I've tried several times to articulate (for myself, and for others) what it means to be a feminist wedding photographer, but this time I think I've really got it down! It's hard to write about feminism and other political things without implying that people who see things otherwise are Doing it Wrong, but I believe that people doing what they actively want--and not mindlessly doing what is expected of them--is the real important thing.

Being a feminist involved in the wedding industry, and in photography specifically, can be overwhelming. There are a lot of gender-related expectations tied up in American wedding culture, and I learned this firsthand last year as my partner and I planned a wedding-esque celebration of our love. While researching photographers to capture the event, I was inundated with language focusing almost exclusively on The Bride (™) and what The Bride (™) wants/needs/should look like in order to properly execute The Best Day of Her Life (™). I found this on photographer websites, in promotional material, on Pinterest, on Etsy, and many other online and offline spaces.

However, through feminism my relationship has grown to value equity and mutual respect, so I didn't feel like the celebration was meant to celebrate ME, but rather our partnership. Thanks to feminism, I define my life by more than my marital/relationship status, so I kinda find the thought that the best day of my entire life took place when I was just 26 years old a little bit depressing. So after twisting the arm of a photographer friend who usually shoots hardcore punk shows, I vowed (har har) to be the photographer that I would have wanted at my own love party: a feminist photographer.

Some might think that viewing weddings through a feminist lens (har har again) makes for a narrower view, but I disagree. Feminist wedding photography actually creates more dimension because it's about documenting love and relationships and happiness beyond the traditional [heterosexist] narrative of Boy-Meets-Girl, Boy Proposes, etc. Being a feminist wedding photographer means celebrating the individuals and their partnership as unique and wonderful things. It means:

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    - Appreciating and highlighting the ways my clients decide to embrace or shirk tradition/capitalism and taking the pictures that are important to them (from their grandparents doing the Cupid Shuffle down to macro images of rings on foliage) because they are meaningful (and let's face it, pretty) -- not because that's what Weddings Have To Be Like.

    - Capturing the physical beauty of the day but focusing less on what your hair looks like (though I'm sure it looks amazing) and more on the emotional beauty: how much you laughed listening to your college roommate talk about what a slob you were, your new spouse's face watching you dance with your parent, the pure joy and warmth of your arms around each other after a first look.

    - Thinking outside the box in terms of posing and composition; recognizing that everyone is on a spectrum of masculinity and femininity and not boxing folks into traditional gender roles.

    - Mindfully not taking part in the stress and pressure generated by the Wedding Industry during the planning stages and acting as a wedding doula day-of by being supportive, positive, and drama-free.

    So if you know someone in your life who's planning to get hitched (legally or not), spread the word! Feminist wedding photographers are the way to go. You can get more info about my work specifically by emailing me: carly {at} carlyromeo {dot} com or using this handy contact form.

    DISCLAIMER: The post assumes that you are in the position of hiring a wedding photographer in the first place. Engaged folks or other soon-to-be committed couples who aren't planning on hiring a professional photographer for whatever reason (budget, politics, disinterest, etc): more power to you!

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