Why Photographers are Adding Pronouns to Their Business

It’s no secret that the tech industry has reshaped how society behaves – technology impacts everything from the way we gather information, communicate with others, and operate our businesses, to everything in between.

With this in mind, the industry creating these ground-breaking solutions must represent the society that uses it so readily – and currently, it does not.

Sprout Studio is a CRM and gallery software made for professional photographers who want to grow their businesses. At the time of writing this article, we are the only CRM that offers custom pronoun fields in our software.

Simply having this feature and acknowledging its existence is not enough; we felt a responsibility to help educate our community on the importance of pronouns and to encourage their usage, not only in your photography business but in your everyday life.

This article is intended to help you:

  • Understand the significance of pronoun usage in business and society
  • Cultivate a safe and inclusive environment for your clients, where all identities are welcome

As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to understand why including and honouring personal pronouns in your business is important. You create the foundation for an inclusive environment and it starts with awareness – so kudos to you for taking the first step by reading this!

Gender Identity in Society

It’s common to perceive a person’s gender based on outward appearances like their hairstyle, clothing, or mannerisms. However, it’s also common that our interpretation of how someone presents themselves externally is not aligned with their true gender identity.

Gender is a social construction that people typically describe in terms of femininity and masculinity. While this social construct varies across different cultures, the terms “sex” and “gender” are often interchangeably misused. A person’s sex and gender identity do not have to be the same, so it’s important to know the difference between the two.

A person typically has their sex assigned to them at birth based on physiological characteristics, which is called a person’s “natal sex.” Unlike natal sex, gender is not divided along binary lines.

Gender is a broad spectrum that a person may identify at any point within, or entirely outside of. People may identify with genders that are different from their natal sex, with multiple genders, or with none at all. Some of these identities may include transgender, nonbinary, or agender, just to name a few.

Gender identity is internal; only the person themselves can determine what their gender identity is. This means that we don’t know a person’s correct pronouns by simply looking at them, we are assuming them.

Gender also exists in social constructs of gender “roles” or “norms.” These are the socially constructed roles, behaviors, and attributes that a society considers appropriate for men and women. When individuals stand out from or oppose these traditional gender norms, they often feel scrutinized and unaccepted in a society that has not yet made room for them.

How Media Reinforces Gender Norms

The prevalence of society’s gender binary mindset is also reflected in our media. There are countless examples of jokes at the expense of those who are gender non-conforming in pop culture, which only further reinforces the binary way many of us think about gender.

For example, Saturday Night Live’s It’s Pat (1994), the film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), and Tyler Perry’s “Medea” all reinforce society’s adherence to strongly held gender norms by placing androgynous characters (who do not visually conform to accepted male or female standards) as the center of the joke.

The same is seen for the transgender community. In movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) in which the title character, played by Jim Carrey, is so disgusted with himself for kissing a transwoman that he becomes physically ill. Or in The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) when the protagonist, played by Steve Carrell, rejects a transwoman and describes her to his friends as inhuman and repulsive. Both are comedic movies that use gender norms as the basis for humor.

There are many more examples similar to these seen throughout pop culture and society, where the prevalence of gendered assumptions and the display of transgendered characters are used for comedic purposes.

How do we expect those who do not identify with traditional gender norms to feel accepted if we do not give them proper representation – in pop culture and in business?

Pronouns in the Workplace

A standard form of mutual respect – for anyone – is to recognize a person by their chosen name. If you were to continuously call someone by the wrong name during a shoot, it is likely they would feel unacknowledged and unwelcomed.

The same can be said for pronoun use. Transgender and gender non-conforming people may be subject to misunderstanding, bias, and discrimination simply because they identify with pronouns that they weren’t born with.

There needs to be room in the workplace for both employees and clients to state their pronouns so others can acknowledge and respect them accordingly. Similar to the way we state our preferred names in emails, business cards, name tags, etc.

It’s important to properly gender your clients to avoid being hurtful, disrespectful, or discriminatory. The experience of accidentally misgendering someone can make both parties embarrassed, create tension, and limit communication – none of which make for a healthy client experience.

Cultivating a business (and society) that readily asks for and provides pronouns is one committed to inclusion, acceptance, and an understanding that gender identity is internal and not based on the perception of someone’s expression.

LGBTQ+ allies understand the importance of practicing gender-inclusive pronouns such as they/them/theirs in their business. Some clients may even have an expectation. When you include your pronouns in your emails, contact forms, website, and other areas in your Sprout Studio account, you are saying to potential clients that you will not make assumptions about their gender identity and that you accept non-traditional gender norms.

So, Why Add Pronouns to Your Photography Business?

Photographers seeking to be inclusive must be aware of the importance that pronouns hold for the progress of their business, the industry, and society at large. The bottom line is: everyone deserves to have their identity respected, especially in a professional and often vulnerable setting such as a photoshoot.

Being a photographer is about capturing someone else’s story and individuality. Your best shots are when clients are able to stay true to who they are. In front of a camera, you can’t hide, and if you’re uncomfortable – it shows.

Photographers take many other aspects of personal comfort into consideration; you wouldn’t want to shoot family portraits in -20° degree weather or ask your client to do a boudoir shoot when they booked a portrait. You want your clients to feel comfortable, so why wouldn’t you do everything you could to make that happen?

Clients who know they can share all of themselves, including their gender identity, will better provide the authentic moments that photographers strive to capture. When someone shows no signs of gender inclusivity in their business/website/portfolio, especially with the added pressures from societal ideologies, clients may limit how open they are willing to be.

When potential clients see pronouns listed on your website, email, etc., it tells them “I welcome and accept you, no matter your gender identity”. Taking the time to ask clients for their proper pronouns shows them you want to respect their preferred form of address and helps normalize the use of pronouns overall.

When pronouns aren’t listed, how can gender non-conforming clients tell the difference between a photographer who wants to be an ally and just hasn’t gotten around to including their pronouns yet – or a photographer who purposefully didn’t add them out of hostility?

Additionally, clients who are allies of the LGBTQ+ community may look for photographers who demonstrate compassion and understanding – the best and easiest way to do this is by including pronouns where you can.

Just as we encourage you to add pronouns to your Sprout Studio account, we encourage you to continue learning about perspectives that may differ from how society has taught you to see the world.

And after all, you are a photographer – you know how important perspective can be.

Empowering Sprout Users with Pronouns

So, we’ll leave you with this; don’t add your pronouns because it’s good for your business, do it because it benefits the progress of our society toward a more inclusive, welcoming, and compassionate space for all humans to be just that – human.

Written by <br>Lauren and Jules
Written by
Lauren and Jules

Lauren and Julianna collaborate together to share insight and knowledge on various business and social topics.

Written by <br>Lauren and Jules
Written by
Lauren and Jules

Lauren and Julianna collaborate together to share insight and knowledge on various business and social topics.

SEEDS TO SUCCESS

Weekly actionable business tips for photographers

Workflows

Sick of drowning in admin tasks?

admin tasks

Sick of drowning in admin tasks?

reports & analytics

Time to stop guessing and start growing.

galleries

Elevate your photography with stunning galleries.

ambassadors

Earn as a photography ambassador.

scheduler

Streamline your photography schedule.

INDUSTRY REPORT

The Photographer's 2024 Industry Report. Out now.

SPROUT AI

Create questionnaires for clients in seconds.

SPROUT AI

Stop wasting your time writing emails.

Sprout AI: Questionnaires

Create questionnaires for clients in seconds.

Effortlessly design tailored client questionnaires with Sprout AI, the world’s first AI questionnaire builder for photographers. Say goodbye to the hours spent drafting and revising what to say – transform your client interactions now!

Sprout AI: EMAILS

Stop wasting your time writing emails.

Elevate your communication game with Sprout AI. Craft compelling emails in your unique brand voice, effortlessly and efficiently! With a click of a button, you can spend more time doing what you love – photography.

INDUSTRY REPORT

The Photographer's 2024 Industry Report. Out now.

We sent out a survey to thousands of professional photographers to better understand how the first half of 2023 was looking for them and what they were thinking about, worried about and excited about moving into 2024. See what they had to say.

2024 Industry Report print out for Professional Photographers
SEEDS TO SUCCESS

Weekly actionable business tips for photographers

Success in photography is 80% business and 20% photography. Easier said than done, right? It’s ok – you just haven’t had the right systems, habits and strategies. That’s about to change. Join Seeds to Success and every Thursday morning, I’ll email you with 1 specific business tip to help you move the needle in your business.

Workflows

Sick of drowning in admin tasks?

Photographers, don’t let admin tasks dim your creativity. Sprout Studio’s automation and customizable workflows can set you free. Let Sprout Studio take care of the heavy lifting. Sign up for our free trial and rediscover the joy of photography.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography All-in-one CRM
ADMIN TASKS

Sick of drowning in admin tasks?

Photographers, don’t let admin tasks dim your creativity. Sprout Studio’s automation and customizable workflows can set you free. Let Sprout Studio take care of the heavy lifting. Sign up for our free trial and rediscover the joy of photography.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography CRM
Reports & Analytics

Time to stop guessing and start growing.

Sprout Studio’s analytics, email marketing, and automation can elevate your photography business. Sign up for our free trial and take the first step towards success.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography Business Insights
Galleries

Elevate your photography with stunning galleries.

Present your work in the best light with our advanced gallery software. Showcase your creativity and connect with your audience like never before. Experience the power of visual storytelling today.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography Proofing Galleries
Scheduler

Streamline your photography schedule.

Tired of juggling appointments and bookings? Our scheduler features are designed to simplify your life. Spend less time managing schedules and more time capturing moments. Try our scheduler today and take control of your time.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography Scheduler
Ambassadors

Spread the love and earn as a photography ambassador.

Calling all photographers! Want to turn your passion into earnings? Join our ambassador program and share your love for photography. Not only do you get to be a part of an inspiring community, but you also have the chance to make money doing what you love.

Sprout Studio Professional Photography Client Portal
Share this article
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Related Posts

14-days of awesomeness, on us!

14-days of awesomeness, on us!

#1 SIGNUP
#2 CONFIRMATION

Let's create your free trial account

Sprout users make double the money and get back 28 hours each week. See the difference for yourself…

Already have an account? Log in

This site is protected by SSL. Privacy policy and terms of service apply.

#1 SIGNUP
#2 CONFIRMATION
Black Friday Exclusive

Let's create your free trial account

And during Black Friday week, sign up for an annual plan and save 25%. Learn more.

Already have an account? Log in

This site is protected by SSL. Privacy policy and terms of service apply.

See how Sprout looks and feels

Book a complimentary 1-on-1 demo call with our team or watch a pre-recorded demo now!

Select “Sprout Studio Demo Call” to start.

Prefer not to wait?

#1 WELCOME
#2 SIGN-UP
#3 CONFIRMATION

Save 20% with your friend's coupon!

Hey there! When you sign-up now, you receive 20% off all annual and monthly plans in Sprout Studio – a studio management suite built for photographers by photographers.

With Sprout Studio, you can stay organized, give your clients a seamless experience, get more done, and now SAVE BIG because of your friend!

Get started

or

Already have an account? Log in

This site is protected by SSL. Privacy policy and terms of service apply.

Step 1 of 8