Deciding what to wear for a wedding shoot doesn't have to be stressful. I used to drive myself crazy changing outfits and spending hours searching for the perfect look. After a few outfit mishaps and learning experiences, I now stick to a few simple basics when putting my look together.
This is part 1 of a 3 part series. I'll be outlining what I wear to photography specific types of weddings. I wish these types of guides had been around years ago when I was trying to figure out what to wear that would be 1) appropriate and 2) comfortable. Hopefully there are a few out there who will find this helpful!
1. Sleeveless, comfortable dress with pockets. I love the mobility that a sleeveless dress provides since I'm moving around so much, I don't like feeling restricted or having to worry about sweat stains (yuck!). The pockets are the key here! I throw lens caps, full SD cards, gum, my cellphone, chapstick and anything else into those pockets throughout the day. They've saved me so many times!
I know a lot of other photographers would be horrified at the idea of wearing a dress to photograph a wedding, but it's what works best for me. I've worn nice black dress pants to a shoot before and honestly, it was fine - a dress is just more my style and I feel like I can move with less restrictions. If pants and a dress shirt work for you - rock it out, girl!
2. Hair up and out of the face. I've got lots and lots of unruly, curly hair. It has a mind of it's own so I don't even chance wearing it down or trying to do some cute ponytail. When I am working, my hair is pulled back and out of my face. It's a quick way to look polished, but I also like that I don't have to fuss with it during the day and there's no hair on my neck in case it gets warm.
3. Shootsac camera bag. The one pictured isn't the exact one I use. I like the classic best selling Shootsac Lens Bag. I've had it for almost 5 years and it looks like I bought it yesterday. It fits all the gear I need to have on me and is super comfortable, too! I love how easy it is to get to lenses and to switch lenses out very quickly. You can add different bag covers onto it to suit your look, but I enjoy the classic black cover. The key is finding a bag that works for you.
4. A simple piece of jewelry. Keeping your jewelry and accessories to a minimum is just a plain old good idea. I like wearing a single, classic gold necklace. It goes with nearly every outfit and it's a little piece of me that I can wear throughout the day without it being in my way while I'm working. I leave my rings, earrings and bracelets at home - I don't want to be jingle-jangling in a church during a quiet ceremony! That would be a total nightmare. Keep it simple!
5. The right shoes. Admittedly, this is something I just recently figured out. I use to wear the nude flats pictured above. I loved them. Aldo did something special with those shoes and I was able to wear them for an entire day of shooting with minimal pain and suffering. I even went back and bought a second pair! I wore through both pairs out in about 4 years and was devastated. I tried to wear sparkly Toms, but after 5 or 6 hours, I was hurting pretty bad. I love Toms for everyday, but Weddings are special circumstances and the feets need special love and attention.
I recently just discovered these bad boys from Skechers, and I am in love! 12 hours of wear and my feet felt great! I know they're not the sexiest shoes in the world, but they did the trick. And after 8 years of searching, I'm so thrilled I finally found them!
6. A water bottle. Keep this on you at all times. Keep it full. Ask your second shooter to keep an eye out for when it gets empty and to lend you a hand by filling it up for you when time allows. When I first started, I didn't bring a water bottle along with me. I have no idea what I was thinking. Suddenly I looked up during the reception and realized I hadn't had any water in nearly 6 hours. Awful! Now I keep one on me at all times.
I like this Brita one because it has a filter built in so you can get a refill from nearly anywhere. Can't stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated while you're working!
7. An easy to grab snack. The less messy, the better. Something that you can take a bite out of and then put back in your bag gets double bonus points. If there's anything I've learned, it's that when you're photographing a wedding you're not guaranteed even 5 minutes of time to sit and eat. Granola bars, fruit gummis, snickers bars or cheese sticks are just a few of my favorites!