Pride Month 2021: How to be an out and proud LGBTQ+ Ally

As wedding photographers, it’s super important that we support the LGBTQ+ community and make them feel welcome in our businesses, as well as in our hearts.

This is pretty instinctive for most of us, but it can still be tricky to truly understand perspectives other than our own — especially when it comes to that fine line between allyship and self-promotion.

As we look towards Pride Month, we want to help you check your LGBTQ+ inclusivity and share our top tips on how to support and celebrate this community.

We also want to revisit a few important lessons around how you can keep inclusivity on the agenda whatever time of the year it is.

Sound good?

Then let’s get started — here’s how to be an out and proud LGBTQ+ ally this Pride Month and beyond 💪

First, remember to support the LGBTQ+ community all year round

Pride is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends — but only if you do so authentically, and back it up with a business that’s genuinely inclusive no matter what date is on the calendar.

To do that, you’ll need to be serious about your LGBTQ+ allyship, and take the time to support the community when it’s not such a hot topic.

This means…

Representing the LGBTQ+ community

If you want to support the LGBTQ+ community… you’ve got to actively represent and include them in your work.

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses think that posting about their allyship and ‘support’ is enough.

Being vocal is important — but the truth is, unless you’re practicing what you preach, your LGBTQ+ activism will fail to break through and strike the chord it needs to.

That’s why it’s so important to actually work with LGBTQ+ couples, and put them front and center of your portfolio. This will not only make clear your stance on equality, but will also lead to more diverse clients coming your way.

Booking LGBTQ+ couples can be tricky, though… especially if you’ve not worked with them previously.

Why?

Because, as sad it is, if your portfolio isn’t already bursting with diversity, queer clients might be unsure if your business is open to them.

It’s your job, then, to go that extra mile and actively encourage LGBTQ+ couples to work with you — even if it isn’t immediately cost effective.

You could…

  • Reach out to the community and offer free shoots 📸
  • Give discounts to your first LGBTQ+ couples 💸
  • Run social ads to specifically attract queer clients 📣
  • Put LGBTQ+ friendliness at the center of your brand 🏳️‍🌈

Getting your messaging right

As well as visually including LGBTQ+ couples in your business, you’ve also got to make sure that your overall marketing message is inclusive and loudly communicates your position on equality and diverse love.

This, primarily, comes down to your use of language, and the indirect signals your brand sends out on a day-to-day basis.

If, for example, your contact forms don’t include inclusive pronoun options, like ‘other’ or ‘prefer not to say’ — how do you think your transgender and non-binary clients might feel?

Likewise, if your brand is entirely focused on ‘bride and grooms’, you’re going to really struggle to attract the LGBTQ+ couples you need to celebrate and support the community.

The point here is that you can’t be inclusive without actually including LGBTQ+ clients in your brand message — and that’s why your use of language is so important.

Listening to the LGBTQ+ community

To understand how to support the LGBTQ+ community, you’ve got to actively listen to those who are a part of it and learn from what they’ve got to say.

This, really, is the only way you’ll be able to fully ‘check yourself’ when it comes to your brand’s inclusivity and queer friendliness — by listening to those know best.

After all, we can all try to do what we think is right… but without having that confirmed, we’re going to struggle to hit the right notes.

To do this, you should:

  • Follow the lead of LGBTQ+ photographers 👫
  • Talk to your queer friends 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨
  • Read up on LGBTQ+ experiences 📖
  • Ask for feedback from past clients 💬
  • Create a survey to audit your LGBTQ+ friendliness 🏳️‍🌈

To get started with all that learning, check out Steph Grant’s blog where she and other LGBTQ+ wedding photographers delve deep into how our industry can improve its representation of queer couples in the age of social media.

Putting authenticity first

It’s all well and good supporting the LGBTQ+ community — but the authenticity of your actions matter, too.

This means supporting the community when there’s no direct benefit for you, and doing all you can to represent LGBTQ+ couples in an honest and authentic way.

We’re talking about…

  • Using actual gay couples in any LGBTQ+ marketing shoots (not actors) 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨
  • Avoiding stereotypes ❌
  • Asking the community for advice 🤝
  • Donating to LGBTQ+ charities 💰
  • Using your platform to promote equality 📣

In a nutshell, it’s important that everything you do comes from the heart.

Ask yourself, “am I supporting the LGBTQ+ community for me, or because I genuinely want to be supportive?”

Of course, the answer to that question can (and should) be both… but if you know that, deep down, you’re using pride as some sort of ‘business opportunity’, go back to the drawing board and readdress your approach.

Photographer: Béatrice De Guigné

Then, go all out for Pride season in your business

Once you’ve cracked the above, you’ll be in a great position to celebrate Pride, without coming across as at all opportunistic or exploitative.

In fact, go about it the right way, and Pride can be a really great opportunity to engage with the LGBTQ+ community, and secure a few new bookings along the way.

But it’s important to approach Pride for the right reasons first, before looking to drum up any business.

To make sure that’s the case, you should…

Go to your local Pride event, and get involved

To celebrate Pride, you’ve really got to get involved.

Local couples (and other businesses) might have a few questions if you’re ‘cashing in’ on the season online, but not physically contributing to the event.

This doesn’t mean you have to go ‘all out’, necessarily — but it does mean that you should get into the spirit of things a little.

To do that, you could take free photos of the celebrations, sponsor a local LGBTQ+ business, or just soak up the atmosphere, and make yourself known to any potential clients or future partners.

Moves like these will not only show how much you care about equality but could also be good for business in the long run, which is a great example of how following your heart and doing the right thing can pay off in more than one way.

Host Pride shoot giveaways

Pride season is filled with LGBTQ+ weddings — so, why not offer a couple of free shoots to celebrate?

Pop a post on social media, drop in the relevant hashtags, and your brand will instantly reach the community you want to attract.

Of course, not every photographer will be in the position to offer a free shoot. But if you can, the indirect benefits to your business could far outweigh the costs.

  • Your social media following could increase 📈
  • You could earn more clients 💸
  • You’ll connect to the LGBTQ+ community 🏳️‍🌈
  • You’ll have more diverse shots to share with the world 📸

Whatever you choose to do, the point here is that giving back to the LGBTQ+ community is a brilliant way of fusing your allyship with your business — something that can lead to seriously great results if you do it right.

Share your platform with LGBTQ+ photographers you love

To celebrate Pride, it’s a great idea to shine a light on some of your favorite LGBTQ+ photographers. This will show your followers that you care about lifting up the community and understanding it from within.

You could, for example, share LGBTQ+ photography on your Instagram and Pinterest profiles each week of Pride month, and give your followers the lowdown on what they do.

A pride-themed blog series on LGBTQ+ photographers would also be a great idea, and further shine a light on your commitment to equality.

Promote LGBTQ+ photographers who inspire you and share their work — there are some seriously talented creatives who would love to expand their audience and connect with others in the business.

Put your money where your mouth is

Remember our point about taking genuine action for the wider good?

Pride is a better time than any to do just that!

By donating to LGBTQ+ charities, for example, you’ll be showing your passion for equality and benefiting the community beyond your own advantage.

You could also team up with other wedding photographers and put together some kind of LGBTQ+ wedding fund to help couples find the money they need to celebrate their freedom and right to — finally — ‘put a ring on it’.

Heartfelt actions like these will prove that your allyship is authentic, which will speak a thousand words when it comes to booking and working with LGBTQ+ clients in the future.

Shine a light on your own LGBTQ+ photography

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with promoting your own LGBTQ+ work during Pride.

In fact, it’ll be great for business, and will only make clearer your passion for equality and diverse love.

So long as your allyship is authentic, the LGBTQ+ community will want to see your work — especially during Pride season, when inclusive photographers are in demand.

You should…

  • Upload mini-albums to Instagram 📱
  • Create a Pinterest board 🎨
  • Share it on your Instagram stories and reels 🎬
  • Write blogs about your experiences with LGBTQ+ couples ✍️
  • Send a mini portfolio to your email list 📧

Who knows, you could even secure a few bookings!

And if not, at least your audience will know how accepting you are.

It’s a win, win scenario!

Happy Pride Month!

Put inclusivity at the center of your brand all year long, and Pride Month can offer a really great opportunity to benefit the wider good, reach out to the LGBTQ+ community, and earn some new business as a result.

Just make sure you follow your heart and celebrate for the right reasons!

Good luck, and don’t forget to head over to our blog for more articles on how to run a wedding photography business like a pro 💪

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Written by:
Dirty Boots & Messy Hair Team

Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.

Photographer Tips
01 Jun 2021

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