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All people, inclusive of every identity, deserve to be respected and represented. 

How to be a Genuinely Inclusive Photographer


What is an inclusive photographer?

What does it mean to be an inclusive photographer? The idea behind inclusion is simple. All people, inclusive of every identity, deserve to be respected and represented. 

As a photographer, it’s my job to tell your story. I firmly believe every story deserves to be told. I want all of my photography clients to know that they are safe with me. Inclusivity is a core value of my business, and my main goal is for you to feel completely free to be yourself in front of the camera. The best moments are authentic moments, and the only way I can create beautiful images of those unscripted moments is if my clients feel comfortable and safe during their photo session. 

Here are the top 5 steps I take to practice inclusivity as a photographer: 

Write and Follow Your Inclusion Statement

I want to make sure that my potential clients feel welcome when they land on my website, which is why I’ve added the following inclusion statement to my home page, “I practice inclusive family & wedding photography, welcoming and respecting people of all of sexes, ages, races, ethnicities, origins, sexualities, gender identities, abilities, budget, and anything else that makes you unique & awesome.”

Use and Ask for Pronouns 

I share my pronouns on my website, too. When you first inquire about working with me as your photographer, whether it’s for a wedding, family session, or maternity session, I ask that you share your pronouns directly on the inquiry form. That way, I can respect your identity from our very first interaction. 

Seek Equally Wed Pro Certification 

The wedding industry presents a huge opportunity to make a change when it comes to inclusivity. Equally Wed Pro provides LGBTQ+ education to hospitality and event professionals. Their LGBTQ+ Inclusive Certification Course teaches wedding professionals how to properly incorporate inclusivity into their businesses. I found this program to be extremely helpful, and it’s programs like this that will help create a more accepting and inclusive space within the wedding industry. Although the course is geared toward wedding professionals, any photographer will benefit from this training.

Use Inclusive language 

Language is a powerful tool. When my potential clients are scrolling through my website, I want them to feel noticed and welcome. Using inclusive language is as simple as changing “bride” or “groom” to “partner,” “spouse,” or “couple.” In the wedding industry, services are mostly marketed towards young brides and people who identify as female. As an inclusive photographer, I make it a priority to ensure that my messaging includes all ages, genders, and identities. 

Encourage authenticity 

Before a session, I take the time to get to know my clients. That way, when it’s time for your photo session, it’s more like you’re hanging out with a friend who just happens to have a camera rather than a photographer you hired. I want your photos to look and feel like you. So, I encourage poses that best showcase who you are as an individual or as a couple. If that means dancing, laughing, or getting silly, I’m here for it. During your photo session my focus is on you and documenting your one-of-a-kind connection with your loved ones. 

Bonus: To be an Inclusive Photographer, Always Keep Learning

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know it all – not even close! To be an inclusive photographer, I need to always be learning. Everyone makes mistakes, and I will own them. I seek out new opportunities to grow my understanding of unique identities, reflect on my biases, and uphold my inclusion statement. I’ll always embrace new ways to put my commitment to my clients into practice. 

Serving as an inclusive photographer has always been a top priority for Michelle Jones Photography. Love is love, and all love deserves to be captured. If you’re looking for a photographer that practices inclusion for your next life event, I’d love to connect with you. 

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