LGBT Wedding Photos | LGBTQ Wedding Photographer | Same Sex Marriage
As an inclusive, welcoming, LGBTQ+ wedding photographer, I want my clients to know that ALL are welcome here, no matter their sexual orientation, upbringing, or religion. Being an LGBTQ vendor or LGBTQ+ friendly photographer, however is more than simply saying it, or writing on your website that you’re an ally. So, why is it important to know if your wedding vendors are LGBTQ+ friendly?
If this is your first time on my elopement & wedding photography site, welcome! I offer candid, vibrant couples’ photography with a twist, using innovative techniques and tools. I capture celebrations everywhere from backyards in New York, to destination weddings in Hawaii, to secret elopements in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But ever since I started photographing LGBTQ+ couples–which was basically once I started photographing couples–it came to my attention that photographing all was unfortunately more of the exception than the rule.
Even in 2021 in the USA, if you’re having a wedding it’s important to know where your wedding vendors stand—especially your photographer. The images and memories from your wedding are all you have (aside from your love, of course!!), so your wedding photos should accurately represent you, your partner(s), and your love. For other vendors, knowing that your venue, planner, florist, and anyone else involved will not just “tolerate” but welcome and publish photos of LGBT couples is important, because if you’re not their first priority, then what are you paying for?
Your LGBTQ+ friendly photographer needs to know how to make your wedding photos look fun/romantic/unique/traditional/magical, and that means getting to know you two as a couple. Hint: Photographing same-sex couples is just like photographing any other couple. You need to get to know THEM and how they work together. A quote of mine in Rangefinder Magazine [read the article here on how photographers can better work with the LGBTQ community] gives an example of a photo prompt I might use with my couples.
As not just an inclusive wedding photographer, but a supporter of marriage equality and a fighter for equal rights and inclusivity, I’ve found it distressing that so many huge corporations have tried to jump on the “pride train,” hosting rainbow floats in the NYC Pride March (which is awesome to take part in, just not awesome if corporations are treating it as a marketing ploy) releasing rainbow-themed merchandise, and acting as though they’ve championed marriage equality all this time. That’s great if these businesses are truly on board, but it’s a bit hard to tell if they’re truly supportive of…well, everyone.
Wedding and especially elopement photography for LGBTQ+ couples can be a challenge to find, but if you’re a same-sex couple, rest assured: There are plenty of experienced, welcoming, LGBTQ friendly photographers out there. How do you personally identify, and if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, how do you find vendors you trust?
Here are common search terms couples often use to find inclusive wedding vendors and LGBTQ+ wedding photographers:
Inclusive wedding vendors • Lesbian wedding photographer • Gay wedding photographer • pride-friendly wedding vendor • LGBT wedding photographer • Same-sex wedding photography • LGBTQ+ friendly wedding planner • LGBTQ friendly wedding planners near me • LGBT wedding photographers near me • Gay wedding vendor listing • Lesbian couples pictures • Love Inc. wedding vendors • LGBTQ+ friendly wedding cake bakers • Equally wed listings • Example of gay wedding photos
Using Google Images and searching for an additional term such as the location of your wedding or adventure session, or any specifics should yield even more specific results. “San Jose gluten-free wedding cake maker LGBTQ friendly” is a good example.
As a vendor, member, and/or fan of several inclusive vendor networks out there (Love, Inc.; Offbeat Bride; Equally Wed; Black Gay Weddings, etc.), I know there’s a massive network of folx who have always been pro-love for all, and not just fad companies who are LGBTQ+ friendly and shout, “LOVE IS LOVE!” during the month of June. That’s great, but…what about every other time?
*In terms of the phrase “same-sex weddings,” even that is not inclusive. If you are non-binary, trans, queer, dating someone who doesn’t fit into a category, or don’t feel you personally fit into a category, then same-sex marriage and same-sex weddings is not inclusive. That said, I’ve used it in this article when the actual legal term applies (e.g. with legalizing weddings as a term used across the planet).*
One of the most Googled phrases in the same-sex wedding/LGBT wedding photographer/gay marriage space is, “Is same-sex marriage legal?” and “Is same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states?” To answer that, YES. Same-sex weddings occurred in various legalized states before 2015, but on June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized in ALL 50 U.S. States and territories.
Countries where same-sex marriage is legal
So far, 29 countries have legalized same-sex marriage—some to be expected, and some a surprise. In Latin America, Costa Rica is the only country recognizing same-sex weddings (as of 2020); and in Africa, only South Africa has legalized it. That said, South America has more countries where same-sex marriage is legalized than not! Not surprisingly, Europe is at the forefront of making same-sex marriage the norm. In terms of safe countries to elope for LGBTQ couples, Iceland has to be my #1, with much of Europe being very safe and accepting. Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand are also on the “safe” list for LGBTQ couples traveling and getting married in the Asia/Oceana region.
Click here for a full list of countries where LGBTQ couples are welcomed, and same-sex marriage is legalized.
And yes, marriage equality will never be equal until it is accepted by all, and until individuals with disabilities are allowed to marry without losing health benefits..
[By the way, below is the newest official progress pride flag. To view what all the flags represent, click the flag guide underneath.]
But I digress! Being an LGBTQ photographer to me is not only being welcoming and accepting to all for years and years, but knowing that the LGBTQ+ community trusts me. I’m grateful that my clients tell their friends about me and reaches out to me any time I can learn, help, or share.
Don’t get me wrong: I know I have much to learn, and am always trying to adjust my own language, portfolio, and knowledge.
Rethinking language for LGBTQ+ clients
As an LGBTQ wedding photographer, sometimes we need to rethink words we use. Making sure my contact forms, questionnaires, and contracts use correct pronouns is one. If you’re an LGBTQ wedding photographer, are you using phrases such as, “THE bride,” or “The groom needs to…”? What if both identify as brides? What if no one wants to be called a bride nor groom?
Making sure I’m open to not only couples, but throuples (yes, I’ve photographed weddings with more than a couple getting married), is also important. And recognizing that there is often a lot of pain in weddings—for example, having a client’s parents not attend—means being sensitive to family, religious, and cultural differences also plays a part in the wedding day. And still, I have a lot to learn.
Yes, I know I’ve lost clients by widely publicizing my marriage equality opinions. But as I see it, I don’t want to do business with people who don’t “approve” of all couples. They’re not my ideal clients. My ideal clients may not look like you, but they all love fun, adventure, laughter, being quirky, and being themselves. As an LGBTQ wedding photographer, I’m here to make my couples feel like themselves on a most wonderful, celebratory day.
Other links that may be handy for LGBTQ+ couples and vendors can be found here: https://www.rangefinderonline.com/news-features/business-marketing/lgbtq-inclusive-photo-business/
and here: https://www.kathryncooperweddings.com/pride-2020-lgbt-wedding-photography-resources/
Here’s to photographing all couples, all over the world, and to love that looks like…well, anything!