It’s February, the month of love! And love leads to romantic dates, and romantic dates lead to engagements, and engagements lead to weddings! Whether you’re on the path to getting married, just like to daydream about that special day, or love to capture such moments in timeless photography, you must check out the newly released book Capturing Love The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography.
This book is filled with beautiful images of gay and lesbian engagement and wedding photos. The authors, Thea Dodds and Kathryn Hamm, found images by amazing photographers that understand the uniqueness of capturing same sex love in an image. You won’t find cheesy prom poses as one woman is positioned behind the other in the cliché man and woman pose, because one of the women must always be the masculine one right? Absolutely not! But unfortunately not all photographers recognize this. What may work in a straight wedding may look very artificial in a picture of a same sex couple. It takes great skill to know how to depict same sex couples in such a way that you can see their natural love and affection for each other. Kathryn and Thea give great tips on how to successfully do this in Capturing Love.
Thea is an award winning wedding photographer, founder of Authentic Eye Photography, and has been featured on GayWeddings.com. Kathryn is the President of GayWeddings.com which offers a vendor list of over 52,000 gay-friendly wedding professionals to same sex couples around the country. I had the opportunity to ask the authors about their book, Capturing Love, and also get some great advice from them for engaged same sex couples looking for photographers.
What was the inspiration for Capturing Love?
Thea was inspired by her own experience and struggle to find answers about how to work most effectively with and for same-sex couples. In her own experience photographing same-sex couples, she realized that the training she had received and had access to did not include gay and lesbian couples. So, she worked creatively and mindfully to understand how she needed to adapt in order to better serve same-sex couples who need different considerations (as we outline in the book) than opposite-sex couples. And from my vantage point at GayWeddings.com, I certainly understand how important furthering wedding vendor education is; so when Thea approached me with this concept it became clear to us quickly that Capturing Love is a book which needed to be written because there’s nothing else like it out there and because professional photographers and engaged couples need it as a resource.
What effect are you hoping Capturing Love will have on Gay and Lesbian wedding photography?
Nothing short of transforming the whole kit and kaboodle. We hope to unlock a new understanding about poses needed for same-sex engagement and wedding photography for same-sex couples. But, by extension, we want to transform the traditional expectations in mainstream wedding photography. We like to say that “wedding photography will never be the same again” and we mean it. In our opinion, ALL couples will benefit from a renewed look at the assumptions we make in how we pose couples.
What advice do you have for newly engaged couples looking for an LGBT friendly wedding photographer? Where should they start? What should they look for in a photographer?
Though we wrote Capturing Love for photographers, we also realized that our tips and examples of wonderful portraits might also help couples understand what to ask for. So, I recommend that couples look through Capturing Love; spend time on wedding blogs looking at styles and albums of other weddings to better understand what they like; and — and this is important — to budget accordingly based on expectations. Wedding photography is a high dollar item, but there’s good reason for it. Take, for example, this post by Capturing Love contributing photographer, Kat Forder, on the costs involved. In the end, a couple should trust its collective gut. You need to feel comfortable being yourself with the photographer and you need to feel good that he or she will be able to provide the services on which you have agreed, but will also be present in the moment and able to capture those moments “on film” in a memorable way.
What do you think is the biggest mistake a photographer can make when shooting same sex couples?
There are two dominant themes I’ve seen: 1) the couple is posed or appears to be posed as if they are friends (instead of being romantically involved) or 2) that the individuals are popped thoughtlessly into poses created for straight couples. Obviously, the former misses the magic and the true nature of the relationship, and the latter often fails for practical physical reasons as well as a mis-match where gender expression is concerned. So, we advise photographers to be careful about the assumptions that they are making and to make sure that they are prepared to help a couple feel comfortable.
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Dawn is a Chicago area native and loves the city she calls home. With a strong passion for both the field of psychology and LGBT issues, she strives to combine the two through gender and sexuality research. As the Women’s Outreach Chair for the Illinois chapter of the Human Rights Campaign she reaches out to the lesbian community to further their involvement in the fight for equality. Whether putting on fundraisers or spreading the word about equality at local festivals, she is always thinking of new ways to serve the LGBT community. When not doing research or fighting for equal rights, she loves to take long walks around the city, enjoy the street festivals, go camping, and hunt for the best Persian food in Chicago!