On The Capture Crew podcast this week, Tom and Christora are sharing their experiences from LGBTQ+ weddings and how it has shaped the way they work with all of their couples now, even the heterosexual ones.
One of the biggest hurdles to photographing a gay wedding is overcoming your own personal assumptions.
Things even as simple as the wedding party and what each side wants to be called are not to be assumed.
While this is typical of gay weddings with mixed wedding parties, it has also increased in straight couple weddings as well.
Oftentimes the wedding parties will prefer to be called “bride tribe” or “groom crew”, for example. Christora likes to ask the wedding party on the day of the wedding what they want to be called, which makes everyone in the party feel included. Sometimes they’ll even come up with fun names for themselves and that can add to the overall inclusiveness and excitement for the day!
A wedding photographer should be aware of the challenges their couple has had to overcome in order to be getting married. Not just legally or within the community but also with their own families. Weddings between same-sex couples can bring additional trauma when the parents are unsupportive.
Tom shared, “For us to capture love in all forms, shapes, and sizes is something that we pride ourselves on.”
You may be hesitant to shoot a gay wedding if it’s something you haven’t done before.
As gay weddings become more widely accepted you will probably start to see an increase in your requests to photograph same-sex weddings. The closer you are to a major city, the more likely it is that you will get to photograph for a gay couple.
The bonus to these experiences, in addition to getting to shoot a beautiful wedding, is that you can even learn new things and allow it to guide you in the way of being more inclusive with your processes.
For example, Christora shared that she’s changed the verbiage on her website and questionnaires to be more inviting and welcoming. She no longer asks specific bride/groom questions but has changed the wording so that it can apply to any couple. These small details can mean so much to same-sex couples.
Tom makes sure that his couples know they can come to him anytime for anything. Whether it’s to discuss poses for the photos or to share information about a difficult family member. With affirmations and words of confidence, he does everything he can to make sure they’re happy with what they’re getting.
He will also research his couple ahead of time to see how they typically pose. Who stands in front of who and what types of poses do they tend to have. This will help him know on the day of their wedding what they are comfortable with without assuming.
Christora likes to ask her couples directly what they are most comfortable with and what types of poses do they specifically want or not want.
She is vulnerable with her couples and lets them know to tell her if something doesn’t feel right, so that they can have the photos they want. She doesn’t want to assign gender roles to her same-sex couples so she will try to get a feel for the relationship but also seek feedback from the couple.
“I give so much weight to these wedding days in particular because it’s not just a representation of the couple’s love but as to what they as a community have accomplished,” Christora shared.
Do your best to be open and honest and to ask questions. You are not the expert, it’s okay to say you don’t know and ask. It’s better to be willing to learn than to try to look like a know-it-all. Your couple will appreciate your honesty and eagerness to give them the best experience you can.
If you’re not sure about something, try reaching out to smaller communities. Be self-aware. You don’t know what you don’t know and that’s okay.
This is all so new and the best thing you can do for yourself and your couple is to show up and try your best. Be open and willing to adapt as you go.