aspiring photographer, one of the most common queries you’ll have is, “What should I wear to a photoshoot?” Is there a dress code for photographers?”
In reality, it depends on the type of photography you’re doing, the individual client you’re working with, your general style and brand as a photographer, and the culture of the place you’re shooting in.
In comparison to a business event photographer, a portrait photographer may have greater latitude in how they dress. Similarly, a photographer working on the West Coast of America will be able to dress more casually than a photographer working on the East Coast.
To get you started, here are some fundamental photographer dress code requirements to follow:
1. Invest in a good pair of shoes that are both durable and comfy:
Start with the shoes, regardless of the type of shooting you’ll be doing. Consider that you’ll be standing for several hours at a time, so comfort and ergonomics are essential.
Consider the terrain you’ll be shooting on, as well as the weather forecast for the season. Will you be able to go through grassy fields, sandy coasts, or other natural elements? If that’s the case, shoes that can take a hammering and yet look nice will be essential.
As a female photographer who shoots largely for corporate clients, I often go for black leather flats during the summer season, black leather boots for colder weather, and formal black leather shoes for extremely long shots with outdoor elements. In any case, avoid wearing sandals, high heels, or flip-flops.
2. Disguise yourself:
Consider your prospective physical manoeuvres, such as bending, crouching, and squatting, as a photographer in constant pursuit of unique angles, and dress accordingly.
Wear something that will allow you to be physically flexible without drawing attention to yourself or, worse, having a wardrobe malfunction.
Avoid low-cut tops, ultra-short skirts and dresses, and revealing clothing for women. Bring a blazer or jumper to cover up at the absolute least. Remember to wear a belt and a longer shirt that can be tucked in, gentlemen.
3. Wear all black:
This is a debatable topic, as some may say that clothing in accordance with your brand is a superior tactic. However, it’s a common rule of thumb that for a photoshoot, all black is better.
Why? You won’t stand out and draw attention away from the main subject if you wear black. Not to mention that wearing all black makes you appear more professional – like a member of the crew – which can be useful when navigating a venue.
For my photoshoots, I like the all-black rule simply because having a pre-assembled uniform takes one less item off my plate. My uniform consists of one pair of black skinny jeans, one pair of black trousers, a black leather belt, numerous button-down black blouses, several black polo shirts, and a black blazer, which I mix and match. To reduce perspiration absorption, I try to buy my black clothing in lightweight, moisture-resistant fabrics rather than cotton wherever possible.
4. Add a personal touch:
Some photographers would argue that it’s more necessary to wear according to your brand than to dress in complete black as stated above. This is something I strongly believe in, however you can include brand components into your outfit even if you’re wearing all black.
For example, I always make a point of wearing a few pieces of standout jewellery to complement my ensemble and spark attention. I have a few sets of unusual earrings, necklaces, and watches that constantly draw attention, but they’re little enough that they don’t draw too much attention.
Another option is to have your logo printed on black clothes, such as a polo shirt with a modest branding accent. This has been done successfully by a photographic colleague of mine; it supports his brand while also helping him look and appear more official at photoshoots.
5. If you’re unsure, ask:
Ask your client if they have any preferences if you’re absolutely stuck about what to wear to a photography. If you’re shooting an intimate portrait session, this is probably less crucial, but for event photographers in particular, it never hurts to ask.
A corporate photography client once failed to send along their two-page paper outlining their photographer dress code. I would not have received sufficient guidance if I had not asked.
At the absolute least, find out whether your shoot’s dress code is formal, semi-formal, or casual, as well as what those categories mean to the client.
Conclusion on what to dress to a picture shoot:
What you wear to a photoshoot may not seem important to some photographers. However, I feel that how you dress reflects your brand, therefore paying attention to every detail of your ensemble is essential.
Now it’s your turn:
When you’re doing photoshoots, what do you put on? Do you have any advice on how to dress for photography? Please let me know in the comments section below!