When posing same-sex couples we want to ensure that couples are clearly couples – not siblings and not just friends.
When I started photographing same-sex couples, my only experience photographing two people of the same gender was in the case of siblings and friends…so inevitably my couples looked like siblings or friends.
I think our work is greatly influenced by habit and comfort and it is work to break those habits.
For me to ‘break’ old habits, I first have to become conscious of them, then I try and practice photographing the opposite of the habit. When photographing a lesbian couple or a gay couple, this meant not using any poses that I would use for friends or siblings.
As an example to illustrate my point, De Nueva Photography does a wonderful job creating a friendly, but obviously romantic, image of two women (see below). Though I would normally consider a sibling pose, her finishes and the moment she captures hints at something more.
It always surprises me to see the little things that make a big difference in what an image says. Here, the couple’s inward gaze toward each other and physical connection clearly says “relationship.” In an example of two men, Brittany Gram Photography uses a pose that is casual yet also connected in an intimate way.
The key to taking photographs of same-sex couples that reveal the moments of authentic love is practice. Look for ways to expand your thinking and challenge your assumptions.
The LGBTQ community is far too diverse for any ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. And honestly, the straight community is far too diverse for any ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, but that is another conversation for another day.
Any photographer should show his or her work to family members, friends, and community and see what kind of reception it gets. And by that, I don’t mean asking folks if they think it’s “good” or “bad.” Instead, I suggest that you but watch the response and determine whether the viewer recognizes that this is a loving couple without being told.