Oregon legalized same-sex marriage in May of this year, and An Inspired Affair had the opportunity to interview the authors of a meaningful new book, “The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography”. This groundbreaking guide gives wedding photographers and and couples alike a treasure trove of ideas for creating the perfect wedding portraits, while integrating sensitivities that a same-sex wedding brings. Read on to see how authors  Thea Dodds and GayWeddings.com President Kathryn Hamm created this resource and how it has affected the future of same-sex nuptial photography in the wedding industry.

An Inspired Affair: What is the most profound thing you learned from putting this book together?

Kathryn Hamm: Though we started out writing this book and curating these images knowing that there was no resource like it to be found, we were nonetheless amazed to find out not only how little guidance there is out there for photographers, but also how difficult it’s been to help photographers understand that it’s important to embrace and plan for the differences when photographing same-sex couples. While we believe that access to marriage should be the same for all couples, that doesn’t mean that differences should be overlooked.

AIA: The main audience for the book is photographers, but who else would benefit from reading it?

KH: We have found that our book has been popular with several different audiences. Engaged couples enjoy reading it to learn more about what to look for when booking a photographer; wedding planners and other professionals have enjoyed the book as a means to learn more about same-sex weddings, but also as a tool to open discussions with prospective clients and show their support; and friends and family of same-sex couples have loved the book for its beautiful imagery. While on tour, we’ve often found many readers who have been excited to purchase the book to give it as a gift. So, while it can be found as an instructional guide on a “digital photography” shelf at Barnes & Noble, we’ve often gotten lots of feedback that the book is an accessible read and one that makes for a great coffee table book.

AIA: What things resonate with all same-sex couples looking for wedding photography guidance?

KH: Same-sex couples have really repurposed and redesigned wedding traditions and rituals to best suit their needs and personalities. Thus, they have looked for photographers who understand the kinds of ceremonies and receptions they want to have. Some traditions aren’t completely gone, however. For example, more same-sex couples are doing engagement sessions. They are beginning to have larger wedding parties and are asking to do more ‘first look’ moments.

AIA: What are some important differences of same-sex wedding photography vs. heterosexual wedding  photography?

KH: Thea and I knew that this resource was needed for photographers and engaged couples because there was nothing like it.  The most important thing for all photographers to understand, in our opinion, is that all couples — straight or gay — deserve to be treated and considered as individuals. The best wedding photography captures the authenticity of the couple through the lens of their most true selves.

When photographing same-sex couples, it’s important for photographers to consider:

  • Physical differences –  The frequent lack of color contrast between two dark suits and two gowns can cause the need for different lighting. Couples may be either very similar in height or very different, and the the physical strength of the couples can make dips or lifts difficult. Two bouquets or boutonnieres can also cause an accessory and placement challenge.
  • Cultural differences – Some families will participate more than others, and may have differing levels of comfort with the way affection is displayed. The history of the couple’s relationship to date may also be a contributing factor.

These differences aren’t rocket science, but it is important to understand where the couple is coming from and what they are hoping for on their special day.

We can’t stress enough how important it is not to practice on the wedding day. It’s important to spend time getting to know the couple in advance of the wedding (or engagement session) to understand exactly what they have planned. Every couple should be treated individually, and it’s always better to ask a couple about their intentions than to assume what they like or don’t.

AIA: What’s your best advice for more traditional portraiture?

KH: Don’t assume that there is one masculine and one feminine role for every couple and try to put them in the traditional poses for portraits. The results when attempting to do so are usually awkward at best and offensive at worst. Watch the couple to see how they fit together and then allow the poses to flow from there.

An Inspired Affair can offer all of the wedding planning and romantic concierge services needed to any couple seeking professional guidance for the biggest day of their lives. Thank you to Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds for giving us the opportunity to feature their book on the blog. You can buy The New Art of Capturing Love wherever books are sold or learn more at capturingloveguide.com, and contact An Inspired Affair for any of your wedding needs.

Photo credit: Authentic Eye Photography – www.authenticeye.com