Is there a photographer’s dress code that you should follow as a professional? At times you might wonder as a professional photographer, “Is there a dress code for professional photographers?” It is interesting why some people say that dressing up for the job is half the job itself! Professional photographer dressing ideas are important for mainly two reasons. First, the confidence you will gain by dressing professionally will help to put your clients at ease. Second, it will open up many future doors for professional photoshoots, as people are likely to recommend your photography services when you look like a professional.

At some point, every photographer in their career has been stumped by the elusive combination defined as professional dress, but also optimal for the nature of the job. As a professional photographer, it is important to dress appropriately just as a corporate employee would dress up for a 9 to 5 job. A professional appearance displays your work ethic, represents your professionalism, and gives your clients positive expectations for your work. It goes without saying that you wouldn’t always show up in a buttoned-up dress and shining shoes, but the dress code for a professional photographer is very much different from the corporate or business world. In this article, we will define general photographer dress code guidelines and professional dress codes for photographers depending on the location and style of the photoshoot.

Basic professional photographer dress guidelines:

Always wear comfortable shoes

As a professional photographer, you spend the majority of your time on your feet, so having a pair of comfortable shoes to match each professional outfit is essential. These can range from a simple pair of sneakers to a nice pair of dress shoes or sandals. Your clients might judge your appearance by the state or cleanliness of your shoes, so you should keep yours clean at all times. If you don’t already have any, finding a comfortable pair of shoes for photographers will take some time, but it will be the best investment you make in your wardrobe. Naturally, your footwear should match the environment in which you are shooting. If you are going on a family picnic, you might want to bring a pair of sneakers or a nice pair of flats, while for a wedding, you might want to go for a pair of comfy loafers.

Cover yourself up

For a variety of reasons, staying covered up is always the best policy when it comes to maintaining professionalism. There are a few things that can be considered too revealing to your client as a male or female, such as showing too much leg or even showing off your tattoos, if you have any. Always stay on the safe side in terms of your appearance.

Avoid wearing white

For a variety of reasons, wearing white during an outdoor photo session makes you your own worst enemy. As we all know, white bounces backlight, so wearing white can work against you when photographing your subject in direct sunlight. You might come across as an unintentional walking reflector when dressed up in all white! For a wedding day, we know this is considered a no-no for wedding day guests, and it is for photographers, too!

Invest in a good pair of pants

When you are on set, a good pair of comfortable pants will never let you down. As a professional photographer, you might often end up on the ground or in some difficult positions to take the perfect shots. Hence a pair of slacks, khakis, or knit pants can last you throughout these difficult events along with maintaining their color and quality. For instance, you do not want to hear the sound of your skinny-fitted pants ripping beneath you as you go down on one knee to capture an important shot! Hence, investing in a durable, fashionable, and stretchy pair of pants can go a long way in your professional photographer career. Also, during summers, a pair of pants in breathable fabric like cotton or linen can offer you a range of motion and comfort, without stealing away from the dress code.

Feel free to ask your client

If you are unsure about a professional photoshoot’s dress code, it’s always a good idea to ask your client what they are comfortable with. It demonstrates common decency and respect for their appointment. Most of them may even be cool and allow you to dress however you want, but make sure you don’t take this for granted and still follow a conservative dress code.

Dress up in all black

This is a debatable point, as some may argue that dressing in accordance with your brand is a better strategy. However, it’s a general rule of thumb that for a photo shoot, all black is best. 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 official. For instance, you come across as a member of the staff, which can be useful when navigating a venue. A pre-assembled black uniform can give you one less thing to worry about. Your all-black professional photographer outfit can have the following things: a pair of stretchable black jeans, a pair of black slacks, a comfortable button-down black blouse or black polo shirt, a black leather belt, and a formal black blazer. These all-black clothing can be in lightweight and moisture-resistant fabrics.

Adding a personal brand touch (if required)

Some professional photographers might argue that it’s more important to dress according to your brand than to dress in all black as stated above. In this case, you can incorporate brand elements into your outfit even if you are wearing all black. For example, you can wear a few pieces of statement jewelry to complement your ensemble and spark conversations. These accessories can be anything from unusual earrings and necklaces to watches and carry-around bags. But these accessories should be small enough so that they don’t draw too much attention. Another photography dress code tip is to have your logo printed on black clothing, such as a polo shirt with a subtle branding element. It can reinforce your brand and make you look more professional in your photoshoots.

Don’t dress up like a guest

This is applicable to wedding photography sessions. Dressing up as a wedding photographer is not the same as dressing up as a guest. As per a wedding photographer dress guide, don’t wear jewelry or accessories that will draw attention to yourself. Instead, dress in a way that blends in with the surroundings. Clothing that is plain and dark is usually a good choice. You can even go completely black like previously mentioned! Just stay away from bright colors and bold prints. Clothing that is simple and tailored is a good choice because it gives off a sharp and professional vibe.

Be modest and sharp all at once

Avoid wearing shorts or anything else that is too casual. But don’t overdo it with the attire. Remember that your attire for the day should be practical so that you can move around easily. While a tuxedo may appear to be elegant, it can become restrictive over time. Low-cut tops, form-fitting clothing, and short skirts are not appropriate attire as previously mentioned. The goal of a professional photographer’s attire is to look sharp and modest at the same time.

Photographer Dress Code For Event, Outdoor, and Studio Shoots

What to wear during event photography?

There are two types of event photography, documentary and interactive. For documentary event photography, opt for neutral tones. It just doesn’t mean that the color of your outfit should be neutral, but go for an attire that doesn’t draw too much attention to you as the photographer. When you take a documentary approach, you are more concerned with capturing candid moments without interfering with the action. You will need to get close to the participants in order to capture their emotions and actions during an event. This allows you to capture fleeting facial expressions and gestures in order to capture the group’s spirit in photographs.

For an interactive event photoshoot, you should be able to get a sense of what attire is expected of the participants based on the event’s title. If you are unsure, the event host will gladly advise you on what to wear if you ask. Wear what the group is likely to wear once you have figured out what they will be wearing. If this hinders your ability to photograph, feel free to dress down as long as you still fit in.

What to wear during outdoor photography?

When you are shooting outdoors, you have to ensure your physical well-being as a primary rule. Since you cannot control outdoor conditions, it is always best to prepare for unfavorable conditions. As a professional outdoor photographer, you have to hold your cameras for hours straight along with carrying them around for the most part of the event. For such intense and extensive physical activity, it is important to wear clothing that can keep your body at an optimal temperature. Along with this, you should cover as much skin as possible to minimize sunburn and prevent injury during outdoor shoots. Finally, as part of the outdoor photography dress code, always wear something that allows flexibility, as you might have to navigate through bushes, narrow stairs, steep slopes, and wet terrains.

What to wear during a studio photoshoot?

Do you identify yourself as a neat and efficient photographer? Or a bold one? Or someone who is free-spirited? The dress code for studio photography can allow you to wear something that enables your personality to shine through. After all, there is a high chance that it is your personality that will get you booked over and over again. Wear something that contributes to your branding as a photographer. Boil down your personal brand and wear something that corresponds to the combination.

What you wear to a photoshoot may not seem very important to some photographers. However, how you dress reflects your brand, so paying attention to every detail of your ensemble is essential. As a photographer, sticking to a specific professional dress code can help you figure out what you need and what you don’t. This way you also spend far less time rummaging through your closet and far more time preparing for the task at hand. How you present yourself to others says a lot about you, so make every effort to present yourself in the best light possible.

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