How to Book More Gay Weddings: 5 Simple Tips for Photographers
The other day I was scrolling through some of the photography groups I’m part of on Facebook, and a post someone made caught my eye. The gist of it was they wanted to basically know how to book more gay weddings without having any experience shooting them.
Totally a great question, right? It immediately made me think about everything we have done in the past that has allowed us to get hired for same sex engagements and weddings over the last few years and I thought it would be a good topic to talk about here on our blog!
Getting hired for same sex portrait sessions and weddings is more than just putting rainbows on your website and saying you’re inclusive – it’s about consistent actions and words on your blog, website and social media. The gay community is small but mighty, and word spreads fast – and we have found that once wedding planners found out that we photograph all types of couples, the referrals started pouring in because sad to say in this day and age that, not all photographers are inclusive. Totally a free way to book more gay weddings (and traditional weddings, too!).
Randy + I try to be inclusive in everything we say when it comes to weddings. We say things like “wedding party” instead of “bridal party,” and we never assume it’s going to just be a bride reaching out to us. We use “bride/groom” in our questionnaires (asking about attire, etc.), so it’s not specifically geared to one or the other. We aren’t even gender specific in our brand hashtag, #RADweddings!
Something that some of our mentors do is have private groups just for their brides on Facebook … but since we work with a lot of same sex couples (and a majority of our mentors don’t), we want to be inclusive. So our group is for all of our couples! To exclude grooms, even in traditional couples, is to say the wedding isn’t as important to them as it is to the bride – so we try to never exclude our grooms from communication, hanging out opportunities and our group.
Since our style of photography isn’t posed, this is actually pretty easy for us but for some photographers who rely on the same 5 poses over and over (and over and over again), this can be difficult. With a traditional couple, the man typically takes on the protective or more masculine roles in photos; but, with a same-sex couple – it’s not assumable who will naturally take that role. Let your couple lead when it comes to what is natural for their relationship!
I’ll also say that a lot of our same-sex couple are not comfortable with PDA – kissing, being intimate, etc. That’s totally okay – we don’t force the issue. Again, we let them take lead and we read their body language to see that they’re comfortable and feeling like themselves, and most importantly: having a good time. If a couple has a great time with you, they’re much more likely to want their friends and family to have that same experience – so they’ll refer you to them!
We were very lucky that the first same-sex couple we ever worked with are friends of ours (in fact, they’re our babysitters!) – and we did a couple of shoots with them before we ever got hired for our first wedding. We were completely up front and honest that we hadn’t shot a gay couple before, and they were very supportive of our learning process. When we got hired for our first gay wedding, we were also very clear that it was our first one, and they were so gracious with us – it was definitely a learning experience!
Which leads me to …
Regularly include same sex couples in your portfolios and voice online!! When couples are looking to hire someone, they want to see part of themselves in your photos and feel like they could be part of your world. Think of it like this – if you consistently shoot outdoor, rustic weddings in barns with cowboy boots and burlap everything – it would be strange to get an inquiry for a ballroom in downtown LA with a $20,000 floral budget – right? Think about that. If you have absolutely nothing in your portfolio that showcases what you love to photograph, it’s going to be hard for a couple to feel like you’re the right fit for them. So if you want to book more gay weddings, you have to show more same sex couples!
Pretty simple, right? It’s little tweaks like these that will let couples feel more included in your brand!
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