Last night Mike and I had a consultation with a wonderful couple whose wedding we will be photographing this August. During our conversation, the bride thanked me for something that we’ve heard many times over the last couple years – including people who aren’t “supermodel material” in our portfolio and showing that everyone can be beautiful. On top of that, she thanked me for including the images prominently on my website and not hiding them in some dark corner. She told us that she had done her comparison shopping carefully before meeting with us. Knowing that just made me stop to think about how hard it is to find photos of plus size brides out there, especially in use as portfolio material. For that matter, what about larger grooms? Or interracial couples? Or same sex couples? So I went looking.
My first stop was to look at the profile pictures on both The Knot and WeddingWire (both sites we are listed on) for the Seattle area. There was one photographer who didn’t have a photo of a thin bride. So then I went to go peruse Offbeat Bride – a site devoted to couples who feel they don’t fit into the normal wedding stereotype box. The results weren’t a whole lot better. Overall, larger grooms were about as hard to find as the brides were, although interracial couples fared slightly better. Same sex couples were part of the mix on Offbeat Bride, but completely missing from the other two sites.
The worst part for me was realizing that I was part of the problem. On both The Knot and WeddingWire my calling card was a fun, brightly colored photo complete with a magazine ready bride and groom. And really, there was nothing wrong with that. But, being plus size myself, I know what it is like to search for a photographer that you’ll trust to make you look and feel beautiful. When you can’t see what they are capable of, well… that can make you nervous. So I changed my profile photo for both of the mainstream sites (my Offbeat Bride photo was different, and I still feel it is a good choice).
I will admit that I didn’t comb through every photographer’s full profile on each of the sites to see who has what posted once you get below the surface. I have several plus size brides and grooms in my portfolios on those sites, and some of the other photographers may too. I don’t think that is the point. The point is that almost every photographer has deemed their “very best work” as fitting into an extremely narrow box. Will changing my profile photo change the world? Nope. Will it change what other photographers do? Doubtful. But will it change the browsing experience for those looking? Hopefully.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the last few years of brides and grooms (and their wedding parties!) that you probably wouldn’t see on the cover of Bride magazine for one reason or another. I think every single one of these individuals looks amazing, and I’m so happy that they allowed me to capture their special day!