16 Dec

Shooting Style (Vested)

Posted by Jenna, Under clothing

I look incredibly awkward in this photo, but it’s the best I have and I wanted to show you the new outfit I’ve been wearing for shooting weddings. When I  showed you my previous get-up, I had a lot of great feedback, including a strong bias toward switching to pants. I had resisted because looking dressed up is important to me (it’s a special day and I want the couple to know it’s special for me too!) but as several people kindly points out, my cotton faded dress just wasn’t looking nice anymore, and a crisp pair of black pants would look much smarter.

Some time spent on Pinterest left me thinking the solution was a black pants+white shirt+vest combination. I bought a very nice $110 vest at the Nordstrom sale, counted it as a business expense, and was all set to wear it at the next wedding. Then we went to Poland and I found this one on clearance for $15. Much better.

White shirt – $3, thrifted
Vest – $15, Poland
Black pants – Express, purchased like 7 years ago so I have no idea how much they cost ($50?)
Shoes – $130, Cole Haan
Earrings – From my great-grandmother
Necklace – From a super-sweet former bride

And of course I wear my hair in the sock bun.

I’m really happy with the way this looks. I can squat, scoot, crawl, roll, whatever I need to do to get a great picture, but I still feel like I look like I’m taking the wedding day seriously. My next step is getting a bolder pair of earrings. Maybe something like this? Oh, or small gold discs like these with my little wig punched in the corner instead of the trees.

And once I bought and started wearing this vest, I realized I wanted even more. I feel like they’re a nice way to draw attention to my waist and away from my belly flab. So far the picture I”‘e seen of myself wearing them seems to suggest this is correct (there have been times when I see a picture of myself, and realize what I previously though was SO not true).

38 Comments


  1. The vest is definitely flattering on your figure- makes you waist look teeny tiny (of course all your workouts with TWLC2 have been helping with that too!)You look great!

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  2. I think you look great, comfortable, and professional in slacks! Black slacks and white tops are always so chic, but after years of waitressing in them I don’t think I could ever wear that combo again! I do think a vest is flattering to your figure as mentioned above. However (and please know I’m not being rude), I think this one might be a bit too snug (or maybe short?) – it looks strained under your bust, like the top button is just an inch or two too high. One that is a touch longer would not only provide that slimming look, but would visually lengthen your body as well.

    Melissa Reply:

    That was my first thought as well. I don’t think it is necessarily too tight but I do think it would fit better if that button was just a little bit lower. That would be a very easy fix to do yourself or you could take it to a seamstress if you aren’t in to light sewing. It shouldn’t cost much at all to change.

    Jenna Reply:

    This is a common thing for me because my chest is HUGE. I guess I’ve kind of come to accept that this is the way it goes for me, but I like your suggestion of looking into lowering the button. It might fit better now too with my newer bras, I can’t remember if I bought them before or after this picture was taken.

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  3. I could be wrong, but I thought all photographers were supposed to wear dark colors? I seem to remember there being some photographer on the ‘Bee that wore a white shirt and stood out terribly in everyone else’s photos of the wedding, and the bride was furious and thought that he’d ruined the wedding. I’ve only ever seen professional photographers wear black or dark colors to a wedding, but maybe that’s just a local thing?

    That being said, I love the black pants, although I agree that the top/vest might be a wee snug (or perhaps it just looks that way from the angle).

    Meg @ Moments Like This Reply:

    I think she wears a white top because it reflects light.

    Also, why would a Bee care about the pictures of everyone else? I think that’s a stupid reason to be upset. Did her photos, you know the ones she PAID for, come out great? They did, well perfect! Everyone else and their Kodak point and shoots can bite the dust! :)

    Sam Reply:

    Sorry, I meant pictures that her guests took of her and her husband at their wedding, but it was actually the videographer that wore white and messed up her professional shots: “We’ve all learned in second grade science class that black absorbs light and white reflects it. All professional videographers and photographers will show up to your wedding wearing dark colors so that they are less obtrusive and do not reflect light.” (This is from a post from four years old so I’m totally dating myself ;): http://www.weddingbee.com/2007/11/06/mrs-eggplants-mistakes-part-i-how-not-to-hire-a-videographer/

    Obvi to each their own, and perhaps the times are achanging! I’m sure Jenna knows her stuff.

    Jenna Reply:

    Meg is right, I recently switched to wearing more white on top when shooting because it can act as a reflector when I’m photographing their faces. It’s also why I like wearing a darker vest on top. If I need the reflector, I can unbutton my best, otherwise the amount of white is limited.

    Hopefully I am professional enough that I’m not photo-bombing all of the wedding video (since I’m the photographer I don’t have to worry about being in the photos!) From what i can tell based on the photos of Eggplant’s videographer, he doesn’t look all that professional to me.

    Corey Ann Reply:

    I was going to comment the same thing – I personally stick to darker colors so I’m not obnoxious in guest photos. I know that I am there to work and not worry about that but for me, I have had clients complain about other photographers being obvious in friends wedding pics and I myself have cringed when seeing myself in pics when I have worn light colors. It’s a definite personal preference but I’ve discovered that I blend much better with the darker ensemble and I can still dress it up enough so that I don’t look grubby.

    As far as the reflection aspect goes, I shoot primarily with my 70-200 so I rarely am close enough to make a difference. Although I will wear light colors on the beach :)

    Definitely to each their own :)

    Corey Ann Reply:

    If you don’t want to go all black I have also done the wedding color as a piece which as worked fabulously! You still blend in but aren’t all in dark colors, I often do this in the summer when it’s crazy hot and I have an outdoor wedding.

    If I stick with the all black (which is my go to) I usually try and wear earrings or some accessory (or the shoot sac cover) that matches the wedding colors instead.

    Above all else though after my first few years out I decided that I had to remember that my goal was what I work in best and works for me the best and not what is the most cute. I’m not there to look pretty, I’m there to work. Which means I rock my beloved croc flats and never once during the day have sore feet :)

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  4. You look great. I love that vest. And I adore Cole Haans!

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  5. I thought the same thing. I think it looks a little too short and tight, mostly because you can see the buttons pulling upwards. I agree that it’s worth a trying to move the buttons to prevent the pulling.

    I do think this looks much more professional than your dress and just screams professional photographer. Your previous dress outfit (please don’t take this the wrong way), made you look more like a friend who is taking wedding pictures (to me). I really think this outfit is great and a better fitting vest will just top it off!

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  6. Great outfit. Professional and classy.

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  7. You look SO thin in this photo! Those workouts are definitely paying off (and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that vests are super flattering). Keep up the great work!

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  8. I don’t agree with other commenters. Why spend more money on a 15 dollar vest to get it altered? I’m assuming you’d have it altered because you wrote about how you were great at crafts or sewing machines (like the time you had a friend help you sew the insert for your camera). And if you did move the buttons yourself it would take time. So why not just put it away?

    I would put the vest away until you lost more weight and buy a new one that fits a little better.

    Rachel Reply:

    I disagree – taking some effort and a little money you can take a cheap find (or something thrifted) and still spend less than a high end brand new item, and it’s fitted exactly to your needs. Setting things aside for later is fine, but if it was me, I’d get it altered and wear it now!

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  9. I think you look very professional in this outfit compared to the black dress. More importantly, compared to that picture, you look so much more in shape! It’s really inspiring to see your transformation! Keep up the hard work!

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  10. Jenna! I think this looks FABULOUS! I went to a black tie optional wedding recently. The photographer was dressed in a yellowish, short sleeved sweater dress, dark blue flower printed tights, and some sort of maroon boots. With everyone else decked out for the fancy affair, I thought she didn’t look very professional (but took excellent photos!).

    I think it shows how much you care by the thought you put into the details, like how YOU look at someone else’s wedding.

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  11. City chicken says:

    I agree with everyone else- I think the vest is very flattering to your figure. I will suggest that it might not be that the vest isn’t exactly a perfect fit (buttons too low or vest to snug), it might be that your bra isn’t a great fit. Speaking from experience, with jackets and things that button, the right bra makes a HUGE difference in how an outfit lays.

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  12. I really like this outfit. (And I don’t think you look awkward at all.) It’s says that you’re professional and ready to take fabulous pictures from any angle.

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  13. I love this outfit! It looks very polished and put together. And no, it doesn’t look too tight or awkward either. Also, you look so great! Are you working on toning as well as running?

    Jenna Reply:

    This pictures is several months old, but I have been toning recently (actually I stopped running when it got cold). I’ve been doing Ripped in 30, which I love, but I sadly seem to only be gaining weight. It’s so incredibly frustrating. I’m wearing those black pants pictured and they are so tight I could barely do them up. And it’s not premenstrual bloating, I’m on the opposite side of my cycle. Ugh.

    Sophia Reply:

    Jenna, I’m not sure if you already do this, but at this point in the weight loss game I would highly suggest taking monthly update pics in the same outfit and more importantly taking measurements! As you get closer to your goal weight and continue to build muscle you may gain weight as you get smaller.

    I’m embarking on losing the 15 pounds I gained while on crutches (130-145) and even though I know the number I’m looking for my primary progress marker will be measurements. I find that they are so much less arbitrary than weight.

    Jenna Reply:

    So I measured myself, started on Ripped in 30 (wasn’t eating perfectly, but honestly my diet is gobs better than the majority of people out there already!) and after I did a whole month of the program I saw that I had lost ZERO inches. It was so frustrating. I will give it another try after Christmas though. :)

    Sophia Reply:

    Oh, that *is* frustrating! I am soooo not looking forward to losing these 15 pounds. I worked so hard to get to where I was in terms of physical fitness, and breaking my foot was just such a set back. It’s hard to start all over again, but at the same time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much fitness my body retained. I just need to start eating better/working out, not worrying about the weight but just enjoying feeling better and being active. If I don’t focus on weight loss, and instead focus on eating well and working out because they are good in and of themselves, I get less obsessed about it.

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  14. A good rule of thumb for whether or not a buttoned top fits is to ask whether the buttons look like they’re working hard. If the fabric pulls around the buttons to show how hard the buttons are working to keep it all together, the top doesn’t fit. I totally agree with suggestions to see how it goes with either moving the buttons or trying with a more supportive bra.

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  15. I love the look! I would agree with the commenters about the vest. For me, this would be too tight to wear to work. But I work with lot of men in an office, so I think I need to be more conservative than someone working at a wedding. Also, I would sweat through this like crazy….
    But it’s definitely a solid professional look, just the fit needs tweaking.

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  16. I think it looks great!

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  17. and I think I always knew you had big boobs but they look awesome in this photo!

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  18. What style are your cole haans? Would you mind linking to them on the web somewhere? I need some high end investment shoes and would love some input.

    Jenna Reply:

    These are the ones that I have. I have really wide feet and it’s difficult for me to find shoes that fit well and are comfortable over long periods. Because these are made with nice soft leather on the sides they allow my feet to spill over (if that makes sense). http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/cole-haan-air-tali-wedge-pump/3172319?cm_cat=datafeed&cm_ite=cole_haan_'air_tali'_wedge_pump:354412&cm_pla=shoes:women:pumps&cm_ven=Froogle&mr:referralID=NA&mr:trackingCode=AF287808-A9AE-E011-8116-001517B1882A

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  19. Love the shirt, vest, pants. Now I’m going to advise you to try shoes with a very low heel, that cover your whole foot, lengthen your leg, and are more modern than the round toe look. And I promise you they are as comfortable or more than ballet flats. See if you like them at all. I walk half an hour on city streets each morning and each evening in these and they are more comfortable than anything except sneakers. http://www.beautifeelshop.com/product_p/7035-921.htm Any of their 4cm laceup pairs would probably be just as comfortable as these.

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  20. vintage_paige says:

    I agree there is something with your bra or button and I would wear shoes that cover your whole foot, but OMG you’re looking smokin’! congrats!

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  21. So cute!! I think you made a wise choice not going with a black vest/white shirt/black pants combo…you’d end up looking like a server. My wedding “uniform” is an all black suit (with some lenience in the summer since it’s so darn hot) and I think pants are definitely the way to go.

    I did a wedding a few months ago where the photographers (two women) were, I’m not kidding, dressed like hipster old ladies (they were in their late 20s/early 30s.) They looked absolutely ridiculous and unprofessional. Their work is beautiful, but I was embarrassed for them. I think your mindset of “this is a special day for me, too, and I want to dress the part” is very smart.

    Sophia Reply:

    Random aside I’m generally embarrassed for 20 year olds that dress like hipster old ladies, lol ;) Mostly I think I’m annoyed- if a 40 year old dressed like that they’d be called frumpy and dated, but if a skinny beautiful 23 year old hipster wears it she’s gorgeous/fashionable/etc.

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  22. I’ve noticed you tend to buy expensive shoes. Maybe you could budget some of your shoe money for a couple pairs of nice dress pants that will make you look professional. These can make a huge difference and in the end, with a pair of pretty shoes and accessories I think a pretty sweater or blouse or even a cute jacket could give you a few more options. I work with patients and want a professional look and feel a really good pair if slacks really makes the difference. I also like the idea of the best but you seem to have too much space between the lower hem and your pants. Too much white in there I think is making you look unbalanced. What about a higher waistband or the shirt tucked in? High waisted pants are more in in professional clothes. Just a few thoughts.

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  23. I think the pants look great. I do like how you look in a dress and while it maybe faded that doesn’t mean you can’t find another.

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  24. Hey you look good!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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