Many a time I have been working an assignment that had me properly attired wearing jeans and a polo shirt. Usually, it was at a very informal outdoor event, where even wearing Khaki's and a button down would make me look out of place. Then, I get a call for an unexpected assignment in an office building. Proper attire? Nothing less than Khaki's and a button down, preferrably a suit, and were I without a tie, I would be out of place. Carrying a set of appropriate clothes to change into is just as second nature as carrying equipment - stowed in my car - that would allow me to take other assignments should the call come in for it. For newspaper photographers, these multiple-assignments-per-day issues arise, and most are prepared to handle the variety that is their everyday life.
Messages like "dress the part", "dress for success", "dress for the job you want, not the job you have", and so forth all carry the same message - your attire matters, and says a lot about you.
What does wearing jeans and an untucked shirt say about you when you're shooting a wedding at a top notch hotel?
It says you're either inconsiderate, or just plain stupid.
Yesterday, I was making a delivery to a client at the same hotel where I had done an assignment for them the night before. I'd seen the rehearsal taking place, and so, when I arrived to make my delivery, I saw the photographer doing all of the posed images, so, curious that I am about who it was (I thought, perhaps a friend I knew, but it was not) and how they were working, I observed. However, as I continued to observe, I discerned that he was wearing jeans. Then I realized he didn't even have his shirt tucked in.
Yet, he was in a five star hotel here in DC, and everyone else was dressed to the nines. The bride and groom were all in their glory. This image was made with my iPhone (I hadn't planned to be making images, just a delivery) as family members in the wedding party were being photographed.
As I was leaving, I passed the bride, and asked who her photographer was, and she told me. So, I did a little research, and he doesn't have a website that I could find, and there is little else on the web about him (but I did locate some videos of him showing off his new apartment). He seemed nice enough, and had pro-level gear, but he just didn't didn't have the right attire.
If you're thinking of finding some excuse to defend this wardrobe malfunction, understand that I don't care that he was doing these images before the ceremony, and that maybe he would tuck his shirt in once the ceremony was about to begin. It remained that he was engaged in work and interacting with the entire bridal party and parents while looking disheveled. Bad form. Bad bad bad.
Oh, and it does get worse. The shirt was unbuttoned a button or two too many in the front, and his footwear choice was white athletic shoes. Somebody needs to read Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion!
Previously I wrote about other attire issues - specifically the wearing of flip flops (Leave The Flip Flops For The Politicians, 5/23/07) and discussed just how bad that is. So too, jeans on assignments like this. You are a professional, act - and dress, that way!
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