“She’s my puzzle piece.” — Mack

After meeting and falling in love in D.C. while on deployment, Mack brought Jeanne back to Cincinnati to continue their love story. And so they did.

On a warm, sun lit day in May, I drove out to Canyon Run Ranch — a gorgeous venue that immediately blew me away. Nestled in the woods, at the end of a long drive, I arrived upon a gorgeous barn, a trickling waterfall, and the lush greenery surrounding it all.

We began the day with Mack and Jeanne’s first look — a perfect, private moment by the creek, followed by many portraits taken throughout the property.

Tip: Allow an hour (or more) for portraits on your wedding day. Reason 1: unless you get ready together, this is often the only time you have alone the entire day. Reason 2: it’s the best way for magic to happen. Rushed portraits do not encourage nor allow the space for raw emotion to flow and shine. Bonus: When you hold your celebration at a lovely — sprawling — venue such as Canyon Run Ranch, the extra time to explore allows us to utilize the incredible location and light options.

The most stunningly surprising element of this beautiful venue — the secret ceremony space, in the woods, at the end of a long walking path.

Mack entered the ceremony accompanied by their mother on one side and uncle on the other, while Jeanne was joined by her mother and father. Light poured in through the trees, shining onto the couple, illuminating their faces; a mystical moment. Jeanne’s mother performed a chant ritual bringing goodness, gratitude, and love into the space. The ceremony concluded with handwritten vows, and a joyful exit.
Hugs were had all around.

Back at the barn, Jeanne’s sister presented a slideshow of the story of Mack and Jeanne, filling the room with laughter and the happiest tears. The most beautiful toasts, words, and thoughts of these two incredible sounds were shared, with dancing to end the evening.

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Lots of love, friends!

VENDORS

Venue: Canyon Run Ranch | Florist: Piepmeier the Florist
Catering: The Jaded Fork | Cake: Simply French Cuisine | Bar: Craft Event Bar
Mack’s Suit: Snapsuits | Jeanne’s Suit: Topman

The ultimate goal: establishing full inclusivity for all couples.

After Marriage Equality, same-sex couples are marrying more than ever before, and so, it’s important for affirming photographers to know how to reach and connect with this beloved community in the best way. 

LGBTQ+ clients are often most attracted to photographers that outwardly show their support, love, and inclusivity of the community via copy, content, and imagery.

UNDERSTANDING TERMINOLOGY

Use “partner” when unsure of gender. “LGBTQ+ wedding” is most inclusive.
Use “same-sex wedding” only when both partners identify as the same gender.

For more on gender, click here.

Use “Wedding Party” instead of “Bridal Party”.
In the instance of two grooms, you’re without a bride. Getting into the habit of using “Wedding Party” allows your verbiage to target a wider range of LGBTQ+ clients and their allies.

Cincinnati LGBTQ+ Wedding party photos under Victory Parkway bridge

INCLUSIVE CONTENT + COPY ON WEBSITE + SOCIAL MEDIA
Inclusive content + copy is language that doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from being seen as part of a group.

Inclusive copy on your website, marketing collateral, contracts, questionnaires, and all other documents will show LGBTQ+ clients that you’re open-minded and willing to work with them.

USE GENDER NEUTRAL LANGUAGE.
Instead of “Bride + Groom,” use “Name + Partner’s Name,” or “Name + Spouse’s Name,” or “Partner 1 + 2” or “Client 1 + 2.” Then roll out all of your documents and materials to be gender-free. NOTE: As non-binary folks may not identify with “bride” or “groom,” I recommend staying away from “Bride/Groom + Bride/Groom.” on all documents.

TIP: Taking a few minutes to neutralize all of your documents will show care and consideration for all couples.
LGBTQ+ allies will also appreciate this, which may lead to future LGBTQ+ wedding referrals.

In the wedding world, there is often an emphasis on the “bride.” However, this can be seen as exclusive, thus unintentionally steering away grooms or non-binary folks in the LGBTQ+ community. Instead, speak to “couples,” and show images that highlights both partners.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:
If you want to shoot LGBTQ+ couples, SHOW LGBTQ+ couples!
If you’ve photographed LGBTQ+ couples in the past, ensure you have an image or two of them on your landing page. This will immediately make same-sex couples feel welcomed and accepted. If you’ve never shot an LGBTQ+ couple, reach out and ask friends/family if you can photograph them, and refer to the Posing Guide for assistance. This is potentially one of the best ways to draw in more same-sex couples, as it shows prospective couples that you are inclusive, accepting, and know how to work with them.

FUN FACT: LGBTQ+ couples love to throw tradition out the window. When meeting for the first time, ask about their engagement, and if there were one or two proposals — or if it was a mutual decision! I always enjoy proposal stories, especially when there are two. Double the fun!

Stay tuned for the next post in this series when I share Wedding Day Tips!

  • 16.June.2017 - 9:42 am

    Rowan | Parrot & Pineapple - This is a great blog series, thanks so much for taking the time to share this valuable advice. Big love from the UK!ReplyCancel

    • 16.June.2017 - 12:47 pm

      admin - Thank you so much! :D Greatly appreciate your words! Love back from the States. :)ReplyCancel

Witnessing Whitney and Lauren openly share their love for one another will pull at your heart strings and remind you how beautiful life is with your soulmate by your side.

On a beautiful day in May, Whitney, Lauren, and their adoring wedding party arrived at Renaissance Columbus, beginning the wedding festivities and prep. The room was relaxed yet full of laughter, setting the tone for the remainder of the day. After a quick game of Rock Paper Scissors to decide would get ready first, Whitney — then Lauren — put on their dresses and ventured off for their first look on the Renaissance Hotel rooftop deck.

The following moments were filled with grand smiles, tender kisses, and warm hugs. After a few portraits overlooking the city, we left for Scioto Mile Park for more photos in this great city of theirs. One of my favorite moments of the day was when I was giving Whitney and Lauren the prompt, “I want you to hug—” and before I could finish, Whitney very enthusiastically says, “YESSSS!” True love, folks.

After more photos and a fun game of cornhole, everyone gathered for their ceremony. Filled to the brim with heartfelt words, vows, and moments, Whitney and Lauren became spouses, and finished their ceremony with a kiss, breaking of the glass, and a high five! The reception continued with hilarious toasts, a sweet first dance and super fun Horah, with a great dance party to round out the evening.

The perfect day for this perfect pair.

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Full of passion for life and adventure,
Whitney and Lauren are currently on a month-long honeymoon hiking nine National Parks!
Much love, friends!

VENDORS

Venue: Red Brick Occasions | Officiant: Ellie Perry | Florist: Market Blooms
Hair: Nurtur the Salon | Makeup: Abby French | Lauren’s Dress: Ann Taylor | Whitney’s Dress: Modcloth
Catering: Creative Cuisine | Donuts: Amy’s Donuts

The ultimate goal: establishing full inclusivity for all couples.

And so, whether you have zero, little, or some knowledge of working with the LGBTQ+ community, you’re in the right place for whatever stage you’re at. I’ll share with you some of my most important tips and the knowledge that I’ve learned along the way — much of which stems from my own personal experiences of being a part of, and working with, the LGBTQ+ community.

How to pose gay grooms, how to pose two grooms

CLIENT INTERACTION + GENDER ROLES

LGBTQ+ couples defy gender roles.
And so, it is often that traditional male/female-bride/groom poses do not work for the LGBTQ+ community.

Until recently, the wedding industry has followed gender roles based on a traditional male/female couple, with poses based on the expected social dynamics of a heterosexual couple. When working with LGBTQ+ couples, please remember that you cannot assume gender roles, or what you think their love should look like — even if one member has a more feminine expression and the other masculine. By allowing couples to determine their own roles, you’ll be able to create the most genuine and beautiful images that capture their love flawlessly.

LGBTQ couples photos at Alms Park Cincinnati

DIRECTING VS POSING
DIRECT: To manage or guide by advice, or instruction. POSE: Assume a particular attitude or position.
I believe in letting the shoot unfold organically and naturally through light direction (versus posing), creating an even more open and vulnerable experience.

IMPORTANT: Establish trust.
Trust will enable you to create a space of love and comfortability. This can be achieved in many ways, including story sharing and relationship building, illustrating understanding and compassion, and through the use of inclusive copy and content (don’t worry, that blog post is up next in this series).

#1 Tip: When posing, use open-ended instruction.
If you’d like the couple to be in a specific position, instead of using names, say, “I’d like one of you to be here, and other here, and this is what I want you to do”. Through the action, they will assign themselves their own placement based on what feels right for their relationship. Unless the pose is completely free of gender roles, I always allow the couple to make the decision because they know their love better than anyone else.

#2 Tip: When directing and providing prompts, encourage interaction.
My most commonly used phrase when photographing a couple is, “Snuggle up, and…(insert action here).” Whether sitting, standing in a field, or nestled into a city corner, a couple always knows how to snuggle, and with your prompts, it will be different every time. Other favorite gender-free poses ideas include walking, facing one another, and dancing; again, allow the prompts to create variation. Less posing; more interaction.

TIP: To provide an equal experience for both partners, give a direction or prompt in which the couple places themselves and completes the action, and then have them switch and repeat. 

How to pose same-sex couples

Be understanding that not all couples are comfortable with public displays of affection, as they may not be accustomed to being chummy in public. If this happens, try moving to a (semi-)remote location so that they can feel comfortable loving openly, without being watched.

In all, love is largely expressed in the same manner for everyone.
Kissing, hugging, snuggling, playing, teasing, flirting; these are universal actions of adoration. Make your goal to focus on and highlight love, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Most importantly, at the end of the day, spend time with your couples. Get to know them, and learn how they interact. Let them know you care deeply and are invested in preserving their memories, then provide a safe and comfortable space in which they can express their love. When they know your heart is in the right place, they’ll be most at ease, allowing you to create those gorgeous, honest images, while they receive an incredible experience.

Cheers to FIVE YEARS!

June 2017 marks a huge anniversary month for me:
5 years married to Rowan + Cassandra Zetta, LLC becomes 5 years old!

Creative Branding and Lifestyle social media and instagram Photographer

And so, it seems like a great time to have a GIVEAWAY! An Anniversary Session GIVEAWAY, in fact!

You heard right! Anniversary Sessions are now an official session option!
As I am growing in my marriage and business, and my couples are celebrating anniversaries, I will now be offering Anniversary Sessions as standalone sessions, or add-ons for wedding couples!

You ask, “So what is an Anniversary Session, Cass?”
Well, an Anniversary Session honors you and your love, whether you’re celebrating your 1st, 2nd, 5th, or 25th wedding anniversary — or anywhere in between. Much like an Engagement Session or a Love Session, we’ll choose a special and meaningful location – whether your home, where you spoke your vows, your new special place, or maybe even where you met. What makes it unique, however, is that we’re going to spice it up with handwritten love letters, a gift exchange, cake, champagne, any combination of these, and more! Marriage isn’t always easy, so I invite you to delight in your devotion, passion, and ongoing commitment to one another!

Want to win?
Simply email me (cassandra@cassandrazetta.com) with your favorite wedding day memory!
Want an extra entry? Ask a friend to nominate you (see below for details)!

Want to nominate your favorite couple?
Email me (cassandra@cassandrazetta.com) and tell me what you love most about your favorite couple!

Want a bonus entry?
Post your favorite photo with your spouse on Instagram, tag me (@cassandrazetta), mention the anniversary giveaway, and why you want to win! DM me your post if your profile is private!

RULES:
Limit 3 entries per couple. Giveaway ends June 7th at 11:59pmEST.
Winning couple will be announced on June 8th!
Winner must be celebrating a wedding anniversary during 2017. Session will be held by end of 2017.
Winner must sign model release. Anniversary Session has no cash value and cannot be traded.

Good luck, lovers!

  • 7.June.2017 - 8:58 pm

    Julia lawson - My wife and I got married nov 20th 2014. We had to travel from Kentucky to Indiana since it was not legal to get married in Kentucky yet. The best memory we have from our wedding is getting to have our two foster children stand next to us! We are very great full that this year we are able to adopt one of those boys! So he can finally share our last name!! My wife and I have had a very wonderful last two years of marriage, here is to many more.ReplyCancel

    • 7.June.2017 - 10:10 pm

      admin - Such a beautiful story of two souls with huge hearts! Congratulations on adopting! Thanks for sharing, Julia!ReplyCancel