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LGBTQ+ inclusive education with Shauna Danielle Photography

LGBTQ+ inclusive education with Shauna Danielle Photography


LGBTQ inclusive education for photographers

Enjoy our talk with Shauna and we highly recommend checking out her resources and/or hiring Shauna for a website or business audit!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started photographing weddings.

I’m Shauna, my pronouns are she/her, and I’m a super queer Vancouver-based wedding photographer specializing in LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements.  I’m also a crazy cat lady, a competitive board gamer, and a lifelong Disney enthusiast.  Advocacy is hugely important to me – in addition to making noise in the wedding industry about all things LGBTQ+ inclusion, I work as a support worker for the Vancouver School Board and I play on several fat-identified sports teams.

I got into portrait photography in 2011 and started shooting weddings in 2012 after my first-choice wedding photographer told me she wouldn’t shoot my wedding because she didn’t shoot same-sex weddings.  It really impacted my wedding planning experience and I decided to transition from portraits to weddings in hopes of creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ couples.

What makes your business unique, different or special?

I think that my business is unique because I gave up the notion of being everybody’s photographer early in my business and it really helped me find my place in the industry. I got black on black on black business cards, I accepted that I like real skin tones and hate most presets, I stopped hiding my piercings and tattoos at weddings, and I started sharing my nerdities more openly on social media.  Being entirely myself has lead me to couples who celebrate being entirely themselves and it makes my heart SO happy!

When did you first consider educating photographers? How do you support your lifestyle when you have less weddings than expected for the year?

I have been working in education longer than I have been a photographer, so I have always been interested in combining both of my worlds – it just took me a few years to figure out how to best accomplish that.  I spoke at the ARC conference in 2018 about inclusive language in the industry and the response blew me away. I had a short presentation that started SO many amazing conversations and it showed me that there is a serious need in the wedding industry for LGBTQ+ inclusive education.

If you could change one thing about the wedding industry, what would it be?

Representation. The industry has painted weddings as something for white, cisgendered, heterosexual, thin, able-bodied, monogamous people.  The narrative is so focused on this one reality that it leaves everyone else feeling unrecognized and unwelcome.  We need to do better as an industry to be more inclusive in our language, in our portfolios, and the way that we conduct ourselves in our businesses and our lives.

You offer LGBTQ+ website audits for photographers. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Absolutely! As self employed people, we wear a lot of hats in our business.  Taking on another hat to examine the language and practices you are using in your business can be overwhelming. I offer LGBTQ+ inclusive website audits to wedding professionals wanting to improve the language on their websites, and business audits to anyone wanting a deep dive into their website, social media, and overall client experience. I thoroughly examine for any heteronormative and gendered language, as well as business practices that are less inclusive, and then discuss making changes over a strategy call on Zoom. You can learn more about how we can work together here.

Do you have advice for new photographers?

Build an inclusive business from the start.  I heard inclusion defined as “hanging as many welcome signs as possible” at a webinar once and it really resonated with me.  Be mindful of the language you are using and what images you are choosing to represent your business.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers? 

If you’d like more information about inclusion and how you can improve your business practices to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive, you can read my education series on my blog here. I also have a free gender-neutral language cheat sheet available here
If you have questions, or if you just want to chat about the latest episode of Drag Race, I can be reached on Instagram at @shaunadaniellephoto.

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