Skip to main content

Neurodivergent Wedding Photography

I’ll let you in on a secret that’s probably really apparent to most people who meet me in the flesh;  I’m probably autistic. At this point in my life though I don’t really see the point in getting assessed. My boss has pretty much come to terms with my weird ways of working and strange obsessions*.

I think a degree of neurodiversity is very common across the self employed and creative industries. For one, we don’t really fit in very well in a standard working environment. I for one certainly felt like a square peg in a round hole in the 210 different jobs I had before discovering photography.

Secondly, to be a photographer / writer /  musician you really need to be the sort of person who becomes obsessed, often thinking in a different way or recognising patterns that others don’t see. Ask any wedding photographer and they’ll also tell you how they can either hyper focus on editing, or marketing – or how some days it is the exact opposite.

I also have a wife and children who each hold their own place across the Autistic and ADHD spectrum. So as a parent I have done a lot of training on the subject (which is probably why I recognise the traits in myself). Obviously you’re going to want to surround yourself with understanding professionals – whether that’s celebrants, planners or photographers / videographers / content creators.

(NB: You don’t have to have all, or any, of the above)

Here are some tips on finding a good neurodivergent wedding photographer (although I think you could probably find one pretty easily, especially amongst the ones I’ve met) and planning a neurodivergent friendly wedding day.

*joke

Two Brides Tipi Wedding

“I believe that autistic people have a unique way of looking at the world, which can be incredibly valuable.”

John Elder Robison

What to look for in a photographer for a neurodivergent wedding

I’d be looking for someone who has experience with Neurodivergent clients. A photographer who plans well to take the stress out of the day. I’d be wanting a photographer with flexibility and who doesn’t work in a fixed way.

I’d be looking for someone who understands sensory sensitivities, and what they mean. A photographer who can ‘read the room’  – realise when things are getting too much, and, if necessary, create a low stimulation atmosphere.

Most importantly I’d be looking for someone who lets you be yourself and doesn’t override your comfort and desires to make the wedding day / photography fit in with traditional wedding values.

So with that in mind, have a think about what you need. And thing about what you could change about a traditional wedding day?

Do you want or need wedding portraits on your day? How could these be made easier?

Do you need group / formal photos? Could these be minimised?

Do you want a photographer about all day, or just for key moments?

What sort of photography style appeals to you. Could you use a reportage / documentary photographer to minimise PhotofaffTM on the day

Best Man giving speech at Rugby Club Wedding

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let your photographer know about your neurodivergent preferences

As the famous saying goes ‘If you’ve met one autistic person, then you’ve met one autistic person’. We all have different needs and preferences. So please communicate with your vendors any triggers and sensitivities. Let us know if there are situations / environments or even materials you would like to avoid. The more we know the better we can work together to make the day run seamlessley.

Bride having her veil arranged on hte wedding morning Documentary wedding photography by Simon Dewey

Non- Photography Tips for planning a Neurodivergent Wedding

Schedule breaks for decompression:

I’m a big one for scheduling breaks and baggy time wherever possible on your wedding day. Whether it’s time you want to spend with family and friends, or some precious time away from them. It’s important to leave gaps in the schedule where nothing is expected to happen.

I really would give that advice to everyone.

Create Quiet Zones

Especially in the evening, having quiet zones where guests can go if they’re feeling overwhelmed. You may want to opt for softer lighting and lower music volume throughout the venue. There’s a great sensory friendly wedding here  

 

Use visual schedules and clear signage

Have visual aids to let people know about the schedule of the day. If it’s a large venue  – give good indications of where things are taking place throughout the day.

Consider a smaller, more intimate ceremony

Maybe you’d find it easier if there wasn’t a large crowd. Smaller, more intimate weddings are becoming quite popular, especially after the pandemic (where more couples realised that this was an option).

Use the aids that you normally would to keep comfortable

There’s no reason not to use fidget toys, ear defenders or other sensory aids to help you feel comfortable on your big day. These aids can help you stay focused and in the moment.

Remember – it’s Your special day

I hope this helps, and I hope you and your partner plan a day that feels right to you and that you will remember fondly. A wedding that let’s you be comfortable and be your authentic selves. If there’s anything I’ve missed please let me know, and if you’re looking for a wedding photographer give me a shout.

About me

I feel I’ve already talked quite a bit more about me than usual – I’m a Derbyshire wedding photographer. I also spend a lot of time with my young family and often also do documentary family photography around Derbyshire and the Peak District.