5 proper nice ways I provide an inclusive experience for my LGBTQ+ wedding photography clients

If you don’t already know, I’m a wedding photographer of almost 14 years and a proud part of the LGBTQ+ community, and I really believe that love is love. I’ve been photographing weddings in and around Cumbria since I was 17, and I’ve met so many beautiful couples from all walks of life.

Weddings are just ace, and I love photographing them even more now than when I first started – as cliché as that is – I just love how different every wedding is. The weddings that are really unique to the couple are the ones that I proper love; traditional weddings aren’t really my bag.

It’s a massive privilege to be a photographer for LGBTQ+ weddings; you’ve done months of planning and have gathered all your favourite people in one place, and you’ve put your trust in me to capture all those lovely little moments that you might not notice on the day.

These will be the photos that the couples’ future generations might see, so I want my clients to have the best time on their wedding day, to be themselves fully and to feel as comfortable as possible. With all that in mind, this is how I do my darnedest to be inclusive.

 

1. By using chosen pronouns everywhere I can

It’s no biggie for me to use whichever pronouns you identify with. I have a space in the initial contact form on my website to enter your pronouns, as it’s really important to make sure I get those right from the get go.

I also pop my own pronouns in wherever my name is written, as I want it to feel normal to mention them, and to give a sense of openness for any potential clients. Whether it’s in an email or on a zoom call, on Instagram, anywhere else I can squeeze them in, my pronouns are there to make Lauren May Photos that bit more inclusive.

 

Rainbow welcome to our wedding sign

 

2. With lovely inclusive language

Being inclusive with the language we all use is super important, so it’s everywhere in my small business – on my website, socials, and of course, in person. I will not use any exclusionary or gendered words (unless you want me to) such as bride/groom, bridal party/groomsmen, etc.

For example, in the questionnaire that I send out to my wedding photography clients, I don’t make assumptions by referring to “the dress” or “suit”, instead I use more neutral language, such as “partner 1’s outfit”.

By doing this, I know that my clients won’t feel disrespected or have to awkwardly point out that I’ve misgendered somebody.

 

3. I’m anti-traditional wedding photo poses

Some poses are seen as stereotypically masculine or feminine, and are still very prevalent in wedding photography. I totally sack that off, and instead try my best to mix the poses up.

The way I choose to pose couples is more about the individuals, rather than trying to fit them into certain roles. Sometimes you have one person with their arms around the other person, but you can switch it around to make it more equal.

I love photographing the interactions between my couples more than anything. And, at the end of the day, it’s up to the couple and whatever they feel comfortable with.

 

4. I make sure I’m always learning

Learning as much as I can about LGBTQ+ history, culture and best practices helps me to stay at the top of my game. Even though I am a part of the community, I can’t presume that I know everything, so I stay open to learning how to do better and be better.

I take part in online training, as well as swotting up with books. If you’d like to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, here are a few of my faves to get you started:

Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker
The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Expressions by Chloe O. Davis
We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer liberation by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown
Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Life and Mental Health by Alexis Caught
Loud and Proud by Tea Uglow & Peter Tatchell
How to Survive a Plague by David France

 

 

Black and white Paul and Tony's wedding by Lauren May Photos

Paul and Tony on their wedding day

 

 

5. I never ever assume

You never know what someone’s preference or orientation is until you ask, so I never ever ever assume. Like they say, to assume makes an ass out of u and me. I don’t want anyone to feel like an ass on their wedding day.

It’s important to stay open minded and non-judgmental, and to make sharing preferences an ongoing open conversation which never feels awkward. I am also always happy to be corrected if I get something wrong.

 

Anyway, don’t just take my word for it – here’s what bloody lovely couple Paul and Tony had to say about choosing Lauren May Photos for their wedding day:

“Lauren photographed our wedding in May 2022. She is a fantastic photographer, and we felt comfortable with her right from the start. In the lead up to the day, we filled in forms which were inclusive – no awkward “there is no bride” moment needed!

During the day Lauren also went above and beyond by keeping us coordinated and made sure we were in the right place at the right time. We leaned on her experience for how other LGBTQ+ couples had tackled some scenarios like walking down the aisle and getting ready together or separately, and it all worked out great.”

 

All that being said, I’m always willing to add things to this list to make my business more LGBTQ+ inclusive and to learn more. I love discovering new resources and having open chats with people – my inbox is always open!

 

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