A Photographer's Perspective on Pinterest

A Photographer's Perspective on Pinterest

"Do you think we could do these photos that I found on Pinterest?" If you are a wedding photographer, or even a family photographer, it is more than likely you have heard this phrase before. My friends, Troy and Aimee Grover, extremely talented photographers in Southern California, decided to write up a post for future brides that shares the photographer's perspective on Pinterest, along with tips for brides. It's a fantastic read. With their permission I wanted to share some of the key ideas with our readers here.

In her blog post Aimee Grover talks about how Pinterest can be a very effective tool when planning a wedding and gathering wedding ideas, color schemes, flowers etc. She continues, "It wasn’t until recently though, have we started seeing the negative affects of Pinterest on wedding photography."

Pinterest can discourage the creative process.

"As photographers, the images we create are like one-of-a-kind art. There are so many aspects that go into composing a photograph, most importantly the lighting, environment and the subjects. Sometimes, the most amazing photographs happen by chance and can’t be re-created. Unpredictability is one of the things we find most inspiring and exciting about photography. We love when we are able to blow our couples away, and give them images that are better than anything they could have ever dreamed up or expected. We are able to create these images when we are given time, complete trust and artistic freedom.

There are a lot of things that make up a good photograph.

The blog post continues by discussing how photographers see photos differently than most people. We see light differently, colors, shadows, natural elements, clothing, posing - these are all things that stand out for us that other people might not see as clearly. I love how Aimee talks about a few popular photos that are on just about every future brides Pinterest board and the small characteristics that make those photos unique.

"Notice how the wind is sweeping her hair just right, how it’s the perfect time of day, how she has a subtle passionate look on her face, how he is just the right height to be kissing her forehead, how beautiful the jewels on her sleeved dress look."

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"Notice how her hair and makeup are finished early, her bouquet arrived timely to her suite, how the room is spotless, the bed is made, the bedding is simple and beautifully accents her cute robe, how flattering her legs look resting on the perfectly placed bed frame, how just the right amount of light is seeping in, how her bouquet is rounded allowing us to see her beautiful face."

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When our focus is on re-creating, we aren’t able to truly create.

By trying to fulfill all the Pinterest requests, often photographers are unable to shoot a wedding like they typically do creating the photos that the clients saw in their portfolio and loved when they booked them. Aimee writes, "Re-creating someone else’s photo takes a lot of time to stage correctly. When time is something we are always working against, that time that could be better spent creating something unique. We photographed a wedding this past year – where we spent so much time trying to please the bride, and fulfill her Pinterest “must haves,” that we never had the opportunity to really shine and do our best work. In the end, the photos were beautiful – but we didn’t feel like they represented our style, or who we are as artists. We want to feel proud of the photos we create for brides and grooms."

She continues in the blog by listing some fantastic tips for brides. Rather than put those here I'd like to encourage you to go read the blog post in full. Lots of great information. Also be sure to visit and like Troy and Aimee Grover's Facebook page. You won't be disappointed. These two are constantly sharing beautiful photos you'll love seeing. Here is a link to their website and twitter page as well.

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21 Comments

Oh please shut up with your creative art bull. You are hired to do a job, they pay you. If at the time they pay you they insist on having pics they like from pinterest than you have 2 options. Do not take the job or just take the pics the customer wants. I am sick and tired of these wedding photographers all calling themselves artists and taking themselves to seriously. I do believe wedding photography can be works of art yes, but you are not always hired by clients that say "do whatever you want we trust you " sometimes you need to take input from a paying client and if you don't I am pretty sure you will starve. You want to create art every day? Do it on your own time and stop putting yourself on a high pedestal, .....oh and by the way I am a wedding photographer who absolutely beleives you can create amazing works of art by photographing weddings , but I can also make pictures brides want at the same time.

David I think maybe you have got a little carried away here. Part of any creatives job is to explain to the client what is and isn't possible, what will and what won't work. I think that is what this post is about, it is not saying don't let your client give you ideas it is just saying don't let them put expectations on you that just may not be possible to achieve, for example the first shot shown here isn't going to work if the bride is taller than the groom, the second shot won't work without those legs or tan or the flowers coming in time.

On another note am I the only one frustrated by ranty comments on fstopppers by anonymous individuals with no way of seeing any work they have ever done.

David, Photography is an organic, creative process: NOT a factory job. If you're simply there to recreate other people's photos, then perhaps you should work for Kinko's. If you were hired to "do a job" chances are the client chose you because of you particular style of shooting. If not? Then they should save their money and have drunken Uncle Charlie shoot their wedding instead.

Photography is NOT always an organic and creative process.... and furthermore, drunken Uncle Dave probably couldn't recreate most of the photo's people are asking for... It still takes talent and knowledge to deconstruct a photographers work and try to recreate it.

Also, I sort of agree with David... if you want full creative responsibility then you better make that a stipulation ahead of time. I have been asked to shoot events and told what and how to capture them and I have declined as I typically would rather go drink a beer with friends. Similarly, my current employer is launching a new website and when asked to take photos I told them that I will run with it but if they gave me a list of what they were looking for it would save me time.

It is often the ends that justify the means which does not always call for an organic process.

I was not aware Kinkos did wedding photography. All I am saying is this, you can be creative and incorporate the couples ideas with their own. I think it is insulting to tell brides please don't give us any ideas , we are artists and you are not. it comes off very snooty and elitist. Even the most famous artists of all time were commissioned to do jobs, The roman coliseum was commissioned by Vespasian. The Sistine chapel was commissioned by the Vatican to be painted my Michaelangelo. Because the Vatican had a vision and gave Michaelangelo ideas of what they want , does this make the Sistine Chapel less of a piece of art? I could go on and on and on on famous artists that were hired to do work for someone, and that work is considered art. I have seen Troy and Aimee's work, it is good, but I don't really see anything different than every other good photographer. This is not an insult, like I said there work is good, better than just ordinary good, just not earth moving or completely different than anyone else.

Patrick Hall's picture

I think the point here is that no matter how good a photographer you are, the reality is your version of a cited photo from pinterest will never look exactly like that photo....or even close!

That being said, just as Aimee talks about how we notice the colors, lighting, expression, details, etc, most normal people cannot see those things at all.

So if you attempt to create the photograph they have presented to you, chances are they are going to like your version for completely different reasons. Your client is going to like your version because she is in it, and the girl will associate her love for the basic "idea" of the pinterest photo making your version a collaborative effort between her and you.

I'm not one to easily call what we do "art" and I can be a bit cynical towards those who think everything they create is art, but in this case I do agree with Aimee that it's near impossible to recreate a pinterest photo with the same mood and feeling of the originally. Luck for us most of our clients don't see like us photographers and are usually happy with a photo that is 55% similar.

Kinko's makes copies. If you shoot exactly like someone else? YOU make copies. I'm not saying you shouldn't take suggestions and incorporate the ideas of your client, but most people hire a photographer because the like that photographer's particular style. There is a happy medium. Finding it is obviously challenging, but the rewards are a lifetime of unique memories; not cookie-cutter, family snaps...

I honestly think a change in attitude is needed here - stop seeing it as a limitation, see it as a challenge, as something fun to try! You're hired to take pictures that make the bride happy - do the job and stop moaning about "inhibiting creativity".

"My recent struggle with Pinterest lead me to research other people’s thoughts on the topic. One of the most compelling articles I read said something really profound: “Pinterest is not a source of inspiration, it’s a collection of completed ideas“ (The Problem With Pinterest). Such an interesting thought. Is that why as artists we can sometimes feel discouraged by Pinterest instead of inspired?"

They are making a statement.. and complimenting their OWN statement "I said something really profound"

They continue with self stroking of their egos : "Such an interesting thought"

If they FEEL discouraged.. that tells me a lot about them. ( and I am not judging.. I'm offering love.. and insight ) If looking at nice things makes you feel discouraged.. then should look within and find whats truly at hand.. fear. Your own fear. Blaming what others have done and achieved..looking at outside sources, and comparing your own abilities ( of which you do not even know that you are incapable of until you try.. and most certainly NOT until you believe) or absorbing things that someone is excited about and immediately heading towards a protective space lined with excuse and explanations of why you may not be able to.. is all the terrible result of an artist ( a human ) caving to FEAR!!!
What a bunch of BUNK! This was written from a place of FEAR.. I can smell it.. taste it even as I choked down the words.. Its natural.. but it is not how we are intended to operate on this planet.
It is not till we shed such self deprecating beliefs that we can.. ourselves radiate.. and generate all that we are capable of. Think about it.. there is truth in what I'm saying.

Your friend isn't doing anything positive here..She is exasperating the perpetuation of fear. Focusing on the negative, and failing her readers.

People like this need love.. they need to be sat down and loving explained how the universe really works. And the LAST thing they need to be doing is to be preaching these horrific untruths to others.

Everything we do is a matter of perspective, and as an artist if you ( heck as a human being) if you come from a place of fear, a place of anything less than the infinite possibilities that you are inherently as a force of nature.. nature being BY nature creativity in essence.... then you pollute the possibilities, cripple the results...and predetermine your results to be less than spectacular... BECAUSE YOU ALREADY BELIEVE IT.

I jut wrote a piece for Light It Magazine and I touched upon much of this.

PLEASE for the love of all things good... hug your friend for me.. and assure her that.. while she is horrifically wrong.. there is hope. If she turns within she will find that she does not truly believe these things.. but is afraid.. at some core level.. of something.

And the words I'm telling you... are not just my own beliefs.. but a common thread in every single WILDLY SUCCESSFUL ( read celebrity, and blissfully happy spiritually resound ) person I have had the tremendous pleasure to have in my life!

Namaste.
~j.j.

Right on Jason, much better said than what I wrote but I share the same feelings

Jason, Very well said. I am obviously not as eloquent as you but yes yes yes! Everything you said ! To Chriswatts, Ranty comments by anonymous fstoppers users???? I read Fstoppers frequently but have never commented until now, The page asked me to provide a name and email address and POOF I could comment. I am not hiding anything. But the more important question is this, Why do you need to see my work? What bering does my work and quality or lack there of have any thing to do with me commenting on this. I am guessing you are a bit insecure as well, here is how I see it. If my work sucks you look at my comment and say, well his works sucks his opinion on the matter must be invalid. What if my work is really good , like world class wedding photographer good?/ Does my comment on the issue somehow become valid? The fact is this wedding photographer who wrote this has an ego the size of a building. God forbid you are paid for a job and the person paying you has some insight on what they want. All of you work will be original, you are the only ones who have photographed this couples wedding and even if the poses are the same as someones on pinterest, make it your own, add to it, subtract from it, inspire the couple, get creative but don't tell your clients not to have input on their special day..

I am pleased to hear fstoppers is making people put there money where there mouth is and cutting back on anonymity.
David I really think someones work/experience does indeed have an impact on their opinion. for example if I get input on an extension for my house I would want to see their previous work, if someone tells me which lens to buy I would prefer that they had experience using that lens and could show me results to back up their claims.
I absolutely agree that a client can give input, discussion with clients is essential, however I also think it is right to let them know what may or may not be possible.

Lets first get something straight, Before this conversation i have never commented here, when I wanted to comment They asked for my name my email address and a password, I did all of these and I commented, I did not know there was an option to put more information up. That being said, In this conversation I was commenting on an article not giving advise or my opinion on a lens or gear. I do not believe I need qualifications to give my 2 cents on how someone does business. you and everybody can just take my opinion for what it is worth, agree with it or not. Like I said before if my portfolio if top grade would you respect my opinion any more or less? if you disagreed with me when you read my opinion and then found out I was a very well know wedding photographer who was extremely successful would that change your mind?

Saying someone has an ego is not an insult, it is a trait that someone has.

Patrick Hall's picture

Don't worry, our commenting system is about to change BIG TIME. We are working on a completely new system that will prevent people from being anonymous trolls and force them to put their money where their mouths are :)

When you say the commenting system is changing, what are you going to require? My full name my address my phone number? a website? How will this change how people comment ? I guess I do not have very much experience on these types of forums.

Bruce Kaplan's picture

That got ugly quick. lol

ever heard of the phase, ''good artists steal'' ?

As a wedding photographer I like Pinterest. We ask our brides to put together a board of wedding photos that they love so we can get a sense for what they hope to get for themselves. Not every couple is the same and we don't shoot every wedding the same. Some are more romantic, or more playful, more candid and less posed, or very posed and "fashiony" looking. Some of these preferences are not easily conveyed in words by our clients and having them show us a set of images that they love really helps us to prepare and give them what they want.

We do let them know that recreating photos is very difficult and does not always work (for the many reasons mentioned in the article). That the photos on the board are to let us know their tastes and to be used as a guideline.

For us, I feel Pinterest has been very helpful and we will continue to encourage our brides to use it in their wedding planning.

So now I am annoying for giving my opinion ? I have given my point of view in a pretty clear thought out way and now I am annoying? Sounds like someone needs to grow up,

No no... its just "one of your traits." No insult there.