What Should Photographers Wear During Shoots?

That is a very good question. Is there a dress code for photographers? Finding that delicate balance between wearing something functional, professional, and kept myself looking and feeling good was something I struggled with for a while. What does professional even look like for someone in the creative field?! Nowadays I’ve come to realize that what you wear to work isn’t that complicated. I view how you dress yourself as designing your own uniform that is simultaneously functional and acts as a visual billboard of your professionalism and branding.

With that being said it’s difficult to specific define what a photographer should wear to work. Granted there are a few factors to be mindful of, but there’s also so much room to add your own individual flare to it.

Shoes

If you’re not wearing comfortable shoes, I’m going to slap you. A typical day can run from 3-14 hours and for the most part you’re probably going to be up on your feet. Having a good pair of shoes with great support will make a huge difference with preventing fatigue by lessening the impact of your steps, by preventing you from slipping and falling on your face, and by cushioning your feet when lifting heavy objects (sandbags, light stands, etc.) Speaking of heavy objects –while on set I will never where open-toed shoes. You’re just asking for something the fall and squish your toes otherwise. For me my running shoes or a pair of boots is perfect.

shoes

Key Points for a Good Shoe: 

  • Protects your feet.
  • Gives support for long hours of standing.
  • Prevents slipping.

Colors

There’s so much you can do with color! I’ve seen a few of my fellow photographers go out of their way to match what they wear with their brand color or the color of their client’s brand. There’s a lot of freedom here, however just be mindful of your color choices within the context of your shoots. For instance wearing obnoxiously bright colors could easily become a distraction for the subject you’re photographing. Or wear colors from a rival sports team while photographing a team sport might not generate the best rapport. My usual go to are black pants and neutral colors.

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Recently I’ve been wearing primarily grayscale clothes. A bonus from this color choice is that I can use myself as a white balance card.

layers

Key Points for Colors: 

  • Don’t be a distraction.

 

Clothes

This is where the delicate balance of professionalism, style, and functionality come into play. You want to put together and professional, but not dull and conventional. You want to be comfortable, but not overly casual or sloppy. You should also base your wardrobe off of shoot factors such as the weather, location, and time of day. Don’t wool in the desert and don’t wear shorts when it’s -10°C. Approach your wardrobe as an extension of your brand and personal style.

On shoot days I’m generally going to wear layers, things with lots of pockets, and things that I don’t mind roughing up. Layers, so I can adjust to the weather. Pockets because where else will I stick memory cards and extra batteries? And durable materials because I’m going to end up climbing something or lying in some awkward position to take a photo from.

ground

Key Points for Colors: 

  • Don’t be a distraction.
  • Dress for weather and environment.
  • Find a style that fits you.

What about yourself? Describe your personal style on shoot days in the comment section. 

 

 

3 Comments

  • I love this article! I’m basically sitting here in Hamilton, in front of the fan, and knowing I need to drive to Auckland tomorrow for a brunch meeting and two pet photography sessions and I have no idea what to wear!! So on the off chance, I jumped into Google and hear you are … telling me not to wear my merino drop crotch because they will be TOO FREAKING HOT! Thanks for that 🙂

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