What do photographers wear when out on a shoot? For most, looking trendy is the furthest thing from their minds. Comfort, safety, convenience – these top their wardrobe guidelines instead.
Of course, there is nothing to stop you from looking trendy while dressing for these shoot-related needs. Inside shows you how.
“I dress in whatever is most comfortable for me, especially when doing outdoor shoots in the Singapore heat,” says veteran photographer, Liew Tong Leng, who also won the second prize at the CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition 2011.
For Liew, pants and t-shirts dominate his wardrobe choices when he goes on a shoot.
Thankfully, tropical Singapore has plenty of casual brands for men and women. Swedish label H&M;’s price-friendly tops and bottoms offer a wealth of choices. T-shirts with prints, plain round-neck or v-neck ones in an assortment of colours, polo t-shirts – these provide enough variety for men aiming for casual chic.
For beating the humidity and heat, there is UNIQLO. The Japanese casual wear brand takes fashionable comfort to another level with their dry mesh series of tops that are made with breathable mesh and enhanced with dry technology to help sweat evaporate more quickly, keeping you cool and fresh.
H&M; and UNIQLO also have note-worthy collections for women channeling luxe grunge. Fitted, loose, round neck, v neck, with buttons, or without, in muted tones, with prints, broad stripes – their selection of tops can be paired with virtually any style of pants, promising versatility.
“For full-day shoots, I like to wear cargo pants or Bermuda shorts with lots of pockets so I can have some of my equipment within easy reach,” says Edward Tien, winner of the Voters’ Choice Award at the CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel Photography Competition 2013.
With H&M;’s cargo pants that come in washed cotton oxford with side pockets, back pockets, and leg pockets with a flap and snap fasteners, no photographer will ever run out space for their bric-a-brac. For women, UNIQLO’s cargo pants for women comes at a cute calf-length that helps stave off the heat.
Sometimes to get the best angles, you might need to get into awkward positions. UNIQLO’s Stretch trouser (S$39.90) can be a godsend. It has five pockets and comes in washed stretch twill that will mould to your form and allow you plenty of space to move.
On the other hand, cropped tops that will not let you raise your arms too high without showing skin, shirts that tuck in too tightly restricting movement, low-rise pants that threaten to expose too much when squatting or bending – these are all no-nos.
“We also no longer wear vests. That is very 70s. It’s too hot for the weather here,” says Liew, destroying the favoured image of the professional photographer in his khaki vest.
Safe and Sound
While Singapore is relatively safe, your photographic pursuits might take you abroad. Tien, for example, has travelled to Indonesia to photograph Mount Bromo, an active volcano as well as the towering waves of Papuma Beach.
“Good shoes that provide proper grip is very important. I have seen photographers lose their footing on slippery rocks and have their equipment swept away by the waves,” he says.
For muddy or wet terrain, adidas’ Climacool Boat Shoes come in handy. They have strategic ventilation to let moisture out, quick-drying fabric so you will not have to walk in soggy shoes all day long, and grippy soles for traction on wet surfaces.
For rough terrain, there is Timberland’s range of trekking shoes. They will not only give you a firm grip on uneven ground and firm support but many of them are water-proof to boot.
Easy Does It
In lieu of a photographers’ vest, shutterbugs these days opt for pouches and bags to hold their camera gear.
“I usually wear a belt and attach pouches to it for my equipment,” says Liew.
Funan DigitaLife Mall, where photographers enjoy shopping at because it is, as one photographer called it, “a one-stop shop” for all their photography needs, has several shops stocked with camera bags of all sizes and styles. Artworkfoto’s range of KATA camera bags includes the HandsFree-493 DL waist pack designed to hold and organize your compact DSLR with mid-range zoom lens attached or Handycam, plus accessories. Their Torso-pack series lets you point the camera body to the side front, keeping your gear protected while you work.
For more serious shoots that require more equipment, Tien uses a knapsack.
“If I am travelling, the other considerations are whether the bag is durable enough to for tough conditions and adverse weather, if it can fit into the overhead cabin compartment of a plane, and if it is easy to carry,” he says.
For women, TK Foto carries Kelly Moore camera bags by former photographer, Kelly Moore. Her line of bags will help you keep your gear and your life organised. Available in a riot of colours, they are a refreshing departure from the usual camera bags. Best of all, they can be adapted for other uses beyond protecting your equipment. She promises they can even double up as diaper bags.
If you are feeling cheeky, Paul Frank’s camera straps from Artworkfoto will add a quirky touch to your largely black equipment and accessories.
If you take a leaf from the fashion albums of these photographers, we promise you that staying stylish while on a shoot with be a snap!
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