How to Create an Inclusive Photography Business

Jul
01

How to Create an Inclusive Photography Business

Hey, Hey Photographers! This is by far my most important blog post to date and for the near future. June 1st hit and so did Pride Month. Big brands changed their logos to rainbow and instagram accounts shared every ally post that came about. A couple of weeks went by and suddenly it has all fallen off of our minds, already. So are you ready to become an inclusive photography business?

This post is about inclusivity.

It is about being a true ally. It is about values in true love, self expression, confidence and so much more. What you do, photography, can make a world of difference in someone’s lives. You know just how empowering a photo session can be. So I ask you right now, do you support all love? Do you empower all humans? If the answer is yes, if you find yourself sharing ally memes every June 1st… Then it’s time to ensure you’re living up to that truth, every. single. day. 

I am by no means perfect and I am constantly learning more and more. Before this business, my original career and community that is delightfully surrounded by all forms of expression, (theatre, the arts). Our experiences, our knowledge and our language can help ensure your business is here for all.

However, I am beyond thrilled to not be alone in posting this blog. I am collaborating with an incredible copy-writer, Rashae with CopybyRashae. Rashae helps me write all of my copy in my business (and you should be thankful for that. ha), but they are also such an honest and true individual. We’ve both grown our businesses together and I cannot wait to see them surpass me in the coming year. Rashae did more than take my silly outline and turn this into an informative and well-written post. They brought a personal perspective, an educated voice and so much more. I hope you enjoy, and please do not hesitate to reach out to either one of us.

Hello there! I am so excited to be collaborating with Savannah. This topic is so near to my heart and something that is definitely not talked about enough. My name is Rashae and I am a nonbinary and pansexual creative copywriter. My pronouns are they/them and I have been with my spouse for six years!

Rashae Islas

Let’s just jump into it, shall we? 

What does it mean to be an ally as a Photographer? Or to have an inclusive photography business?

Photographers – Savannah and I see so many of you who post about being an ally to the queer community. But then your copy is not inclusive at all. As someone who is not only ‘not straight’, but also genderqueer, it hurts a little to see people claim to be things but not actually follow through in their messaging and actions.

And you may be wondering to yourself if it’s actually that big of a deal – it is. The fact of the matter is that the queer community still faces extreme discrimination even in 2022. 

I know you’re probably feeling confused and not wanting to get something wrong or offend anyone by using incorrect terminology in your copy. 

So let me help you!

Gender Neutral Copy:

You want to make sure that your copy is consistent throughout your entire client experience journey, right? This means auditing your inquiry forms, questionnaires, website, social media, newsletter and more. Where are you doing something right? Where can you be doing better?

You want to avoid binary language. In short this means: man and woman, husband and wife, bride and groom, and the like. 

Once you start, these are actually super easy changes to make. Some inclusive options for your copy include but are not limited to:

  • Spouse
  • Life partner
  • Couple
  • Marriers
  • Newlyweds
  • Wedding party
  • Person of honor
  • Parent
  • Caregiver
  • Everyone
  • Folks
  • Friends
  • Y’all
  • People

Along with adding inclusive wording to all your copy and in daily interactions with your clients, it’s important to know what to do in uncomfortable situations.

Navigating the difficult moments:

The sad reality is, at some point or another, if you work with queer couples, you’ll witness some form of bigotry or abuse. 

How do you handle that?

What should you do if a family member during portraits is unsupportive? In the theatre industry, the blanket statement of  “At this moment I am honoring what “name” wants and I believe this is not the time or place for our own personal opinions to get in the way of respect.” has always worked and can be easily applied to a wedding situation. 

It can be that simple. Obviously you don’t want to ruffle feathers at something as important as your clients’ wedding, but for queer individuals, especially in high stress situations, it can be hard to speak up in order to try to keep the peace. 

By saying something as simple as the above statement should a situation arise, it shows your couple that you actually back up your words with real action. That you are a true ally.

In the moment: Pronouns

Should you mess up pronouns in the moment, it’s actually more respectful for you to not make a big deal out of it. Correcting yourself is as easy as saying “I’m sorry, ‘correct pronoun’” and finishing what you were saying. 

Or, if you don’t want to assume pronouns or what to do in unsupportive situations with family members – just ask your couple. Many queer people are happy to explain things if you’re coming to them from a place of genuine interest and support. But, a good way to be inclusive and find out pronouns beforehand is by asking for them in your initial questionnaire!

I, Rashae, recently had a branding photoshoot done. As we were walking to location I quickly explained my gender and pronouns to the photographer. During the shoot, with their support, respect and encouragement, I came to life. These photos are some of the best I’ve ever had done and it’s because I was able to authentically be myself in front of the camera, with someone who was respectful and saw me for me.

What Next?

Don’t ever underestimate the power of true inclusivity in your language and behavior towards your clients. It makes all the difference in the world and it’s so freaking simple for you to incorporate if you haven’t already done so. 

Photographers, we want to help you. We know it can be overwhelming to make the leap and start using correct and inclusive language. So I, Savannah, would like to offer a limited number of (FREE) spots in order to audit your website for an “inclusivity check” and help you make the changes you need to! Just reach out on my contact page!

And I, Rashae, would love to work with you if you feel so called, to write inclusive copy for your business in the form of sales pages, email sequences, blogs or newsletters! (I also have a brand new website copy offer dropping soon!) This is a perfect chance to to work with a queer individual and get a first hand look at what inclusivity really looks like. You can reach out to me via my Instagram here or if you’re ready to start working together, fill out my contact form here!

Donating:

Alternatively, it’s also important to put your money where your mouth is. If you have the funds, we strongly encourage you to donate to the following organizations.

https://gsanetwork.org/

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

And an awesome resource for a large list of charities : https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5013

You’ve got this! We can’t wait to see your inclusive photography business thrive!

Here for you always,

Savannah & Rashae


Enjoyed this blog?

More Inclusive Wedding Blogs:

https://furandlacephotography.com/2022/06/06/north-carolina-inclusive-wedding-vendors/

Check out a few more for tips & tricks about running your photography business:

What are Business Systems for Photographers? | The Photographer’s Client Experience | CRMs for Photographers

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Hey, Hey Photographers!

Savannah here!

Some call me a business strategist, systems specialist, OBM, Lighting Designer or even Project Manager.

But my goal here is to make a connection and provide support. No one is in this alone, so let’s grow together.

Keep Learning!

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