is in the
is a solution to their wedding photography
needs. “We have to explain that there is so
much more than being someone who can
stand behind the camera and snap the shutter,” Gurnick says.
What’s the Budget?
With the economy in flux in recent years, the
wedding business has found itself hit hard.
But over the last year, many of our planners
have noticed the market getting slowly back
to pre-recession levels. Even so, the percentage of the budget allocated to photography
fluctuated across our planners.
JoAnn Gregoli from Elegant Occasions
of New York and New Jersey, noted that 10
percent of her wedding clients’ budgets are
allocated to photography. Comparatively,
Gurnick put the number at closer to 5
percent for his weddings (he says an average budget is around $60,000). What that
PHOTO © KRISTIN KORPOS
Same-sex marriage is now officially legal in six states—
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
York and Vermont, and laws have been passed in Wash-
ington and Maryland that will legalize same-sex marriage
there as well. A side effect of these new laws is the growing
same-sex wedding business. At the forefront of the business is
Bernadette Coveney Smith, considered by many to be the na-
tion’s leading same-sex wedding expert. She is the founder and
president of 14 Stories, the first company in the U.S. specializing
in planning legal same-sex weddings, and has produced hun-
dreds of gay and lesbian weddings since 2004. Her expertise
has been sought after by the Today Show, The New York Times,
Washington Post and CNN. As the author of Gay Wedding Con-
fidential, Rangefinder sat down with Smith to find out the desires
and concerns unique to same-sex weddings.
changes the dynamic of the ceremony. Ceremonies tend to be very
emotional... 63 percent of same-sex couples have the support of
both parents, while 16 percent have the support of neither set of
parents. That indicates there are a lot of couples that have the sup-
port of one set of parents only, which can impact the photos and
Covering Same-Sex Weddings
What other factors should photographers be aware of?
CS: Photographers need to know that they have to be very inclusive. They need the language on their websites and contact forms
to be neutral and not make assumptions that the wedding is going
to be just like a straight wedding.
What are same-sex couples looking for in a photographer?
Coveney Smith: My same-sex couples want a photographer they
can have a really good rapport with, who they trust can do a really
great job. I want a photographer that’s going to make my client feel
comfortable first and foremost. That puts them at ease.
What language is acceptable to use?
CS: [Photographers] can say “attendants,” they can say “wedding
party,” they can say “the people standing up with you”...As far as
the actual contact form on their websites, they can say “the couple”
or “names.” The contract can just say “names.” Other language
on the website can say “brides and grooms,” not just “bride and
groom;” all of those are relevant.
What is unique about the ceremony for same-sex couples
that photographers should be aware of?
CS: Many of my clients walk down two aisles for the ceremony,
so when we create two aisles, unless there is a really good pivot
point for one photographer, it pretty much mandates having a second shooter. Most same-sex weddings don’t happen in churches
and many same-sex weddings don’t have parents involved—that
How can photographers get their work out there more in
front of same-sex couples?
CS: Word of mouth is huge; I was talking to an acquaintance
who is getting married to his partner, and they are using the
same photographer that all of their gay friends used. Submit to
gay wedding blogs and magazines [such as] Equally Wed [a gay
wedding magazine], or [blogs] 4RealEquality Weddings.com and
On A Bicycle Built for Two ( www.onabicyclebuiltfortwo.com).