Photographer Clashes with Weddings Unveiled Magazine Over Same-Sex Marriage Ad

Photographer Clashes with Weddings Unveiled Magazine Over Same-Sex Marriage Ad

At Fstoppers, we do our best to stay away from topics that are strictly political in nature. Generally speaking, it's not our place. We are a blog for creative professionals, not any number of sites that poke at hot button issues for the sake of sensationalism. However, once in a while, a situation arises that directly affects photographers and their decisions. One such situation occurred when Weddings Unveiled Magazine rejected a photographer's paid advertisement.

On February 16, wedding photographer Anne Almasy published an article on her personal blog regarding an issue she experienced that hit a serious nerve with her. After shooting weddings for 10 years, she finally decided to take out her first print advertisement in a magazine. Her choice was Weddings Unveiled, a popular magazine based in Georgia with its main distribution all throughout the southern United States. She finished the process of selecting her ad size and talking with the editors, and she was ready to send them her ad, pictured below:



Almasy said she chose the image because "to me, it says love. It says home. It says joy."

After she submitted the image, the editors of Weddings Unveiled magazine sent her the following reply:

"Is there possibly another photograph you’d like to use in your ad? We just don’t feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple. These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…"

Almasy, offended, replied "No, I don’t have another photograph I would like to use.”

The editor said she would have another conversation with her team and call Almasy back. The call back was not the response Almasy was looking for.

“We haven’t even run your credit card yet, so we can just move on without your ad. We’d still love to have you in the magazine, though, so let me know if you want to advertise in the future.”

Weddings Unveiled refused to run the ad, which is their right as a magazine. However as you can imagine, this greatly angered Almasy, who was "shaking" with fury and sadness. Almasy also makes an interesting point, stating that if she wanted to advertise with the gay community, there were other magazine options for her. But she chose Weddings Unveiled because she wanted to advertise "to couples who are getting married. This couple didn’t get 'gay married. They didn’t have a 'gay wedding.' They got married. They had a wedding. They share their lives, their joys and sorrows, and all the mundane daily things that we all share with our partners. They are just people. In love. Committed to one another."

Today, Weddings Unveiled published their public apology in response to Alamay, which you can also find here:

"We are Terri and Brooke, the publishers of Weddings Unveiled Magazine. We hope that you will allow us the opportunity to address an important issue that has angered and disappointed many people. We are incredibly sad that same sex marriage is still an issue in our society. When we were faced with the decision of whether or not to publish Anne Almasy's advertisement, we acted in a manner that does not reflect our personal beliefs. We truly believe that all love is beautiful and that all people have the right to marry. You might ask that if we feel that way, then why did we make this decision? Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts.

We are two women who operate a small business that we care deeply about. We love all weddings. We love all people and would never want to anger, offend or disappoint anyone. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for Anne. We are so sorry that we have disappointed you and we ask for your forgiveness. If Anne would still like to run her ad in Weddings Unveiled, then we would be proud to publish it.

Terri and Brooke"

Now we of course want to hear your thoughts, but before you type them up here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Magazines reserve the right not publish any ad at any time. Kind of like being refused service at a restaurant because you aren't wearing pants.
2) Gay marriage is not legally recognized in Georgia, nor in any of the states where Weddings Unveiled has their primary distribution (the exception being New York) nor where Almasy shoots the majority of her weddings.
3) Just because gay marriage isn't legalalized doesn't mean couples don't celebrate weddings. It may not be legally recognized, but many same-sex couples still have weddings and hire photographers.

So here are some questions to think about:

Was Weddings Unveiled in the wrong to deny the ad, knowing their prime demographics and distribution? Was Almasy trying to shine emphasis on the issue because she knew it was a hot-button topic, guaranteed to generate buzz? Does the apology from Weddings Unveiled resonate with you? If you were in Almasy's shoes, would you still want to run the ad?

This is a very tough subject, but one that has ramifications for any photographer. If you ran into this issue with your personal business, how would it make you feel? Would you have done what Almasy did? Let us know in the comments below.


Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

Log in or register to post comments
Previous comments

Well, pretty soon you will be following in the foot steps of Gaetan Dugas and Deondre Scott.

The article clearly said the magazine is free to publish or not publish whatever they wish, however we are also free to call them out for making those choices. And I am free to reject your backwards ignorant attitude and insult you for it. People like you are holding back social progress and equality.

Her mistake; "with its main distribution all throughout the southern United States."

Interesting that if they do now run the ad (I hope they do, and for free), given their fear that "people would be offended if we
published the ad and ... offended if we did not." they will probably end up offending on both sides.

True, but it's better that it's the homophobe side that's more offended. 

Your an idiot. 

And "you're" an idiot who can't spell, Larry.

Not supporting Gay marriage is not "Homo-Phobic". Phobia is defined as "An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something", and I really don't think that anybody is terrified of gays here. I for one think that gays should be able to enjoy the same freedom as anybody else, as America certainly is a free country, that's what we pride ourselves on. However, not printing an ad is the magazines choice. They can do whatever the heck they want, its their magazine! If your so bent on equality then you can start your own magazine, then you can print whatever ads you want. Tolerance means tolerating ALL people, even people whose viewpoints are different from yours. 

That's the right definition of tolerance, actually.  Too bad the conservatives aren't doing it right (hint: it is not tolerant to legislate your point of view into law and make someone else's illegal; that is the definition of oppression by the majority).


Things change because a few people have the courage to stand for their believes. They had the right to refuse the add and did so out of cowardice.
Fear is powerful, but if you are strong enough to overcome it, you'll often find new opportunities. And most important, you will live in peace with yourself.

My initial reaction to this was that the magazine were wrong not to run the advert.  I am a little confused however that considering the fact this is one of Anne Almasy's favourite wedding shots why it isn't anywhere to be seen in her wedding portfolio. The portfolio has no same sex images in it! This leaves me wondering if it is a publicity stunt which appears to be working!

Incorrect. The photo is on page 2 of her extensive 21-page WEDDINGS portfolio, along with many others of the same couple.

In fact she appears to take issue with other magazines as well. This time with different images!

So she's exploiting her client's photos to get a name for herself by calling out magazines who don't wanna publish her ads?

When running ads you have to know the audience that forum caters to and advertise for them. Thrusting your personal opinion at them isn't going to get you hired whether it's right or wrong. Anne should have known this and run another photo. The magazine was in the right to refuse because they know their audience. 

Now if they they prefer to follow their personal beliefs and risk alienating their audience that is their choice, but Anne shouldn't be angry with them over it. If I were her I'd run the ad as is if they are willing to do it.The magazine should of stuck to their guns, this apology is just further cowardice because now they are afraid of the personal repercussions. They've just dug themselves a deep hole.

It's not a great picture to be honest. Awkwardly posed. The kiss is awkward looking too.

Gay, straight, who cares? Just publish the picture and move on up to 2013.

Sounds like a great ploy to get her name out there. She has a huge array of better photographs with weddings out there and she picks that one? Yeah okay. Some people will take all the recognition they can get, even if it stems from drama.

I just like how it became drama. If the ad had been run, my guess is there would be no publicity, good or bad, for either party.

It would have gone pretty much unnoticed in the back of a regional bridal magazine.

Working at present for UNAIDS, Gay issues are a serious concern worldwide. However it is the right of the magazine not to publish, and decide on their editorial line, as we do as photographers when we decide to publish our weddings on our website or not. 

Interesting enough, this photographer doesn't have Same sex weddings on her website at all, they are all heterosexual ones to what i have seen or searched for, in each section, from her blog to portfolio. I stay intrigued by the wish to promote something you can't openly put up on your website. 

Now as Dali said, there is no good or bad publicity... there is just publicity.

Incorrect. The photo is on page 2 of her extensive 21-page WEDDINGS portfolio, along with many others of the same couple.

It wasn't there last night when I looked at the first 2 1/2 pages. Not saying it is a faked post just that it was there when I looked last night. Her site is getting a lot of traffic.

Maybe she's trying to break into the same-sex wedding business? Thus, the ad.

From a business perspective the magazine was correct in rejecting the ad I suppose. From a human perspective I do find it a bit strange. But not the strangest business decision, by far.

I don't like how people call this a publicity stunt because it's a same-sex couple, and that question is rarely asked if it's an opposite sex couple. Like whenever a photographer, magazine, publication, TV show, etc. includes a same-sex couple it's suddenly controversial and done for attention. That just highlights how a lot of people still don't see gay people as normal. Gay people are still seen as "different" than the rest. Our marriages, our unions, our love, our humanity. We really need to move past finding controversy in something so incredibly trivial as sexuality.

Anyway, back on topic...........if the magazine didn't want to run the ad, they're well within their rights not to. I think that would be stupid, offensive, ignorant and be a decision that will harm the viability of said company, but they're entitled not to do it. Things like this happen all of the time so I'm sure Anne decided to take a stand on this because it was such a black and white situation. Anne shouldn't be called out as someone seeking attention in such a flagrant way because that's character assassination. She simply seems to be a woman with strong convictions---and convictions that bend towards equality.

Marketing 101 - perfect publicity stunt

This post directly affects me since there are two reason why I became a photographer ..

1 - Shooting hot girls
2 - Shooting hot lesbians 

Publicity stunt... Pay no attention. There's nothing to see here. Move along.

I'll agree with everyone who said that she either doesn't know her market or this is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt.  It would be the equivalent of someone expecting an ad on Catholicism to go down well in a Saudi Arabia magazine - please, know your market.  Are there people in the south who believe marriage is the same for everyone?  Absolutely!  Are they they overwhelming majority?  Certainly not - they are, if anything, the absolute minority and any mainstream magazine is right to reject an add which would damage its sales.

And I did like the comment about not having a better image, one which ALSO shows love, affection, security, etc, with a heterosexual couple - if she doesn't, then maybe she is a photographer specialising in same-sex marriages...there's nothing wrong with that, but then she should simply come out and say it...

Or maybe she doesn't specialize in it, but simply believes in it.

discrimination lawsuit!! she could get good money $$$

Discrimination how? The photographer wasn't discriminated on, her advertisement was rejected. There is no law forcing any magazine to run anyone's work in their pages. This is what is wrong with people today "boo hoo I'll sue you" 

Screw off!

Um, I think it was sarcasm.

You give people too much credit! 

Personally, I think the demographics of the publication AND the photographer say it all. I wouldn't try running a vegan ad in meat-lovers magazine. It's just speaking to your market. And you have to ask - if the photographer doesn't focus on same-sex mariages (as her state does not legally allow them, and scrolling through her weddings portfolio I couldn't even locate a same-sex marriage), was her advertisement and refusal to change the image about her generating more income (business) or her own politics (personal).

I stay very far away from politics. You'll never know if I support or reject same-sex marriages. Because while I love love and I love photographing weddings, it is a business. And the point of that business is to grow as much income as possible so I can support my family, pay my bills, raise my son, put something away for his future and my retirement. There is absolutely no latitude for me to mess up my business because of my personal convictions (within reason).

If you want to make a point about your personal politics, do it on your personal blog; go on Facebook like every 20-something does. But for goodness sake - for the sake of your business and integrity - keep your personal politics out of your business. Had she had a valid fiscal reason why her business was slighted, I would feel differently. But in this case, I have to say I support the decision of the magazine.

maybe they didnt want to use her shot because it sucks

Thank you! Seriously this looks like a shot from one of the guests' camera phone. I would never hire her as a photographer based on this picture..

This is genius PR! Bravo! Next up, send a boudoir ad to Family Circle magazine. 

ahaha right!

Or an Asian baby. Kidding.

Those that are criticizing the photographer for not showing any same-sex couples in her own portfolio are incorrect. The couple featured in the proposed ad are shown on page 2 of her 21-page "Weddings" portfolio ("T&B's Aftershoot," Aug 21, 2012) with the selected photo included along with many others of that couple.

It's a weak image, regardless of the subject matter. Seems like a publicity stunt to me.

If the magazine had responded with "We feel this image does not match our demographic,  we cannot in take your money in good conscience." we would not have heard anything thing about it. With no same-sex images on her site, Pot meet Kettle.

The magazine may not be a savvy business - but the photographer sure is!!! Way to get your 15 minutes of fame, wish I had thought of it first.

If that magazine ran that ad, multiple other advertisers would have dropped out.
It's a real clever ad, and one that is unique to get people looking past all the other predictable wedding photographer ads. But for the South and that reader demo, the magazine would satisfy a very small minority, at the cost of the majority of the readers and advertisers.

Weddings Unveiled could have been a pioneer in a movement, and like a real pioneer, arrows will be aimed at their back.

Regardless of where you stand politically on the issue, the magazine has the lawful right to refuse the ad. If you want the right to publicly voice your opinion, to have free speech, and to choose to run a business and have the right to refuse customers, well then you simply cannot argue against the right of what the magazine chose to do personally. You can be against why they chose to do it, but you cant argue that they dont have the right to. Because when you do this, you also argue against taking away freedoms that you, yourself are privy to.

Give me a break. You're telling me that this was the only image she could use to represent herself as a WEDDING photographer?? Why was it so important to use THAT and only THAT image? Did she think no one would hire her if she used a straight couple? She obviously had and agenda and was obviously trying to provoke. Go elsewhere and shut up. And for the record - I personally am SICK AND TIRED of being told i MUST accept homosexuality. I do not and will not.

Who cares.

That's okay, we're sick and tired of your bigotry.  Thankfully, you, like your religions, are a dying breed, and humanity will be better off without you in the long run.

If your god really is real, I pity you for the hell you're getting sent to.  After all, didn't his son say something about not judging and loving your fellow man?  Ooops... That's what I love about Christians; how absolutely unlike your Christ you are.

I don't agree with you so I'm a bigot and going to hell?!?!?! Are you serious? Talk about judgmental.
And for the record, Christ himself says "love the sinner, hate the sin"
I thank God I don't have to live up to whatever YOUR twisted version of
being a Christian is. You just pick and choose the parts you like, and discard the rest.

More comments