Shannon Collins

Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Photographing joy as resistance.

self-portrait headshot of Shannon Collins, a white woman with hair down to her shoulders and blue glasses.

HI, I’M SHANNON. MY PRONOUNS ARE THEY/THEM.

I’ve been photographing weddings and families in the Philadelphia area for +13 years. Philadelphia Magazine just named me Best Photographer for Best of Philly 2022, for my work as Founder and photographer of Youthphoria. When I’m not documenting milestones, editing photos, or watching an obscene amount of Bravo programming, I’m hanging out with my two children and my partner. We also live with a nervous dachshund and an eighteen-year-old chinchilla named Maude. Elopements, intimate weddings (aka microweddings), and LGBTQIA+ weddings make me excited to wake up in the morning.

More about me? I co-founded and co-host a monthly, virtual meetup for LGBTQIA+ kids and allies in K-5 in partnership with Abington Township Public LibraryRainbow Connections. My glasses fog up all the time. I love listening to podcasts about gender identity and disability justice. I like trying to keep plants alive. I wish Moira Rose was my friend. I wish David Rose was my sweater provider. I apologize too much.  I firmly believe Black Lives Matter. I identify as nonbinary, queer,  Autistic, and disabled and diversify my media feed to reflect these identities and learn more about how I can better serve the wider community, through intersectionality and the amplification of BIPOC voices.

I’m the founder of Youthphoria, a Philadelphia-based project dedicated to photographing trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth in the Philadelphia area at no cost, while providing an affirming experience that celebrates them along the way.

wedding photography, Philadelphia

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR MY FELLOW AWKWARD AND ANXIOUS PEOPLE.

So many people reach out to me to let me know they’re awkward or shy in front of the camera. If you break out in a rash from nervousness, you are not alone. Or if you’re neurodivergent like me, things like forced eye contact or sensory overload might have led to traumatic photo experiences in the past. I’m here to make you more at ease and ideally forget that I’m tucked away behind a bush somewhere while you spend time with your partner(s). I won’t force poses that don’t seem organic to who you are as individuals. Instead, I allow moments to happen naturally, while letting you lead the way and subtly guiding you — with your permission — into the best light and backdrops.

I want you to be as comfortable as possible on your wedding day, so we’ll make sure the timeline flows smoothly and you feel prepared. Weddings are incredibly personal, so I feel really privileged that I get to call this my profession. Photographing celebrations while focusing on color, composition, and getting to really know the people whose story I’m telling is what makes me thrive.

It’s okay and absolutely valid if emotions are high and you need to take breaks or want additional support to get through the day. Whether that looks like doing a mindfulness breathing exercise together or asking loved ones for some space for a few minutes, honor what your body and heart are telling you. I’ll be there to get your back (and snacks).

inclusive, wedding photographer, Philadelphia, LGBTQ+, POC

I WELCOME YOU FOR YOU, COMPLETELY.

Planning a photo session should evoke excitement, not fear, but that is not always the case for those who are marginalized. My intentions as an affirming photographer are to reduce the amount of labor that my clients have to engage in. As someone who is disabled, I try to be really mindful when working with clients and putting accessibility to the forefront.

Something I don’t see enough in the wedding and family photography industries is the normalization of polyamorous love. I feel energized when collaborating with queer, trans, and polyamorous folks, and people of all identities. That’s why I try to use language like “marriers” rather than “couple,” in an effort to be more inclusive and intentional.

An oppressed group can’t simply stop being oppressed, we all need to fix it. I connect LGBTQIA+ clients with affirming vendors and by advocating for safer, more diverse, more inclusive, and more accessible industry standards. I want to honor your experience by letting you lead the way in terms of how you identify and how you’d like to be addressed.

As a side note, I’m fully vaccinated and mask up indoors and outdoors when unable to socially distance, due to COVID-19.