Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photography and Beauty: Let the Vendors Know

I think they're finally starting to listen to us. Maybe some of the wedding vendors and blogs are starting to understand that their images and blogs subtly exclude us from the definition of "bride" because we don't fit their "marketable" physical description. And maybe, just maybe, if we start to discuss it more openly, vendors and mainstream image-heavy blogs will start to treat all their clients with respect for their unique beauty.

Splendid Communications is a wedding and hospitality industry social media consulting firm, run by Leine Stevens of Blue Orchid Events. Her Think Splendid blog is one of the few wedding industry blogs I read, primarily for its insight into general business principles (really, it's that good.)  Stevens is a major wedding industry player, which is why I nearly jumped out of my chair upon reading her post today: "Online Marketing and the Plus Sized Bride."  If you haven't read it yet, go NOW. She makes a real case - the first I've seen from such an influential position - that photographers and blogs are complicit in creating the unattainable beauty ideals many of us are railing against. She calls out the hush-hush practice of photographers who won't blog their "less attractive" couples and points out that it doesn't make good business sense (not to mention good people sense.)

I've already made the decision to not hire a photographer who doesn't respect all their clients by featuring a variety of looks, weight, races and ages.  The local photographers I hope to highlight in future posts will have to meet that criteria as well. Money talks, and our dollars and feedback matter.  So please, if this issue matters to you at all, go read the Think Spendid blog today and comment.  Or go comment on the Offbeatbride Facebook Fan page, where a similar conversation is taking place.  I promise, for today at least, the wedding industry is listening. 

9 comments:

  1. yes yes yes! keep up the good work!

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  2. I'm so glad vendors/bloggers are finally getting the message, or are at least starting to. More diversity is important and its beautiful! Thank you again for publicizing the discussions!

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  3. Yes! Thank you for linking to that article. It's about time people start speaking out from within the industry. I specifically choose our photographer because he shows no bias on the weddings he features on his blog. Diversity is beautiful.

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  4. Honestly, I never even had that perspective about photog's blogs. I guess I should pay more attention. Now that I already have my photog and all my 'planning' over and all my items purchased, I just don't have the time to visit blogs like that anymore and so I am not very attentive to what is or isn't being shown. But I will definitely pay more attention now :)

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  5. So that is why I don't see nearly as many monority, plus sized, handicapped brides and grooms on the blogs? Because some of them purposely don't blog them? That is wrong on so many levels.

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  6. @buhdoop: In part, it may be an issue of available clientele, particularly in certain parts of the country or at certain cost points. I know a lot of photographers *wish* they had a more diverse clientele base. But, for some photographers, they very specifically don't blog about their own "less attractive" clients, which I find offensive and completely poor business sense. If I were a client, I'd feel pretty shitty about my unblogged wedding and the experience would leave a poor taste in my mouth (and my big mouth would RANT about it everywhere). Similarly, traditionally attractive couples (and this may include minority couples, particularly mixed race accessible "exotic-ness") sometimes get significant price discounts because of the "marketability" of their wedding photos.

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  7. I completely agree that most of the wedding photos out there give a completely unrealistic picture of what real people look like. In fact, when I was looking around for photographers (we elope next week), I was convinced that photographers were going to ask to see what we look like or ask if I blog before they agreed to photograph us. It was a pretty big step for me just to contact a wedding photographer that I found on 100 Layer Cake. I will see how the photo shoot goes soon enough, but for now I think it is safe to include my photographer, EPLove (out of Temecula), in the features-real-people-on-her-blog category. Just looking at her blog makes me feel better about this whole thing! Thanks for the post!

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  9. Great post! I can't even imagine not blogging on any of my couples! Whatever their shape, color... or whatever! I am usually much more interested in the chemistry between the couples than their looks!

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