This is a guest blog on building an inclusive photography website from Sam and Bryt from Samantha Mitchell Photography.
Sam and Bryt are a married photography team based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. They enjoy documenting adventurous couples who love hiking, traveling and snuggling with their pets. This duo is known for their stunning engagement, elopement, and wedding photos, as well as their LGBTQ+ activism in the industry.
As photographers + members of the LGBTQ+ community, we are always making sure the wording that we use shows respect and inclusion for all kinds of kinds. Here are 10 tips for creating an inclusive photography website for all kinds of love.
1. USE GENDER INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
Use a variety of gender inclusive language on your photography website and social media. Don’t just say “bride + groom.” Instead say the couple, babes, lovers, etc! When speaking in videos that you might create, or when you go “live,” be aware of how you are saying things! Remember to do this across ALL social media and website accounts.
2. UPDATE YOUR FORMS/ QUESTIONNAIRES
Update your forms to be more gender inclusive. Whenever you have a photography questionnaire or a contact form, make sure to make your language inclusive . Instead of bride and groom say – Partner 1 and Partner 2. Or make it more fun and say – Lover 1 + Lover 2. Keep it light hearted!
3. SHOWCASE A VARIETY OF COUPLES
Represent a variety of couples on your photography website. This shows you are inclusive to all types of love. Make sure there is at least one couple represented on your home page and that they are also represented in your galleries! In addition, make sure to add a blog of that couple so that when we are scrolling, we see a blog of an LGBTQ+ couple! This helps us feel welcome! Honestly, when I scroll to a photography website and I don’t see an LGBTQ+ couple featured, I don’t even stay!
In addition, once you have photographed an LGBTQ+ couple, get a stellar review from them + post it on your website! If I actually can SEE how well you worked with a couple (like us!) you have our vote!
If you don’t have photos to publish, host a styled shoot! Better yet, make sure to feature only businesses that ARE inclusive to LGBTQ+ couples! That way, if and when a couple stumbles on that styled shoot/blog page, they can see all other vendors that are inclusive too!
4. BE BOLD IN YOUR WEBSITE COPY
Place a statement somewhere on your photography website, sharing that you are willing to work with anyone. Seriously, I looked for those words everywhere when looking for our photog! You can say you are an ally or just that you are inclusive to all kinds of kinds! Any little bit helps!
You can also add a little badge on your Google Business profile!
5. ADD A BADGE/ICON
Add a badge or icon from an inclusive LGBTQ+ vendor group that you are in! We created an Indiana LGBTQ+ Wedding network to support our local community and once we are up and running, we will be creating a badge for all vendors to display on their website! If you aren’t in a group, find one on Facebook! Or add a small little rainbow (this is a symbol for love is love) to the footer of your photography website!
6. GET FEATURED
Get featured on an LGBTQ+ blog or magazine! Some of our favorites include Equally Wed or Equal + Forever! Or have one of your LGBTQ+ couples featured on a blog! We most recently got one of our couples featured on Weddings in Indiana! I love that other blog and website owners are now featuring LGBTQ+ couples as well!
7. SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Annual Pride parades may not be your scene (I actually get claustrophobic going ha!) but you can show your support in other ways! Look into sponsoring a local organization that helps LGBTQ+ individuals. Join a queer friendly facebook group! Donate to different, inclusive organizations that help displaced teens. There are so many great ways to show your support without actually attending a Pride Parade!
You could also take a photo holding up a sign that says something about love is love or inclusion for all. Then write a comment on Instagram about how you are supporting love for everyone!
Use hashtags to show you are inclusive on your social media posts. There are so so many great hashtags to use when you are posting. When you do have a hashtag that is inclusive, it shows couples that you are inclusive!
Some of my favorite hashtags to use are:
#loveislove #lovewins #lgbtqweddingphotographer #lovewhoyoulove #samesexwedding #twobrides #twogrooms #indypride etc!
9. BE CONSISTENT
Remember to be consistent and continuously support the LGBTQ+ community! Continue to focus on all of the above things, and honestly just do your best to support! Continue to use your social media platforms to educate your followers and share things in a way that show inclusion.
10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. We LOVE when community members reach out to us and ask for help with wording or if they want to make sure their photography website is inclusive. If you need help at anytime, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we are more than happy to help!
Sam + Bryt