RACIALLY DIVERSE and SAME SEX WEDDINGS


THE ONLY PROBLEM MIGHT BE YOU

In this day and age anytime you turn on the TV, flip a page in a magazine, or see an advertisement, there are vibrant signs everywhere celebrating how diverse and inclusive we are as a community, as a company, as a convention, etc. 

But these words often fall on deaf ears because in reality the words “diverse” and “inclusive” don’t make people feel either of those things. These phrases have an underlying us against them mentality that perpetuates systemic racism even more.  

Using the word inclusive implies that prior to the ad or project in question an underrepresented group was excluded. When a company says it focuses on having “diverse” models for an upcoming campaign, this obviously refers to models of a different race than the assumed white models. But why is white the default? 

The reality is that it’s not, but in advertisements, movies, magazines, etc., it dominates the space. But by making whiteness the norm, we are allowing other groups to be marginalized and considered “abnormal” to the “norm” of whiteness. The goal is to be accepting and bring in more people without fetishizing or tokenizing any group.

If you are of the belief or upbringing and cannot with a conscience shoot a Racially Diverse or Same Sex wedding then don’t.
I can’t change how you feel about such things but if you are not mature in your thinking and cannot separate business from belief then find an excuse not to do it such as a conflict of interest, death in the family, broken camera, ingrown toenail, psoriasis and then go back to your life as you see it.   Just make sure your cave has plenty of wood for a cold dark winter.

I never had a problem shooting any of these events and frankly some of them were a blast and I had a great time.  It’s an old cliche but love is colorblind.  Photographers have to take advantage of opportunity today and cannot allow any kind of prejudice in their heart because it is a weakness. Look at the work of Gabriel Harber,  in Oakland, California. 


RACIALLY MIXED WEDDINGS - ANY RELIGION

Racially mixed weddings sometimes have a major problem with skin tones. If you don’t know what a Grey Card is, learn quickly. It will really save your butt, and prevent screwing up your lighting and making a nightmare out of the prints. It’s a top conversation in many pro Wedding Sites. Relying on your cameras “P” mode doesn’t work. 

We call it the “perhaps mode”. Perhaps the shots will come out. You must rely on the grey card as using the light skin tones will underexpose and give you the “Al Jolson Look” and shooting for the dark skin tone will blow the highlights. 

It’s bad enough with a black tuxedo and white shiny dress. There are a couple techniques even including double negatives but good Photoshop techniques can save the day. It seems this is a problem to some but really, it’s nothing more than the fact you are exceeding the dynamic range and you should expose somewhere in the middle. 

That’s what the grey card will do for you. In addition, another important point is get that camera off average mode for the sensor, you want spot metering and make sure you have the white balance keyed in ahead of time. 

OPEN YOUR MIND
Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage, interracial couples are more common than ever before—especially in cities.

That’s a finding from a new report from the Pew Research Center looking at the state of interracial marriage today. Overall, there has been a dramatic increase in interracial marriage. In 2015, 10 percent of all married Americans were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity. That is up from just 3 percent in 1980.  Seventeen percent of all weddings performed in 2015 were interracial, up from 7 percent in 1980.

In cities, those figures are even higher. In 2015, 18 percent of new marriages in metropolitan areas were interracial, compared with 11 percent of newlyweds outside of metropolitan areas. The rates were highest in Honolulu (42 percent), Las Vegas (31 percent), and Santa Barbara (30 percent). Intermarriage is rarest in metro areas in southern states (Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and the Carolinas), as well as two metro areas in Pennsylvania. Jackson, Mississippi, and Asheville, North Carolina, tie at 3 percent for the lowest share of intermarried newlyweds.

When it comes to explaining this urban-rural divide, there are many possible factors. Public perception of intermarriage might play a part: 45 percent of adults in urban areas say that “more people of different races marrying each other is a good thing for society,” the study reports. Thirty-eight percent of those in suburban areas say the same. Only 24 percent of people living in rural areas agreed with that statement.

Differences in racial composition of metropolitan and non-metropolitan populations may also account for some of the gap: 83 percent of newlyweds in non-metro areas are white, compared to 62 percent in metro areas. Hispanics and Asians, on the other hand, make up 26 percent of newlyweds in metro areas and only 10 percent in non-metro areas—and they’re much more likely than white people to marry outside their ethnic groups.

The bottom line might just be in your bank account.  I’ll say it again, the toughest part of a racial diverse wedding is skin tones and mechanical balance on skin tones.  The rest of the wedding is no different.

 

SAME SEX WEDDINGS - ANY RELIGION
Here are some of the problems that may arise.  Who is the alpha?  Really there shouldn’t be. It’s a union of two people. But be prepared and body language will be the clues as to how you handle the situation. One of the two will show their dominance.  The problem arose in some states because they couldn't decide on their printed forms who is the she or the he.  

Since it's really a they, they settled for Celebrant one and Celebrant two.  Not joking here, this became an issue involving changing a court document and we all know how fast government whether it be state or federal moves.  It replicated itself in NY's recent same sex paperwork.  So, include the two in discussion and make sure they agree.

This is a very tough subject here for some.  First realize everyone invited there knows the situation and if they were not comfortable they would have not shown up.  The toughest times for the shooter involve intimate moments. Just do what you must do, and it's your job, so do it to the best of your ability.  If it becomes a show, or beyond what you feel are your standards, back off.

But regardless of your beliefs, let the other half live and if you are not comfortable, don’t accept the work. Someone else will and some photographers specialize in it. Several of the confirmations I have done went great and the players went out of their way to make everybody comfortable. 

I had a good time at a few and got referrals. Again, you are there to record, not judge. I will tell you though, if there is a lot of booze, just keep a camera ready for a cat fight or two, but that’s true in most weddings. 

If your community has a strong market in same sex Weddings and you have no problem with it, there are guides such as Gay & Lesbian Wedding Resources from the "Complete Guide to Gay & Lesbian Weddings" and the "Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Weddings" to general resources regarding same sex marriage. Find a great guide to help you plan your same sex wedding, commitment ceremony or holy union ceremony.

The key here as the photographer is to not interfere with their plans but you can offer them some simple ideas

1. Don’t worry, be happy plan an event  about what you are and not traditional beliefs. Those older friends and folks who knew you are not involved any more and those you invite know your relationship

2. Get creative with your wedding party. Go for it .  Choose who you want you want up at the altar with you—whatever sex they are—and name them accordingly. 

3. Start thinking about your outfit early   Two men - Tuxedos, thats easy.  Two women gender alike or gender different.  “Share photos of what you're going to wear with your planner or a friend," They can steer your partner in the right direction so you and your future bride aren't clashing in formality, style or color.

4. Social media is your friend -   All sorts of solutions for invitations and other wedding hints featuring genius ideas.

5. Put your own stamp on the ceremony Screw traditional wedding ceremonies feature a groom waiting at the altar for his bride.  Walk down the aisle one right after the other, arm in arm or in Walk each other down the aisle, perhaps arm in arm or holding hands.

6. You can still have your own pre-parties.  So go ahead and plan your own celebration, whether it’s a weekend in Vegas or a trip to a vineyard, and even your own showers if you have different ideas about who should be invited and where they should take place. 

7. Be wary of unfriendly vendors  Despite same-sex marriage now being legal in all 50 states a lot of planners and couples don’t realize how many people don’t support marriage equality,”  When contacting a vendor for a first time, make it clear from the outset that your partner is of the same sex.  As the infamous wedding cake scandal made the Supreme Court.

8. A planner may be worth the cash - Though a wedding planner isn’t in everyone's budget, a coordinator can help you save time by steering you toward venues and officiants that he knows to be inclusive of same-sex weddings, and can vet vendors for you so you don't have to do the potentially disappointing dirty work.

9. Vet your honeymoon locale before you book - Once you've come up with a list of dream destinations—particularly international ones—do a little research first and cross off any that don't afford the same legal protections and cultural acceptance that same-sex couples have here. 

See http://www.gayweddings.com      also the KNOT  https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-planning-tips-for-same-sex-couples