Photography and Your LGBT Wedding

Cover, The New Art of Capturing LoveAsk anyone who has ever attended a wedding what the most important part of the day was, and you may get answers that range from the “beautiful ceremony,” to “stunning flowers,” “exquisite food,” or “fantastic live band.” Ask many newlyweds, however, and, though they will agree that all of these factors are critical, they will often choose photography as they most important element of their weddings. The timeless record of your wedding captures for posterity the moment that two lives became one. Selecting your professional photographer is therefore an understandably weighty decision.

For professional photographers and couples who are looking to learn more about same-sex wedding photography beyond the pages of this website, we strongly recommend our new book, The New Art of Capturing Love (co-authored by Thea Dodds of Authentic Eye Photography).

Choosing a Professional Photographer

Among the categories of wedding professionals, photographers comprise one of the largest pools of talent from which you will have to select. Editing software is so advanced, that simply viewing a photographer’s images online, or at a consultation, tells only part of the story. When interviewing for the role, look for someone experienced, whose images appeal to you, and who comes with verifiable references. Ask prospective photographers if they have experience photographing gay or lesbian weddings, and if they are supportive of same-sex weddings. You will spend some of your most intimate moments on your wedding day with this professional, so a good rapport is critical.

You will spend some of your most intimate moments on your wedding day with this professional, so a good rapport is critical.

An engagement session is an excellent way to get to know your photographer and develop a sense of comfort and rapport. Images from these sessions are also quite useful! They may grace your save-the-date cards, or make a delightful display at showers and at your reception. Many photographers and websites offer guest books that can feature compilations of your engagement images. These books are fun and personal, and a favorite at many weddings today.

It is also smart to ask the other professional service providers you have selected, such as your caterer, wedding planner, florist, or venue manager, what their experiences are with you candidates. There is nothing like the magic of a team of professionals working harmoniously together on the wedding day. Choosing those who work most seamlessly will make your wedding day a dream!

Know your own style preferences when viewing sample images. Do you prefer contemporary photography with few poses and lots of candid moments, or a more formal portrait look? Are you particularly enamored with black and white wedding photography, or do you love adventurous scenes involving out-of-the-box thinking? If so, you should see examples of images that reflect your preferences when previewing an artist’s work.

Not Just a Pretty Picture: Get the Details of Your Photography Agreement

Before you sign a contract, it is imperative that you check references and see a selection of images from a wide body of work. Be cautious – advances in photographic equipment technology have made it easy for many inexperienced photographers to join the industry, however, wedding photography involves more than just pretty pictures. Find out the specifics of your agreement, including:

  • How many photographers will be present on your wedding day and for how long?

  • Are personal reprint rights included in your contract, or do you have to purchase all prints directly from the professional?

  • When can you expect your proof images to be delivered? How long before final images are edited and processed? Are you able to request custom edits or do additional charges apply?

  • Are various packages available to meet your session time, editing, and print needs?

  • When are payments due? Is your final payment remitted before or after delivery of your final images?

  • Is there an emergency plan if your photographer becomes unavailable due to circumstances beyond his or her control?

  • What sort of release for use does the photographer request or require of couples?

Get the Photographs You Want of Your Same-Sex Wedding

It is imperative that you work with your photographer to develop a list of photographs that are most important to you. You may find that some of the more artistic shooters prefer to capture the wedding day without structure, and you certainly don’t want to inhibit creativity. However, you do have a right to request any shots you absolutely cannot live without. This is a one-time-only event. If you miss something important, there is no going back, so find a professional willing to honor your personal requests.

It’s also important to note that your wedding, as a same-sex wedding, may have social dynamics that impact the photography. You may have friends or loved ones who are uncomfortable being photographed together, or attendants who don’t fit the traditional pattern of “bridesmaids on the left and groomsmen on the right.” Let your photographer know about these special circumstances in advance to avoid awkward moments or missed opportunities.

In conjunction with your planner, caterer, and venue coordinator, create an itinerary of your day that incorporates enough photography to achieve your goals, but also respects the time of your other professionals and especially of your guests.

Some compromise might be helpful to keep the day running at a reasonable pace, such as planning a “first look”. These pre-ceremony encounters offer the drama of that magical first moment when you see your intended, but also add the flexibility of photographing both of you together early in the day. Schedule family and bridal party photos before the ceremony to avoid unnecessary post-ceremony delays.

Because you are an LGBT couple, there is much to take into account when selecting your engagement or wedding photographer, and working with the studio to ensure smooth operations. Use the resources here on gayweddings.com to connect with professionals who embrace gay and lesbian weddings. And don’t forget to bookmark our many helpful tools to help you plan your picture-perfect day!