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News & Insight

Photographer Who Supports Gay Marriage Gives Masterclass In Response To Angered Client

By Kishore Sawh on June 29th 2015


It’s been a helluva week here in the U.S of A., where 6.5 million people who benefit from Obamacare get to stay insured, and incredibly, there was also news that managed to cast a shadow on that, or perhaps, a rainbow.

A massive victory for equal rights in the form of nationwide right to marry for gay couples has been the cause of much celebration. It has also been, as one would expect, the cause of much protest and concern. Just as those who celebrate the new legislation have been vocal about their elation, many of a more conservative and religious nature have not been shy in voicing their opinions, and depending on what side of the fence you stand on the matter, you may begin to see some confrontation with clients or employers.

Case in point, we have Clinton Brentwood Lee of Brentwood Photography based out of St. Petersburg, Florida. An established photography business, seemingly with a heart that loves equally, Brentwood has shown support for the LGBT community and the new legislation that backs their equality. He has been met with disgruntled clients because of it.


The studio’s support was disturbing enough to one client that to them it merited a cancellation on their agreement that Lee should shoot their wedding. Furthermore, the client felt entitled to have their retainer returned, and all because they don’t support ‘untraditional marriages’ not between a man and woman. When receiving a message like this from a client, you are presented with many avenues to take. While to many it may seem like the path with least resistance may be the easiest place to stand, there is a lot to be said for having a backbone, and maintaining your integrity with a well calculated, honest, not mean spirited response, much like the one delivered by Lee below:


I think this was a brilliant response, with just enough critique to incite indignation, and more than enough kindness to squash it.

We couldn’t stress more how much our business is a people business, and just as we all come in different shapes and sizes, we come with different views, so you are bound to encounter a scenario of this nature. How you respond has far-reaching consequences for you as an individual, and how you and your business is perceived. And while it would be impossible to please everyone, it warrants saying that you don’t need to offend everyone either, even if you have a firm stance to take.


Brentwood Photography is but one of many who have handled a negative situation with grace and having spoken to their office earlier today, I can tell you it is apparent that their values run deep. I think they’ve done a great thing here, and we should show our gratitude and support. You can do that on their FB page here and check out their site here.

What conflicts or similar encounters have you had to deal with, and how did you resolve them?

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ben Silverstein

    Brilliant response and so appropriate. I just hope he makes the check out to GLAAD and not GLAD. Unless he’s buying trash bags, of course. :)

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  2. Jennifer Futrell

    It’s my thought that this photographer was unprofessional in his response as solid business practices go. While the client’s preference to not work with him appears narrow minded, his reaction (not a response) may get him the spotlight for the moment, but not in the long term. Simply explaining the contract agreement and moving on would be my pathway.

    On the personal belief side – if we expect to be tolerated, we must share tolerance – blasting an in-your-face knee jerk reaction will not win them to your way of thinking and in some cases will (in their minds) solidify and validate their viewpoint.

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    • Mokhtar C

      Spot on Jen !

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    • John Cavan

      Tolerating bigotry makes no sense. I can certainly tolerate someone believing in their god, going to church, praying at the side of their bed before going to sleep, and so on. What I can’t tolerate, and absolutely refuse to do so, is any of them using that belief as a justification for public and vocal bigotry. Simply, no. I’m not going to say, “oh, it’s okay then that you’re a virulent bigot because you think God told you to be.” Were you so tolerant of Fred Phelps then? I certainly wasn’t.

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    • Jennifer Futrell

      John Cavan,, being tolerant doesn’t necessarily mean agreement or liking what we hear or see.
      Convincing someone to change their belief, thought process or opinion will/cannot happen by rubbing their nose in it and further embedding their viewpoint in their minds.
      No to your question on Fred Phelps.
      But back to the original subject of this story. Again, it is my thought in this scenerio – from a business management point of view – this “professional” photographer slapped down a client in an unprofessional manner.

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    • John Cavan

      Silent toleration of bigotry is, by necessity, sending the message that it’s okay, there are no repercussions. I do agree that the photographer mishandled the situation, that message can be a lot more effective done right, but I seriously doubt any action would result in a changed point of view with that person.

      As an aside, for all the bigots he may lose as a customer, I’m pretty sure he’s going to pick up with same-sex couples. I doubt it will matter to his business.

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    • Jennifer Futrell

      John Cavan – “Silent toleration of bigotry is, by necessity, sending the message that it’s okay, there are no repercussions. ”

      A businesslike, professional response would not have to be Silent and still (in my world) a pretty good sized Repercussion to this client – it took a chunk out of their budget – for example: “Thank you for contacting us with your concern. According to our signed contractual agreement, this objection does not meet the criteria for a refund.”

      How many other intolerant bigots would have to “pay” $1,500.00 just to cite their opinion…?

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  3. Mokhtar C

    MASTERCLASS Response ? Really… ? I Think FStoppers and SLR Lounge should revisit some of their articles that teach us how to deal with certain situations.

    Here is my take as i mentioned on other websites:

    I somewhat feel the photographer is an opportunist. a very unprofessional opportunist.

    The hardest thing to do is be the bigger person in these situations, and his reply reflected that he is still not ready to deal with tough situations. thats my opinion in the end.

    I remember reading an article here that i totally loved about leaving a good impression with clients. And a photographer must leave a good impression even if he does not get the job. Because in the end, If someone searches for their name now. to check out their portfolio, they would see this post and read was sort of attitude he has, which he might lose jobs from. So his reply was too personal and short sighted.

    The photographer could have handled himself better. The tone of his reply would definietly not make me want to recommend nor hire him if i ever saw that. And i am sure many will feel the same.

    The reason why i would not hire such a photographer nor recommend is not because i don’t share the same opinion. Its because i saw the amateur side of him that would make me hesitant incase things didn’t go as planned either during the event, delivering the photos/album or retouching comments.

    There are other professional ways to deal with these situations. Rubbing it in their faces and trying to annoy them is very childish, and as i said, somewhat opportunistic given that this is the hottest topic on the internet now.

    Morally the client could have wrote a better message, Professionally the photographer could have done the same. A client is a client and a photographer is the business, So he needs to deal with it in a business-like manner, Not as a person that lets his emotions and feelings get involved.

    Both parties are at fault with how they expressed their opinion, But since this is a Photography site, I am saddened to see how SLR Lounge write a “Masterclass Response” and are promoting unprofessionalism.

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  4. Justin Haugen

    The best thing about homosexual marriages is that they have NOTHING to do with heterosexual marriages. Rest assured, your unions are still valid.

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    • Robert T

      I agree, but I wonder why they insisted so much to call it “marriage”…

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    • John Cavan

      Marriage has a legal definition that is unrelated to any religious ceremony or association. It is the legal piece that really matters here, people have long been able to get married without religious ceremonies.

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  5. Tony Hoffer

    Two of the greatest tools a photographer has at his disposal are restraint and editing. Both would have gone a long way here.

    It seems the photographer was much more interested in sharing his accomplishment than with handling the situation with tact and discretion.

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  6. Eric Shrum

    Did the client have a right to back out or decline working with the photographer? Yes, under the conditions of the contract, which was the loss of the retainer. Did the photographer have the right to keep the retainer? Yes, under the conditions of the contract which clearly stated such.

    Did the photographer have a right to spend the retainer where he wanted? Yes, there’s nothing in the contract (at least nothing in article) that designated that the retainer must be spent in any certain manner. He is free to spend it in any manner he wants.

    Businesses and organizations are now changing their charters, constitutions, business plans, etc., that will protect them legally as a result of SCOTUS’s ruling. Everyone has a right to protect their business and hard earned work. How they choose to protect their business will eventually come under scrutiny if they are discriminatory in their practices.

    My problem with the photographer and the article’s author is childish manner which they both responded to a difficult client. This isn’t an excuse for the client either. Clients will always be clients! They will disagree, throw tantrums, argue, not pay, demand more, or walk away. Why? Because emotions often run high during a shoot. I’ve had clients apologize days afterwards when they realize how they acted. In this instance, on the face of it, both client and photographer acted childishly. The client for requesting the return of the retainer and the photographer for the snarky AND public response where the retainer was spent. He both gained and lost future business as a result. Again, he had every right to spend the retainer where he wanted and I support his decision. But I don’t support how he responded and it’s public revelation.

    I’m not making light of a difficult situation, quite the opposite. I’m advocating for level headed, professional decor and respect from both photographer and client. Let me say that again, Respect, which is sorely lacking on all sides during this difficult time. I’m old enough to have experienced life to know once the cheering dies down the challenge is for everyone to learn to live and work together.

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  7. robert s

    very immature reply and action from the photographer. not professional at all. he should have returned the retainer. he should realize that not everyone is pro gay marriages. it would have made him look a higher level than he is. he came out looking bad.

    brocolli? wth does brocolli have to do with it. definitely unprofessional. you cant expect clients to act professsional but you as a photographer should show tact and always be PC. he wasnt at all. he did judge and his “stinging” reply was not correct.

    and I agree with @Chuck Eggen. you want to be gay thats fine, dont push it in peoples face. keep it discrete and keep it to yourself.

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    • Rui Pinto

      So you are saying that homo ppl should hide? You see straight couples in the street kissing all the time, why do they must “keep it discrete and keep it to yourself”?
      I’m not gay but I have gay friends (men and women) and it really bothers me this kind of thinking. But well, it’s just my opinion. It’s a free world and I respect yours.

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    • robert s

      hide no. thats ridiculous. theyre not some creature. theyre humans. be discreet and understand that it may bother others and when youre in public show some discretion.

      and hetero couples kissing is the vast majority of the world. gays kissing isnt. it will bother many people. so till its mainstream and common be discrete. you have to take into consideration what country you live in as well. if two gays or lesbians would kiss in public, most likely it would come to violence or death. especially in africa or china. russia isnt too keen on it and also arabic countries as well. and those alone are way more in number than the US. most of europe also is traditional.

      it “seems” that to be gay or lesbian is a normal accepted thing but thats only because this is pushed hard in the US through the media. just a lot of huff and puff. but in reality the vast majority of the world doesnt accept that pov at all. people are more tolerable, but accepting? no, far from it. the vast majority still believes in traditional male/female relationships.

      I dont say anything to gays or lesbians kissing as I believe in live and let live. but the whole attitude of the parades and pushing it in peoples faces is what ticks people off and will make it worse in time. be discrete and be respectful me like I respect you. keep it to yourself. I kiss my lady and touch her with discretion when in public. I dont prance around grabbing her ass and french kissing her like ive seen many do. not cool.

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    • Derek Schwartz

      You do realize that Chuck Eggen’s marriage, at one point, was also something people like you said that others should “be discrete about”, right? Should Chuck and his wife walk apart on the street, in order to protect someone’s feelings about interracial marriage?

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  8. Justin Haugen

    Who you love isn’t a lifestyle. Nobody chooses to be ridiculed and disparaged.

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    • Dave Haynie

      I have a cousin who came out as gay back in the 1970s. Wonderful person! Smoked my first joint with him!

      My Aunt, his mother, is basically “The Church Lady”… Dana Carvey could have invented that character after a few Sunday Dinners with my Aunt. She did not accept this, and I saw that take its toll on my cousin over the years. He even tried that terrible “conversion therapy”, something that just made things even worse. It kept him isolated in terrible ways much of his adult life.

      No one would choose that. You are what you are. And if you have kids, you know that a huge part of that kid is there from the very beginning. That personality grows and hopefully blossoms, but it doesn’t change in dramatic ways. And a big part of that is your sexuality, much of it hard-wired from birth.

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  9. Justin Haugen

    At some point, I hope that we can just cater to people and not to their sexuality. Who someone loves is not who they are. I want to photograph people. I don’t care who you are, I just want to honor your memories with respectful artistic photography. Some day it would be nice if don’t have to make the distinction of what kinds of unions we support and just work with all people and share love through photos.

    If someone is against photographing a wedding for religious reasons, I think it behooves the couple to consider trying to work with a professional who is against their right to love and union. There has to be better options.

    There was a time where people didn’t want to photograph interracial weddings (and probably still don’t). Lets not stand on the wrong side of history anymore.

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    • Chuck Eggen

      Justin, please don’t equate race with lifestyle choice. My wife is a woman of color and as she puts it, “I chose my lifestyle, not my ethnicity.” There is a difference.

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    • John Cavan

      Chuck, nobody chooses to be gay, it doesn’t even make sense that substantial portions of the population would choose to be marginalized, maltreated, and otherwise abused by the majority. No rational thought applied to that assertion holds up in the slightest, that’s just wishful thinking to justify your position. Sorry, but that little bit of mythology has long been debunked and it is only rabid anti-gay public figures that continue to trot out that concept as a means of defending their bigotry.

      In any event, I promised myself I wouldn’t get drawn into a religious debate again, and I have… I like you, outside of this particular issue, so I think I will leave it at that. I would only ask that you stop for a moment and think really hard, with real honesty, about when you chose not to be gay. That’s not a facetious question… for it to be a choice means that there was a point in time, for us all, that we had to decide. I, for one, never did.

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    • Robert T

      @John Cavan:
      “nobody chooses to be gay”

      How can you be so sure that this is true for everybody? Other than propaganda, there is no scientific evidence for this. Anyway, it doesn’t even really matter. You do CHOSE how you behave and that’s the whole issue.

      “Sorry, but that little bit of mythology has long been debunked”

      Try reading a book of anatomy, for a change. From what I know, it hasn’t been “debunked”. But hey, these days seems that anything is possible with the right people in the right places making sufficient lobby.

      “stop for a moment and think really hard, with real honesty, about when you chose not to be gay”

      This is a false argument. There are many deviations, handicaps, diseases that were not “chosen”. No one chose to be crazy, or sick. Either by newborns or adults. Smokers doesn’t directly choose to get cancer. They choose to feel good and to relax.

      Again, even if you don’t choose to be in a certain way, you do chose how you behave and you are judged for what you do.

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    • Robert T

      The photographer started it, by making a political statement. The client responded with opposition to that political statement. If you make it political, expect to meet disagreement. If the photographer thinks he is entitled to have political preferences, the client is even more entitled, because it’s his money.

      A certain segment of population have the habit to make a drama out of every opposition to their views, but the client wasn’t impolite at all. She simply stated her views, without judging those of the photographer. ” I don’t agree with you, I don’t want to give you my money, there’s no need to offend each other”. Simple.

      The client didn’t force the photographer to do something against his convictions. The photographer should’ve done the same. Instead, he chose to slap the client in the face with his convictions, starting to judge the client’s convictions. (BTW, photographer arguments are completely irrational)

      How the contract is, it’s another discussion and a lawyer’s business. But since the photographer also cancelled the contract, by saying that “our company doesn’t want to work with you as well”, he should give the money back. Also, by saying that, he shows he’s just a hypocrite, since he’s doing the very same thing his client did, only worse.

      The scandal the photographer made out of a simple disagreement, just to get free publicity, is completely unprofessional and shows what kind of person he is.

      I saw on other sites some serious red flags about all this story being a scam, raised by 2 people who interacted with this photographer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be true.

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    • Rui Pinto

      I stopped reading at : “How can you be so sure that this is true for everybody? Other than propaganda, there is no scientific evidence for this.”

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    • Robert T

      “At some point, I hope that we can just cater to people and not to their sexuality. ”

      It’s very hard to do this with people who identify themselves by their sexual orientation and who want to change the whole society to accommodate this orientation.

      Comparing race with a behavior it’s a logical fallacy.

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    • John Cavan

      “How can you be so sure that this is true for everybody? Other than propaganda, there is no scientific evidence for this. Anyway, it doesn’t even really matter. You do CHOSE how you behave and that’s the whole issue.”

      Indeed… The only propaganda on choice about sexuality I’ve ever seen, really, is from Christian right-wing organizations. A very simple Google search of “scientific studies on homosexuality” yields an enormous amount of information, including some strong evidence for genetic markers. So… I’d say there’s a fair bit more than “no evidence” for this after all.

      “Try reading a book of anatomy, for a change. From what I know, it hasn’t been “debunked”. But hey, these days seems that anything is possible with the right people in the right places making sufficient lobby.”

      Why would I read a book on anatomy? We’re talking about sexuality here, we already get that gay people are not interested in putting tab A into slot B, regardless of their anatomy, so an anatomy book is irrelevant.

      “Again, even if you don’t choose to be in a certain way, you do chose how you behave and you are judged for what you do.”

      You may want to consider the implication of that. I find it interesting that you seem to feel that you, and Chuck, should have your judgement of others exempt from also being judged, on the basis of your faith which, I might add, tells you not judge people. The irony of it all…

      In any event, I think it says much more about the person casting judgement, then it does about the recipients of it, when that judgement is to disparage love and caring just because you don’t understand it.

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    • Kyle Farris

      Robert T:

      “This is a false argument. There are many deviations, handicaps, diseases that were not “chosen”. No one chose to be crazy, or sick. Either by newborns or adults…”

      By this logic, you are saying homosexuality is a disease or handicap. So, in other words, those that are handicapped should be shunned and they should not be able to marry who they wish. If someone was born with a gene that causes brain cancer… something they have no control of, should they not be able to marry who they wish? Likewise, let’s say, for the sake of debate, that homosexuality is a disease that has no cure. Why would you treat this person any different? Heck, Jesus had a thing for people with diseases–leprosy comes to mind. He was really nice to the lepers. He certainly didn’t tell them who they could and could not marry.

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    • Robert T

      @Kyle Farris:

      Nothing you say makes any sense.
      What has any handicap, brain cancer or leper anything to do with being qualified for marriage?

      “By this logic, you are saying homosexuality is a disease or handicap. So, in other words, those that are handicapped should be shunned and they should not be able to marry who they wish.”

      What “logic” is that? Not every “disease or handicap” is the same. If you are blind, you cannot be a pilot, but you can be something else. You cannot be something you are not qualified for, either mentally, physically or behaviourally. It doesn’t matter how or why you are not qualified. It’s a simple logic we use in every field of life.

      Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Everybody can marry. But you cannot change definitions as you wish. If you’re saying “I want to marry, but I don’t like people, I want to marry with a chair”, then you have a deviant behaviour and you don’t have any special “right” to alter the definition of marriage.

      “Likewise, let’s say, for the sake of debate, that homosexuality is a disease that has no cure. Why would you treat this person any different? ”

      I don’t. I treat them exactly the way I treat everybody. If that person DOES something wrong, I say it is wrong and I don’t agree with it. People are not judged by what they are, but by what they do.

      “He certainly didn’t tell them who they could and could not marry.”

      Again, you’re not making any sense. Actually, He did: “Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” Matthew 19:4-5

      And the people with leper were seeking a cure. They didn’t say “this condition is normal and we are proud of it, don’t try to change us”.

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  10. Chuck Eggen

    At the sake of being called a bigot I’m going to say I’m tired of hearing all the in your face gay pride from bandwagon participants to promote themselves. Chances are the writer was on the other side of the fence when it was profitable. That said, it appears we’ve gone from gay persecution to religious persecution. To John Cavan, I feel your comment was aimed squarely at Christianity. If I’m wrong, I apologize. Christianity isn’t the only religion that denounces LGBT lifestyles. As a Christian and not agreeing with this lifestyle I’m forced to not say anything or face relentless ridicule from everyone attacking my beliefs. Was this the intent all along. We’ve gone from one extreme to another. It’s really difficult to be honest but it’s who I am. Sorry for the controversy here Pye. Feel free to delete my comment if you feel it’s inappropriate.

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    • John Cavan

      Actually Chuck, my comment was aimed at any religion. In the US, it’s Christianity, in other places it would be something else. It’s really quite simple for me, you’re entitled to your faith, all the more power to you, but for me to give you a pass on using that as a basis to openly discriminate against others? Well, you’ll need to prove that faith is true beyond any form of doubt.

      In other words, as an Atheist, and not agreeing with your lifestyle, I still will support and accept your right to engage in religion. The difference, in my view, is that you absolutely have a choice in this respect, but people no more choose to be gay than you have chosen to be straight.

      A thing to bear in mind, as you consider all of this, is that it’s an extremely rare person that chooses to be spat upon as a matter of their daily life.

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    • Pye

      I don’t delete meaningful comments that debate different viewpoints. I only delete comments that are meaningless trolling and rude behavior. So feel free to continue debating, I think you have some good points.

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    • Anders Madsen

      While I don’t agree with Chucks wording (“this lifestyle ” – being gay is not something that is a free choice, which a lifestyle is in my opinion), he definitely has a point – there is a lot of “Die, you intolerant scum, DIE!” emotions going around. It really tickles my irony bone when someone is viciously attacked for being intolerant and it makes absolutely no sense to me.

      Also, I have a hard time understanding that when someone rejects photographing models wearing fur because they firmly believe that it is cruel to farm animals for the sole purpose of using their fur, they are applauded for their action – but if you rejects using a photographer because they firmly believe that a marriage is a holy institution between a man and a woman, they face the collective wrath of the aforementioned “Die, you intolerant scum, DIE”-crowd. Either we accept that people make personal choices about what they will be a part of, or we don’t. As long as those choice doesn’t lead to illegal actions, you should not be attacked for them.

      Now, I was raised a very casual christian and today I’m probably as close to an atheist as can be, I believe that anyone has the right to marry someone they love, and I could not care less about peoples sexuality so I personally have no dog in this fight.

      Nevertheless I strongly urge both sides in this discussion to consider whether they are pushing the pendulum to far in the other direction right now. For that reason I definitely did not care for the photographers response to the customer – I find it degrading, aggressive and childish, and there were so many ways that the disagreement with the clients stance could have been expressed, that would have been more graceful while still driving the point home.

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    • Drew Pluta

      This just cracks me up. Again a christian who thinks that they should get a pass when they say crazy shit. Because that’s what it is. CRAZY SHIT. How do you think gay people were made to feel for hundreds of years under Christian oppression? I’ll tell you if you don’t already know. They were made to feel dead. That’s right dead, they were killed for what you believe. If they escaped this punishment they were imprisoned, ruthlessly ridiculed and personally damaged, denied housing,employment,etc. That has continued all the way to present day, humans still live like this in many places regardless of the law.

      So yeah, when you speak something offensive, other people may oppose you verbally. You should learn to live with the ideas of others, defend your position, or allow the insights of others to change your mind once in a while. You are not entitled to a safe world without debate of your ideas. I know that is exactly what Christians are accustomed too but you’ll clearly have to get on board with the way things are being done now, in reality, with the rest of us.

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    • robert s

      @ Drew Pluta
      “but you’ll clearly have to get on board with the way things are being done now, in reality, with the rest of us.”

      actually u are still in the minority. people around the world might tolerate it but accept it, not completely. go to china or africa and theyll find out youre gay and you wont leave alive. in russia more than 80% are against it. and this is for most of the world. youre in denial if you think that everyone is for it. it might seem that way because in the US the push is the highest for it. but the US is a very small population to the rest of the world.

      sure the countries who are the most vocal make it seem like everyone is for it but the reality is, you are the minority and it isnt as accepted as you think it is. theres more awareness true but the US is a very tiny amount compared to the rest of the world. most of the world believe in the man/woman relationship.

      more than anything @Chuck Eggen is allowed his own opinion and what he feels. you are too, but keep your personal comments in check. tone down your anger as well. dont act immature because he doesnt accept your view. it doesnt help your side.

      Christianity is not the only religion that denounces it. youre gay, thats ok. but be discrete. keep it to yourself. no need to walk around billboard promoting it. be attentive to others. respect others.

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    • Drew Pluta

      @Robert S And right on time a Social Justice Warrior arrives to completely miss (and ignore) every point and attempt to shame a clear voice into submission. Sorry man, not gonna work. You’re a problem because you run cover for angry talk while telling others they should not be angry. That works well to retain the current power structure. Meanwhile I was just being clear and direct. You have no idea what anger is. According to you I’m supposed to let people say things that harm others and just let them go unchallenged, without notice.

      Don’t tell me to “keep your personal comments in check” When I’m addressing a point of discussion. He brought it up. It’s pretty amazing that you felt the need to point out that “more than anything @Chuck Eggen is allowed his own opinion. You don’t say? And here I thought he was more than free to say whatever he likes? In fact, it seems like he did just that. It amazes me that there is no shortage of Christians whining about people being mean to them when it is made clear how mean they are to others. You seem to take issue with an articulate and unflinching critique of his point of view. AND THAT WAS EXACTLY MY POINT! You need to realize that you live in a world with other people and we’re finally starting to talk back to you.

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    • Chuck Eggen

      Thanks for the reply Drew. Based on your comments I’ve decided to just drop all my beliefs for purely scientific based social issues. Now, if you’ll just point me to actual scientific proof of any of the new social norms I’ll be off to read. God bless you until then.

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    • John Cavan

      No offence Chuck, but the way I read that comment is that you need to be told how to be moral. Not all of us need that.

      For example, not wantonly murdering people is not only in the best interests of said people, it’s also in my best interest as someone may want to do that to me. I don’t need a book to tell me that, it’s simply logical from a pure survival perspective. This is true of many other transgressions. However, if you do actually need books to tell you this, then there are studies in such a thing called “ethics” which do not always need the carrot/stick model of religious afterlife to demonstrate how people could behave.

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    • Drew Pluta

      Ok Chuck,so now this just get’s weirder and weirder. At no point did I mention science and I don’t really know what “I’ve decided to just drop all my beliefs for purely scientific based social issues” even means but, Okay! I’m pretty sure you’re trying to drag me into some kind of dumb Christian “gotcha” conundrums about me not having all the answers and you having them all because, GOD, maybe some Pascals wager and so on, so, cool. Have fun with that. The funny thing is, I’ve got your playbook, it never updates. Mine keeps evolving so you’re kind of at a disadvantage.

      I’m also really confused about what “actual scientific proof of any of the new social norms” means. I’m pretty sure that will remain a mystery. I’m humble enough to admit I don’t speak “jackwit.”

      It’s also pretty telling that I talked about the most devastating consequence of the area of speech and ideas we’re getting into here. My biggest concern is the suffering of other people. It’s a big deal, and the beliefs we all carry around with us matter to each other. You don’t seem to want to address the reality I confronted you with. Just dumb veiled comments that come off as a bit juvenile although I’m not really sure because they were largely incoherent. It’s just astounding to me to have interaction after interaction with Christians who don’t give two shits about human life and suffering unless it’s them and their comfort zone. You clearly care a lot about your comfortable ability to judge others and feel smug about it. But how dare somebody mention the suffering you may be a part of.

      When you are complaining about the death of your religion to last few people who will listen, please continue to be self centered and blame yourself.

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    • Kyle Farris

      Chuck, I’m not going to persecute you for your beliefs–you’re entitled to them as much as anyone their own. I just want to understand what it is you’re not agreeing with or believing in.

      The fact that you don’t agree or believe in “LGBT lifestyles” doesn’t change the fact that they exist. It’d be like not agreeing or believing in black people or geniuses or children. They exist–I’m not sure there’s really anything to debate. Respectfully, I’d like to be proven wrong or at least hear you explanation as to, specifically, what you are morally/theologically grappling with in your mind and heart.

      The Christian belief system says that God loves all his children. He creates people in all shapes, colors, and mindsets. Why would He create a person, born with a desire to love one of the same sex (just the same way your or I desire those of the opposite sex)? Why would He torment His children like that? To ask for forgiveness from him for this “sin” wouldn’t be in earnest and would, effectively, be a sin in and of itself. Would God create a person destined for Hell with no possibility of salvation?

      I was raised Catholic. I’d say I’m, basically, agnostic at this point. I’m honestly expecting a response–I’m not trying to be rude, patronizing, or critical–just want to have an intelligent discussion. In other words, I’m wise enough to know that a forum discussion on a photography blog is not going to change your fundamental belief system, but I do wish to learn more about your viewpoint to better understand others that share it–much like how I’d expect you’d reciprocate.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      @ Kyle Farris,

      I don’t mean to speak for Chuck, but as a Christian I can give you my opinion to try and answer your questions.

      We’re not saying homosexuality doesn’t exist. We’re simply saying by our belief it is an immoral perversion that we don’t agree with and don’t support and fear for our societal decisions. Much like we don’t believe in or support many other immoral decisions/acts that go against our belief and instruction. A true Christian should love and show kindness to all people, homosexual or otherwise. Any so called “Christian” that doesn’t is not following said instruction. However a true Christian should not agree with or support all lifestyles as if God created it that way (You probably disagree with the use of “lifestyle” in that sentence). As you have heard, sin entered the world from the fall and was not in God’s plan. The fall and most of atrocities of this world are due solely to free will. I believe Homosexuality is a physiological/psychological condition stemming from childhood conditions. I know several homosexuals and they all come from unstable homes dealing with divorce (Not saying that’s in all cases). I can’t believe evolutionist are not trying to debunk the “born with” theory.

      The difference with a Christian world view and that of a non-believer is that we have a reference point for our moral belief. I know I’m going off the deep end here and may truly upset some. I’m only trying to communicate. There are many other things that I believe are sexual perversions and could use the “born with” argument. There are people in this world (However sick this sounds), that have sexual relationships with their animal. Who’s to say they aren’t normal and shouldn’t be accepted. There are people in this world attracted to minors. Is either of those normal or accepted by society? Why or why not and how long until it is? Without a moral reference point, who knows where progressivism will take us. “Love is love, right?”. There is a big difference in letting two people love each other, and condoning it as a societal norm wherever that view stems from.

      I wonder how long it will before churches and pastors are going against the law or have people busting down the doors because they refuse to hold a homosexual marriage. The first step will be taking away the tax exempt status.

      I wonder how long it will be before our public schools find it offensive to have male and female bathrooms due to “discrimination”. It’s already happening in California! I also think the first amendment is going to come under scrutiny from the latest ruling. I believe one day for me to even state my religions opinion on the matter could get me in hot water. I don’t buy the “it won’t affect you” argument.

      As American Christians, we believe our country became what it was because of the cause/effect Christian principles it was founded under. Yes, our history has it’s faults (totally different topic), but for the most part I believe this blessed country was due to leadership and a Christian majority. Looking back through history, every society became (in a Christian’s opinion) immoral before it eroded internally.

      Please don’t take my words as hateful. I am in no way a racist, bigoted, angry person that the media and society is trying to make me out to be.

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    • Kyle Farris

      Thanks for your response Kyle (and thanks for keeping it civil–must be a Kyle thing :D).

      I can definitely accept that you feel this way–doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I’m not sure why anyone would be bothered by another’s beliefs as long as those beliefs weren’t affecting their lives negatively in some direct or indirect way.

      Would you be willing to accept that there may actually be some genetic predisposition to homosexuality and that it’s not strictly a social anomaly or a product of a bad up-bringing? There are, in fact, several studies that have been conducted that confirm (and re-confirm according to the scientific method) that there is, at least, a significant correlation between men with the Xq28 gene and their affinity towards homosexuality. (there are links to the actual studes in the article)

      In other words, much like many other human traits, genuine homosexuality may actually be a product of both biology AND culture (if not entirely biological). In fact, it shows up in many other of God’s creatures (dolphins, monkeys, and dogs). I don’t really think these animals are being coerced by the devil nor were sexually-abused as a child. Nature is weird. Sometimes it does weird things. Like… men don’t really have any actual use for nipples… but we have them anyways because it’s part of our genetic makeup. Freckles don’t really serve a purpose. Some people have them. Some don’t. Homosexuality may, in fact, just be another random pattern/genetic anomaly that hasn’t been shutdown or bred out yet.

      I know where you’re coming from. I’m sure there are certainly men and women out there that ‘choose’ to be gay just like people (as we’ve recently seen) choose to be black. Whatever… there’s always going to be people on the fringe of society that are just begging for attention. But, I think (and have some grounds to back it up) that most people that identify as being homosexual, in fact, are just as genetically predispositioned to fancy the same sex as we are to the opposite.

      As far as evolution is concerned, the reason their not trying to debunk it is a simple matter of what you probably learned in high school biology class about mendelian genetics. What it teaches is that one could actually inherit a gene from a distant ancestor or relative. The father doesn’t actually need to be a homosexual for their son to acquire the genes (theoretically) necessary for it. It happens all the time: kids are born with blue eyes when both their parents have brown. Or a red head is born and no one else in the immediate or secondary family has red hair. Also, genes can lie dormant. And, apparently Xq28 is passed through the X chromosome that is passed from the mother’s side anyways.

      It doesn’t anger me that you feel that the ruling last Friday will snowball into allowing polygamy, human-animal marriage, etc… I don’t agree with you that that will happen, but… it is certainly possible. Polygamy, I actually could see becoming a conversation in my lifetime but I think it would take an extraordinary amount of people in this country to accept human-dog marriages, for instance. That’s a bit more off-the-cuff than any human-to-human relationship, I think. BUT… let’s just say, for the sake of discussion that this did happen somehow. I just can’t see how some random weirdos marrying animals would affect me in any way. Or my kids. Or anyone else that doesn’t have this ‘yearning’.

      I think maybe, and correct me if I’m wrong, you feel that homosexuality is actually a contagious syndrome. Are you afraid that you or your kids might “catch the bug” so to speak?

      As for churches, I think they’re pretty safe. I wouldn’t worry about their doors getting knocked down over this. Only churches that are so extremely against it that they become more of a political organization than a religious one (i.e., raising significant capital purely to purchase lobbyists and legislators that will push their religious agenda to affect federal or state policy (politics = policy)) would have anything to worry about. I think it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on, though, for sure. Just remember that the separation of church and state should work both ways. Religious ideals shouldn’t be pushed to the masses by the govn’t and the govn’t should be instructing religious organizations what they can and cannot believe in (or who should be able to be involved in that religion).

      As far as religious persecution… I definitely don’t see you or your church being judged anymore than you already are and have been for the past 2000+ years. The First Amendment is our most-coveted–I don’t see it being tainted easily. I think you’re safe there.

      Also, most of our most-famous founding fathers were not Christians, for the record. The list includes: Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington.

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    • Dave Haynie

      There’s a problem these days with many, primarily far right Christians in the USA… can’t say how this works in non-Christian countries. They have had centuries of religious freedom here, and don’t seem to quite know the bounds of it. So they’re claiming the right to break contracts, discriminate against people in jobs that require them not to do so, etc. as religious freedom. It’s not. They’re expected religious privilege — they think that their religious viewpoint ought to trump US law or even just general good behavior in society.

      Sorry, I’m not falling for that. I liked the photographer’s response here simply because he was in the right, and he could have taken a low road that matched his former clients’, but he didn’t. Yeah, sure, snarky, but snark is sometimes what’s called for. They had contracted for this services, and nothing had changed in his ability to deliver those services. It was all about their bigotry.

      And that’s NOT a Christian thing, that’s their thing. There are plenty of Christian churches that do not attack a person’s in-born sexual orientation as some kind of problem with them. My Uncle Bob was an Episcopal Minister, one of the few clerics I’ve known with true wisdom and not a gram of hate in his bones, and I was quite pleased to see his church has officially sanctioned same-sex marriage.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      In my belief, a marriage is with a man and a woman. I’ve read numerous news articles where same-sex couples want the same rights provided to heterosexual couples: the ability to file tax returns jointly, the ability to visit their partner in a hospital and be considered a family member, insurance beneficiary, etc. I get that and I’m okay with that.

      I don’t know if the states could have defused the situation that led to the Supreme Court decision by creating a civil union that provides recognition for taxes, health, inheritance and other legal purposes.

      I don’t know if this leads to a slippery slope in regards to religion or not. I’m not Catholic, but let’s take Catholics as an example. The leader of the Catholic Church is the Pope, who leads from Vatican City, Italy. Will same-sex couples want to be married in their religion, even if their religion doesn’t recognize it? Will that be the next lawsuit? What can the US do to force the Vatican to marry same-sex couples?

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    • Ben Silverstein

      @Kyle Stauffer,

      Yours is just another in a long line of diatribes that wind up making the participants feel justified in their opinions but not changing anyone’s mind. If blog posts could change someone’s opinion on something, it couldn’t be a very strongly-held opinion to begin with.

      Let me start by pointing out that if you had been born in Saudi Arabia, you would be bowing to Mecca five times a day instead of praising Jesus. Religion and its beliefs are geographical. That being said, I’m really tired of people hiding their bigotry behind their religious “beliefs.” Maybe you just don’t realize that you’re bigots, just like many people that complain about Obama don’t realize they’re racist.

      Kyle, you say that your faith gives you a moral “reference point.” That is a load of crap. There isn’t anything in the bible that wasn’t around thousands of years before. I love how you make the connection between homosexuality and bestiality, like one has anything to do with the other. You do it purely for shock value. To make it clear, some people may have sexual relations with animals, but they don’t have sexual “relationships.” Animals are not capable of entering into a relationship. I heard an interview with an older member of Congress who freely discussed having sex with various farm animals in his youth when a human partner wasn’t available. He is a heterosexual, married grandfather and a right-wing Christian. He couldn’t understand why anyone thought there was anything wrong with it!

      You blather on about “the fall” and what a “true Christian” should do and how everything wrong with the world comes from free will. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, “Do you know why you have free will? Because you can’t NOT have it!” You are so fond of blaming free will for every problem, but acknowledge that it came from god. Well, that was a genius move, wasn’t it? Sin wasn’t in god’s plan? So much for omniscience. This all-powerful creator of everything is powerless before our personal choices? How’s that omnipotence working out for you, big guy?

      You also throw in paedophilia for good measure; can’t leave that out, now, can we? Of course, all homosexuals are child molesters. Everyone knows that. Except the people who actually compile the data on such things. Which you would know if you had ever done any research on any of the nonsense that comes out of your religion-addled brain. People are born homosexual. It’s not a “lifestyle decision” and one’s upbringing has nothing to do with it. The instability of a home life may come from the parents’ unwillingness to accept their child’s sexual preference, but it doesn’t work the other way around.

      And then you throw in the persecution of the majority for good measure. That 70% of the country is in real danger. Nobody is going to break down church doors and force anyone to marry a same-sex couple. Your religious liberties guaranteed by that secular document, the Constitution, guarantees that. You just love playing the victim, though. Obviously you don’t understand the difference between the terms marriage and wedding. A wedding is a church service to celebrate a legal union that can’t take place without a license and whatever other stipulations there are in that state. There are some counties that have stopped issuing marriage licenses to ANYBODY just so they don’t have to do so for gay couples. How adult.

      If you think that this country was founded on “Judeo/Christian” values, you don’t know anything about the subject. Most of the founding fathers were deists, not Christians. Some were Christians. Some had no belief. The Treaty of Tripoli, drafted during Washington’s administration and signed by Adams, stated that the United States was “in no way founded on the Christian religion.” When a treaty is signed, it becomes the law of the land, as if it were in the Constitution itself. This is not a Christian country, it is a secular country with a majority of Christian citizens. Thankfully, that number is dropping like a lead balloon thanks to people like you.

      You don’t like the idea of unisex bathrooms, but there have been co-ed dorms for decades. Separate bathrooms aren’t discriminatory, just convenient. And people don’t choose to be gay, they’re born that way. Why would someone in their right mind voluntarily choose a life of bullying, physical abuse and discrimination? Funny how it seems that the ones who complain the loudest wind up in the headlines for doing things far worse than loving someone of their own gender. How many times have the men who rail the loudest against homosexual conduct, namely anal sex, tried to convince their wives to engage in the same activity? Or gone online searching for lesbian porn? Evangelicals have the highest divorce rate of any group, and the states with the highest consumption of pornography are the most religious. States that advocate abstinence-only education have the highest teen pregnancy (and repeat pregnancy) numbers and the most reported cases of STDs. Do you see a pattern here?

      It’s probably not a stretch to imagine that you don’t accept evolution by natural selection as the fact it is. Yes, fact. “Theory” in science means something far different than an idea or hypothesis. So the Earth is only 6-10,000 years old and Satan put the fossils there to test our faith? Please. Even if you don’t realize how foolish that sounds, just stop embarrassing yourself by saying it. And there is evidence (not a popular thing with Christians, I know) of homosexual behavior in more than a hundred different species of animals. Did they “fall” too? Or are they exercising their free will?

      Now I will admit that I would like to do away with the tax exempt status of religious organizations. All of them. If we could just put the property owned by churches back on the tax rolls, we could pay off the national debt and the number of people that go hungry wouldn’t increase at all. The words “prosperity” and “gospel” should never be combined, but that is exactly what some pastors advocate. And what about the thousand or so churches who sent videos to the IRS of them advocating for political candidates from the pulpit on “Justice Sunday” in clear violation of the law, daring them to do something about it? Should they retain their tax exemption? (Nothing happened to any of them, btw.)

      As to your fear for the First Amendment, relax. The Supreme Court doesn’t go looking for causes to champion. It only rules on the constitutionality of cases brought before it by persons with standing to do so. And then only the ones it chooses to hear.

      So, besides your protestations to the contrary, you are in fact an angry, hateful, (possibly) racist (and most likely) homophobe. You’re clearly not a progressive, which likely means you’re a regressive. And you’re not trying to communicate, you’re preaching.

      I’d love to stay and chat, but I’ve got to go binge-watch the latest season of “Orange is the New Black.”

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  11. Pye

    I think it’s important to state here that these articles are the opinions of our writers and not SLR Lounge as a whole, and while I agree that we should serve all clients equally, I don’t believe that this was a “masterclass on how to respond.” You may be able to say that it was a “masterclass on how to create a viral conversation.” But, when dealing with discrimination and bigotry (something I have dealt with a lot in my personal life), the best course of action is rarely if ever to pour gasoline on the fire. But it’s a story worth sharing, discussing and learning from. I feel like his clients were completely in the wrong to state they wished to fire him, and I am in complete agreement with the photographers standpoint on the subject. I believe that as photographers it is our job to love and respect our clients equally. But, his words were nothing but inflammatory (and perhaps they were designed that way intentionally for viral marketing purposes, in which case they are crafted quite well). However, personally I would hope that those that I work with can demonstrate love and care for everyone, despite their differences and beliefs; unfortunately that is not what his response showed. He had an opportunity to show respect and care despite the situation, an opportunity to take a higher road, but instead his response was quite belittling and inflammatory. It’s not to say that he is wrong, I simply think that there are much better ways to approach the situation. But, to each their own.

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    • Dennis Rogers

      Kudos Pye. A letter like the photographer wrote in this situation might have been my first written response (sans the grammar mistakes, which serves to lessen the overall impact). However, it would not have been the response that I actually sent. Often times the greatest impact we as individuals receive is when someone who disagrees with us does so respectfully and thoughtfully. Responding respectfully can immediately lower walls and ratchet down some resistance. I understand the initial angry response. I really do. My own work can be quite stressful at times and, during those times, a written response that is not sent helps to blow off steam, can help to show me how stupid I look when I don’t stop to think, but can also help to clarify certain thoughts in my head so that the final response is better thought out and less emotional.

      As for you, my apologies that you have faced any such bigotry in your own personal life. I think what you and your partners have created in terms of your studio and in terms of giving back your knowledge through this site and through your tutorials is quite monumental. And I know it has taken untold hours of incredibly hard work and lots of talent. If part of your goal was to raise the level of absolutely everyone’s photography, I think you have succeeded in many ways and continue to do so.

      Very best wishes going forward.

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    • John Cavan

      I will admit that I assumed it was Kishore’s take on the story…

      In terms of your comments, I will have to say that you may be the better man than I in this regard. I’ve come to a point in my life where I just won’t be anything but blunt on the subject as I don’t know that according respect to bigotry does anything other than validate it in their eyes.

      In any event, I do agree that I think this has become more of a publicity stunt than a real statement and that lessens the value of it. He could have sent exactly that message, with that exact intent, taught the lesson he desired, and moved on. The more I think about it, I think his real mistake was the decision to make it public, not that he chose to lead with an uppercut.

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    • Jimmy Arcade

      Well said, Pye! My biggest problem with this article is the fact that it deceptively leads you to believe that the author is going to share some wisdom about how to tactfully, lovingly, and yet boldly respond to this type of scenario.

      Since I get notifications from SLR Lounge, when I clicked on the link in FB, the first thing I see is this photographer’s “client” (for lack of a better word) declining the services that they initially paid down on, due to a conflict with their religious beliefs. I don’t get it, I don’t agree, and I think it’s short-sighted of them, but that’s their choice as to who and what organizations they support. Then, I see the response from the photographer and, while it got a good belly laugh out of me, it was an attempt to belittle the client, in a way that was somewhat passive-aggressive, very condescending, and unprofessional. I thought, “oh, that must be the bad example designed to get everyone’s attention, so that they are enticed to continue on through the link and read the article”. Not quite…

      So, I read the rest of the article and much to my surprise, it’s nothing more than a short commentary, assigning praise to the photographer for the “handling a negative situation with grace”. There was nothing gracious about that response. And to say that there was “more than enough kindness to squash it”, is clearly nothing more than a huge bias in favor of the photographer. Again, there’s nothing kind about the response. While the author of an article is always going to have some bias, is typically a more compelling read when the author can try to reserve bias and see the situations from both perspectives.

      The photographer’s response comes across as if the photographer is trying to sound like they are in control, intentionally portraying a sense of patience and calmness, but behind the scenes it seems more like a burning frustration that has led the photographer to undermine the client and use sarcasm to express some sense of superiority over them. Then, the coup de grace is throwing the whole thing in the face of the client, by informing them that their money is going to support a gay right’s organization, which they clearly don’t support. While I personally think that would normally be a noble gesture, it is clear that the gesture the photographer is making is designed to rub salt in the wound, which he clearly meant to open in the first place.

      Bad form, at the very least, if you ask me.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      I agree with you. Pouring gasoline on a fire is never a good idea. One can get burned in the process.

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  12. Charles Putnam

    The client’s initial email was a bit terse. However, in my own personal opinion, the photographers response was less than gracious, and perhaps a bit snarky.

    I don’t shoot weddings (I’ve had my fill of bridezillas). But I do hold to a biblical worldview. If asked to shoot a same-sex wedding, I’d graciously decline. There’s a big difference between nicely saying no (which most photographers I know who hold the same worldview would do) and being a jerk.

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    • John Cavan

      I have to admit, I’ve lost interest in giving bigotry a pass simply because the origin of it is religious. Would you be so opposed to his response if she cancelled the contract because he photographed inter-racial marriages and she felt that violated her beliefs around marriage?

      The religious defence has been used before and, frankly, is no more valid today than it was then.

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  13. Ben Perrin

    Sorry I’ve seen plenty of people liking this guy’s posts over the last few days and I haven’t seen anything professional in the way he is handling the matter. Publicly taking a retainer and putting it towards a cause that is clearly the reason why someone cancelled your services seems childish. And yes, the woman was snarky first so I don’t really feel sorry for her. This guy is just milking the publicity wave for his own benefit.

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    • Giuseppe Pipia

      Well isn’t it smart? Sure he has lost perhaps the people who are homophobic enough to force other people to think like they do, but for sure he has gained the attention of many other people who just think alike, not only nationwide, but worldwide! I for example saw the original post because a friend of mine (Italian), liked it first, and then she proceeded to like the page. And he can do anything he wants with (now) his money, and he thought that donating to that very cause would be a good enough slap in the client’s face for receding a contract when there was no actual reason to do so.

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    • Ben Perrin

      Yes I agree that from a marketing and visibility perspective this is probably a very smart move. He has probably gained many followers from those posts. I also have no problems with him giving the money away as it is a retainer and could be spent how he saw fit. The issue I had was with the manner that he did it. Like you said it’s a slap in the clients face doing it in the manner he did (publicly on facebook) and it certainly wasn’t an excellent example of how to handle the matter like the title of the article suggests. I certainly wouldn’t want to handle a client this way and if I was a potential customer of this photographer I would have detected alarm bells reading that post.

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  14. John Cavan

    I don’t know what her issue is, I’m sure most of us support marriage between a man and woman, nothing wrong with that at all… In fact, I would imagine the photographer has made a fair bit of money over the years supporting it. Not sure why that need be in doubt just because somebody also supports marriage between two men or between two women…

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  15. Tara Reeson

    What if the photographer’s view was that of the client’s in this situation? Is there a tactful way for a photographer to tell a client that they are happy to shoot a same sex marriage but that they are religious and it may affect their artistic viewpoint while shooting just slightly? I wouldn’t want someone to shoot my wedding if they weren’t excited for me. Just curious as to what thoughts are on that.

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    • Tara Reeson

      Is this comment not approved? It seems to have been waiting for moderation for a while. Not sure as I am new to this website and commenting. thanks.

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    • Giuseppe Pipia

      If a client would show up and I have different views than he/she has and the roles had been inverted as you just said, it’s perfectly fine for you to deny your service. You are the one deciding the clients you want to shoot. For sure for best results you should shoot the people whom you are most comfortable with. But there’s no need to tell ALL the truth to the client: just simply ask when their event will be held, to say for example that you’re already booked on that day, being vague. If they ask, you should have sort of a list of “plausible” polite lies. And perhaps you could offer to help them find another photographer for example. At least that’s what I would do if my ideas are not the same of the people asking me to shoot their event, whether would it be political, dietary or whatever other reason you could think of. Hope it helps!

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    • John Sheehan

      From talking to other professionals in other U.S. states, there are laws that vary from state to state. Some photographers will create a reason (“I’m sorry, I’m booked for those dates.”) not to work with someone they feel aren’t a good fit for whatever reason. In other states it’s hard to do that. Take the news stories about bakers who wouldn’t make a cake for gay weddings. The are states that will fine a business for refusing service to someone based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. I know a few photographers in Oregon who are not turning down anything because one business got socked with a $100K fine or judgment.

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  16. Colin Woods

    I agree, I would probably have been a sight ruder. But a nicely calculated yet tactful insult is perfect here as it will get a lot more support than the empty conditioned response from the sender, and shows the photographer to be way ahead, both intellectually and morally, of the sender.

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  17. Timothy Going

    I don’t know…seems way to snarky and in your face to me. I agree that they should not have to repay the retainer, but it didn’t seem like the most tactful way to handle that situation. If it was my business I would have just kindly pointed them to the contract and said sorry that it didn’t work out.

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    • Barry Cunningham

      Responding to bigotry does not merit tact.

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    • Timothy Going

      Yeah but fighting fire with fire isn’t a good business strategy. Yes, obviously this client was never going to use the photographer again. And I do agree with the comments below that this probably had a lot to do with seizing a marketing opportunity. But for us normal businesses its a fine line to walk in responding to rude and angry clientele.

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    • Max Zbarskiy

      While I think the clients could have just cancelled without making a public scene as a sign of courtesy, the photographer’s response was just as bad as their original post. Instead of simply stating “I’m sorry to hear that, but there are no refunds on the retainer”, the photographer chose to act unprofessionally and proceeded to mock the clients as to how he plans to spend their payment.

      As far as bigotry this and that. Just because someone does not agree with your opinion does not make them a bigot. Tolerance goes both ways.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      I agree, passive aggressive behavior is no way for a business to act. It was very childish, and I find it really embarrassing for SLR lounge to be touting it as some kind of .. victory or whatever against bigotry.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      It shows potential gay marriage customers their pro stance and gives them a huge thumbs up from the community.

      It was a smart move to get their name a higher profile in a demographic where the market is about to be flooded with new marriage photography opportunities.

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  18. Colin Woods

    Fantastic reply to the narrow minded sender. Max respect to this guy and his company.

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    • Richard Joe-Leonn

      I don’t support gay marriage that’s not to say I don’t love homosexuals I just don’t love homosexuality. If a gay couple asked me to shoot their wedding and offered a great deal of money. “What is it if I gain the world and lose my soul”. There is not enough money to compromise my belief and my faith.

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    • Stephen Jennings

      If photographing two people in love would tarnish your soul.. I think your soul might already have issues. Just saying.

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