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"Capturing Love" Delivers Sage Same-Sex Wedding Photography Guidance

 By Joan Sherwood, Senior Editor

“Capturing Love”
By Thea Dodds and Kathryn Hamm  
Authentic Weddings, $32.95

Same-sex wedding photography, which has been a very small niche market, has the potential to grow exponentially in the next decade and beyond. Same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all of Canada. Consider that many of the couples first in line for their license have already been together for years and often decades. They may not splurge on all the lavish trappings that some young couples do, but they typically seek out good, professional photography to document their special day. They want a photographer who “gets” them, who understands just how much it means to them to be able to marry, and who knows that “square one is understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach to working with same-sex couples will not be effective,” say the authors of “Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography.”

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Cover photo ©It's Bliss Photography

This book is an insightful, practical, visual guide to photographing same-sex weddings. It features a gorgeous selection of photographs from 38 outstanding gay and lesbian wedding photographers depicting the real-life happy moments of 46 same-sex couples.

Co-authors Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds complement each other well in their areas of expertise. Hamm is the president of GayWeddings.com, an online boutique and resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Dodds is an award-winning photojournalist, co-founder of the non-profit organization Greener Photography, and a PPA member. Dodds’ influence is evident in the book’s emphasis that wedding photographers must have a solid foundation in technique, posing, and professionalism, because to shoot same-sex weddings, the photographer will have to develop an expanded skill set and understand how and when to revise the traditional rules to best serve their same-sex clients.

Weddings are changing, and photography education needs to change too. For wedding photographers, it can be a challenge to pose and set up a wedding portrait in a way that truly reflects the uniqueness of each couple, especially when they’ve been trained to use a certain set of poses that were designed for a man and a woman. We hope “Capturing Love” inspires every photographer shooting a same-sex wedding to think outside the box, and to create photos that truly capture the one-of-a-kind magic present at each couple’s wedding day.  —Thea Dodds

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Left ©Andrea Flanagan Photography; Right ©Tammy Watson Photography

The main body of the book does an excellent job of explaining the importance of getting to know the couple and understanding how they see themselves, what the elements of their ceremony mean to them, who among the guests should be included in photographs, and the role they have in the couple’s life. There are wonderfully informative sections on poses and composition for engagement sessions and wedding day photos of two brides and two grooms and how some popular shots can be altered to showcase the same-sex dynamic. The illustrations reflect a natural style with real couples who feel free to be themselves in front of the camera. In the examples, the photographer describes the circumstances and challenges of the shoot, and why they made the decisions they did. These are accompanied by an analysis of the image from the authors, noting what makes it a good image and offering relevant suggestions to the reader.

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Left ©Cean One Photography; Center ©Brian Pepper & Associates; Right ©Maggie Winters Photography 

Hamm and Dodds emphasize how important it is to capture authentic images that reveal who the couple is and how they feel about each other. The marvelous selection of photographs that illustrate this book do that so well that I felt I was sharing the moment as I viewed them. I found myself smiling over the brilliant joy and tenderness portrayed in the photographs, some even bringing a tear to my eye. I may be a little more sentimental about the topic than others, though. My own wife and I were together for 13 years before we were able to marry legally in Toronto in 2004. Our wedding gift from my family was flying in our photographer from Seattle to document our special day and the courthouse ceremony. She captured a tear rolling down my cheek then, too.

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©Kristin Chalmers Photography

“Capturing Love” is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to become the go-to same-sex wedding photographer in their market by earning their clients’ trust and adoration. Its message is imbued with the warmth and understanding its authors feel for this market, the advice is solid, and the collection of same-sex couple photography is the best I’ve ever seen. Follow this advice and your clients will love you.

“Capturing Love” will be released in a limited run from publisher Authentic Weddings on Jan. 16, with a full release to follow in March. The book is available for purchase at Lulu Press, for $32.95 USD.

Thea Dodds will be at Imaging USA Jan. 21 and 22. You can reach her at thea@capturingloveguide.com or phone/text: 617-759-3964.