Gay Pride

posted on 6th of september, 2007

I have written about certain demographic groups that are important to marketers and advertisers. One of these is the gay and lesbian population. Figures show that approximately 10% of any population falls into the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender group. It is important to authentically represent any group when you photograph them.
The US gay community is one that has a very high average family income of over $100,000 with single members averaging around $80,000 in the US. Many in the group travel extensively for business and vacation. Over 70% hold a valid passport in the US while only 25% of the general US population has passports.

What do these figures tell us? If you want to represent this demographic in your images, you should include images that imply travel or that are in a popular travel destination as there is a large demand for these images for sites that are geared to the gay/lesbian audience seeking travel tips. See
A certain percentage of the GLBT group is in committed relationships with young children at home. A large percentage of the gay and lesbian population are heads of household. Gay families should be photographed in the same fashion as straight families: interaction with their children, getting them off to school, having family meals and vacations. Images of gay couples can show positive and healthy relationships in fun settings. Show gay weddings, vacations, family life and just great shots of couples shopping, partying and around the house. Sexual orientation is personal matter and just as we have images of straight people in all aspects of life, so shall we show the gay community. An over-reliance on stereotypes can mark your images as not authentic.

Don’t just concentrate on shooting images of the more outrageous of the out. And just because people are gay, doesn’t mean that you have to always depict them kissing or that the only images of gay males have to be homoerotic. I have a gay friend who once said to me, “Why do the only photos I see of gay people on stock sites always show them in intimate situations? Just like everyone else, there is a lot more to my life than sex.”
© Kirza (Help)
© Leaf (Help)

I know that this subject will be a controversial one. Therefore I ask that you keep your comments respectful. We are a community site and have the obligation and right to address all members of our community and all image needs that are in the marketplace. And if you are gay...get your friends and family members together and plan a photo shoot.
Demographic references:

History of the Rainbow Flag

Comments (14)

Comment by Ellenboughn on December 20, 2007

Yep I double checked and the same sex images were part of the review we needed to do. They should be back up online shortly.

Comment by Artchick on December 19, 2007

Thanks for the update, Ellen. A lot of these photos depict such a positive, tender view of same-sex couples, and I'd hate to see them gone from Dreamstime. That kind of diversity is one thing I've always loved about this community of artists and photographers.

Comment by Ellenboughn on December 18, 2007

The disappearance may have something to do with the content filter issues that were being resolved this week.

Comment by Ellenboughn on December 18, 2007

The disappearance may have something to do with the content filter issues that were being resolved this week.

Comment by Artchick on December 17, 2007

Beautiful article, but I have a burning question to ask: why are so many photos depicting gay couples disappearing from Dreamstime? Mr. Stout's image (shown in the post) is gone, along with the following images by various photographers:

Dreamstime.com. ID: 1676020 "Gay Kiss"
Dreamstime.com ID: 2924059 "Male Lovers"
Dreamstime.com ID: 2756552 "Women in Love"

What's going on?

Comment by Msphotographic on October 03, 2007

Hey Ellen, thanks for featuring one of my shots. That one is actually one of my favorites. Not because of the subject matter, but because the emotion in the shot was so real. Someone had said something funny and we were all rolling on the floor laughing. fortunately I was able to stop laughing before the models did and get the shot.

Seems there are a few good laughs in every photo shoot. That one just played out particularly well.

Photography is a fun business. People are precious. I try to work with models from all age groups and walks of life. Capturing all of the different emotions, passions, ambitions and lifestyles that we each bring to the mix is something I consider myself honored to be able to do.

Comment by Tracytmlpub on September 11, 2007

I find it interesting how our society is slowly coming to terms with this demographic that has been taboo for way too long. BUT, our awareness & acceptance of the gay & lesbian community is becoming more welcoming then, lets say, different races. Thank you Ellen for making us aware that we need more stock images reflecting these people.

Comment by Asw4303 on September 08, 2007

Very eloquently stated. I agree that there are not enough beautiful family portraits of different lifestyles. One day [soon], I hope it will be more commonplace. =)

Comment by Qiwoman01 on September 08, 2007

"Sexual orientation is personal matter and just as we have images of straight people in all aspects of life, so shall we show the gay community"
Thank you SO much for you article, Ellen !

Comment by Photojay on September 08, 2007

This plays into our 'niche' as photographers. There are some of us (namely...well..me) that has access to military type shots. It is obvious that our government has a huge defense budget that includes government contractors, so there are print advertising dollars out there to be had also. For those who spend time in or near these niche markets it will be easier for those people to take those types of photographs. So, whether it is the gay community or military, the part that is relevant is the part that each individual has access to. I have about as much access to gay couples as I do to attractive models, so neither of these markets pertain to me. Doing market research must be done within this context, it doesn't matter if you are selling RF Stock or automobiles. Some of us are shooting images that are like Porsches and some of us are shooting Kias. There is a market out there for both. What there is NOT a market out there for is Studebakers. lol.

Comment by Sebcz on September 07, 2007

A good read, thank you. Probably getting MR's for such shots is not very easy...

Comment by Vipescap on September 07, 2007

Well put!

Comment by Shazie28 on September 07, 2007

Well said! Thank you for putting this in the lime-light! You have hit it right on the nose.

Comment by Pixelgnome on September 06, 2007

Excellent article with good insight. It's often difficult to find images of gay couples or groups of friends that accurately represent the community. Thanks for the input and information.

Comments (14)

This article has been read 3348 times.
Photo credits: Badboo, Hugo Maes, Kirill Zdorov, Msphotographic.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

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