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Old June 24th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #1
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Question re: attire.

This may be a tired and worn out question, (particularly for veterans), and maybe belongs under "Taking Care of business", but here goes:

I've only ever done weddings for family members, and even those were a few yrs back, as a guest, and only in VHS, so I certainly don't consider myself an authority. However, my brother recently attended a wedding where 2 sisters got married, one in church, and one following Asian wedding customs. (The second g is Janapnese). Thus, it was more a "dual reception" than a dual wedding.

The issue: my brother told me the videographer arrived in a T-shirt and Dockers-like slacks...in the church, at BOTH ceremonies, AND at the reception. My brother was the escort/date of the mother of one of the g's. Both felt the vieographer was obnoxious, too, looking for too many staged shots and hindering the spontaneity of the day. Needless to say, neither was happy, leaving both with a feeling the event was slighted and the atmosphere for the quests was diminished.

I find it hard to imagine showing up for a wedding in a T-shirt. (I've attended some weddings where even the photogapher wore a tux). I've also heard similar stories when shooting depositions, where I would expect to wear at least a shirt and tie.

Am I way off base, or is attire of so little concern? Personally, I can only imagine myself "dressing for the occasion." Ultimately, though, I guess it comes down to the image we want to project.

Thoughts?
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #2
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I would say a suit & tie are the bare minimum for the ceremony. Even if it's a casual ceremony, we aren't there as guests, we're there as professionals, and as such, should look the part.

As for the reception, I'd say that varies, but a T-Shirt is definitely way below par. See "professionals" above. I've shot some receptions in a nice buttondown shirt and dress pants, but those were all friends/family, and I *STILL* cleared it with them, even though I was in that grey guest/employee area. For any sort of purely professional reception, shirt & tie is my preferred attire, as I tend to do more psuedo-acrobatics during the reception. (Holding the camera over my head comes to mind. That's HARD in a suit coat) I've done some weddings still in my suit. I even had one where I was in a tux throughout the whole thing.

Like I said, we're professionals, and have a duty to present ourselves as such. Also, people's opinions are based on appearance as much as, or even more so, than skill. You can be the greatest shooter/editor in the world, and it won't mean anything if you show up looking like a hobo.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:57 AM   #3
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I think it is probably appropriate to wear similar attire to the guests. I actually think it is a bad idea to wear a tux if that is what the groom is wearing. I feel that those are their special day clothes and they should be the ones to stand out. Here in Hawaii, an aloha shirt and dark slacks are the norm, but on the mainland I would probably wear a shirt, tie, and sportcoat unless attire has changed for these functions since I've been away. I would ditch the sportcoat if it inhibited my ability to get the shots.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #4
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I'm reading this, just as I am going through what to wear for tommorrow's wedding. Hmmm...it's difficult to contend with looking presentable, the hot weather, comfortability, and most important to me - retaining my personal style.

I'm not a conservative dresser normally. When my clients meet me, I don't ever look that way. (Maybe I just might get more work if I looked boring.) But that's not me. I wouldn't do my best work if I had to morph into some alien get-up. I think it would be unfair to show up in a dweeby in a suit. I do strike for a compromise. Tommorrow I'll wear a funky black blouse, with boring black pants. My hair and make-up - all me. With conservative jewelry, of course.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 12:11 PM   #5
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smart casual, loose pants and GOOD SHOES
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Old June 24th, 2006, 02:16 PM   #6
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I agree with Peter, nice casual. I have some nice black dockers pants, Loose, comfortable, and huge pockets for batteries, tapes, lens cover. Not quite big enough for the HD100 lens cover though... I also wear grey polo shirts with company logo over the pocket. In nicer freelance positions, I wear a plain blue button down. Get some nice, comfy shoes that are casual. Clean Nike's might work. If you are on your feet for 10 hours, those shiney black leather shoes are out!
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #7
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I've always felt a professional appearance is essential. It is reflects pride in one's craft as well as respect towards clients, their family and friends. Dressing for comfort is also important. But, follow the norms of your local area.

My choice is a coat and tie. I will shed the coat in the summer months because of the heat unless the venue is in the mountains above 8000 feet. There the air temperature drops quickly after the sun sets. A coat quickly becomes a welcome thing to have.

In my local area people are extremely relaxed. Here, "business casual" is often considered acceptable wedding attendance attire. That is very probably a clean pair of jeans or shorts and a golf shirt, sport shirt, or even a clean T-shirt. I've lived here for close to 25 years and still can't get used to the idea (but I am going out to dinner tonight with friends at one our communities finer restaurants and what I just described is what I am wearing).

Of all of the photographers I work with one man and one woman strictly adhere to formal dress. All others loosely fit the "business casual" I described above.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:09 PM   #8
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Black Dockers, black shirts (one short sleeve, and one long). Leave a jacket and tie in my car just in case.Two pairs of black rockports- one shoe style and one snaekers. $390 for everything, and ready to roll.
The only problem with balck, though, is the outdoor shots here in inferno land. Also, I have to remember to bring a towel, and a pocket full of napkins to wipe sweat off my eyes, glasses and viewfinder.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #9
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well to be specific i wear balck loose trousers, either black or blue shirt (which i can breathe in.. ie NOT polyester) in the winter i wear a black Matrix like overcoat.
I wear a 2 pouch belt which is large enough to fit a brick battery and lens cloths in one pocket and in teh other pocket, i carry 2 spare tapes and an empty tape case. I used to wear a bumbag but fishing for stuff was jsut too much of a hassle.

As for showes, ive got Nike leather basketball sneakers. Im trying to find another pair for when tehse wear out, but i cant fault the confort and people dont notice that theyre in fact sneakers.

IMO, its not what you wear, its how you conduct yourself. I mean obviously u wouldnt be wearing black jeans and and AC/DC tshirt to a wedding, so smart casual would be the bare minimum. But ive done some Black tie jobs and people didnt look twice at my attire, simply because they know im there for a reason. Im not there to impress anyone, im there to do a job. That in itself should impress people.
The fact that i am being paid to attend is more than enough of an impression to get the attention from potential future clients
Ive also shot at some venues where a tie was a presrequisite for entering the building, but as soon as they see the cameras, they quickly become your friends and let u in without one.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 06:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Also, I have to remember to bring a towel, and a pocket full of napkins to wipe sweat off my eyes, glasses and viewfinder.
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Got a towels in the box, which cushion the GL1. They're also great for wiping sweat out of your eyes!
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Old June 25th, 2006, 09:45 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the feedback.

Some good advice here that might seem obvious, but could easily escape you until you run into the situation.

I learned the advantage of "good shoes" just yesterday...now I have to find some. Rockports will probably be my first choice. Extra wardrobe in the car is another.

As far as projecting "professionalism", in my corporate days I once attended a training class where the instructor made the comment that "perception IS reality", and perception is formed upon others' "first sight" of us...even before we're able to speak or introduce ourself. I've found that statement fo contain at least a seed of wisdom. It seems weighing our own comfort against others' perceptions of us is an issue of delicate balance...AND guesswork.

In the end, with few exceptions (like shoes), it seems we're bound to what we're individually comfortable with...both physically AND "perceptionally. (Is that even a word)? :)

THANKS for all the input.
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Old July 30th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #12
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After years of wearing tuxes and suits and swimming in my own sweat I now wear a black silk short sleeved t-shirt with black dress slacks. I'm much cooler and more comfortable and actually less tired at the end of the day.

Also, I think I am getting more respect from the other vendors and guests. I think it's a confidence thing. (I must be good if I can show up in a t-shirt.)

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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:25 AM   #13
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I'm in the group that goes with the loose fitting black dress slacks and, depending upon the temp, a short or long sleeved button down shirt, again, loose and comfortable. I carry a tie, jacket and extra shirt, just in case my more casual approach doesn't fit the bill. Most importantly, as others have pointed out, the shoes should be comfortable. I usually wear black shoe-look sneakers, I think I have some Nikes at the moment. Can't overestimate the importance of good shoes.
Having some sort of towel to wipe the sweat off your face was another good point.
I sympathize with the people who feel the need to wear a full dress suit, but feel the need to have free movement is more important to what we do than the need to impress the one or two stiff types that might be put off by my not having a tie and jacket. Like I said before, I do have a tie handy if I feel I'm standing out too much that I might draw attention from the b&g.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 09:27 AM   #14
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I've found that it's easiest for me to show up in a black suit and tie, especially for a church wedding where I'm not allowed to move during the ceremony anyway. For an outdoor ceremony, I may shed the coat depending on the way the guests are dressed.

For the reception, I definitely take off the coat and sometimes the tie.

Most of the photographers I've worked with wear a black polo shirt and black pants. Of course, they're usually booked twelve months in advance. When I reach that point, I may relax my personal dress code a bit.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:13 AM   #15
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We almost always show up in matching dress outfits for the ceremony/reception. I'll toss the coat during the reception. We have a company color which is purple, so we use that to match, right down to my wife's purple nail color. Lol, I'm so OCD.

The only exception was a wedding I did recently that was on the beach and very private. I asked my B&G if I could wear shorts, and the said sure, that was no problem at all... Hehe, you can see a short snippet of that on my homepage.
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