Today I was a patron at one of my favorite local restaurants here in beautiful Austin, Texas. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with the warmest of greetings, from the hostess, the busser and my server. Now, it might be because the restaurant is full of friendly attentive workers or because everyone’s having a wonderful Thursday afternoon – or it might just be because I’m dressed very nicely (slacks, button-down shirt, tie, etc.) and they think I’m a good tipper. I like to assume the latter.
The point is that people notice the way that you dress, whether it is acknowledged or not. As a wedding photojournalist I take my job very seriously, and I want people to know this, so I dress appropriately when I photograph weddings or other events.
I recently met with a bride and her maid-of-honor who pointedly asked me how I dress at weddings. They both agreed that it was important how the photographer dressed at the wedding because they had bad experiences in the past with a photographer who presented themselves in attire that was disheveled, unprofessional and distracting. I promised them that I always dress professionally for my events.
As a wedding photojournalist it’s important that you become the “fly on the wall” so to speak, which helps you capture all those candid, unrehearsed shots of wedding participants doing what they do in order to tell the wedding story through photography. I find that dressing well helps me to blend into the wedding and be the invisible photographer when wearing jeans and sneakers might stick out like a sore thumb. Dressing professionally lets people know you take your job as a photographer seriously and in my experience inspires confidence in what you do.
Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org