Happy Pride babes! We’ve been thrilled to celebrate all types of love this month, and are wrapping up the party with a seriously inspiring Q&A from local Dallas videographer (and LGBTQ+ advocate) Alex Adkins Creative on how he authentically captures every kind of couple on film. Be prepared to get a little emotional, because Alex so beautifully illustrates the importance of inclusion, acceptance, respect and kindness in such a powerful and meaningful way (I certainly got a little choked up hearing him share his experience!). Read on for Alex’s tips on HOW to find LGBTQ+ friendly wedding vendors (plus tips for how vendors can convey inclusivity) and get to know his wedding video style – one of our faves is right below. Cheers to all forms of LOVE!
Video // Alex Adkins Creative
What is your video process?
I would describe my process as fun and organic, but also high energy. I want my couples to feel like they’re hanging out with their friend in a way that is natural for them, and my approach is to capture my couples in a way that feels authentic for them – getting the couple comfortable in the situation and just being a bystander to capture and magnify the dynamic that’s already there is key for me.
How would you describe your video style?
My filming style tends to be a lot more candid, and I’m starting to move away from “elegant” films because that’s just not reflective of me as a person and business owner or the authentic, genuine, stories I’m trying to tell. Don’t get me wrong, I love a dramatic moment, but I’ve found that for my films, the moments that I’m starting to love are more “real-time” moments vs. overusing slow motion. There are subtle nuances with gesture, expression and sound that really only work when played back at full-speed, and even though it might not be “cinematic” to have a somewhat shaky shot, or a shot that’s out of focus, I think it’s a great representation of my style that highlights the beauty of the imperfect. Obviously I want to do my best to capture shots that are gorgeous and cinematic, but I’ve started embracing the “film” element in my films, which makes me less afraid to show off clips that maybe wouldn’t be the conventional choice!
When I’m editing, again I’ve really started to find something special with a “film” look that feels really authentic for my couples and myself as a creative. I think it’s so cool that the last few Star Wars movies were actually shot on film, and while I can’t shoot a full day on actual film, I love being able to add the analog vibe to the day that really enhances the feelings of nostalgia , romance and fun! For my sound design, I love sound-scaping as much as I can, and it’s something I’m really hoping to push the envelope on this year. Good audio is 50% of a great film, so I want to make sure that the audio really enhances the film and immerses the viewer in the day. Especially for my couples, when they get to hear things like wind and trees and birds and other elements that were really there on their day, the sound effects do a great job of transporting you right back into the moment.
For my color grading, I feel like it’s just…me — I know that’s like the least descriptive thing ever! I wouldn’t say I’m “dark and moody” but I also definitely wouldn’t say my style is “light and airy,” so if I had to pin it down, I’d say my look is earthy, warm and romantic. I know that my presets and LUTs (this stands for Look Up Table — think of it as the video version of a Lightroom Preset or a “filter” on steroids!) used for a traditional church wedding aren’t going to work for an outdoor canyon elopement, so it’s all about finding the best way to enhance the look of that specific day. But because it’s always me doing the edit, it’s going to have a cohesive look with my other films anyway, because it’s me! Separately, I feel like the industry has pigeon-holed so many videographers and photographers into either the “dark and moody” category or the “light and airy” category, and that once you’re there, you can’t change. There are so many people I know that do those styles so well, but there are also SO many photographers and filmmakers whose styles aren’t either of those things (like myself), and that’s great too! There are so many couples who are the same — some want “dark and moody” some want “light and airy,” and many that want a style that’s in-between, a mix or none of the above! When we lead with creativity, it opens so many doors and shows couples that they don’t have to pick one of two styles, and that there is an aesthetic out there for them! And the more we can celebrate other professionals’ unique styles, the less people will feel pressured or scared that their look won’t book clients, because it WILL!
How do you approach the process for each couple, no matter the orientation?
No matter the couple, I want to go in with a ton of trust, because when your couples trust you, they trust they’re going to do the best job you can with their day! However, that trust has to be earned, and I feel like just because someone books you doesn’t mean they’re going to be 100% comfortable with a camera in their face. If I’m within driving distance, I love to take my couples out for dinner, drinks, coffee or whatever! I want to treat them to a fun time where we can get to know each other, and I have the opportunity to show off my personality so that they can feel confident that they’re working with someone that is going to take care of them. On the back end of things, I’ll have them fill out a questionnaire so I can get to know their personalities a little better, especially if we can’t meet face-to-face. I think it’s important to understand their dynamic as a couple, and as individuals, so I know how to celebrate them in their best light. Then I usually just go into the shoot like they’re my friends, because they usually are, and make my number one priority making them comfortable! For me, it’s all about understanding the couple’s dynamic together, regardless of their orientation, and I actually think it’s really simple. I feel like some people think they have to have a specific “approach” when working with LGBTQ+ couples, and really it’s just as easy as treating them like any other human being. Everyone has a different dynamic, no matter what that couple might look like, and I think the more we look at our couples as two amazing people in love, the more simple it gets.
Fellow wedding pros, if you’re unsure about how to approach something, just ask! Planners and florists specifically may sometimes struggle with elements that are traditionally gendered, and don’t want to offend someone — which I totally get — but if I were working with someone for my wedding and they didn’t know, I would absolutely be happy to share how we are changing it up.
How do you ensure potential booking couples know that you are LGBTQ+ friendly? And why is that important to you?
Honestly, I try to be as loud as hell about it. I have LGBTQ+ affirming things all over my Instagram (literally in my bio!) and website, and I even talk about my own personal experience being gay wherever I can. It’s so important for me to shout it from the rooftops, because there are still so many LGBTQ+ couples that face discrimination, or are afraid of experiencing discrimination, during their wedding planning journey. I want to be as loud as I can about my business being a safe place for all couples to feel loved and celebrated, because treating people with respect and kindness is a non-negotiable.
How can couples planning know if a vendor is LGBTQ+ friendly? Are there any tells?
My first recommendation is to look for the obvious. Chances are, when they’re LGBTQ+ friendly, they’re going to be very obvious about it. At least for me, anyway, I want to be obvious about it because I don’t want there to be any doubt, obviously! If you’re still unsure, check out their social accounts and website. Are they using inclusive language? Are their feeds only straight white couples? Do they make posts or statements about LGBTQ+ couples during pride month? Do they make posts or statements about LGBTQ+ couples outside of pride month? If you’re still unsure, just ask! Hopefully that vendor or professional just wasn’t aware, and then we can help educate our fellow professionals on how to ensure potential clients know that our businesses are inclusive of all couples.
What’s been the most special moment you’ve caught on film?
I got the opportunity to capture two of my friends who are gay and married recently, and that really was an emotional experience for me. I have never really experienced a gay couple around my age that’s married, and it was so beautiful to watch and be a part of, and know that something like that is out there for me. Like, yes, same-sex marriage is legal and happening, but it has always just seemed like something I’ve seen on Instagram during pride month, and didn’t actually seem real to me. Seeing these guys who are so in love with each other and being able to capture that and give them something to celebrate their love story with was so special to me, and it reaffirms that I’m on the right path and helping to elevate and celebrate LGBTQ+ voices and stories in my own unique way!
Thank you so much to Alex on answering our questions on inclusivity in weddings so candidly! Connect directly with Alex Adkins Creative to set up your coffee date and learn about his video services via his vendor profile here!