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Breaking The Mold, The New Art of Capturing Love Helps All Wedding Photography Shine

Cover, The New Art of Capturing LoveIt turns out that The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography–the first book of its kind, the largest print collection of same-sex wedding photography, and one so daring as to overlook the bride on its cover in favor of two grooms–isn’t just for gay and lesbian couples. It’s for all couples, and especially for those who want to break with tradition and express themselves in rituals that are authentic to their relationships.

Case in point: the New York Times recently published a story on heterosexual couples who have chosen to invite family members to play a more central – and nontraditional – role in their weddings. There is the couple who asked their grandmothers to stand in as ‘flower girls,’ and the bride who invited her grandmother to be a bridesmaid; choices that are both revolutionary and organic.

And, ultimately, this is part of what the same-sex marriage revolution has wrought. Gay and lesbian couples have found themselves breaking new ground in wedding tradition across the US, and, in particular, with growing momentum in the past 10 years since Massachusetts first legalized same-sex marriage in May of 2004. And, guess what? Opposite-sex couples have been paying attention.

CourthousePhoto credit: Carly Fuller Photography

To suit their relationships and their expression, same-sex couples have scrambled the rules of who wears what, who sits where, and who stands where and, as such, have played an important role in giving mainstream couples and professionals more permission to get creative with expressions of wedding ceremony and reception ritual. And, this is where The New Art of Capturing Love comes in. Written as a guide to help photographers understand the mechanics behind capturing authentic expressions of love between two persons of the same gender, it also offers a blueprint that dispels the outdated notions of masculine and feminine gender roles that pervade wedding ritual. And this impacts everyone.

Denver Smith PhotographyPhoto credit: Denver Smith Photography

The important element to note is that all couples—straight and gay—are finding new ways to express themselves and their wedding rituals and, as a result, wedding professionals and photographers have to keep up.

If a photographer is expecting to photograph a wedding party leaping in their air and one member isn’t physically able to do so, what “spontaneous” and “fun” pose will he or she request? If a couple chooses formal wedding attire, but the bride insists on having a ‘Bridesman’ stand next to her in a tux as her Man of Honor, how will a photographer capture the bridal party without the Bridesman seeming to be her groom?

Photographers and the wedding planners who support a couple must take note of the increase in personalized expression in wedding ritual. If either approaches a wedding with an expectation that there will be one bride (in a white dress), one groom (in a tux) and similarly clad wedding attendants organized by gender, he or she might find that they aren’t truly prepared to capture the moment presented by a couple who plans a ritual that is reflective of who they are as individuals.

And this matters to all couples, which makes a wedding even more meaningful. So, for wedding professionals, a recognition of these changing traditions, an openness to embrace the individual couple, a willingness to look outside of traditional gender and wedding roles, and preparation for creative wedding expression is key.

As my coauthor, Thea Dodds of Authentic Eye Photography, likes to say: “For a wedding photographer, the wedding day is no time to practice.”

Maggie Winters PhotographyA powerful example of an authentic approach to photographing this modern (straight!) groom
and his wedding party, courtesy of Maggie Winters Photography.

About The New Art of Capturing Love

The New Art of Capturing Love shatters the “old standards” of wedding and engagement photography by showing how inappropriate old standards can be for today’s diverse couples, then shares easy-to-implement poses and techniques that can be applied to any couple (and wedding party), no matter their orientation, to create lasting memories. Featuring a collection of more than 180 same-sex portraits of 72 couples from 48 photographers, this guide is proudly the first—and most comprehensive—of its kind. Whether you are a wedding photographer looking to enter this burgeoning market, or a same-sex couple looking for visual inspiration, these gorgeous images will both instruct and inspire. The authors celebrated their release at Books, Inc in the Castro on May 6 and honored the tenth anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts at the Harvard Coop in Boston on May 9. Upcoming book tour dates include St. Louis, Miami, Washington DC, Denver and more.

Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com