“I’m shooting my first same sex wedding. Any tips on how to pose the couple?”
I see this question fairly often in wedding photography forums. It’s an understandable concern for a person who has never been in the situation. You can’t use ‘poses’ the same way for same sex couples. They just look strange.
Recently, I saw a reply from a wedding photographer (who also happened to be gay) that made me think about how I work with same sex couples.
I’ve been photographing gay weddings since the beginning of my wedding photography career. They weren’t technically ‘weddings’ back then. They were ‘commitment ceremonies‘, since they weren’t legally binding.
One of the first weddings I photographed was for two absolutely fabulous gentlemen who met at a highland dancing class. Their wedding party, and many of their guests, were decked out in full Edwardian regalia. It basically looked like the race track scene from My Fair Lady.
There was a highland dancing exhibition at the cocktail hour, poetry readings, and more highland dancing at the reception that everyone took part in. It was fantastic!
As the years went by, and I began photographing more and more of these ceremonies.
I was struck by two things about these amazing couples.
The first thing that hit me was the level of uncertainty. Would they be able to get legally married some day? How would people react? And, most often, how would wedding vendors react to being asked to work a same sex wedding?
It shouldn’t be surprising. These couples often have to deal with anger and hatred and rejection, but not when they’re dealing with me.
Every time I would read a wedding inquiry that said, “This is a same sex wedding, are you okay with that?” My heart would break a little bit.
Why? Because they felt they had to ask. They were unsure if the person they were contacting would deny them service.
I have many friends in the LGBT community. They’re wonderful, incredible, resilient, loving people.
And that’s the second thing that amazed me about these couples – the love.
Not that it was different, or more powerful, or expressed in some incomprehensible to straight people way…as a matter of fact, love is love.
Advice for Photographers Shooting Same Sex Weddings
That’s why my answer to that question about how to pose same sex wedding couples is always the same – pose them like they’re in love. In fact, I don’t really have ‘pose’ same sex couples – or any couples – at all! I guide and offer little bits of direction and I give them topics to talk about, but I don’t say, “Stand here. Put your hands here. Look here.” That is the way to take the life out of a picture, in my opinion.
But if you get a couple’s true personalities to show, and they start to interact with one another like they would on any other day – all of that love is going to show in the pictures. Whatever their sexual orientation, that’s what it is really all about, right? The love…
Advice for Same Sex Couples Planning a Wedding
So, my advice to same sex couples planning a wedding is this – Find vendors who treat you like you’re a couple in love. Wedding vendors who immediately dispel that sense of uncertainty and embrace the joy of your wedding day.
And if you’re having trouble finding a photographer who is willing to do your wedding, or you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera – get in touch with me. I don’t care where you are in the country, contact me and we will figure something out. You deserve great pictures.