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How Pinterest Can Discourage the Creative Process for Photographers

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It’s incredible how Pinterest has taken the wedding industry by storm. My husband and I have always been, and still are, big supporters of Pinterest. It has been such an incredible tool for our business and has helped so many brides find our work. It can be a great place for brides to gather wedding ideas, color schemes, flowers they love, etc. 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.

A few times this past year, we have had brides send us Pinterest boards of photo inspiration for their wedding day. We whole-heartedly believe that it comes from a place of sheer excitement for their big day…and that they are just trying to be proactive in sharing what they like.

Even though we know that they have the best intentions, as we scroll through the photos, we can’t help but initially feel discouraged. Brides are pinning the BEST of the BEST photos (from an already curated body of work) from hundreds of different weddings. I think it leaves us wondering: Did they hire us because they like our style? How are we going to be able to meet/exceed their expectations?

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?

It may appear simple, but there are a lot of things that make up a good photograph.

As photographers, We see photos in a very unique way. We notice the lighting, coloring, the location, time of day, the natural elements (wind, sun flare, fog), the posing, the height of the couple, etc. We know from experience that ALL of these aspects are what create the mood & feel of that particular photo. One of the best examples that comes to mind is this photo by Amelia Lyon. We have seen it on just about everybody’s Pinterest board, heck, it’s probably on one of ours somewhere too. It is SO stunning.

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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.

Wow. It really is one-of-a-kind and that’s what makes it so special!

Another photo I have seen appear time and time again on Pinterest is this getting ready shot by Becker. This is an insanely beautiful bride, but I think there’s something else about this photo that so many brides are drawn to. She looks so cool, calm and collected oh her big day…like she has actually has the time to sit and “smell the roses.”

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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.

The fact that all of these elements aligned for this Cinderella bride is pretty amazing…and that is what makes it nearly impossible to duplicate – especially on a wedding day when time is not on your side.

When our focus is on recreating, we aren’t able to truly create.

Knowing how important all of the elements are that go into a photograph are what make us feel discouraged when presented with a Pinterest board of inspiration. We jump into problem solving mode…how are we going to create that wind swept beach photo in a hotel garden setting? How are we going to shoot that epic bridal portrait in a messy and chaotic bridal suite? How are we going to serve our clients, but still do our best work?

Recreating 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 in which 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.

So, if you want to get the most out of your wedding photos, here are a few tips for brides:

  1. Use Pinterest early on in your planning process to pin photos that you like & are attracted to. Then, use your board to help determine what style you are drawn to and find a photographer consistent with that style. Once you’ve chosen your photographer, give them your trust & support to capture your big day.
  2. Remember your wedding is about you and your day. You want to look back at your photos and feel like they are the best representations of who you are….not just an okay rendition of a photo you saw on Pinterest. Give your photographer the green light to choose poses and locations that flatter you and your wedding aesthetic.
  3. Be realistic about how you will be feeling on your wedding day. In the past, we’ve had brides come to us with lofty photo ideas, such as traveling all around a city or walking down steep paths to the beach on a hot summers day. Once they are all dressed up, reality sets in. Their dress is heavy and stiff, the tulle is itchy, their shoes aren’t comfortable, the humidity is ruining their hair, there are tourists in bathing suits everywhere. Somehow this seemed like a much better idea their mind. If you want to be comfortable and portable on your big day, wear a dress and shoes that allow you to do that. This past bride of ours, Kelly, really got the most out of her photographs because she wore a simple dress that was easy to move around in and made it effortless to look natural in poses.

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As photographers, we would rather be spending the precious time we have on a wedding day experimenting with a couple and figuring out how they work together in poses that feel really natural. We also want to be inspired by the surroundings we’re in and be able create new one-of-a-kind shots. In no way is this post meant to offend any brides out there, it’s really just to share a photographer’s perspective and thoughts on the topic. As much as you want to have incredible photos and memories…we want to take an active part in creating them.


About the author: Aimee Grover and her husband Troy are professional wedding photographers and the owners of Troy Grover Photographers. They are based in Orange County, California. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This article originally appeared here.