Love in Black + White // Light + Melanin

Amidst all the hype and planning for Light + Melanin, a friend reached out to me and said, “Hey, I love where this conversation is going, but can we also talk about the black LGBTQ community? Because they are not represented at all.” I have to say, this was not really on my radar, but she’s right. Black LGBTQ couples don’t always see their stories told.

Dried wheat fan decoration for black and white wedding
Boho modern decor with dried wheat fans for black and white wedding altar
Black gay couple with bridal bouquet at their modern black and white wedding

The first two photoshoots for Light + Melanin were FULL COLOR MAGIC. So when I had the opportunity to photograph Crowne and Kris for an elopement session, you know the Gemini in me had to completely switch it up. I’m avidly against the assumption that all LGBTQ weddings have to be filled with rainbows. Like, HELLO. Some couples have their own style that does not include rainbows. We are not all the same, and that’s the beauty of life. I was excited that the brides were down with a more elegant aesthetic.

I wanted to give a new modern spin on what a modern black and white wedding could look like. No cheesy stereotypes of what a lesbian wedding is “supposed” to be. This photoshoot was more restrained and monochromatic than the colorful micro elopement I shot with Anisett and Jason earlier that day. Two completely separate shoots going on.

Lesbian wedding photographed by black wedding photographer The SoCal Standard

Crowne and Kris have been together for more than half a decade, and their ease with each other made this shoot something special. What a joy to celebrate black love, and see their devotion shine in these photos. 

I mean… look at these two!! Smiles and skin glowing as bright as those gold palm fronds. Looking back at these photos gives me all the feels. 

Black gay couple at their San Diego elopement photoshoot

Light + Melanin was something I’d been planning FOREVER, but 2020 had other plans (ugh, COVID! So rude.) This photo session with Crowne and Kris was an opportunity to demonstrate how I shoot and edit melanin skin (while also capturing the love between this beautiful black couple). Ugh, I LOVE my job.

If you missed out on the in-person workshop and wanna join in, I’ve got ya boo: the workshop is now available online as a video course! The video workshop covers 20 lessons about shooting and editing darker skin tones. Light + Melanin has been a long time coming so I am PUMPED to be leading a conversation around race and diversity in the photography industry.

Vendors

This photoshoot was part two of our demo at Flora, the most beautifully bougie wedding venue in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. Can you believe this is the same space from our wild rainbow elopement?? For this shoot, Back Up Backdrops created an elegant, boho backdrop inspired by handcrafted African mudcloth patterns. LOVE the vibe combined with the golden wheat fans.

Can’t forget the rentals from Folklore. The flowers, including the absolutely bananas orchid earring, are the work of floral genius A.H.R. Florals. The brides were shining in black and white. Crowne wore a beautiful Rue de Seine gown and Kris looked gorgeous in her modern bridal jumpsuit from Asos.

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