Being an Ally, or even being Queer yourself (like myself), you will have to overcome certain inherited, indoctrinated ideas of what it is to photograph a couple that is same-sex. My brand is strictly about empowering your clients, and this also includes being able to empower yourself as a photographer.
One of the most common questions I get from my peers is "How do I pose a LGBTQIA+ couple?" Why, young grasshopper, we need to take a look at society in which you are struggling to see the answer in. Throughout our entire lives, we are told that we must obey certain societal teachings/expectations/rules/etc that frame the "man" in the relationship as strong and dominant - the protector in the household, while the "woman" is married to the home, as a softer, more submissive side. While the wedding industry focuses mostly about brides and grooms, we must acknowledge that more than just the stereotypical heterosexual CIS-gendered couple gets married. As an embarrassing factoid, The United States of America only began allowing same-sex couples to marry on June 26, 2015 - How embarrassing! After long enough, people in the LGBTQIA+ are starting to be treated like actual human beings (but still being shunned by multiple other offenders - but that is another topic for another day).
This is why photographers tend to freeze when they are presented with a couple that is not considered a "bride" or "groom", but rather a bride and a bride or two grooms, or another couple that does not fit into the binary. For LGBTQIA+ couples, we must throw out the gender norms, become more open and inclusive, and understand that not all love looks the same.
Here's my top three tips to help you become a more open, inclusive photographer:
Posing is placing individuals in certain spots, which sometimes ends up a little stiff. Often photographers tend to place a more "masculine" identity as the typical "male" positions - this is wrong. Invite the couple to the prompted positions by saying "whoever wants to be in front, come jump here!" or you could give both directing positions by saying, "I want one of you here and the other one here to hug from behind" this will allow them to insert themselves into the position. This will make the couple more comfortable in the position (which definitely will show in their photographs!).
Instead of posing, try giving prompts or directions, so they are less awkward and creates a tad bit more movement. Posing is often super specific and based on gender roles, which end up may feeling awkward for a couple who does not fit such roles. Instead, we want to guide them into actions that will create a perfect lovable moment: "dance together" or even, "walk together like you're drunk and just had the best night of your life", or my favorite, "whisper something in each other's ear - one at a time - to get them to burst out laughing (maybe your favorite vegetable in a sexy voice)". All these prompts can be used with any couple, but will always show the uniqueness of the couple's love in that moment.
Always ask yourself, "If I switch their positions, will the pose still work?" More than likely, the answer is yes! I always offer my couples to switch positions and take part in the other side of the pose - this way its reciprocated and the focus is not just on one partner over the other. This is also a win-win for you, because it gives you more imagery to work with when editing the gallery!
In the end of things, every couple is unique. Some may take certain roles, while others may switch it up between both roles. It is important to never make assumptions about any couple, despite if one is leaning more masculine or even more feminine; do right by your couple and allow them how to show you how they express their love snd how often that may change based on the situation.
But what is most important is get to know how your couple interacts with one another; make it known that you care deeply about them and that you are invested in capturing the real, raw side of them. When they see that you are devoted to them, they will relax and trust you - this will make photographing them a breeze and then produce fun, intimate, beautiful portraits.
all photos by Christina Hernandez Artistry