I know, I know, I got carried away a bit on the play we saw last night, but to our friends from England reading DPT, you owe it to yourself to make the trip to London and see this play - you won't be disappointed - I promise. Anyway, how about today's Business Day Thursday: Looking the Part At The Wedding. I think this is an important post which some may disagree, but I feel strongly about it so please give it a read below. On with the show...
Looking the Part at a Wedding
So the question -- How should a wedding photographer dress for the part? Should he or she be in just jeans and a T-shirt? Should he or she be dressed in casual Friday attire? Should we photographers be dressed in a sports jacket and turtle neck sweater or suit and tie? Or should we photographers wear a tuxedo to every wedding?
I was recently at an event talking to a well known bridal consultant who just happens to also be a friend of mine. She was covering an event and mentioned that these two out-of-town photographers showed up way under dressed for the wedding event which they were covering. She was appalled! I think that gives you some clue to where I'm heading with this post.
If I'm photographing a “black-tie” – read tuxedo - event at one of the top venues in Cincinnati, Ohio, or as a matter of fact any where else, then I'm going to be dressed as the guests are dressed and so are my assistants and that means in tuxedos. In my recap meeting the week of the wedding, we check with the client as to what the dress code is at their particular event. If we are told that it's black-tie requested, then we are in our tuxedos. If it's not stated as black-tie, we're always dressed in a dark suit and a nice tie and a polished pair of black dress shoes. This is basically our dress code at every event we cover.
Are we ever dressed in anything less than that at the event? On the rare occasion when I'm photographing a Bar/Bat mitzvah, my client may ask me to dress in the theme of the party – no problem. As I said, that's the rare occasion.
I'm going out on a limb, but I say what I’m thinking. When our clients hires us to photograph their event, they are doing more than just hiring us. What they are doing is honoring us by asking us to be part of their very special day. We need to respect that honor they have shown us as well. One way we can respect that honor is how we dress for the event.
My main rule of thumb is this - simply dress as a guests dress - never overdressed, and never under dressed for the event. I think under dressing for the event dishonors the client who has asked us to photograph their beautiful party.
I take exception with the fact that too many photographers see themselves as the “artiste” on the job and as the “artiste” they are entitled to dress however they choose. I think this cheapens the profession for all of us. I also think it helps explain why wedding photographers who, as long as I've been in this profession, have been considered little more than used car salesmen on one of the bottom rungs of the professional ladder.
So folks, I think is important how we present ourselves in covering an important event. I think it's important that we look and act professional. I think it's important that we honor our clients when we’re covering their event. I think it's a negative reflection upon our profession if we don't look the part, and that part should be professional.
I think it's interesting that so many large US companies, these days, are rescinding their casual Friday dress policies. I think we need to consider that in our own businesses. Remember too, that looking the part helps you feel the part. Dressing professionally helps you feel professional. I learned an early lesson in my business - Successful people like to do business with successful people. This has always served me as great advice.
I think this is true in our profession as well. Each and every one of us has the right to choose our own dress code when it comes to photographing a wedding. I personally prefer to look the part, to look professional when I photograph someones special event. I feel it's a way for me to honor my clients by how I present myself and how my assistants represent my company as well as present themselves at the wedding.
In closing let me leave you with this thought. I think if you look the part, and look like a million bucks, your clients are apt to be more inclined to see you as a professional, a professional worth the asking price of his/her product and services.
Just food for thought.
Hey everybody, I'll plan on seeing everybody again tomorrow for a really good Gear Bag Friday:About As Wide As You Can Get- Review of the Sigma 12-24mm Lens. See ya' then, -David
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