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Why Do Photographers Wear Black to Weddings? | St. Petersburg Wedding Photographer

What is the purpose of wearing all black to a wedding? Couples, guests, other photographers and even my parents have all asked why I, along with so many other photographers and videographers, wear all black to weddings. Curious? Here’s a few reasons why I do it.

  1. This is a simple trick I picked up from an incredible wedding photographer in NY named Susan Stripling. During her workshop, she brought up something so obvious once stated that I wondered how I never thought about it before; wearing black clothing can provide a clean backdrop when necessary. Doing a detail shot in a crowded room with no where else to go? Have your black clad assistant stand behind your jewelry/shoes/flowers for an instant, non distracting backdrop. Voila!
  2. No color casts on your subject. I love to shoot anything with backlight or angled light. Therefore, because the light is usually shining on me and being bounced in the direction of my subject, so is any color I’m wearing. White usually isn’t a problem as it will act as a reflector but uhm, no white to weddings, that’s the bride’s color. Red is the worst for color transfer! A photographer posted a bridal portrait she’d done where in a few of the close up images, the bride had a strange red hue. The comment string was endless, “Is it a failing card?” “Is the white balance on auto or messing up?” “Did you use a gel on the flash?” and she kept giving a no to each question. Finally, I asked what color outfit she was wearing and yep, you guessed it, red. Her red dress simply cast that color onto the bride’s skin and white gown. Green can be just as bad as casts can make the poor subject look sickly.
  3. We want to be “invisible”. It’s the same reason stage hands wear black, they’re not to be seen. We want you to dismiss us as soon as you notice us so you can focus on the event at hand. Not being a distraction is part of our job during a wedding ceremony and that’s one way we manage. After all, when Aunt Mildred wanders around up front in her fuchsia dress to catch her iPhone images, we’ll let her take the spotlight.
  4. I sweat. I’m human. Even though I have tried every antiperspirant/deodorant under the sun looking for the magic bullet, I haven’t found one (there may be a future blog post there, lol). Plus, I live in Florida, on the west coast, a popular place for beach weddings. Even in January, with all the running around and gear I carry, I’ll probably sweat. Black doesn’t show it. Any other color will show that wet line across my torso from my bag strap against my body and that is the last thing I want you to see. It’s really unattractive. Some photographers don’t wear black and that’s fine. I’m not knocking the colorful, personality driven choices of my colleagues. What they wear works for them and that’s awesome. This is simply my reasoning for why I wear what I do. No worries, I’m not planning to rob a convenient store after your wedding.

Now, because this is a photo blog, an obligatory photo of me, shooting a wedding with the amazingly talented Carolina Araujo of Blue Lane Studios.

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