A note: this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while. It’s hard to figure out exactly what I want to say when I really just want to scream LOVE ROCKS GUYS CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ON BOARD? I was finally prompted to finish my own thoughts after reading Stephanie’s in this Offbeat Bride article. We have to start a conversation to enact societal change, and hopefully the conversation will involve lots of hugs and high fives.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about same-sex wedding photography: how it works, what are the challenges, how is it different than opposite-sex wedding photography, etc.
When people talk about the changes and differences in wedding photography based on the couple’s gender, I get confused. Maybe because the way I photograph, I shoot people, not based on their gender or specific poses or ‘normal wedding photography’ or whatever–but based on who they are. I don’t go to a lesbian wedding with a different style in mind than a two-dude wedding or a dude-woman wedding. I go to the wedding with no style in mind at all until I meet my couples. Some couples are goofy and hilarious, some are romantic, some are retro-awesome, and some are shy and a little nervous (which usually turns into fun and goofy). None of these things are based on their gender.
I almost always ask my couples to skip. I just think it’s fun. Everyone likes to skip. Is it a “gendered” activity? Fuck “gendered” activities. It’s fun. If someone’s wearing heels and they think they’ll fall, we skip the skipping. If no one wants to jump off a park bench, we don’t jump off a park bench. If they have a badass secret handshake, I photograph the secret handshake.
Total secret handshake awesomeness!
I get that I am an offbeat/wacky/weirdo wedding photographer, and maybe that makes me less concerned about things that other wedding photographers might focus on–like a traditional bridal gown, or a couple’s difference in height. I am probably not the norm as far as posing, shooting style, experience, etc.
But I say to every wedding photographer on the planet: stop posing people based on their gender. Stop focusing so much on the bride. Stop treating couples based on gender binaries: regardless of orientation, a lot of couples don’t fit that mold.
Gendered pose? Nah. How about pure awesome instead?
For a lot of people, marriage equality is a new thing, and that is ridiculous, since same-sex couples have been around forever. But ridiculousness aside, I know we have to talk about it as a society and I am more than happy to tell everyone about how awesome all of my couples are. That’s why, in my opinion, resources like the Capturing Love Guide are such an important part of the equality conversation.
But for me, when people ask me about gay weddings, or gay marriage, and I look at them weird, it’s because I don’t consider them “gay weddings”. They’re weddings. When people ask how photographing same-sex weddings is different than photographing opposite-sex weddings, I say that it’s not. It’s about love, not gender.
I hope that when people look at my images, they don’t see a “gay couple”, they see a couple in love that might be gay or might be straight or might be bi or really, who can discern sexuality from one photo so why even try? I hope that people who don’t support marriage equality look at my images and see love, see themselves and their partners reflected, see that it’s wrong to make laws against happiness.
Because really, it’s a couple in love, guys–they’re awesome.