The Impact of Gay Marriage on Wedding Photography


Gay Marriage Cake Topper

I wanted to write a blog about gay marriage more than a year ago. I never did for two reasons: First, I didn’t have a lot of facts and figures and secondly, I don’t mix politics with business. But wherever you stand politically, you can’t deny the business-side of it. Now I have some facts and figures.

[EDIT 6/29/13: The link to the AP article no longer works. Here is a recent ABC news report about the economic impact after the June 2013 Supremer Court ruling on California’s Prop 8: http://abcn.ws/155Ri6c]

A recent Associated Press article about the recent passage of gay marriage proposals in Maine, Maryland and Washington looks at the economic impact of gay marriage. This is a no brainer to anyone who is married or planning a wedding: Weddings are EXPENSIVE! The AP reports:

… the laws should generate at least $166 million in wedding spending in the three states over the next three years from in-state couples alone, boosting tax revenues and creating new jobs.

Wedding-related spending for in-state couples is projected be about $16 million in Maine, $63 million in Maryland and $89 million in Washington.

The numbers go up when figuring in out-of-staters who travel to those states to be wed.

With local and state governments looking for ways to make ends meet, having an influx of marriage licenses certainly can’t hurt. Then think of all the business owners that are in the wedding industry:

  • Tuxedo/Dress
  • DJ
  • Florist
  • Caterer
  • Venue
  • Jeweler

And last but not least…PHOTOGRAPHER! Opening up marriage to more people is essentially opening your doors to more customers. If you are a wedding photographer in one of the states mentioned above, start planning now on how you will market to your new customer base. You’re about to get a lot busier.

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Photographing Megan and Eric’s Wedding


If any of you have seen the profile picture on my “Harry Lim Photography” fan page on Facebook, then you know I shot a wedding recently. Oh, and thanks to my assistant for the day, Todd Salter for taking that picture and all his help on that day. 

It was Megan and Eric’s wedding in Sorrento, FL. It was a small but elegant affair in the backyard of their beautiful home. Below are a few composites I made from the images of that day. 

Megan and Eric's Wedding

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Megan and Eric's Wedding

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Megan and Eric's Wedding

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Megan and Eric's Wedding

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What Kind of Photographer Are You?


Just a quick note that will hopefully clarify something for my fellow photographers:

I once heard a photographer say they were going on an editorial shoot, but it wasn’t being published. Another organized a “photojournalism” shoot, but the very act of staging it takes out the “journalism” part.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) says there are three main categories of photography. They are: Commercial, Editorial and Retail. Commercial photography is used to sell a product or service. Editorial is for education or journalism and retail is for personal use.

So let’s say you get hired by a local business to take pictures for their website; that’s commercial. Shooting something for a magazine? Editorial (unless its selling something which is commercial). Wedding photography or portraits fall under retail.

This is where licensing your work (aka, getting a signed contract) becomes so important. You see,  the categories are not mutually exclusive. Let’s say, for example that you shoot a wedding (retail). Then, you submit an image to a wedding magazine (editorial). After running it, the dress designer decides they want to use it in an ad (commercial). Can you say “pay day”? By licensing your work you can make money each time the image is used, charging different amounts for each license.

By the way, “photojournalism”,which falls under editorial, means to observe and document an event without interfering. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when it’s misused having spent the majority of my adult life in that field.

Another pet peeve of mine is when someone photographs a “trash the dress” shoot and the dress is not actually trashed. I’m just sayin’.

Ok, got that off my chest. 🙂 Here are some reading suggestions:

ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, 7th Edition

Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition