What to Wear While Shooting a Wedding

I had a reader email me a question a few weeks ago. She mentioned a previous post I had written on “What to Wear to Shoot a Wedding” but, let’s be honest, that was five years ago! She wondered if I was able to provide an updated post with some recent behind the scenes photos as well as my favourite stores for great work outfits. Today, I am happy to oblige! I hope you find this information helpful and feel free to pin any of my photos for reference.

Here are a few of my guidelines when deciding what to wear to shoot a wedding:

Comfortable: This one goes without saying. My standard wedding day is upwards of ten hours, not including the hour plus commute on either end into the city from my home in the suburbs.

Fashionable: I do not want to look out of place. If the wedding is at a ballroom downtown, you bet I’m going to wear a stylish black dress and a nice pair of shoes. No denim sundresses, etc. Fit the style of the wedding you’re attending. If you’re shooting on the beach in Mexico, a long maxi dress is totally appropriate, as many guests will be dressed the same!

Bend every direction in front of your mirror at home. Ask your husband or roommate if anything can be seen you don’t want to be seen. I know some photographers wear spandex shorts underneath their dresses but I’m just not into layers. So I try to select dresses that are knee-length or at least wear with black tights, if not.

Subtle: I’m not afraid of patterns and I don’t have a black dresses-only rule, honestly it’s just hard to find great dresses in shades other than black for me. I’m drawn to them right away and love classic pieces. The only colours that would be complete no-go’s for me would be white or anything neon. I totally think subtle patterns or a cute blush pink dress, etc, is a-okay.

My standard “wedding attire recipe” is: Dress + Flats + Hair tied back + Nice earrings. I don’t do well with necklaces, it interferes with my camera bag strap.

Where to Shop for Dresses: The best stores for dresses I’ve found are Macy’s, Nordstrom, Ann TaylorLOFT, Banana Republic and although I haven’t purchased lots from ASOS (only one bridesmaid dress) I’ve heard others have had great success with it!

Where to Shop for Shoes: I purchased two pairs of flats from Vince Camuto last month and I am absolutely loving one of them. The other still need to be broken in, but I can tell the leather will be amazing once it molds to my feet! Previously I had a good experience with Steve Madden flats (until my dog ate them) and when all else fails, I love slipping my TOMS on for the reception.


I hope this post helped you! Happy wedding shooting! As always, I love to read your comments and see your shares, tweets and pins. Thanks so much!



Wedding Photographer Toolkit

Happy Wednesday! This week I’m sharing a video teaching for wedding photographers on my YouTube channel called “What’s In My Camera Bag?”  I’m walking through each lens I have in my camera bag and what I use it for on a wedding day! I’ve also included a few examples of the different kinds of images photographed with each lens.

Let me hear from you!

What’s your absolute favourite lens to photograph weddings with? 🙂

P.S. Did you know 1 in 2 entrepreneurs who start small businesses fail within the first five years? I want continued success to be the story of your photography business. You may have a passion for your work and incredible talent to go alongside… but unless you are confident in the area of knowing your numbers you won’t succeed.

I want to share an incredible resources for photographers called Knowing Your Numbers! KYN is a step-by-step workbook to help you set profitable prices for your photography products and services. Read more Knowing Your Numbers right here.

What's In My Camera Bag? A free video lesson for wedding photographers sharing which lenses are in my bag and when I use them on a wedding day! FREE BONUS download of my photo toolkit!


Awesome Business Books to Add to Your List

I’m a huge believer that readers are leaders. When I started my photography business at sixteen years old, I used to spend hours a day reading. I would literally skip school (thanks for letting me, mom!) to stay home and read forums about the business of photography, small business, marketing and social media. Soon, I caught onto business books and started devouring one after the other, whatever I could get my hands on. There is so much knowledge out there in the world waiting for you to ingest… start today with this list of Awesome Business Books.

Awesome List of Business Books You Should Be Reading!!


Understand Your Energy to Increase Productivity

Understand Your Energy to Increase Productivity

Running a business/blog takes a lot of self-motivation, organization, focused work and productivity. I’ve been working for myself for over 8 years now and I’ve come to learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting things done.

What habits don’t work?

  • Completing tasks as they arrive in your inbox
  • Wasting time on social media until you feel “inspired”
  • Writing a blog post while watching TV
  • Pausing work to putter around your house every 20 minutes
  • Working from the minute you wake up until you sleep
  • Eating lunch at your desk
  • And many more… we’ve all been there!

Work on How You’re Working

In the book Be Excellent at Anything, Tony Schwartz says, “We live in a grey zone, constantly juggling activities but rarely fully engaging in any of them, or fully disengaging from any of them. The consequence is that we’ve settled for a pale version of the possible.”  


Working With a Second Shooter

I work with a second photographer aka “second shooter” at almost every wedding I photograph. I love having a “coworker” along on the day to help me with whatever I need, capture a helpful second angle and keep the timeline running smoothly. Weddings are better, together.

Today on my YouTube channel, we’re talking about “Working With a Second Shooter.”

Facebook Groups to Meet Other Photographers

Second Shooter Requirements

Personality: It’s really important that you get along with your second shooter. Before you work with a new photographer and add them to your second shooter “roster” meet for coffee! And don’t ask only photography-related questions, get to know them as a person to see how well the two of you could work together.

Equipment: I work with Canon gear, but I don’t require that my second shooters do. (It’s just ideal, if they do!) However I do ask that my second shooters have professional level lenses, flashes and back-up equipment.

Experience: How many weddings have they shot? Have they photographed any weddings solo or mainly stuck to second shooting? I don’t think there’s any ‘deal breakers’ here (unless of course, my second shooter has shot no weddings) as everyone starts somewhere. It’s the creative eye and portfolio that you’re really looking for over “resume.”

Pre-Wedding Guidelines

1. Be Kind. Our job as photographers is to make everyone smile who we come into contact with – be happy and boom, it makes everyone’s day better.

2. Show Up On Time. Most of my second shooters (I work with a couple consistently) live in the suburbs and we commute into the city together. I’ll provide a time we’re leaving Langley to arrive in Vancouver a bit early. That’s the “optimal” timing I provide so it’s my second shooters responsibility to arrive on time so I can leave on time.

3. Dress Professionally. We don’t want to stick out on the wedding day. We can blend in by dressing business casual, with a modest dress (colour is fine in my books! I don’t always stick to black!) and professional looking flats or sandals. (Do your makeup/hair as well and don’t hesitate to wear a few pretty accessories!)

4. Your Priority is Assisting the Main Photographer. The title “second shooter” may be deceiving, at least in my process on a wedding day. Although second shooters do photograph a second angle, I rely on them more as an assistant – so I can get the shot quicker and better than I could alone. Moving the dress, clearing the space, grabbing the veil, etc.

5. No Marketing Allowed. That sounds so strict but I don’t mean it harshly… the wedding was booked by the main photographer and the second shooter is there as a contractor for that company. The two of you as a united front for one business that day – so second shooters, leave your business cards at home! And if someone asks for your business card (even though they said it to you, the second shooter) reply, “Yes! Let me go get Jamie’s for you!”

6. Be Clear about Expectations. If you have an idea of what you want your second shooter to capture for you on the wedding day, communicate it. Don’t assume they know! I like my second shooter’s to capture the groom’s getting ready (if the bride would like it) and I request a shot that’s “straight on” of him putting on his tie, adjusting jacket, etc. I also like detail shots if he’s not wearing his suit already when they arrive. During the day I like “side angles” of the bride and groom and bridal party, if possible – and also candid reactions of guests.

7. Being Available. During the reception things can happen like running low on flash batteries, etc, and my second shooter could run for those in my bag while I keep shooting.

Post-Wedding Guidelines

1. Image Delivery: I have my second shooter download their memory cards on my laptop before leaving the reception. I find it easier to have all images in one place when I arrive home.

2. Image Usage Rights: I allow my second shooters to blog weddings they shoot with me, however they need to wait until after I have blogged the day. In addition, when the blog post is written I request that the second shooter make it clear in the description they were second shooting for Jamie Delaine and add a link.

A) On Facebook: I allow shooters to post a link to their blog post on Facebook, however I don’t allow shooters to post an album of images. This is simply personal preference and may be picky but I have had problems with brides adding second shooters, tagging and sharing images from their pages – and as the second shooter was simply a “contractor” from my business – I want the Facebook recognition to all go through my page.

B) On their Website: I allow shooters to include images in their portfolio from weddings they shot with me, however I don’t allow full galleries to be displayed. This meaning, if you have a gallery called “Sarah and Robert” and you shot Sarah and Robert’s wedding with me – I don’t permit this. However if you have a “Weddings” folder and 5 of Sarah and Robert’s images are in there along with 8 other weddings, that’s okay.


Pay it Forward

Did you enjoy this video? If so, I’d love if you’d subscribe on YouTube, leave a comment below, share on twitter or facebook and pin to your pinterest board for future reference!