January 6, 2015. A HUGE day for the LGBT community and now having the right to marry legally in Florida. I’ve been along on this fight for a long time (my post on equality from last summer and my interview with Freedom to Marry in partnership with Equality Florida) so this isn’t something new to me. I’ve been a LGBT wedding photographer from the get go and I haven’t hid that at all. So for me, “cashing in” on same sex couples now being able to marry legally, is no different then what I was doing 6-8-12 months ago.
My interview with BayNews9 So yeah…I’ve been on this fight for a long time (sorry about the repost of Jodi’s Facebook post. I don’t have Baynews9 so I couldn’t record it and she did for me. Skip :30 in)
So Lisa…where the hell are you going with this post? Well let me tell you.
Recently, through the wonderful world of Facebook, I’ve seen a “workshop” going around on how to get certified to shoot same sex couples. Uhhh WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?!?! To get certified to shoot couples? Excuse me but why would you need to be certified to shoot a couple that is in love and wants to get married? Did you get certified to shoot a straight couple? Didn’t think so. So here’s where the “cashing in” comes.
Ever since marriage became legal, this is all I’ve seen going around. People that had never shot a same sex couple all of a sudden shot same sex couples but they weren’t a LGBT wedding photographer to begin with. The posts of “Congrats FL and remember I shoot LGBT couples” started swirling all over the interwebz but yet where were they along the fight?
So not only is the business taking advantage of photographers, taking their money and handing them a piece of paper saying they are “certified to shoot same sex couples”, they are taking advantage of the LGBT community. These couples are not aliens, they are no different then any straight couple so there so be absolutely no reason that you need to get “certified” to shoot same sex couples. What you do need to do if you want to venture into the LGBT community is make sure that all of your correspondence on your website, emails, questionnaires, and all that fun stuff aren’t geared towards the bride and groom. Keep it neutral…spouses, partners, etc. This covers both straight and same sex couples.
When a couple contacts me, my contact form is pretty cut and dry whether it’s a straight or same sex couple. Your name and who are you spending the rest of your life with, is how I ask about your spouse/partner. To me it doesn’t matter who it is.
Shooting same sex couples is no different then shooting any other couple. You pose them just as you would any other couple and if they’re awkward in front of the camera? Guess what? Most of my straight couples are too. You work with them. You teach them how to pose. It’s no different. So please explain to me why you need to be certified?
Then the kicker came yesterday when I was talking with another wedding vendor (who has been same sex friendly for the longest time). A couple contacted her about their small wedding in a couple of weeks. They told her that a certain wedding vendor was going to charge them an astronomical amount to perform their ceremony BUT the price was significantly cheaper for a straight couple. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! This is absolutely ridiculous! There is no reason on this rainbow colored earth that you should EVER charge a LGBT couple 3 times more than you would a straight couple. THIS IS NOT OKAY! If you are going to scream from the rooftops that you are a LGBT friendly business, then your prices should be the same regardless of the couple.
A good friend of mine always posts my blog posts, my rants and all this. I’ve supported them from day one and the one thing that she always says when she reposts my statuses is “Support those who support us”. That is the one thing I’ve done from the very beginning. There was no bandwagon that I jumped on. There is no “cashing in” for me because I’ve been an equality business from the very beginning. I’ve advertised on numerous LGBT websites way before it was legal in Florida. I was the first LGBT wedding photographer to advertise on Another Business for Equality.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling out businesses saying that they aren’t LGBT friendly. What I am doing is making sure that the community, straight and same sex, works with vendors and professionals that want to work with them, not just cash in. Will having same sex marriage now legal make a huge economic impact on Florida? O M G yes! I’ve always said that when it becomes legal, that gay men will rule the wedding registry everywhere! But there is no reason why you should have to become certified or more importantly, gouge your wedding pricing.
So with that said….let’s fill the world with rainbow colored wedding invitations and get married!!!
Just a few pictures too because really, what’s a blog post without pictures?