The Unbiased Lens
Photo: Parallax Studio
There are many “sames” between same-sex and hetero weddings: Same breadth of love, same depth of commitment, same desire to celebrate the bond of matrimony in the presence of family members and friends. When it comes to same-sex and hetero wedding photography, however, differences abound. Here, Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds, authors of “The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography,” explain why the “old standards” of wedding photography don’t apply to today’s diverse marriage demographic.
1. Photographing a heterosexual couple is the same as photographing a same-sex couple.
Traditional wedding photography relies on basic assumptions built around a white gown and a dark tux, masculine and feminine gender roles, and expectations of the physical differences between a man and a woman. Generally speaking, these assumptions do not translate well to same-sex couples, who may both be wearing black tuxes or white dresses or both be of similar build.
2. It’s enough to be a “gay-friendly” photographer when marketing wedding-photography services.
In the early days of gay weddings, most same-sex couples were relieved to find any photographer who identified as gay-friendly. This is changing, and changing quickly. Increasingly, same-sex couples want vendors who are not only gay- friendly but gay-wedding-competent. From the standpoint of booking a photographer, the difference can mean an album of wedding photos that are good or photos that are great.
3. A self-identified LGBTQ photographer is always the best person for the job.
To be sure, there can be advantages to “keeping it in the community.” But a specific sexual orientation or gender identity does not a qualified photographer make. A solid portfolio of same-sex engagement and wedding photography, references and compatibility are even more important to doing the job well.
4. The professional photography industry is doing enough to prepare photographers for same-sex weddings.
Though more educational seminars than ever have introduced the importance of understanding same-sex couples and their needs, professional wedding photographers need to make it their own mission to understand the nuanced differences between straight and gay weddings. Fortunately, many are.
Reprinted with permission from “The New Art of Capturing Love” by Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds, available at Amazon.com.