Much can be said about preparing yourself for photographing a wedding, not the least of which is picking out your kicks. That’s right, finding adequate and stylish footwear to last an 8 to 15-hour workday should be a paramount decision for the successful wedding shooter. For some it's simply about price, fit, or orthopedics. But if we are honest with ourselves (and our egos), some of us also want to make a shoe decision as memorable as Jeff Spicolli’s checkerboard Vans slip-ons. Myself, I’m a Rockport man. The comfort for a wide-footed Michigan swamp-stomper such as myself is unparalleled in a formal shoe. I’m far from an authority on below-the-ankle style, however. Just ask my wife! Let’s see what some of the best guys and gals in the business are putting on their feet, shall we?
Tony and Amy Hoffer of Hoffer Photography are a wildly talented tandem based out of Philadelphia. For the Hoffers, variety is the key to making their feet endure the long days ahead of them while shooting. Amy wears either Toms, Sperry, or Converse for weddings and engagements, while Tony sticks to just Sperry or Converse and saves his Toms for engagement sessions.
"If you want a long-lasting wedding photography career, you gotta keep your appendages happy,” Tony said. "The key to footwear is diversifying your portfolio.”
For the Hoffers, comfort is priority one but looks are still important.
“We’re usually in a lot of water, mud, hanging off buildings, or climbing on cars, so we don’t wear Louboutins or anything,” Hoffer said.
The Hoffers also point out that having flip-flops on hand is a key strategy to keeping their feet dry for all the water and mud they so willingly expose their feet to over the course of a shoot.
Next up to let us know “Is it the shoes!?” are Sean and Melanie Flannigan of A Fist Full of Bolts Wedding Photography, a trend-setting studio in the Pacific Northwest where they know a thing or two about long days, travel, and looking good while doing it.
“We both love Vans — the classic style, or Havaianas, or Adidas sandals if we are shooting on a beach,” Sean told Fstoppers.
The Flannigans also prefer shoes that look good while doing the job, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice comfort in the process.
“If we are going to be on our feet all day, we have to be comfortable,” he said, adding that he’s been sporting Vans Classics to weddings for over 10 years.I guess you could call that a ringing endorsement?
Doug and Jackie Treiber of the eclectic, film-fueled Doug Treiber Photography also carefully select their kicks before embarking on a wedding day in their home base of Colorado or beyond.
For Jackie it’s all about the Sperrys for their “easy going fashion" and because they're comfortable on her feet, Doug said.
"They match a lot of outfits and are nice but not over the top," he said.
Jackie prefers Vince Camuto sandals when more formal attire is in order.
Doug is a boot man, and a passionate one at that! Just hearing his description of his beloved Zamberlan Sella workhorses is enough to make you consider the investment.
"They are the finest boot ever to be made by man and I am not kidding about that,” he assured. "There are no other calfskin leather-lined boots that are welted that also offer GORE-TEX.”
Doug added that he’s trekked across Nepal and climbed fourteeners with them (that’s a mountain with an elevation above 14,000 feet, for those of us in the flatlands). For most Colorado weddings, Doug says that boots are fair game for the casual vibe. For days that are a little more dressed-up, he opts for Frye Arkansas Brogue boots.
I cannot confirm whether Doug does or does not sleep in boots. You’ll have to ask him yourself.
Hopefully you, too, are thinking about what's on your feet before a day of thinking on your feet. What are you wearing and why? Let us know in the comments below, and by all means, show us your feet!