As some of you might know, I wear two professional hats: one as the managing editor of Offbeat Families and another as a wedding photographer. As such, it made sense that Ariel asked my opinion on Capturing Love: How to Photograph Same Sex Weddings, an NPR piece about how “different” it is to photograph same-sex weddings.
Based on the title alone, I was puzzled. Practically speaking, why would photographing a same-sex wedding be any different from photographing a heterosexual wedding? The article's first point isn't exactly ground-breaking: at some same-sex weddings there isn't a wedding dress (gasp!). Well, you know what? There's not always a dress at heterosexual weddings, either.
The article's guidelines for shooting a same sex wedding are mostly okay (it's true that depending on where you live, safety and public displays of affection might be a concern), but one of the rules had me scratching my head:
On the biggest lesson from photographing same-sex weddings
Dodds: “The biggest thing is just trying to meet a couple where they are; trying to figure out what is the dynamic of their relationship and how can I photograph them in a way that will represent that. Because in the end, I want to hand over wedding artwork, not just wedding photography. In this day and age, anybody can pick up a camera and take a picture. I want to give somebody something that goes above and beyond that.”
Listen, friends: if your wedding photographer isn't approaching your gay, straight, or any other wedding with this mentality, he or she isn't doing their job to the best of their ability. Yes, same sex weddings are newly-legal in some places and that's really awesome and exciting for a lot of people, but at the same time — people are people. Sure, you might be photographing two suits or gowns instead of one (…or none!), but at the end of the day as a photographer you've still just experienced a really incredible wedding — whether or not two men or women just got married.
In my opinion, being a wedding photographer is one of the greatest gifts because I get to spend so many wonderful, important days with so many wonderful, important people. The way these couples self-label and identify matters — but not when it comes to how I do my job. All things considered [har, NPR pun!] and potential safety concerns aside, the love story between the two (or more) people getting married is what matters most.
Do you think there are any different considerations for photographing same-sex weddings?