I’m a photographer based out of the Midwest, with my own business opened for a little over a year. Recently, the movement towards same-sex marriages has me worried I won’t be prepared. How do I pose them? How do I let them know I’m LGBT friendly? Is there anything special I should know about? I want to support love, in all forms, so how do I get started?
Worried Rainbow Warrior”
Dear Worried Rainbow Warrior,
I hear ya and really just want to hug you first! You ROCK for wanting to support love, no matter how it manifests on this earth. While I’m a straight lady myself, my roommate is a LGBT chick. I’ve known her for 18 years and when she came out to me, I’m pretty sure my response along the lines of “cool beans.” I really don’t care what your sexuality is and why should I? How does it affect me?
So I knew when I started this business, that I honored and appreciated love in all shapes, genders and ages. Unfortunately, it’s taken the nation a little while to catch up! Hawaii JUST allowed LGBT weddings, back in December. I immediately started advertising in the local LGBT magazine. I told my roommate that I wanted ALL OF HER FRIENDS IN FRONT OF MY CAMERA. And slowly but surely, it trickled towards me.
Now, here are a couple things you MUST MUST MUST keep in mind when dealing with LGBT couples.
1. If you have pre-made emails and questionnaires, take off anything that specifies “bride and groom” LGBT couples are normally fabulous, but their feelings can get hurt too. I use the word “fiancé ” or “significant other” and in my questionnaires, I make them specify “fiancé 1″ and “fiancé 2″ so no one is offended and everyone is included.
2. Posing can scare any photographer, even if it’s a bride and groom!!! So a lot of photographers ask “how do I know what to do?” and the answer is…just do it. Treat it as if it was two people in love, which is all it is. I recently just did my first male LGBT wedding and the couple was so wonderful, I didn’t even need to stop and wonder what to do next. This also just comes from plenty of experience with people.
3. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER FREAKIN EVER ask “who wears the pants in the relationship?” Shame shame SHAME on you for even wondering.
4. LGBT folk have been persecuted, literally, for hundreds of years. I hate to put a damper on this blog, but people have been murdered for being gay. So it’s very important that you treat them kindly and with respect, just as you would any other client. Yet on that line, a lot of them are uncomfortable with PDA. Be sure to discuss it with them or just watch them in person. Some couples are okay with forehead touching or handholding. Often, I just ask for two solid romantic kisses the entire time (minus the ceremony for weddings) and just make it count.
On that note, some are okay with making out, all over the place.Just roll with it!
5. Make sure they know you want to use their images to build your portfolio. Like a lot of people, they like their privacy. But more than that, some unfortunately have to hide their love from others, so be clear on whether or not a model release will be involved.
LGBT couples are amazing people and just like you or I. The only difference is that they’re just going through a civil rights movement right now. Let them know they’re welcome, and that you don’t judge. All they want is to get married, to show their love to world. <3