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Monday, March 25, 2013

Pinterest: My Love/Hate Relationship with it in my business

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, 're-pin' images to their own pinboards, or 'like' photos.(

When I first opened this site I was hooked!! What an ingenious tool to keep track of inspirational ideas! I was a "pinning maniac". I would spend hours and hours just looking at everything. I used it in my business of photography for posing, clothing and design ideas. If I was stuck at a shoot I could pull out my phone and quickly get another fun idea to jump from. Too bad I couldn't just keep this secret to myself...

The introduction of Pinterest to the world has become an obstacle. What once took a bit of searching and researching for is available with one click. For example: Searching "Wedding Photography" comes up with this...
 ooooohh right? There are so many beautiful photos by very talented photographers around the world, many are award winning and teach other photographers as well. You could spend hours looking and pinning and pinning some more! It is so helpful with picking dress colors, venue decorations, down to every little detail (I wish I had this when I planned my wedding).

The difficult part as a photographer myself is establishing and being true to my own style. A little side note here is IT IS SO HARD TO DO THIS! I don't mean to yell but it really is hard to do. I started out shooting everything and I mean everything that anyone wanted me to do and I wasn't good at everything sadly. So, I decided to narrow my emphasis and shoot what I love and shoot it the way I saw it. This meant that wasn't going to shoot every kind of pose anymore, I wanted a "look" that people could identify with and expect.

Back to pinterest, which I really do LOVE. It provided the ideas for the style that I liked. It gave me the inspiration to go further, to go bigger and to be better for my clients...BUT it also was a breeding ground for ideas that weren't my style. It was a place where EVERY style was present and available for the picking. Instead of providing my clients with my own personal style which I strive to be a mix of my very very favorite lighting, poses and emotions I have now become a "glorified tripod" asking which pinterest photo do you want me to do next?

How do we change this? I love that potential clients can give me some ideas of what they like. This helps in a number of ways, it tells me if we are a good fit and if I can meet their expectations. Here is an example of a beautiful photo that I randomly picked off from the wedding photo gallery.
Image from Roberto Valenzuela rated top wedding photographers in the world by June Bug Weddings. BEAUTIFUL RIGHT?? This image was most likely captured in the middle of the day to mid afternoon to get the light placement just right. I am a photographer based in Boise, Idaho and I can't think of any place here locally that would have that grouping of trees with that perfect kiss of light through the leaves. Should the expectation be there to capture this type of shot when I don't have any of that style present in my portfolio? What can I do when a client pins this...I most likely have already failed.

My purpose in writing this article is to make aware the best use of pinterest to potential clients. Remember that the photo you pinned is of different people, in a different place with very specific lighting and conditions (some are also stylized and not real-time weddings etc). Use pinterest to get some ideas on what to wear, it can help SO much with that. Also use it to get some ideas for a type of location you may like to shoot at. Do you love the look of a field full of flowers or a forest full of beautiful trees? I can help bring my style to those locations.

I want to make beautiful pictures for you and your family, that is my First and Primary goal! If we are together with our expectations, I promise I will not only do my best but give you consistent and beautiful memories that you can gush over for years!

Thank you for reading!!