Photographing A Same-Gender Wedding or Ceremony

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Recently there has been several big changes in the way the US handles same-sex marriage.  Now, I don’t write about politics, which I think is lucky for all of us in the same way that I don’t cook is lucky for the people I live with.  I write about photography and people.  I also don’t make predictions about laws and the world, mainly because I’m not sure what I’m going to have for dinner tonight and as I write this, it’s almost 8pm (cereal is always a safe bet at this point though), but I will say this: as same-gender marriage becomes more accepted and recognized, the need for photographers who will happily and professionally photograph these weddings as they would any other, will increase.  And I hope to be one of the first photographers in my area a couple thinks of for these jobs.

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I have been lucky enough to photograph several same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies.  For this article, I will be referencing the beautiful wedding of Jeremy and Randy, who when I asked, were thrilled to allow me to show their images.  I met these wonderful men because Jeremy’s mother placed a hefty bid on a “photography event” that I had donated to a non-profit for their annual fundraiser auction.  I had no idea what would be the outcome and I couldn’t have been more thrilled that this lovely woman won my random donation that to be honest, I got a little bullied into.  I was certain that I would end up photographing some D list celebrity in the famous mountain town where I donated the “prize” and often worked in.  Or maybe that I would be asked to do something crazy and/or scary and have no way to back out.  Like a scuba diving photo shoot.  (I’m terrified of scuba diving.  I think.  I’ve never actually tried.  But I certainly don’t want to.)

Instead I ended up fourteen thousand feet above sea level on a beautiful September day.  I hauled up the cake and live butterflies awaiting their ceremony release who I talked to the whole 30 minute drive, telling them that all would be well and shhhh, shhhhhh…….your wing flapping is making me nervous!.  But that’s another article I may write someday titled “Hauling Live Previously Frozen Butterflies Is Not For The Weak Of Heart”.  Anyway…..I am a photographer that proudly photographs same sex weddings and unions.  I am not gay myself.  I am not some crazy liberal (well, maybe a little).  I am a person who believes that when any two adults love each other and want to announce that and celebrate it and make promises in front of their friends and families and perhaps feed us all cake in the meantime, that’s a pretty special thing that needs to be documented.  And if you’ll have me, I’m thrilled to be the one to do it.

Here are six tips for photographing a same-gender wedding or ceremony:

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1. It isn’t any Different

It’s two people that love each other.  And if you signed up for this, it’s like any other wedding you’ve ever done or been to.  Simple as that.  Show up, do your job, eat cake.  If there is even a small part of you that doubts you can do this (beyond the normal doubt that many of us photographers have at any given moment), pass on the job and allow a photographer that can to do it.

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2. Find your Groove

Okay, I lied.  It’s a little different.  Only because we have been programmed to think that it’s different.  The truth is, it may take you a bit to figure out the specifics.  But you will.  I’m as open-minded as they come and truly believe we should be allowed to love (and marry) whoever we want.  None of this changes the fact that I only have a few gay friends, most of which aren’t close friends, and all of which I haven’t been around them and their romantic partner or dating life much.

So while it doesn’t bother me a bit, seeing romantic gestures between two people of the same gender is still a somewhat unfamiliar concept to me.  But here is the other truth: I’m not a sappy person by nature and witnessing public displays of affection between any two people makes me a little nervous.  At any wedding I photograph, there is a moment of dread realizing that I will be watching kissing and non-stop declarations of love all day.  In all fairness, this may be because I am a cynical single person.  And my therapist may have mentioned something about intimacy issues.  I assume that’s mainly because I’m perfect in every other way and she had to make something up to prolong the relationship.  At any wedding, at some point I am able to brush off the cynicism and give in to the beauty of two people pledging to each other.

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3. Realize the Gravity of what you’re Doing

You will likely never shoot a ceremony or event where you are more appreciated.  I asked Jeremy what the difference is when hiring a photographer for a same-sex wedding; I fully expected to get back a response about how I needed to realize that it wasn’t any different.  

Instead, he told me this:  “The act of asking a photographer to do my wedding was in itself anxiety-provoking. I wasn’t worried about them being booked already, but rather of them not approving of my wedding at all! A wedding can be even MORE emotional for same-sex couples, because chances are at some point in their lives they were sure this day would never be possible.” Weddings are a great deal of pressure, but at a same-gender ceremony you have the added bonus of being pre-approved. Just by being happy to do it, you have made the couple incredibly happy. The images you take are beyond the wildest dreams of the couple because they likely haven’t thought their wildest dreams are possible.

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4. Find out the Details Beforehand

At most of the weddings I have shot, I have done nothing more than exchange a few emails with the couple and possibly taken engagement photos. There aren’t a lot of odd pieces of a wedding that I haven’t seen after having shot so many; divorced parents, possible drunk relatives, non-traditional requests, a roomful of unclothed bridesmaids, rain, unclothed bridesmaids in the rain.…..I’ve seen it all. Though in this situation, I want to know if there are specific relatives that I maybe need to be aware of.

For example, both of Jeremy’s grandfathers are extremely conservative and yet showed up to the wedding anyway after saying that they wouldn’t. This created a very emotional piece for everyone who was aware. You can’t prepare for every possible situation, but get as many details as you can beforehand. It’s more prep work, but it will serve you well in the long run.

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5. Educate Yourself

Many same-sex weddings don’t adhere to traditional wedding outlines. Know beforehand if there will be anything specific happening in their ceremony that might be important. There many be similarities, but there is often an entire separate set of emotions that happen. Know in advance that this is more than just a wedding day; this is a celebration that most thought never could happen.

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6. You mustn’t Worry about it!

I spend most days worried that at some point, I’m going to make an idiot out of myself. This is because most days, at some point, I make an idiot out of myself. At a same-gender weddings I worry quite a bit that I am going to put my foot in my mouth and say something insulting that I in no way meant insulting. If I ever have, and I seriously wouldn’t put it past me, no one has ever mentioned it. This tells me two things:

  1. that it’s possible people are just used to my flavor of obnoxiousness at this point, and…
  2. there is room for a bit of putting your foot in your mouth. While plain out rudeness is of course unacceptable, if you slip-up don’t stress about it.

My grandmother used to always say “You worry too much! You mustn’t worry about it!”.

She also used to say “All the beautiful clothes in your closet and that is what you decided to wear?”, but I prefer to concentrate on the good things.

Be sensitive to the event, but chances are if you got this far into in, it’s for good reason. At this wedding, I accidentally referred to Jeremy as the bride several times. And each time he teased me that he was likely the worst Bridezilla I’ve ever come across.

He wasn’t. Not even close.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Lynsey Mattingly

photographs families, kids, couples, and other groups of people who, for whatever reason, kind of like each other. Her portrait work has been featured in People Magazine, Us Weekly, BBC Magazine, and on national TV including CNN, Oprah, and Ellen, but most importantly, in the personal galleries of clients across the country. Her photography can be viewed at www.lynseymattingly.com or on Facebook.

  • Very well said Cheryl.

  • Sharon

    I’ve read all the comments before and since my original. I believe it is fair for those who feel unable to be successful shooting or it goes against their beliefs for a same-gender wedding, to just not do so. I think we must all be comfortable with what we capture through our lenses. I, personally, am not comfortable doing boudoir or baby belly photography. We all have our comfort zone.

  • chris

    Mike- Pedophiles say the same thing. So do people that have sex with animals. So do incestuous couples. But I’m sure you are OK with all of that, too. Who needs morals, right? Morals are just for all of us judgemental people.

  • Sarah

    Ha, I noticed that from this comments here- men are homophobic and women are not or less. So true of what my friend used to say.

  • chris

    Sharon- Exactly. Thank you. My entire argument is not against ANYONE taking photos of a gay wedding. You want to do that? Go for it. Just don’t try to make ME!

  • Lanna

    I loved it! The way you describe it’s probably a day they never thought it was possible, I believe this is it. Much more emotional.
    I also laugh a lot about the “intimacy issues” and “making and idiot about myself” because… that’s so me! =(

  • Julius

    Thanks for taking the time to write this out. I believe it is the same but also not, much like the sense that each couple is different. The typical poses and shots of the couple being affectionate might not always work, because it seems like in general it’s masculine vs feminine. Great natural shots and good points brought up. Thanks again!

Some Older Comments

  • chris September 21, 2013 07:44 am

    Sharon- Exactly. Thank you. My entire argument is not against ANYONE taking photos of a gay wedding. You want to do that? Go for it. Just don't try to make ME!

  • Sarah September 21, 2013 02:31 am

    Ha, I noticed that from this comments here- men are homophobic and women are not or less. So true of what my friend used to say.

  • chris September 19, 2013 12:21 pm

    Mike- Pedophiles say the same thing. So do people that have sex with animals. So do incestuous couples. But I'm sure you are OK with all of that, too. Who needs morals, right? Morals are just for all of us judgemental people.

  • Sharon September 19, 2013 11:50 am

    I've read all the comments before and since my original. I believe it is fair for those who feel unable to be successful shooting or it goes against their beliefs for a same-gender wedding, to just not do so. I think we must all be comfortable with what we capture through our lenses. I, personally, am not comfortable doing boudoir or baby belly photography. We all have our comfort zone.

  • Jan Burkhardt September 19, 2013 10:00 am

    Very well said Cheryl.

  • Cheryl September 19, 2013 09:03 am

    I think this is a great article, and it's unfortunate that the comments totally steered towards the political/religious aspects of why a given photographer would choose NOT to photograph a same sex wedding.

    A wedding is a wedding. Shared between two HUMAN BEINGS (same sex or not) who love each other.
    It's the 21st century whether you like it or not, and things are swiftly changing.

    If ANYTHING, do it for the ART of expression. Do it for the ART of PHOTOGRAPHY. Some people will argue that they could not bear to photograph something that they do not believe in or that does 'nothing for them'. I would also go a step further and say, that I TOO, believe that we as photographers should shoot for OURSELVES. But there should ALWAYS be that portion of ourselves that shoots for the person(s) involved. THE SUBJECTS, because ultimately, since you are being HIRED by them, they will have to like the photos too.

    I remember being in school to learn photography, and there were classes that I didn't really want to take because I wasn't INTERESTED in the subject, nor did I believe that this particular class would benefit me in the outside world. I now regret it. I wish i had been more open-minded and learned all of the courses offered to me because I would've been able to broaden my horizons.

    But as it stands here in this thread, there is no changing the minds of people's beliefs or morals, and that's ok. But you might regret it later when you see that LOVE is LOVE, and someone has missed out on your wonderful ability to express your god-given talent, to portray their union.

    So what if it's a same sex marriage. It's still beautiful.

    I think the images are wonderfully portrayed and give off tons of emotion. Kudo's to the poster of this article!!!

  • mike September 16, 2013 09:05 am

    Why should we force someone to do something that against their beliefs? How dare we force someone to recognoze that black people are equal to white... or left handed or brown eyed or jews or muslims are equal to christians? It Iisthe same thing whether you believe it or not... (nobody chooses these things, and except in the case of race the only choice is whether you will apologize for what you were born, or live honestly amd fight for the right to be who you are.)

  • chris September 15, 2013 12:11 pm

    Jan- How you could think that it is right for someone to force me to do something that goes against MY beliefs is unimaginable. And...as far as you "recommending someone"...I am not concerned. You never recommended anyone before you hated me. Why should I expect that you would now?

  • Jan Burkhardt September 15, 2013 12:00 pm

    Chris....Please tell me what is your photography company called....I want to make sure that I NEVER recommend you for any wedding or any other shoot for that matter. How you could even think of intentionally ruining someones special day is just unimaginable.

  • Blake September 15, 2013 07:31 am

    Chris: Um.. you understand that being homosexual isn't a belief, right? It's a state of who you are, just like I am fundamentally heterosexual. Your sexuality is no less a 'belief' as your race. You don't 'believe' you are a race other than the one you are, do you?

    Also, how do you think that the government is 'elevating a gay couple' over you? Same-sex couples - and homosexuals in general - have been oppressed for a hell of a long time. African-Americans were offered equal rights and still fight to throw off the stereotypes and hate speech, and now innocent Middle-Eastern people are dealing with the same issues - but those people can all get married. Finally allowing two men or two women in love to be married, under law, isn't elevating their rights above yours - it's making them equal with yours.

    Also, how are homosexual couples 'forcing' their beliefs on you? Are you afraid that if you photograph a same-sex wedding, that they're all going to tie you down and gang-bang you until you're gay? Like, literally force you into being gay?

    Go on, take photos of random crap at a same-sex wedding. When the couple gets them and successfully wins a lawsuit and ruins your name, your ability to run a business will dry up and you will never work again. I hope that some handsome man catches your eye and makes you feel things you've never felt before.

  • mike September 15, 2013 06:21 am

    No self respecting gay man would want some of ypu to photograph their wedding but if the state requires equal treatment based on sexual orientation and you discriminate againt lgbt people you will face whatever consequences there are for such discrimination...

  • chris September 15, 2013 06:10 am

    Mary- The government might try to "make" me photograph a gay wedding, but it would be a HUGE mistake. A baboon would take better photos than theones I would deliver. I would take photos of the bathroom, a water faucet, the back of someone's neck, trash receptacles...you get the idea. The thought that the government would elevate the rights of a gay couple over mine is repulsive. You want to be gay...be gay. You want to try to force your beliefs on me...screw you.

  • Mary September 15, 2013 05:09 am

    For those photographers who have asserted they would not photograph a same-sex marriage, here is a New Mexico court ruling you should be aware of. In a nutshell, if you offer your photographic services to the public as a business, you had best be aware or your state's human rights laws.

    http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ElanePhotoNMSCopinion.pdf

  • Blake September 13, 2013 04:27 pm

    I'm extremely saddened by the close-minded bigotry shown by the photographers here.

    Though the article didn't give me much information outside of what I already know, I'd be honoured to be asked to photograph the wedding of a same-sex couple and thank DPS for choosing to publish this article.

    One day I hope that the hate expressed by other people will cause their businesses to dry up.

  • John B. September 13, 2013 03:01 am

    Sorry, but the sight of two men kissing (or two women kissing) is totally repulsive. As I scrolled down through the photos and saw the two males kissing, my stomach churned. I'm not against gay people, have worked for them and ministered to them, but I can't help the way I feel about the kissing.

  • Betty September 12, 2013 10:46 am

    I don't think shooting a same-sex wedding is any different from any other wedding. Of course every wedding is completely different. There will always be family members or friends that don't approve or don't get along. I have always had gay and lesbian family and friends though, so I know just how crazy and normal they are...just like the rest of us. You did their day justice Lynsey. What a great looking couple!!

  • Taylor September 10, 2013 04:58 am

    Is ironic that you posted this article/blog. We just booked our first two same sex weddings, a beautiful lesbian couple and two of the most amazing guys I ever met. My husband/partner ask me if I was okay with doing a same sex wedding, and immediately I said, what? I'm absolutely fine with same sex couple, I celebrate it, love is love... I think is an amazing opportunity for us, because we are not here to judge but to document a beautiful special time when to people commit to each other. I'm the lucky one. Needless to say, I'm having fun planning with both couple and hope that more will come to see us for their wedding/unions.

    Great Article!

  • Jocelyn September 9, 2013 07:27 am

    I recently photographed the (same-sex) wedding of my best/oldest friend, and it was fraught for exactly the main reason you described: Because for so long, no one thought it would be possible. PLUS: The couple's three teenage daughters were in attendance, giving the two women to each other in marriage. The wedding was in a courtroom. One of the brides is a top-notch photographer. The other bride's mother was too ill to attend (except via Skype), so I was also videoing the ceremony. Talk about nerves! I really wanted to get everything right. My trick, of course, is to take five times as many photos as necessary (okay, 10 times as many) in the hopes that some decent percentage of the results are good. Excellent essay!

  • Richard Crowe September 7, 2013 12:37 pm

    I am certainly not homophobic (at least I hope that I am not) and I certainly feel that a same sex couple should have the right to the same marital rights as hetro couples have. However I have never liked seeing two males kiss.

  • Robert September 7, 2013 02:55 am

    Having just been to my first 'gay' wedding, the only difference I found was the number of gay friends present. I am not a wedding photographer, but the advice given here seemed spot on. It's just a pity that not much of the article was about photography. Nice photos btw.

    @Darren Rowse: seriously? You publish this and then expect the comments to be about photography?

  • mike September 7, 2013 12:42 am

    Heather it is very case by case but if you want a starting point for referring to the other person.. partner is almost universally at least tolerated without complaint, and referring to two men as husbands is generally fine... but never be afraid to ask preferences..

  • Brian September 6, 2013 11:02 pm

    Lynsey,
    Thanks for a great article, and the great wedding photos.
    As a gay man and a photographer, I thought your tips were great. While most of the details of photographing a same-sex wedding are the same, there are also differences. However, every wedding is different and the goal of a photographer should be to adjust to those differences, whether it's a same-sex wedding or not.
    One thing you should NOT worry about is saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The couple knows that they are hiring a straight photographer and assumes that those types of things will happen. If you establish a connection with the couple then you will be given the benefit of the doubt that it was not deliberate.
    One other tip...have fun and enjoy the day. Same-sex weddings will be among the most enjoyable events you will shoot.

  • MiKe September 6, 2013 10:04 pm

    So to all these photographers who are religiously and morally opposed to same sex weddings and would refuse to do them
    Do you also refuse to shoot Jewish/muslim/hindu/pagan weddings or weddings in which the two people are of different faiths?
    Do you refuse to shoot weddings in which the bride is not a virgin? Because if she's not you're kind of morally obligated to stone her to death.
    If you are catholic, do you refuse to shoot 2nd etc marriages?

    Grow up people....

    And btw... GREAT article...

  • SLA813 September 6, 2013 01:48 pm

    I was asked by two lovely young women, one of whom I had known as a student and never knew that she was lesbian, to shoot their wedding. They were extremely sensitive and asked me if I had any reservations, and they would understand, about photographing a same-gender wedding. I was taken aback only because I didn't know that she was homosexual. Both of these ladies are just that, ladies! Lovely, kind, thoughtful, and beautiful ladies, inside and out. I asked to sit with them and chat first before they settled on it being me to shoot their wedding (the one gal had been at / in a few weddings I had shot and liked my work, as well as remembered me from when she was a student). I told them both, flatly, that I had never shot a same-gender wedding before, so I wanted to learn from them what their expectations were. They both said the same thing ... to treat their day as I would any other wedding day. I went through all the same steps I would with any other wedding, and they had a most gorgeous and deeply emotional wedding. It was very classy and top shelf. I was very happy with the photos I gave them of their special day. I was not at all uncomfortable, once I knew their expectations. I will say, when the wedding is two females, you should expect to give EACH of the brides the same time and energy you give to a bride in a male/female couple wedding ... which is normally a LOT of time. Both of these gals were brides.

    The only photo shoots I am not comfortable with are baby belly sessions. I have done several, and my comfort level hasn't changed. It is just too 'intimate' for me. I since have declined those sessions, and speak honestly and say that I have done them, am not entirely comfortable with them, and feel the outcome is not my best work, and I refer them to a couple of people I know who thoroughly enjoy baby belly sessions.

  • Skip September 6, 2013 01:21 pm

    Me, I don't care who is getting married. To me its a chance to use my art and get paid for it.

  • Tom September 6, 2013 12:47 pm

    I can't believe that there are so many who object to two adults expressing their love for each other. Who cares if they're the same sex. Love is love. My congratulations to the happy couple! As a straight male, I would be honored to photograph a same sex wedding. Such pure joy should be a photographers dream shoot.

  • gary September 6, 2013 11:32 am

    what a great write-up with some really good tips to consider as usual.
    i would be honoured if any of my gay friends asked me to photograph their wedding as i believe in love, commitment and family, just like they do.
    hats off to you for doing such a great job, this couple must be so happy with the results.

  • chris September 6, 2013 10:15 am

    Wow. There's a lot of closed-minded people railing against my closed-minded viewpoint. Love it!

  • morgan September 6, 2013 09:31 am

    How is photographing a same-sex wedding any different than a "regular" one?? It's actually somewhat offensive to write an article that implies that that it is different. Plus it opens up crazy arguments between people like we are seeing here. Darren: good job trying to calm things down, but what did you expect?

  • Heather September 6, 2013 09:07 am

    Hi all. What a great article and lovely pictures. Same sex marriage is not YET legal where I live but I'm looking forward to that being changed, and would be thrilled to photograph a same sex wedding.

    At the bottom of the article you mentioned faux-pas of calling Jeremy the bride several times. Do they refer to each other both a husband or just by name? And are there any trends in language etc you've noticed along these lines (knowledge of which might help put people as ease and enjoy the day) or is it truly case by case?

  • Jan Burkhardt September 6, 2013 08:39 am

    Lynsey, thank you for writing such a wonderful article. It is filled with humor, insightfulness, and a lot of information.

    Darren, thank you for your comments. This is a photography site and it comments should pertain to photography, not on political, religious, or personal beliefs as it pertains to same sex marriage.

    Having said that. I have to say, I am very disheartened at the closed mindedness of some of the the comments put fourth here. I don't impose my beliefs on others and I would hope I would receive the same. Unfortunately, that does not seem the case here today. Specifically, chris...I am actually embarrassed for you since you are clearly not for yourself.

  • MattB September 6, 2013 07:54 am

    I don't primarily shoot weddings but have done a couple now. I think this was a good post for the those unfamiliar with same sex relationships.
    I think it's great that DPS chose to run this post and the author did a good job breaking down the potential barriers of an unfamiliar situation with kindness and humor. Kindness and humor go a long way in all sorts of potentially uncomfortable situations!

    To the naysayers: At one point not so long ago there were photographers who wouldn't shoot a wedding involving people of different races (or any non-whites for that matter). It won't belong until your closed views and the desire to impose them on others seem just as old fashioned and out of touch as those racists. In fact I think that day is here already. :)

  • Andrie Greipel September 6, 2013 07:05 am

    I will surely never be a same gender wedding photographer.

  • Bright39 September 6, 2013 07:04 am

    Couldn't agree more with Darren Rowse.

    Was very disappointed with the lack of photography tips provided and felt that the article was patronising and belittling to gay people.

  • Lisa S. September 6, 2013 04:31 am

    Choosing a wedding photographer has a great deal to do with the emotional connection a client has with the photographer's work. I hope that there would be a graceful way to decline doing a wedding so as to not deliberately ruin the couple's day - what a despicable thing to do. You could always say you aren't open for that day...seems pretty easy to me to get out of if their personal choices make you so uncomfortable. The government has no reason to get involved. Not to mention, I doubt that a couple would fight to have a photographer be forced to do their wedding - I believe a heart is needed for any good wedding photographer and the couple wouldn't want that photographer anywhere near their event. Like said in the article, if you aren't up for it, if you aren't supportive of it, pass it on to someone who would be happy to capture such an important time in someone's life.

    I have recently booked a wedding for next year for a same sex couple and I am ecstatic to be a part of their day!! I appreciate this article because the ceremony is different and I think the reasons why are well explained here. Kudos!

  • Rachel September 6, 2013 04:17 am

    I am not a wedding photographer, but if asked to photograph a same sex wedding, I would agree joyously and be thrilled to celebrate not only two people's love, but the changing of the tides in our country that is finally beginning to recognize that love is love, people are people, and they should be treated as such.

    That said, I did wish the article had focused more on the actual photography. I would have liked to have heard more suggestions for poses, for example; a lot of traditional wedding photography puts the man in one spot and the woman in another for each particular type of shot, whether to show off the gown or whatever. I'd like more tips for how to photograph two partners more equitably, as it were (and frankly I'd like to see those principles applied to opposite sex weddings as well.

    @Chris, I'm not sure where you live that the government forces you to photograph particular weddings, but I'm sure no one in a same sex relationship has the slightest interest in inviting you, so I don't think you have anything to worry about. And if any so-called professional agreed to shoot a wedding and intentionally ruin it because of their own petty hate, I'd be more than happy to recommend an attorney who can make sure that "photographer" never works again.

  • Lee September 6, 2013 04:14 am

    OMG!!

    Canon V Nikon is safer ground.

    Duck and Cover.

  • Stephanie September 6, 2013 04:10 am

    I'll be the first to admit that weddings are not really "my thing" because the ones I've shot have certainly given me my share (and fill) of Bridezillas. (reason #1 why I don't shoot weddings) The direction my business has taken in the past few years now enables me to choose NOT to do most weddings that come my way. However, when my best friend - who is gay - announced that she and her partner were getting married next year, I knew that this was one wedding I would not pass up. I am totally thrilled to be a part of her special event, and would totally throw my business card down for any other same-gender wedding here in sunny Florida or anywhere else in the world.

  • Angie September 6, 2013 03:07 am

    I have a question:
    IF I wanted to decline the opportunity to photograph a same-sex wedding, how could I do that without getting in trouble? I think my only reservation is that I would be uncomfortable, in the same way that I would be uncomfortable photographing a Muslim wedding or a Hindu wedding or maybe a Hell's Angels wedding. It's not from a place of judgment, it's just from a place of "Can I do my job well in this setting or not?" The article states that one should just turn down such an opportunity if you are uncomfortable with it, but legally- that might not be possible. Does anyone know a way to decline without getting sued for everything you're worth? And please- this is just a question- don't read any "hatred" or "discrimination" into this.

  • Chris September 6, 2013 03:03 am

    I do not believe in same sex marriage, so I would never photograph an event like this. Having said that, if the government said that I "had to", I guarantee they would be the most disastrous "wedding" photos ever taken. They would be pictures of shoes, bare spots in the carpet, window sills, the back of a persons elbow, out of focus, or taken with the lens cap on. The idea that the government has the right to tell me that I have to believe a certain way or compromise my own beliefs- religious or not- is absurd. So...go ahead...hire me...because, for that kind of fun, I would do it for free.

  • Thomas Pitre September 6, 2013 02:12 am

    I will always offer my services to such an occasion as I approve of it from a religious and moral point of view. I would welcome the opportunity to be invited to photograph a "same-sex" wedding, and would hope that I could do as good a job as was shown here.

  • Darren Rowse September 5, 2013 10:25 am

    Hi all - we totally understand that this topic is a sensitive one and something that will trigger some different kinds of reactions to different people - however I'd encourage us all to keep our discussion focused upon photography.

    While I totally understand that there are people who won't agree with same sex weddings the reality is that they do happen in some parts of the world and they will be photographed. You may not choose to be that photographer but we published this post in the hope of helping photographers who do choose to take those photos.

    Thanks for your feedback but please lets keep the discussion to photography - there's plenty of other sites around that would be more than happy to have a political or theological debate.

  • Luke September 5, 2013 08:40 am

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, you at first assure us that you don't write about politics yet you spend half the article telling us that we should accept it. That's fairly political if you ask me.

    @basementmatt, way to go attempting to use the heavy hand of the state to enforce your radical social agenda!

  • Jeremy T September 5, 2013 02:55 am

    Thanks for posting this Lynsey! You did a fantastic job at our wedding--the photos are fantastic! If anyone wants to know what the Bridezilla is doing now, check this out: http://www.bestjobaroundtheworld.com/submissions/view/12870 or find me on facebook. :)

  • fotografii nunta September 5, 2013 01:05 am

    Nice photos, i like natural expressions of the people in these photos :)

  • Sergio September 4, 2013 08:50 am

    @paul: The only offensive thing I read was your post. Why can't you do it like Albert?

    @topic: I'm into photography for just a few months now but I love this site for all the interesting articles I can read here. Thanks alot!

  • basementmatt September 4, 2013 07:56 am

    @Paul: I appreciate how you put "joy" in air quotes as if the joy experienced by a same-sex couple is lesser than the joy experienced by an opposite-sex couple. Way to dehumanize your fellow humans. I'm not certain how celebrating same-sex marriage proclaims there is no God. There are a number of religions that have embraced same-sex marriage. Are you going to say they're not really Christians? I'm sure they'd love to hear why you're right and they're wrong. Aside from that, what's god got to do with this anyway? We are securing the right to have our relationships recognized by the law. We don't need a church for that. You're offended by it? Fine. But your offense doesn't mean we're not getting married. It's happening regardless of how you feel about it. If your god is offended, I'll be happy to discuss it with him when he shows up. HE should know how to find me.

    @Albert: depending on how you market your services, you'll have to think about how you decline to be the photographer for such events. If you offer your services to the public at large, and your state has laws against such discrimination, you could be held liable to refusing service to same-sex couples. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/08/22/photographers-discriminated-against-gay-couple-court-rules/

  • Andy September 4, 2013 07:41 am

    Another great article from Lynsey, your photography tips are always amongst my favourite. But here's the thing ...at least from my point of view. I firmly believe that in, say, twenty years time we won't need to have an article written about how to photograph a same-sex wedding, it'll just be 'how to photograph a wedding'. Love is love, I don't see this whole kerfuffle about same-sex marriage as a 'gay thing', I see it as a 'basic human rights' thing. Religion shouldn't even come into it, the bible also advocates slavery & stoning a woman who isn't a virgin before they marry....but please, let's get back to the subject matter of this article, which is about wedding photography on a photography website. Insightful, funny, some great tips, well written. And gratulations for being brave enough to write it in the first place, which is probably a strange thing for me to say since I am amazed there are still people who would be offended by this. Oh, by the way, I'm straight...as if that makes a difference to having an opinion.

  • Albert September 4, 2013 05:55 am

    From a photography point of view some very useful tips. Personally, and by personally I mean not to offend or attack anyone, I will never offer my services to such an occasion as I cannot and will not approve of it from a religious and moral point of view.

  • Paul September 4, 2013 05:17 am

    smiling and take part of the 'joy' of a same sex wedding means proclaiming that there is no God, but doing it in a very offending manner... Also publishing such a post as it was 'normal'

  • Ken Robinson September 4, 2013 03:12 am

    As always, nice job covering the subject of photographing a same-gender wedding. The main points I took away were 1)they are pretty much the same as any wedding. 2) there are unique differences. 3) if you don't think you can do the job...don"t accept the job. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us all. Ken

  • Randy September 3, 2013 10:37 pm

    I'm curious why photographing a same gender wedding is any different than photographing a opposite gender wedding

  • Mridula September 3, 2013 09:23 pm

    I am not sure that I will ever end up shooting a wedding, much less a same sex wedding but this was such a nice read.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/

  • Albert September 3, 2013 04:24 pm

    From a photographers point of view you have some good advice. But because of personal/moral and religeous beliefs, there is no way that I will render my services to such an occasion. Please don't view my comments as negative or that my aim is to attack anyone and I do respect other peoples beliefs, it is just a personal matter.

  • Linda September 3, 2013 09:09 am

    Love the article, love the humor, and most of all, love the accepting and open-minded attitude. OH, and the photos are awesome, too! Well done, Ms. Peterson!

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