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Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?

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Mark Suszko
Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Oct 6, 2015 at 4:41:36 pm

Went to a friend's wedding this weekend. I am admittedly an old fart, but with the soul of a younger man trapped inside. Still, watching the pair that shot the wedding, I have to revert to type, and in my "get off my lawn" voice, ask: "What is up with the cameramen and dress codes for weddings today!?!?!" They dress like backstage hands at the VMA's or a concert.

The first hipster that covered the wedding came dressed in the kind of all-black smock-wear typically worn by steak house bus boys, plus black jeans, an ironically worn indoor neck scarf, and black baseball cap.

The second guy was dressed the same, but left his ball cap off: apparently it was not fitting well over his man-bun. I'll not pass judgement on the nose ring, but wondered if it wasn't removable for the event.

My perspective on wedding photography is decidedly old-school: you are to dress in keeping with the style and customs of the guests and participants, so as to blend in and not call attention to yourself. If they are told to dress formal or semi-formal, by cracky, you get out the dark coat and tie and slacks and wingtips. You are there to document the story, not become part of it. Beyond that, choice of working attire says something about respect for the venue and it's traditions, as well as respect for the couple and their guests.
Whether it's coat and tie, or an actual tux, you dress like the guests dress, and I don't mean the one outlier guest, reluctantly invited, who was raised without any social skills and likes to defy convention to get attention. And gents don't wear hats indoors, unless the faith tradition of the event calls for it.

The DJ gets it. He wore a coat and tie, and it didn't affect his work.
Is this just a thing with millennials now, that they refuse to recognize dress codes and need to make a "statement" with their apparel in someone else's event? If I was the client, I'd have been upset by this, even before they shot a single frame.


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Graham Tees
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Oct 7, 2015 at 8:56:06 am

QUOTE: "You are there to document the story, not become part of it"

Exactly - so why should we have to dress like them. I haven't owned or worn a tie for 35 years - you don't need one to do a great job of recording a wedding.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Oct 7, 2015 at 12:38:46 pm

Because you want to blend in, as well as show respect. Being good at shooting doesn't excuse you from showing respect. And if you stand out in the crowd, people will not be candid in front of you.


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Graham Tees
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Oct 7, 2015 at 1:14:38 pm

We show respect by being polite, friendly and helpful. We have never had a client take issue with our appearance, and are still in business after all these years, with most work coming from word of mouth. Our style isn't the candid look anyway.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Oct 7, 2015 at 2:10:42 pm

We'll have to agree to disagree.

I think it looks slovenly to show up to work a wedding in jeans and a t-shirt when everyone from the groom to the kids are in formals. "Look at me, being non-conformist; it must make me creative because I'm too cool for your square rules, and I'm special, the camera excuses me from social convention". Defying the dress code for no practical reason is just egotism.

If you're doing an outdoor non-denominational druidic (reformed) nuptial bonding event where everyone comes dressed as lumberjacks, then go crazy. Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple, you follow their rules and their dress code, or the same instructions the guests got from the bride and groom.

Even in a hotel wedding, if they're formal, you could at the least wear a coat, slacks, and tie. It just shows good taste and manners, and again, it lets you blend in and not call attention to yourself over what's going on, which is the most important thing. I had no problem wearing a yarmulke at the temple, though I'm not Jewish. It's polite and respectful to follow the local custom.


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Jeremy Pollard
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on Nov 19, 2015 at 3:11:15 pm

My two cents (and I suspect it's worth about that much):

We are not making a statement, there are several practical reasons for dressing a certain way.

Entry-level DSLRs and professional cameras look very similar. Our equipment no longer identifies us as professionals. If you're dressed in a jacket and tie and look like everybody else at the wedding, the guests won't think twice about stepping in front of your shot. At least some will be mindful if they know you're a hired professional.

Though I wouldn't fathom wearing jeans and a T-shirt I do wear black slacks and a black collared Polo shirt (short or long sleeve depends on the weather, which here in Boston can be really cold or really hot). And that's another reason I don't wear jackets - videographers have a LOT of gear. It's heavy, most weddings are in the summer, and it's hot and usually very humid. If I'm dripping with sweat I'm miserable and I am afraid of my work suffering.


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Elise Hester
Re: Dress Code Rant: would it KILL you to wear a coat and tie?
on May 18, 2016 at 6:34:09 pm

I filmed a couple of weddings the summer after I graduated high school. Both times I wore a short knee length dress, as they were both casual outdoor weddings and a cute knee length dress is what most women wear to weddings like this. However, I regretted my decision because of how physical the filming was especially during the reception and the photo shoots. The photographer was wearing black slacks and a black shirt and even though I probably "looked prettier" than her, she could do her job more comfortably.


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