Pinterest – An Asset or a Curse / Part 1 of 4

Since Pinterest first hit the web in 2010, it has been a hot topic of conversation among brides and photographers. Brides love it! It is so beautiful and addictive, and brides are spending so much time sharing their favorite images that now only Facebook and Tumblr have more social media time on site than Pinterest. It’s a one stop shop for ideas and inspiration when planning a wedding.

So, why do so many photographers dislike Pinterest? It would seem like such a useful resource for their brides. After all, it is a conglomeration of the best wedding photos ever taken all neatly organized and accessible by brides everywhere… but that is where the problem lies.

These are the BEST photos a photographer has ever taken! As photographers, we may put up 1 out of every 1000 pictures we take, like that time we had a stunning couple, the perfect venue, a gorgeous sunset, or the most adorable cooperative ring bearer since weddings began. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if the caption for every photo read something like this, “THE best photo this photographer has ever taken.”  Or perhaps the caption could read, “I took 3000 photos at this wedding and this was my fav!” but that obviously, is not the case. I don’t know many of us that would label our photos that way.

If I am being truthful, how can I knock brides for looking on Pinterest for inspiration when I, too, am guilty of doing the exact same thing!? When I am in a slump with my posing and need some fresh ideas, where is the first place I look? You got it. Good ol' Pinterest to the rescue again. So why do we as photographers have such a love/hate relationship with Pinterest? I believe there are 3 main reasons, and today we delve into reason number one:  The Shot List!

The ‘shot list' or the days of our brides jotting down a few poses or desired photos on a piece of paper are over and have now been replaced with the bride saying, “I added you to my wedding board on Pinterest so you can see all of the shots I want!” Sometimes that can be quite an extensive board. We’ve all seen them!

How do we communicate to our brides that the photos they are seeing on Pinterest are one out of thousands? Each photo they’ve pinned represents thousands of images taken by that photographer, and that one they pinned is the absolute best of the best? We do just that. We communicate!

I have heard many times that the number one component to a healthy relationship is communication, communication, communication, so why would this be any different in our relationship with our brides and grooms? I believe that our primary job as photographers is to serve our clients, and one way we can do that is by managing their expectations. I think it is safe to assume that every single one of your current and future brides are going to have a Pinterest board for inspiration, and nothing you do or say is going to convince her to delete it- and why would you want to? There are a lot of benefits to our bride’s having a Pinterest board for inspiration, we just need to learn how to use it to our advantage by COMMUNICATING openly with them.

While writing this article I decided to look up some of the most popular wedding photos on Pinterest. Here are a few that I came across.

Photo By The Becker Photography

Brie Marie Photography_7683

Photo By Left: Kelly Hornberger Photography Right: Christa Elyce Photography

Photo By Desiree Shuey Photography

Brie Marie Photography_7681

Photo By Claudia Mcdade Photography

I think it is important to point out to our brides that in the getting ready shots that they love so much on Pinterest, the bridesmaids and mother of the brides are always dressed and ready to go. These photos would not be the same if the bridesmaids were in the shorts and T-shirts they got ready in or if the mother of the bride was still in her sweats. We always include this in the literature we give our brides: be sure the bridesmaids are completely ready and dressed by the time she gets into her dress, and even build a time into the timeline for the day the bridesmaids and mother of the bride need to be ready. (For more on the timeline and how we communicate with our couples to help them get the best photos possible, I posted a previous article about how to help our couples organize their day by being an integral part by putting together their timeline for their day. You can read that article HERE.)

Another thing to point out is that the bridal suites in the above photos are completely clean and clutter free. There is no lip gloss or mascara in the back ground, or purses, or shoes. These photos would just not be the same with a bra, empty Forever 21 bag, and a couple of shoe boxes laying in the background. We need to communicate to our brides that in order to capture images like the ones they are seeing on Pinterest, the bridal suite is going to need to be completely picked up by the time she is getting into her dress. That way when the time comes, if she is getting into her dress and the room still looks like a piñata filled with make up and female under garments exploded, and hangers and empty shoe boxes are strewn all over the floor, your bride is aware that her getting ready photos will not resemble the pictures she fell in love with on Pinterest because there has been communication beforehand.

Quick side note: Having said that, I still believe that it should be our main goal as photographers to serve our clients to the best of our ability, and that does not mean just where pictures are concerned. If we have a couple of minutes to spare my partner and I always do the mad dash of trying to tidy up the bridal suite the best we can. Yes, we even move furniture around if necessary and ask to turn off the TV.  No one wants to see the weather channel glowing behind the bride’s head and she steps into her beautiful gown. Granted, there is not always time to tidy up. We all know that timelines are more of a guideline than a rule. But when this happens almost always, if not one hundred percent of the time, our brides look around the chaotic room and then to us with a smile and say “it is what it is!” They remember back to the literature we gave her informing her about the benefits of having a clean and tidy bridal suite, and that is what I call a success! Expectations were managed, and we were able to serve our client to the best of the our ability.

In conclusion, don’t fear the dreaded Pinterest shot list from your brides. It will help you as a photographer get a feel of what she likes and what she’s hoping for.  Definitely use it to educate your bride, communicate, and manage her expectations.

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Expectations and how to manage them.


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