Thea Dodds-WPPI-2015Just 48 hours after landing in Las Vegas, I was on my way home again.  My annual whirlwind Vegas trip was complete.

It has been an incredible honor to be a first-time speaker at WPPI and, even more so, to be the first speaker at WPPI presenting on the topic of same-sex weddings.

I spoke to a packed room on Sunday, March 1.  Every seat for my Master’s class on Posing Two Brides or Two Grooms was filled, with a few attendees joining us from a seat on the floor.

We had an open and honest conversation about how our habits as photographers accustomed to serving opposite sex couples can create challenges when trying to serve same-sex couples.  We examined an historical record of gay and lesbian couples in photography.  We talked about marketing and emerging traditions.  And best of all, we had an amazing lesbian couple to demonstrate my approach to capturing the love of two women on camera.

This class was a blast to present!  The audience was engaged and asked great questions.  Many attendees told me this was the first class they signed up for, and they were surprised we didn’t have a bigger room.  I can’t begin to explain how validating it is to hear that, because it has not been an easy road to get here.

@authenticwed tweets

The Platform Journey

For two years running, I have applied to present this program at just about every major or minor wedding photography convention in the nation. I’ve gotten rejection letters from all of them, except for early supporters, SmugMug, and, more recently, WPPI and Shutterfest.

When I’ve shared how difficult the journey has been to have the topic of same-sex weddings represented on the wedding photography convention cirque, the general reaction is surprise.  My co-author, Kathryn Hamm, president of, and I share that surprise.  Our book has received national attention, critical acclaim and has been well-received by individual photographers, engaged couples, their families and wedding professionals.  Meanwhile, since our joint education effort was launched in 2013 with our first version of Capturing Love, Kathryn has been presenting to wedding professionals at WeddingWire World, NACE, WeddingMBA, Catersource, and others.

What is up with the wedding photography industry? With the days of marriage equality upon us, there is more need than ever for professional photographers to equip themselves with the tools they need to best serve all couples.

Why It Matters

Again and again, I hear wedding photographers say that a wedding is a wedding, so why would photographing a same-sex wedding be any different from an opposite sex wedding?

Well, yes a wedding is a wedding, but straight weddings are different from lesbian and gay weddings because of physical, observable, historical and cultural implications.  And the wonderful thing is that everything we teach is also applicable to straight weddings.

When I candidly share my experience in learning how to best serve the LGBTQ community, those who have photographed a same-sex wedding or have consulted with a same-sex couple planning their wedding, will LesbianCoupleInVegasnod knowingly. My experience resonates.

Even though it took me years of mistakes, successes, research and consultation to become an LGBTQ-competent wedding photographer, it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone.  The Capturing Love workshop is a fast track to the best practices for providing outstanding service and beautiful artwork for all couples.

Kodak Calls For Main Stage

On the first day of the WPPI trade show, I spoke at the Kodak Alaris booth, and I explained to Thomas Leisio the Kodak Alaris Trade Show Manager that Imaging USA has yet to have a class on photographing same-sex weddings and WPPI has yet to offer a Platform class. His response? “Let’s break some ground.”

“Let’s break some ground!” -Thomas Leisio of Kodak Alaris
  I would love nothing more than to make my dream a reality. Will you help me?

If you attend WPPI, ImagingUSA, Mystic Seminars, Inspire Photo Retreat, ClicknMoms, or any other photography conferences, and you believe in the message and value of Capturing Love, please tell these groups you want to see us there. Or, ‘Like’ our page on Facebook and share news of The New Art of Capturing Love, and the importance of this conversation.