How do you know someone is a photographer? Of course they only wear black clothes.
The stereotypical clothing of photographers is a stereotype for a reason, and we’ll get to that later. Fortunately, black is not the right color for everyone and you should wear the colors and textures that make you feel good. You should also encourage your customers to wear clothes they feel good in, not clothes they think they should be wearing for pictures – let’s just kill the idea of everyone wearing matching khakis here 😉
But the clothes you wear matter a lot.
Why Doing do photos wear black?
Why do we wear black? Simply because black does not reflect. If the photo has glass in it and you’re wearing white, you might see a reflection of yourself in the glass. But that is less noticeable when you wear black. That’s also why stage workers wear black in the theater – they’re more invisible backstage.
So why did I wear Orange?
I made a huge mistake and recently wore a bright orange shirt to a shoot. I blame Richard Harrington, the publisher of Photofocus.
See, he chose to use bright orange as one of our brand colors and then gave me a bright orange shirt with our logo on it. And of course it is a nice shirt that is very comfortable. So of course I made sure to keep it handy when we packed up our house to move across the state.
What’s wrong with orange?
Then I got a call for a family portrait before I left town, and some people I just can’t say no to. But wouldn’t you know, all I had was my orange shirt that didn’t smell like I packed a moving truck.
“So!” you say. Well, black shirts don’t reflect, but orange shirts reflect orange light. Look into this young lady’s eyes.
You can see me right in the middle – that orange blob.
How did I solve it?
Seeing orange in her pupils was the least of the problems. Her entire face was illuminated by orange light bouncing off of me onto her. It was horrible. I saw it in the viewfinder. I started to think I was going to push black and white pretty hard.
The only solution was to take my shirt off.
just kidding! I grabbed her brother – who was wise enough to wear a white shirt – and used it as a white reflector (because my actual reflector was on a moving truck).
He was closer to her than me and his white light overpowered my orange light. She instantly went from pumpkin to stunning.
Had I had my flash, the problem would have been solved as well.
You know what else? When I was editing photos recently, I couldn’t figure out why the white balance looked so warm. Then I realized that the same orange shirt was reflecting on my monitor and coloring the photos! If it wasn’t so comfortable…
Wear what you like, but face the consequences
Personally, black is not my color and I don’t wear it most of the time. But I wear maroon and navy blue and dark green and a lot of red. Dark colors ensure that I am not seen in reflections as often. In the summer I wear a panama hat instead of a fedora, but I have to be careful not to spoil my photos.
Wear the clothes that make you feel great. If that’s international orange and neon pink, go for it. Just make a plan to overcome the consequences.