Why Inclusiveness in Wedding Photography is so Important
What up my fellow wedding photographers and aspiring ones! Today, I want to talk to you about a very important topic: inclusiveness. No, I’m not talking about the kind of inclusiveness where you invite everyone to your birthday party, even that weird cousin who always wants to talk to everyone about crypto and NFTs.
I’m talking about the kind of inclusiveness where you make sure that your wedding photography business is welcoming and respectful to all kinds of couples, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, ability, size, religion, or any other aspect of their identity.
Why is this important, you ask? Well, let me tell you a few reasons why inclusiveness in wedding photography is not only good for your clients, but also good for us and our industry.
Inclusiveness is good for our clients
Let’s face it: planning a wedding is stressful. There are so many decisions to make, so many details to arrange, so many expectations to meet. The last thing your clients need is to feel like they don’t belong, or that they have to hide or change who they are to fit in.
I've had many conversations with couples who didn't reach out to a photographer, even though they were great, because they didn't see any diversity in their imagery. What should it matter if they're good right? well the concern comes from the uncertainty that the photographer has experience in working with couples who are culturally different from them. so will they understand and, honestly, relate to that difference? in addition to the obvious, skin tones. A concern with a lot of my couples was that they weren't sure if they photographer could capture their skin tones properly.
whatever you have to say or think about that, that is a concern that ethnically diverse couples think about.
and our couples deserve to feel comfortable and confident in front of our camera, and to see themselves and their loved ones reflected in our photos.
By being an inclusive wedding photographer, we can make your clients feel valued and appreciated and proud. We can also capture their true personalities and emotions, and tell their unique stories.
Inclusiveness is good for you
Ok I'm going to give my little anecdote.
As someone who grew up in southern California, one of the most diverse areas in this nation. I understood, without being conscious of it yet, the importance of that diversity in my life. ⠀
Growing up in classrooms and neighborhoods with white kids, black kids, lots of Latino kids lol (it’s southern California, that’s how it is). With black teachers, Asian teachers, Hispanic teachers, male and female alike (probably even LGTBQA+ but wasn’t aware given the lack of acceptance back then, but ill touch on that later).⠀
This exposure to this level of diversity allowed me to see these individuals beyond any stereotype that has been placed upon them by society. This is important because it allowed me to see them as humans. With hearts and minds and ideas and love, fear, hate, and joy like all of us. It also allowed me to appreciate their differences. In culture. In dress. In language.
So what's this have to do with our business?
Being an inclusive wedding photographer is beneficial in many ways. For one thing, we can attract more clients who are looking for a photographer who understands, respects, and SEES them. We can also learn from our clients and their cultures, and broaden your horizons. I know that I've been exposed to so many cultures because of my craft which has allowed me to appreciate not only the uniqueness of them but also it's shown me how similar in our traditions we all are.
Also, being an inclusive wedding photographer can also make you stand out from the crowd. Let’s be real: there are a lot of wedding photographers out there, and many of them have that homogenous portfolio of the same types of weddings with the same type of couples .
How can you be more inclusive?
Being more inclusive is not something that happens overnight. It requires constant learning, listening, and action. Here are some of the steps that you can take to be more inclusive in your wedding photography business:
- Educate yourself. Read books, articles, blogs, and podcasts that talk about inclusiveness and diversity in the wedding industry and beyond.
Learn about the history and culture of different groups of people, and how they have been oppressed or marginalized. Learn about the terminology and etiquette that are appropriate and respectful.
Learn from the mistakes and successes of others who have been more inclusive.
- Update your portfolio. Look at your website, social media, and blog, and see if they reflect the diversity and inclusiveness that you want to portray.
If not, make some changes. Showcase more photos of couples who are different from you in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, ability, size, religion, etc.
Make sure that you have their consent and that you are not tokenizing or fetishizing them. Also, make sure that your photos are not reinforcing stereotypes or clichés, but rather celebrating their individuality and authenticity.
- Reach out to your community. Connect with other photographers and vendors who are more inclusive, and learn from them. Ask them for advice, feedback, or referrals. Join groups, forums, or directories that promote inclusiveness and diversity in the wedding industry.
Support and collaborate with them on projects, events, or campaigns. Also, reach out to your potential and existing clients, and ask them about their needs, expectations, and preferences.
Listen to their stories, and respect their choices. Communicate with them clearly and kindly, and make them feel valued and appreciated.
If you're a diverse couple looking to have your story captured authentically, creatively, and beautifully, head to that cute little button below and reach out.
I would love to discuss your vision and learn more about you.