FAQ : What Does a Photographer Wear to a Wedding?

've marinated this blog post for a bit because--well--it makes me slightly uncomfortable. I don't know what, precisely, is so nerve-wracking, but I want to preface it by stating: 1. I don't think I'm a fashionista; 2. I don't think I have it together; and 3. When I look into my closet, I secretly pray Rachel Zoe will magically appear and help me address my fashion woes. Having said that, I've received more than my share of emails from photographers asking what I wear to photograph a wedding.

For years I struggled with what I should wear, as well as balancing the desire to be functional, professional, and represent my brand. To be honest, when I look back to outfits I wore my first year of business, I cringe. Basically, I looked sloppy. I once heard I should dress for the job I want, not the job I have. If this was true, I was dressing to be a vacuum saleswoman or Cupid Shuffle instructor.

A bit ago, I read this note on Facebook...

Today I'm blogging photos of outfits I wore as a wedding photographer in the past month for Kori and anyone else who might be interested. If you're disinterested at this point, I heavily suggest you mosey on to a different part of the web because we're gonna get into shoes, clothes, and a whole lotta jsuche.

This is one of my favorite outfits because it looks like a skirt and shirt, but it's really a dress. I think the length is appropriate and I like the pop of color, but it's not enough to be too distracting or be noticed (which is why I stay away from wearing prints at a wedding).

A lot of my outfits in the past month were sleeveless because it was hot. Unbearably hot, if I was being honest, but when work demands being outdoors, the key is to look professional and not necessary like I'm ready for afternoon tea. I particularly like this dress because it was only $ full price. I was tempted to leave the pricetag on so people would know what a great bargain hunter I was.

What you'll notice is a pattern of black clothing in my work attire. For whatever reason, I feel like wearing black is understated and allows me to work without drawing attention to myself. I wore this beige dress because it was over 100-degrees, an afternoon ceremony, and hosted on a Monday. These factors allowed me to take a slightly more casual look, because the goal was blend with guests.

Some might say the photo above is blurry, but I'm okay calling it SOFT FOCUSED. Totes. I not-so-secretly think JD did it on purpose because he doesn't like this dress. He muttered under his breath something about looking like I was about to make homemade tortillas, but I ignored him. I'm just in touch with my roots, okay?!

When I saw the photo below, I admitted JD was right. I don't mind the off-the-shoulder look as much as much as I think the ruffles were a bit much for work. Aye aye aye. I mean, need I remind you about the RUFFLE DEBACLE OF 2010?! We all make mistakes, Internet.

Yesterday it was chilly enough to wear a suit...or so I thought. The morning started with a cool nip in the air, it rained during family photos, but then cleared to be an 80-degree day. In any case, when I bought this suit, I told JD I felt like Don Draper. Except with long hair and sobriety and the capability of commitment.

So. That about wraps up this Photography Meets What To Wear To A Wedding post. Like always, it'll hopefully help one person...if it does, then I'm thankful.

Happy Monday!

**Updated To Add**
Wearing a dress is definitely a personal decision. I'm not the type of photographer who is crouching, climbing, or doing somersaults, so as long as the dress/skirt is to my knee, I'm well covered. Literally. ;)
Also, I shoot with one camera only (and don't use a strap), so I don't have to worry about my outfit getting in the way of gear. A couple months ago my doctor and I had a discussion about my health, which resulted in bringing an assistant with me to weddings. Kendra is officially my intern/assistant/right hand and I love her!
For those who asked about the heels...I have officially crossed to the dark side. I wear flats when I work and I make no apologies! ;)
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Quentin - I always dress the same: black shirt, black pants and formal shoes. I might add a tie if the wedding is more formal but never a jacket (it's quite annoying with my Holdfast).  08.05.14 - 1:34am
Toronto Wedding Photography - Thank you so much. All this information that you supplied us with is extremely helpful and will be put to good use. I’m a wedding photographer and this will change the way I take/look at my photographs.  06.02.14 - 11:02pm
LunaCat Studio - I am not either the type of the wedding photographer crouching, climbing and everything but I still prefer to be in trousers instead of a dress, just in case. Also, I always have a backup set of clothes in case of emergency or any problem. Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing your outfit ideas because it is something hard to find on the internet.  05.16.14 - 1:56am
Julie - thank you so much for this post! I think this is all reasonable! whoever wears heels to shoot a wedding is on some serious pain killers. really appreciate posts like these! keep up the good work!  06.01.13 - 10:50pm
Allie - Personally, I don't like the off-the-shoulder. To me it feels like I would be trying to draw attention to myself and away from the bride, and make myself feel sexy. Just a little too revealing for me. Bt other than that one piece, I definitely loved all the other outfits! The first one is definitely my favorite as well, love the pop of turquoise!   01.07.13 - 11:01am
Laura - I read this article while eating lunch with my almost two year old daughter. When I got to the first photo, she went silent, and then whispered "Belle??" She thought you were the real live Belle from Beauty and the Beast, so cute!   01.07.13 - 10:14am
Karen Julia - Thanks for this blog post! Really useful as I never know what to wear and have varied between looking like hotel staff or a guest!   12.23.12 - 2:51am
michaelandcarina - Your style looks fantastic. Except for the ruffles, lol. Love the suit! Seems to be more practical. Here's a pick of Mike at a recent wedding:   10.28.12 - 1:05am
Denise Prichett - Welcome to the dark side - flats ca be your friend. I have never been friends with heels. I like heels on other people. But I always prefer flats. I can't imagine wearing a dress. Slacks with pockets are my best friends.   10.24.12 - 6:44pm
Mike Swiegot - I go dress pants, comfortable dress shoes and an elegant fitted t-shirt. All black. I hardly every wear a suit, as I like to be comfortable and mobile.  10.23.12 - 9:46pm
Flor Branham - I totally have that same H&M dress :)  10.23.12 - 9:38pm
Maribel - You are psychic, LEGIT! I juuuuuuust posted two photos of me looking crazy frumpy, while shooting a wedding. Hopefully I morph into something slightly more fabulous soon! Thx for the advice.  10.23.12 - 1:47pm
Rae Clevett - Totally agree with all of the above. In addition, I also make sure I wear a shirt/dress that isn't too low cut so I don't have to worry about bending over. Also I don't wear anything too loose and flowing so it doesn't move around a lot, especially if I have two cameras hanging off me. Flats are a necessity for me...I have been know to trip in heels so can't do that at a function lol   10.23.12 - 12:45pm
Alayna - Thank you so much for this post! I'm always trying to figure out that line between comfort and professional dress! This helps me so much, not only for wedding photography, but also when I am shooting other sessions too!  10.23.12 - 7:22am
Fotograf Nunta Iasi Daniel Condurachi - since I'm a guy I am more interested in what JD wears at weddings. I started wearing a suit until I ruined my favorite one during a weeding. Then I switched to black pants and dark shirt. But now I am thinking at something a bit more fancy and I lack in the ideas department. Please HELP :)  10.23.12 - 1:12am
Emma Nathews - When I'm staring into my closet, trying to decide what to wear to a wedding and hoping a new, amazingly perfect outfit will magically appear, I often think "WWJW?" What would Jasmine wear?!" It always helps. :)   10.22.12 - 11:30pm
Jessica Vidmar Photography - thanks for the addition : )  10.22.12 - 9:04pm
Paul Rohde - Hi Jasmine, Guy here. How do you dress JD? Or what would you expect a male photographer to come as for a high end wedding?  10.22.12 - 8:01pm
patricia takacs - I just wanted to say at the beginning of this wedding season you changed my life! I was wearing all black to every wedding and this year I said if Jasmine doesn't need to wear all black all the time neither do I here in Maine! So I have my wedding wardrobe generally a pencil skirt and a top. Thank you for this post :)   10.22.12 - 6:42pm
Jamie - haha.. Jasmine, I love your post on the ruffled top. Really made my day. Other than that, your outfits are amazing, and I tend to wear black too for whatever reason! I love how you keep it classy and fashionable.   10.22.12 - 5:48pm
Bianca - Jasmine you look great, even rocking the off shoulder ruffled dress. I think the ruffles add a bit of difference/elegance to what otherwise might be like a boring LBD. You rock every one of those outfits xx  10.22.12 - 5:36pm
Michael - Follow up post...JD's style guide. Inquiring minds want to know  10.22.12 - 5:34pm
Michelle - What a great post! As professionals we have to look the part, yet blend in, and be comfortable too. You make it look so easy! Thank you!  10.22.12 - 5:33pm
Ashley Goodwin - Ashley B! I saw some Tory Burch flats at TJMAXX!!!! We gotta teach J* about the MAXX. I love all your outfits girlfriend, and the off the shoulder was ACTUALLY my fav. Well, so was the beige. I love how you make the black look stylish and not like you are the caterer. Bravo! But, I know you have tackled the issue of melting make-up, but now I need to know how you rock cute hair DOWN while shooting! My hair winds up a sticky sweaty mess.   10.22.12 - 4:56pm
Sammantha - Jasmine I got to say you have a great sense of style ! I'd love to raid your closet any day. I do have to agree with the ruffles though. TOO much. Very excited to see you blog about this because I've gone over this many times before a wedding. What do I wear? As for the shoes I'm still embracing my 20's and wearing heels which I change out for flip flops half way through the day. (it's az..we're casual here) . No matter what MWAC Missy *cringe* has to say about your style, YOU rock it. Keep it up !  10.22.12 - 4:35pm
Southern Illinois Photography - I just wanted to say that you have a very nice blog here and you seem to have it together in spite of your doubts. You are doing a great job, keep up the good work!  10.22.12 - 4:22pm
Black Lamb Photography - I totally agree that wedding attire on the job is a personal choice. I cannot wear a dress or skirt because I am one of those photographers that crouches, climbs and is everywhere. But like you I do wear flats. Anything else would cause me too much pain as well as be a safety hazard. Ha! Ha! Thanks for posts pics of what you actually wear and also you in action while wearing these outfits.  10.22.12 - 3:25pm
Winston Mattis - You dress as a professional.I wish more of us both men and women would do the same, to show respect to our clients  10.22.12 - 2:45pm
Matt M - How about photos of what JD wore? For the other gender that doesn't quite look as good as you do in a dress.  10.22.12 - 2:29pm
Meredith Adams - Thank you for sharing!! This has also been a question of mine. You are always so well dressed to weddings. I can definitely learn a thing or two from your fashion sense! xo  10.22.12 - 2:04pm
Lismarie - Oh my! Those tory burch flats with your last outfit are my favorite! I am thinking of getting them for a birthday present for myself! I do love her flats so much. And you, dear, look amazing in all of your wedding-work outfits.   10.22.12 - 1:53pm
Mansfield Photography - Great advice! You definitly look stunning, yet professional!   10.22.12 - 1:19pm
Monika Greenaway - Love this! I wear similar attire, but have yet to find cute flats that don't give me blisters by the end of the wedding.  10.22.12 - 12:58pm
Matthew - Maybe it's the Pinner in me, but I made it through the post as a male reader! And I enjoyed it; I like a great style and you have it! But as others have mentioned, what about JD? What's he rockin' to the weddings?  10.22.12 - 12:57pm
Cathleen Siler - Thanks Jasmine - definitely can cross that question off my list.   10.22.12 - 12:09pm
Ashley Christine - Very helpful; thanks J! Oh, and you looked gorgeous in every photo. :)  10.22.12 - 11:45am
Matt - Good post. I think the most important thing to wear when shooting a wedding is a smile. It will get you better photos than any outfit out there. :)  10.22.12 - 11:40am
Tammy Stark - Love all the outfits you wear. My problem is shoes!!! I have yet to find a pair of cute, comfortable shoes I can wear all day. Ballet flats are pure evil on my feet. Got any tips?  10.22.12 - 11:31am
Tod p - I like what you and JD wear when you shoot, I think it is professional and stylish...I have not actually shot a wedding yet but I think I would follow the idea of a jacket rather then just a shirt as long as it project my sense of fashion and style and adds to building my brand...but I have seen photographers go over the top with the way they dress to the point I feel as though they are more worried about not getting what they are wearing scuffed then getting the shot  10.22.12 - 10:42am
Rachel - I always think you look fab when you're working, from the shots I see anyway. This is a topic that bugs the hell out of me, even when I wear a suit I don't feel I look the part, if I wear a dress I have to wear tights with it being cold here and they drive me mad, no win situation, God it must be sooooo easy to be a man! On the down side, I once worked a wedding where the vid gal wore flip flops :O  10.22.12 - 10:38am
Whitney Lane Arnett - Love it! I try to wear dresses as much as possible on wedding days. I thnk you are the only photographer I had ever really seen do it before so it made me feel like I could rock one as well  10.22.12 - 10:37am
Lorrie Prothero - I like how you try to keep style in what you choose. Sometimes people think wearing solid black is enough - but I've seen some solid black outfits that look like the arcade maintenance guy and the only thing missing is the HUGE key-chain of keys hanging. I try to not wear solid black since I've noticed that even though we might think we're blending in, our solid black outfit can be spotted from across the floor - especially if none of the guests are dressed in solid black.  10.22.12 - 10:36am
Jessica Vidmar Photography - Hi Jasmine! just curious what you think about heels. most of the above photos show flats but i thought at one point you talked about shooting in heels alot - i could be wrong and a girl definitely has the right to change her mind : ) just wondering...  10.22.12 - 10:35am
Diana Alvarado - I love all of your outfits. The only thing that I have always wondered is, what do you do when you have to be low on the floor? I always wear pants and a dressy (but long) top for those situations. I know myself and I know that I'll end up doing some sort of half split in the middle of the aisle (but far enough so that nobody will notice me doing that. LOL).   10.22.12 - 10:24am
Brian - Thanks! But what does our man JD wear? I think I've seen him in a 3 piece suite... but isn't he just roasting in that?!  10.22.12 - 10:23am
Jenna Michele - The last outfit is the only one I would personally wear, black pants and black top. I like to be recognized very obviously assomeone that is a part of the vendors crew and not a guest, so black pants and a black top. Also I don't want to worry if anything is showing when wearing a skirt and crouching or getting into low positions so pants only... just my personal pref.  10.22.12 - 10:21am
Barb Stall - Love the clothes and the blot. I have always worn all black and always pants. Thanks to you I see I can wear a little Color. Looks like I will be shopping for new work clothes.:-)  10.22.12 - 10:17am
Wedding Photographer Braintree - Hey Jasmine you look great in all these shots (trouble is the bride and groom keep getting in the way ha ha). I think it's right to dress smart when you attend / shoot someones wedding, I really dont like it when I see photographers turn up in company shirts complete with logo. I always wear a suit, though I don't wear a tie as it can restrict me too much. So I guess very smart/casual.  10.22.12 - 10:17am
Elaine - Thanks so much Jasmine! I was one of the people that messaged you this summer about this.. something like "How do you not look like a hot mess while shooting" You look fab! Thanks for the tips! XOXO  10.22.12 - 10:16am
Melissa S - I'm a photographer working to grow my wedding business. I work on my own. So, I tend to have two cameras on me, one in my hand with a wide zoom lens and one slung on my shoulder with a telephoto. Plus, I have been wearing a vest to keep my memory cards, batteries and a few other things on hand. SO, even with dress slacks and a shirt... I look like a goon. I assume that you work with a second shooter, plus perhaps an assistant. Any tips for looking a little more put together when you have to have a number of items easily available at a moments notice?  10.22.12 - 10:06am
Paola - I don't think Don Draper would wear a paillette top :) I'm sure it'is nicer on you.  10.22.12 - 10:02am
Cherise kiel - I love this post, but find that I have a very hard time wearing dresses to weddings. I am usually squatting or even laying on the ground to get certain angles and I'm always paranoid about flashing people or guests, lol! You look great though!!  10.22.12 - 10:00am
Dana Beverly - LOVE the H&M dress and the d&g suit. GORGE! (In your words)  10.22.12 - 9:55am
peg - Love the turquoise and black dress! If I had your arms I would get one!! Glad you put this post up, as I generally wear something like your last outfit, so I can comfortably work in all kinds of different positions! One bride seemed to be surprised I was wearing slacks, and then I think she understood after all the work we did getting great beach shots in Cancun!   10.22.12 - 9:54am
Katy - Hi Jasmine, thanks for sharing this - and I love that beige dress :) I think it's important to blend with guests and look smart, while also being comfortable ( I gave up waering heels a while ago!) Nice to see that you wear colour too. I was once told photographers should wear all black, and that wearing colour or dresses was unprofessional! x   10.22.12 - 9:54am
Julia - Yaw) I own the same H&M dress bought it, specially for shooting weddings. :) Lovely)   10.22.12 - 9:43am
Marie - I'll take one of everything except the H&M dress....cause I got that one already ;)   10.22.12 - 9:40am
Jud Davis - Jasmine, thanks for the post. I think this is great, but, that shade of khaki just doesn't go with my skin tone, mainly because I'm a dude and skirts usually don't work for me. Got any tips/pictures for all those male photographers? In the south, where most of my weddings take place, temps can reach a sultry 105 degrees. Needless to say, its warm. I think female photographers definitely have more options, at least the ones with whom I work do. I would love to see what options you may have or may have seen for male photographers...and Draper's got nothing on you. These are great looks for a wedding photographer.  10.22.12 - 9:40am
April Hollingsworth - I am recovering from Achilles tendonitis. I went to Belk to buy GOOD SHOES (not from Payless) and was directed to a pair of Keens. This is the first "real" pair of shoes I purchased. I shot a 6 hour wedding and my feet never felt a thing! Worth every penney.   10.22.12 - 9:39am
Emily Fogarty - Thanks for the post! I've been struggling with photographer fashion myself... very inspiring!  10.22.12 - 9:39am
brianna - i just have two words: brainstorming. brunch.  10.22.12 - 9:38am
jessica - Ive been in business for 8 years and still shy away from wearing skirts or dresses due to the issue of accidently flashing someone if i need to get down for a shot or climb something... do you ever wear shorts or something under? Also do you dress differently for oriental or other cultural weddings? Thanks!   10.22.12 - 9:34am
Julie Blanner - I love that you wrote about this topic. As a wedding coordinator, I too, need to be comfortable, yet fashionable and presentable. It seems a lot of wedding vendors feel it's just to dress casually because of the effort they put into the day. I ask my staff to avoid patterns, wear ballet flats/comfortable shoes and dress professionally. After all, we are working a formal event!  10.22.12 - 9:32am
ElizabethRose - I love the outfits. Do you ever find it difficult to work in a dress? I've never tried it because I have been unsure if it will affect my ability to shoot from some angles.  10.22.12 - 9:30am
Sigrid Cardona - Thank's Jasmine! I photographed my first wedding last month and I had thought about EVERYTHING I needed equipment wise but didn't even think to THINK about what to wear and everyone kept telling me to stay away from a dess because of the type of crouching down movements I might be doing. I wore pants for the shoot, but now I see that if YOU can do this with a dress so can I! =0)   10.22.12 - 9:28am
Nicole Chan - What's your average # of hours that you shoot? Do the Tory shoes hurt your feet? Thanks! :)  10.22.12 - 9:26am
Stephanie - One of the first things my mom said when you and JD arrived the day of our wedding was how nicely you two were dressed! She was very impressed by your mix of professionalism and looking good. That's a lot coming from my mom as fashion is very important to her! Haha  10.22.12 - 9:25am
Jennifer - This post was super helpful! Although I'm not the photographer (my bf is the talent), as his assistant I've been having a hard time figuring out what to wear. This is a great starting point, thank you!   10.22.12 - 9:23am
Aliy Mayer - "I told JD I felt like Don Draper. Except with long hair and sobriety and the capability of commitment. " LOL. Love the first dress and the suit, super cute!  10.22.12 - 9:21am
Josh - I dress up. I like doing it, but I want to blend in as much as possible. No black polo and Kangol hat for this photog. Wearing a nice outfit has gotten a lot of comments, and a lot of guests say they appreciate it.  10.22.12 - 9:20am
Megan Wold - So happy you were able to share this. I actually have a mini panic attack because I can't decide how to look professional, stylish and yet comfy enough to get the shot. I always shoot the wedding and then at the end fear that one of the guests was talking about how horribly the photographer was dressed.   10.22.12 - 9:18am
Chris AK - Hey sweety, loved the post, which might sound a bit gayish coming from a guy, but i totally agree that how we dress and how we act during our couples weddings, can have a huge impact, either way. I always wear a suit, normally black or dark grey, exactly to try to stay out of focus of the guests during the whole day and cause i work in Greece and can get really hot here, i might lose the suits jacket during the ceremony. There is nothing worst than having a sweaty phog around you all day, dont you agree? ps. pardon my grammar mistakes, engling is not my native language, as you guys say, its all Greek to me  10.22.12 - 9:17am
Christina - i know it wasn't you per se, but i liked the lens cap as an arm band look. You look SO put together, how do you get up on/under tables/walls/stairs/etc and still look amazing is beyond me! After a 12 hour wedding, i'm surprised i'm not a heap on the ground!  10.22.12 - 9:17am
Nichole - Thank you Jasmine! This really helps! Do you ever feel limited with movement when you wear a skirt/dress?   10.22.12 - 9:16am
Garentee Photography - What about the boys...?  10.22.12 - 9:16am
Corne Smetsers - Please also post what JD weares since not all your readers are female ;)  10.22.12 - 9:16am
Lainee - LOVE this post! Every weekend Im a stress case on my outfits! Because lets be honest- shooting in a dress is SO uncomfortable! But you look amazing and I love your style! Thanks so much for sharing  10.22.12 - 9:15am
Mariah - Jasmine- You look lovely in all of these photos. We struggle with looking sassy yet professional/functional too! it's an ongoing battle, shoes are the biggest plague! My favorite is the suit and the "shirtdress". The ruffled debacle link totally cracked me up. You give wedding photography fashion a good name, keep it up! XO   10.22.12 - 9:15am
bethany cox - You look so fabulous! I always feel like a total frump on wedding days. This will help me stay inspired when I go shopping for wedding attire 2013. One question with shoes though... I have found that my wedding flats ALWAYS wear on the toe because of the way I shoot. How do your hold up? Also... I adore your attempt (and WIN) on spelling your sound "jsuche". Nicely done.  10.22.12 - 9:15am
Gary Palmer - I have had the pleasure of capturing the memories of many lovers special day for years. I always ask about the style of the wedding in pre-wedding I can dress accordingly to cordinate. Remember, it's better to overdress than underdress. Plus, your bride and your groom are in full dress, why shouldn't I be? We are professionals, I always make sure I look that way!   10.22.12 - 9:14am
Susan Kelly - Am I wrong, or did you used to shoot in heels? Glad to see you've come over to the dark side... haha  10.22.12 - 9:11am
dan! - You always look stunning. Thanks for sharing this! I'd also love a JD version for all of us gentlemen in your audience (he's so hot).  10.22.12 - 9:00am
elisabetta {linen and silk} - What a great advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, Jasmine! It does wonders for your mood too when you put an effort into what you wear. For a while I got in the habit of making excuses for myself because of lack of funds, but there really is no excuse when we have places like TJMaxx where you can buy good quality at a great price, making you look the part when working at a wedding!  10.22.12 - 8:58am
Rebecca Nash - Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been going through this lately...debating options, wanting to come off as put together, appropriate, & professional, still wanting to be young and fun too... Now I need to reconsider some of my wardrobe and makeup for shooting in general...  10.22.12 - 8:51am
Sharon - you are so adorable! :)  10.22.12 - 8:28am
ashley barnett - Whereee did the nude Tory's come from?! I'm on the prowl for a pair and everywhere I've looked they only have size 5.5...which ain't happening!!! You look adorbs (and professional and all that jazz).  10.22.12 - 8:18am
blackhuff - It's nice to see what you wear to a wedding. I think a pant suit would be ideal for me because I love to take photos on my knees :)  10.22.12 - 7:50am
Dallas Curow - I'm so glad you posted this on a monday morning, because you just got our collective weeks off to such a fun, light-hearted start in a very helpful and informative way. Those outfits are all so cute.  10.22.12 - 7:40am