Wedding Photographer Shares the Sexist Things Men Do to Her

Wedding photography is already a physically and emotionally demanding job, but one woman is speaking out about an aspect of her work that is infrequently discussed: various levels of on-site mistreatment and sexual harassment.

The Photographer’s Post on Instagram Goes Viral

Kim Williams, a wedding photographer and videographer based in Brighton, United Kingdom, has taken to Instagram to share some of the negative experiences her job has brought her in the past year. Although it was a difficult topic to open up about and Williams felt her clients would be “mortified” to know they took place, she felt she had to speak out to start the conversation about the treatment of wedding vendors like herself.

In short, she says that regular instances of harassment are commonplace.

In one particularly troubling episode, Williams was physically assaulted while wedding attendees danced.

“Working a job that requires you to be around large groups of cis-het men and alcohol means that this kinda stuff happens at about 80% of the weddings I shoot,” she writes in her Instagram post. “I was grabbed around the neck on the dance floor after two guys had been increasingly harassing me all day, I ran outside, breathed through a panic attack, returning to shoot the rest of the night five mins later with a smile on my face and no one any the wiser…’what can I do?'”

Besides physical and verbal aggression, being touched without consent, regular requests for her phone number, and inappropriate questions about her personal life, Williams has also been dismissed as a working professional, particularly when she works alongside a male colleague.

Because of the job, wedding photographers feel the need to “smile and bear it” when it comes to situations like this, as the feeling is that their work could be irreparably harmed by “making a scene.”

An Outpouring of Support and Similar Stories

As Williams’s story began to circulate around other accounts and Facebook groups men and women both have opened up about their experiences. From inappropriate or patronizing comments to physical assault at the hands of guests. Some even cite experiences with the wedding party.


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“What truly shocked me was the scale of abuse; ranging from ‘can I have your number?’ during speeches, through to physical abuse on the dancefloor,” writes photographer Sam Docker. “I’ve heard similar stories from friends before, but never realized just how frequently women encounter these events – almost every single wedding.

The stories shared by Williams and other photographers show that the experiences of suppliers often go unnoticed and are often buried to keep the wedding going smoothly for the couple. Even though wedding photographers and videographers are passionate about their work, just like Williams, a dream career can turn into a nightmare.

Williams has started the hashtag #handsoffwedding for other wedding photographers to use in sharing their stories with the world.

She has also shared a series of posts, giving advice to couples on how to make their wedding a safe place to work and ways other men, be it guests or suppliers, can help prevent or resolve uneasy situations. She has also shared a template for a harassment clause that suppliers can modify and include in their contracts.

Williams Calls on Men to Help Fix the Problem

Williams says that after speaking to her girlfriends and non-binary friends, she came to the conclusion that this issue is “not our problem to fix.” Instead, she hopes her opening up about the uncomfortable and abusive encounters she has experienced will encourage men to not be bystanders.

“Call it out when you see it,” says Williams. “Ask the women and non-binary people in your life what their experiences of this are. Listen. Engage actively. It’s not enough for you to be ‘one of the nice guys.’ If you aren’t actively helping to solve the problem, then you are a part of it.”

“Misogyny is not a women’s issue,” writes Docker. “THIS IS A MEN’S ISSUE.

“It’s time to start calling this out, no longer turning a blind eye, no longer ignoring inappropriate comments passed off as ‘banter’. It is not banter, it has never been banter. It’s time to start breaking the silence and to no longer be a bystander to such peer culture.”

Because Williams has opened up about her personal experiences in such a public forum, many feel it has already helped give a voice to and instill courage in photographers who are ready to share similar experiences and call out the bad behavior. Undoubtedly, it will take time for the attitudes and behaviors to change but at least it has started a discussion that was due a long time ago.

“I am very anxious to post this, and want to reiterate that I freakin’ ADORE my job,” Williams writes. “I love every wedding I work and the one I talk about in the previous paragraph was one of the most fun weddings of the year, the most gorgeous clients, a dream of a day for us to shoot!

“I just wanna do my job in [peace].”