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How Is Same-Sex Wedding Photography Different?

Top 5 Myths About Same-Sex Wedding Photography

Think hetero and gay wedding photography is the same? Actually, not really. In Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds's follow-up to their first book about same-sex wedding photography — The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography — they explain how the "old standards" of wedding photography just won't work the same in today's more diverse demographic. In this excerpt from the book, they share the five of the most common myths about same-sex wedding photography.

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 your 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 an album that's 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, most professional wedding vendors—including photographers—do not have the training to understand the nuanced differences between straight and gay weddings.

5. Same-sex couples are only getting married and booking photographers in states where it's legal.

Same-sex couples have been having commitment ceremonies for many years now, and the advances in marriage recognition and the growing ease with which LGBTQ persons can be "out" mean that couples are more likely to have weddings(whether legally recognized or not) and receptions in their hometowns, with an option to travel for out-of-state marriage licenses if they desire.

Reprinted with permission from The New Art of Capturing Love by Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Amphoto Books, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

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