Photographing a Wedding in Hawai'i: What to Wear
[My hair may have found it's way into a pony tail (the wind was INSANE) and my glasses aren't getting much use, but I was thankful I had slippahs in my bag that day! From put together to hitting the beach in a moment's notice, gotta always be Hawai'i ready! Thanks to Shannon Forbes for the photo]
You've got your gear packed and ready, memory cards formatted, and the family formals list snapped tightly to a clipboard. Everything is ready to go as your stare blankly at your closet "what do I wear?!?!?". There are plenty aspects to shooting a wedding in Hawai'i that are different than other locations in the U.S. With varying terrain, quick changes in climate (okay, not HUGE changes, but there's a possibility of some rain ya know) and a mix of styles and cultures, it's important to dress for the occasion being comfortable and practical while still looking fab. While the standard "photographer's uniform'" is considered all black pants and a blouse, I have heard stories of shooters being mistaken for the careering staff....and worse, split britches. Anytime I head out into public I want to present my best self...unless it's a run to Target, then you're getting my "did I just wake up or work out, you will never know" self. Everyone is different with their own personal style, and while I attend events I want to look put together and professional, feeling confident yet super comfy in my wardrobe choice.
the Clothes: With typical trade winds, Hawai'i is breezy, but while working it's easy to get smoldering hot...and not in an attractive way. That's why I find it oh so important to wear a semi form-fitting dress (to prevent any breezy catastrophes) as well as a material that is lightweight and breathable. Covering yourself in baby powder when getting ready like Lebron tends to help prevent swvetzy. You'll thank me for that one. Lots of people choose to wear black, which looks chic, however it's personally not all I wear. Investing in a quality black dress makes for a versatile outfit to shoot in, but sometimes mixing it up with colors or prints is fun as well, especially since it's Hawai'i! Just make sure it's appropriate for the day's attire and MOST of all isn't the same hue as the Bridesmaid's. When buying I look for a great fit that won't billow in the breeze, a modest length (with lots of kneeling and working I need to wear and slip and don't want to go flashing people!), and quality material that will hold up for multiple wears--but also won't suffocate me. The dress and the shoes are where you want to invest, as these will be staple pieces in your wardrobe.
the Hair: Speaking of being hot, Photographers: good luck keeping your hair and make-up from melting off. I am considering posting on this one soon and great products to use to keep everything in place, but let's just face it--there's a good chance you're going to be a sweaty mess at the end of the night no matter where you are shooting. I always seem to have the highest hopes for my hair, thinking it will look great down and today will be the day it won't get all sticky but 15 minutes in I am wrong wrong wrongggg and my locks get tied into a low ponytail. From here on out, a stylish, low 'do will work just great. With the soft winds that can turn to gusts mixed with humidity and sometimes passing showers, I find it's the absolute most fool-proof look and still keeps you looking put-together.
the Shoes: Often times an event can start in a beautiful church or venue, lead to portraits on a volcanic rock cliff, can linger at thick, sandy beaches and can end in a glamorous ballroom. These changes in terrain are treacherous and hard to maneuver and with the wrong footwear can slow you down leaving you with mounds of sand stuck in your soles. In addition to supportive kicks it's helpful to bring along some cheapo Surfahs or Locals to slip on. This flip flops (referred to as 'slippahs') have extra thick bottoms that protect your tootsies from the sharpest of rocks and won't leave you devastated if they wind up busted (because they cost all of $3). For the rest of the day I opt for comfortable and stylish closed toed flats (unless it's a casual beach ceremony, then I wear dressy sandals). I love metallic and wild prints or simple black with embellishments. It's hard to find shoes that are supportive AND good looking which leads to many of pairs being fitted with custom orthotic inserts (I refuse to wear grandma shoes just for the comfort. I just... I just can't...). This is ridiculous of me, considering I have a mean case of heels spurs AND plantar fasciitis, but my desire too look good over feeling good got me where I am today. On top of pretty J.Crew flats (that hold up beautifully), these Dexflex flats are cozy and affordable and THESE Orthopedic shoes are actually pretty cute and good to your arches. Worth the investment. Keeping Icy Hot in your bag or car for post wedding rub-downs helps aching feet, too.
the Bag: I'm here to admit--I'm annoying particular. Not just any ole bag will do, it has to be my style and I've found with most 'photographer specific' bags I haven't found a fashionable fit, which led me to creating my own. While shooting I carry a lightweight, medium sized cross body bag (that's metallic with studs! duh). It holds my film and memory cards cellphone and whatever else. With a simple top it's roomy and easy to access and is super helpful on wedding days. It doesn't have to be expensive, I snagged mine up at TJMAXX, just something that will hold all your necessities.
the Accessories: the best part of the look! I love to style my simple dresses up with giant lively jewelry, it's the crux of my style. Statement necklaces are apart of my personal signature look, and I usually pair them with interesting studded earrings (since my hair is up) as well as simple, pretty bracelets (that are sure won't snag the bride's gown!). A watch is an absolute necessity for staying on track and not Hawai'i time.