So, you have decided you’re ready to turn your passion for photography into a career. You have a good idea of how to work a camera and ways to edit your photos to make them look fantastic. However, have you thought about your appearance while you’re shooting? You probably noticed most photographers wear black whenever they are doing a photoshoot, but do you know why?
The main reason why photographers wear black is to eliminate their reflection in pictures. They also wear black to draw less attention to themselves while taking photos during events and provide a temporary background to shoot objects.
Imagine taking some great photos for an important client on the night of their wedding. You go home and open up the files to start your edits, and right there, looking back at you in the bride’s wine glass is your favorite blue shirt! There goes a client, and probably a good portion of your profits, too. In this article, we’ll explore why photographers wear black—and why you should too the next time you pull the camera out.
Why Do Photographers Wear Black?
There are multiple reasons photographers wear black while they are shooting photos, whether it is moving around a room during a wedding or on a set where the camera is on a tripod focused on the same area. So why is black so popular?
To Stay Out of Pictures
Photographers tend to wear black—or at least a really dark color—so their reflections do not show in the pictures they’re taking. Wearing these darker tones prevents you from becoming part of the shots being taken near something that can reflect a bright color like eyes, wine glasses, etc.
It’s worth noting that some photographers like to use some forms of reflection or “catchlights” on purpose to add an effect to their photos, but this is something that should first be mastered and isn’t necessary for photoshoots at all.
To Stay Incognito
If you are a photographer of an event, more likely than not, it’s important to the people who have hired you. You don’t want to dress flashy or bring attention to yourself. The best thing to do is wear natural, neutral colors that let people know you are there to work, not to be a guest.
On top of that, the better you blend in, the more likely you can get a few candid shots in without making guests feel uncomfortable.
In these types of situations, black is the perfect color to fit into your surroundings, no matter what they may be. A nice black outfit can look professional and not make you stand out like a sore thumb.
To Use as a Backdrop
Most professional photographers have assistants to help them during big events. If you are both wearing black, you can use them or yourself as a backdrop for a great photo of any object nearby.
For instance, if you are trying to get a great photo of the guest book, but there is a ton of commotion in the background, have your assistant stand behind the book for the shoot; this will make the perfect backdrop in an instant without making a scene or moving anything around.
Why Do Photographers Wear Hats?
Photographers wear hats for more than just a good look. They have them on hand as part of their toolkit while they are at work to keep them comfortable, keep out light, and to help get a great shot.
Photographers wear a variety of different types of hats; however, they all offer the same benefits. Some different kinds of hats you will see photographers wearing are as follows:
- Tilleys (floppy hats)
- Baseball caps
- Tweed caps
But why do photographers wear these kinds of hats? Like wearing black, wearing a hat can offer a few benefits to the photographer and their resulting photos.
They Provide Shade
One reason hats are so popular amongst photographers is that they provide a light shade over the camera. The brim of the hat comes over the camera, blocking light between your eye and the lens.
This helps the photographer see the frame better and ensure they are not distracted by the lights' brightness.
Keeps Photographers Protected from the Weather
Another reason photographers prefer to wear hats when they are shooting is that they can block out the sun or other weather conditions while they are working.
Standing in the sun for hours during a photoshoot leaves the cameraman open to sunburn, sweat, glare, and other outdoor scenarios that can make the photoshoot seem like a grueling task.
They Keep Things Comfortable and Convenient
Lastly, these hats are more flexible and convenient than other hats you could choose from. Unlike hats with hard brims, the hats listed above have a floppy brim that won’t push against the camera while you are shooting.
Other Tips for Photoshoot Attire
Black is probably the most popular go-to dress attire, or uniform, if you will. However, it is not the only thing you should think about before you get ready to head out for your session. There are other things to think about when dressing the part when doing your job:
- Be comfortable: Although some occasions may call for a more professional look, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to move freely. Remember, you have to look for different angles to get the best shot, even if that means being flexible.
- Stray away from skirts or dresses: Besides needing to move freely, it’s best to stay away from these items to avoid unwanted attention if you find yourself in certain positions.
- Dress in clothes you don’t mind messing up: Unless it’s a very special circumstance, photographers shouldn’t wear expensive clothing that they will regret getting dirty or damaged; you never know what kind of photos you may find yourself shooting.
- Keep an eye on the weather: It is imperative you come prepared for any event, especially if it will be outside. Make sure you are checking the weather forecast before every event so you can stay as comfortable as possible while doing the shoot.
Best Shoes for Photographers
Remember, when you’re a photographer, you’re going to be spending the majority of your days on your feet. Because of this, you want a nice pair of shoes. Here is a list of features you need in your photo-shooting footwear:
- Black: Black is a great choice not only for your outfit but also for your shoes. This is because you will be wearing them daily and black will go with anything you put on.
- Comfortable: You are going to be on your feet a lot; make sure your shoes fit well and are comfortable.
- Fit for different environments: You want shoes that won’t slip on marble tile but can still trek through a grass hill; this will help a lot during those wedding photos where picture locations will change throughout the day.
- Professional: You want to be comfortable, but you also need to stay professional. Make sure whatever shoe you choose doesn’t look like you ready to go for a run.
As a photographer, you play a very important role for your clients, whether you are capturing memorable moments at a life-changing event or holding a model’s career in your hands during a cover shoot.
No matter what you are taking pictures of, the way you dress says a lot about who you are as a photographer. If you want to look professional and get beautiful, candid photos, consider wearing black for your next shoot.
And finally, wearing a hat and comfortable working shoes wouldn't go amiss either.