Troy Grover Photographers Blog – Orange County Wedding Photographers » Husband and Wife Fine Art Orange County Wedding Photographers

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A Photographer’s Perspective on Pinterest

It’s incredible how Pinterest has taken the wedding industry by storm. We 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, ect. 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, ect. 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.

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.”

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 re-creating, 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? 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.

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 – 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.

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.

<3 Aimee Grover

  • Zoe Barrie - yes yes yes!

  • Whitney Holland - Great post! Sharing for all of my brides to read!

  • Elisabeth Carol Bean - Yes. THANK YOU for this!

  • Katie Byram - Love this!

  • Karina Jo - Yup, yes, and amen. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alexandra Vailas Evjen - I definitely think that Pinterest has increased expectations. It’s so awesome to see an increase of value in styling images, but I agree, that it puts a ton of pressure on photographers and clients. Such a great reminder to seek inspiration outside of Pinterest.

  • Mailinh Nguyen - I completely agree with you guys here. The whole goal of the relationship between a photographer(s) and client(s) is to get to know each other and be able to showcase the clients’ personalities through your lens. Asking you to re-create an image is like asking you to do a styled shoot. If a client chooses you, then that means they have put 100% trust in you, your eye, and your work; and this would allow you to inspire each other. Pinterest is a double-edge sword: great in many ways, but there are also pitfalls.

  • Holly Schoenke - Obsessed! So well written!

  • Betsy Woodward - Great post!

  • Tara Wells Wheaton - Beautifully written and oh so true and not just for photographers, as a florist (who loves Pinterest) my sweet Brides who are planning their perfect Wedding Day, bring me tons of wedding pins with gorgeous lofty ideas completely unaware of the season, time and cost that went into creating those $200+ centerpieces or petals from a thousand roses curly petal aisle and all perfectly shot by amazing photographers. And then feel let down when they can’t have a White Peony Bouquet in August. It also limits creativity on our part when you are shown the same picture a thousand times (can you say mason jars). I love Pinterest (and mason jars;) for so many reasons, but what I really love is to be able to show a Bride how their wedding can be unique to them and that is what they hire me for. I don’t know how many times Troy and Aimee have photographed weddings at The Casino or at Strawberry Farms, but I love how when you scroll through their blog, each wedding looks unique and special to that couple. That is why you hire them or any artist, photographer, florist, or designer, to bring something unique and special to your wedding day. I am sharing this blog for sure =).

  • Courtney Caplin Cotter - Such a spot on review and comment regarding Pintrest. Thanks so much for sharing the thoughts so many creatives have :-)

  • Michelle Stone - Amen! This is so well said and exactly my thoughts!

  • Rhema Peterson - I love this post so much! Well said!

  • Allie Johnson - I love this Aimee Grover! Perfectly written. I feel the same with my hair business.

  • Heleen Cilliers - So very true… feel the same with my children’s linen business. Makes me nervous when clients send me Pinterest boards as I don’t want to be accused of “copying” other ideas and often that is what a client wants you to do!

  • John Charlton Photography - Really good comments there. I think at the end of the day, it comes back to attracting the right client that is choosing you to be creative – and not to recreate shots from endless blogs/pinterest. I do think that part of the problem is caused by the deluge of images that brides are now swamped with. They feel as thought their wedding wont match upto the expectations unless they have amazing table details and then amazing photographs to go with it. All they are doing is what the industry has taught them to do – look at fabulous things for the wedding – and desire them. The same applies for the photography. I see lots of couples who have had none of their personality in the wedding. Everything from the table decor to the invites, to the button holes has been repeated wholesale from weddings featured on the main wedding blogs. It’s upto us to wow our clients and bring out that personality and deliver them something unique which captures them. If they won’t let us do that – are they really our client?

  • Martin Hemsley Photography - Fantastic article Troy. This subject has been playing on my mind for a while now. Very well written.

  • Rebekah Hoyt - I could not agree with you more! As a photographer, this is an issue that has been weighing on my heart. I’ve desired to share thoughts very similar to this, but could never quite find the words. Thank you for articulating such a critical issue, both for brides and for photographers! I think it speaks to the bigger picture of how easy it is to see that the grass is “always greener,” always be yearning for the next thing or never feeling content with what you have. As humans, we wrestle with this a lot! I really loved this post and am sharing it as much as I can – thank you!

  • Kat Hanafin - holla

  • Christy Tyler - This post is perfection! I’ve been wanting to blog about this for a while but haven’t been able to articulate what I want to say without feeling like I’m hurting past bride’s feelings who have sent me photos from other photographers they love, Pinterest links, or shot lists. This helped explain why in a thorough & unbiased way… Simply put: “When our focus is on re-creating, we aren’t able to truly create.”

  • Miranda Hopkins - Perfecto. I was just trying to explain this exact thing to someone.

  • Charli Honas - I want to say thank you for posting this! I love how you took what I have been thinking when clients ask me to re-create moments that they found on Pinterest. And I tell them that it won’t be like the shot but I will do my best to get something similar! Thank you again for putting this into words!

  • Jamie Chism Cardine - I couldn’t agree more!

  • Ariel Mandeville - Beautifully written, amazing post that hits the nail directly on the head about our feelings for Pinterest! Sharing with all of our amazing brides (and grooms)…

  • Rachel Fesko - Brilliant. Absolutely spot on.

  • Cheetah Design Studio - What a perfect post. I have been thinking of this for a long time and just couldn’t put it into words. Thank you for doing that. I have been feeling discouraged and not being able to pinpoint why….I think I just did. It is also good to know I am not the only one feeling this way…

  • Christopher Becker - Great article! This needs to be shared with all of our clients. Maybe some one will Pin it! ;-)

  • Corlis ʼn Megan Gray - Fantastic article! We’ll definitely be sharing this with our couples. I can’t tell you how often we receive a board with 100 pictures and they want them all duplicated….lol. Then we have to go through the entire process of explaining why that’s impossible.

  • Shannon Love - Thank you for blogging on this topic! Perfectly said!

  • Brandi Welles Lemon - Thank you so much for sharing this! You guys are amazing!

  • Carly Daniel Street - Fantastic article! I agree that brides don’t realize all the little elements that make a particular image look amazing (like you explained with the gorgeous bride sitting on the bed w/ perfectly coifed hair, immaculate lighting, etc). It’s not just the pose that makes the image, it’s a recipe of many different things.

  • Emily Steffen - YESSSSSS! Extremely well said! :)

  • Lisa Covington Foster - So true! We have had to re-do our floral contract because of Pinterest… love it and hate it!

  • Dani Stephenson Photography - So true, “When our focus is on re-creating, we aren’t able to truly create.” use Pinterest in moderation ;).

  • Carly McCray - Wow…this was put so perfectly, guys. “When our focus is on re-creating, we aren’t able to truly create.” AMEN!

  • Amanda Scaff - Bless you Troy! The more time we spend [illegally] recreating other people’s work (in most likely far inferior lighting conditions), the less time we have for their own beautiful photographs. Spending all of formals copying other photographer’s work feels like a wrench thrown in my brain whenever I’m in the zone trying to create a fast paced flow that is beautifully unique to the couple and their environment.

  • Melissa Houser - Yes! Extremely well said!

  • Rachel Elisabeth Lusky - Amazing… thank you for putting into words the struggles that I have with Pinterest. It is SO awesome but sometimes can be so discouraging too. I LOVE how you worded all of this. Great post! Sharing…

  • Amy Elizabeth Little - Thank you for eloquently putting into words what I have been trying to express. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Angel Canary - What a GREAT post!

  • Kim Thiel - Thank. You.

  • Kate Gass - Perfectly said. Great article- I will be sharing this for sure.

  • Lorrie Prothero - Photographer - great article on pinterest inspiration for photos – and trusting your photographer to capture real moments instead of worrying about recreating a wish list.

  • Kristi Wolverton - Great article! I am a Pinterest lover, and have always encouraged input from my brides on posing requests. I have just recently begun to feel a little overwhelmed having to try to remember all the poses (that I normally wouldn’t do) that a client loves from Pinterest. I have actually had to remind myself to “do my own style” (which I’ve won many awards with)! I do enjoy trying out new ideas, but I have to say too many Pinterest ideas can get a little overwhelming.

  • MariApril Oliva McKeen - You both are lovely and a beautiful couple with a uniquely you style. I appreciate this article because as a new to the scene family and small event photographer, many of my clients refer to Pinterest. In fact, I refer them to my own Pinterest board for such things as wardrobe ideas. However, I do instill their family and event is unique to their own style and beat, which is what I am looking to capture. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and sharing.

  • Amelia Lyon - Seriously going to be sending this article to all of my clients that even MENTION Pinterest! Also, so sorry for being part of the problem, lol! That particular photo has been one of my favs, but the death of me, so many people want it recreated and it’s never exactly the same….that was just a moment I captured, just like I hope to capture moments for other couples in their own unique way! Thank you for this article, seriously!

  • Janelle Strazzo Edwards - YES! I have had so many pinterest brides and wonder, “don’t you want your own photos?” Everything you wrote was worded so perfectyl… About trying to stage it and not being able to because of the circumstances, spending so much time trying to get the look that was on Pinterest that you don’t have time to do anything of your own! Thank you for your words. I rarely comment on blog posts, but felt I connected with this one :)

  • Bernie Griffiths - The key is to Brand your business and do the style of photography that you do….not what a bride wants. Try asking McDonalds to change their hamburgers to suit you.

  • Kortnee Kate - Fantastic. A great reminder for brides and clients to hire a person not a collection of photographs that you think someone might be able to copy. It really can just squelch the creative light….

  • Pepper Image - Saw Bernie’s post this morning and would like to share it with Pepper’s friends. The article is very well written about inspiration/imagination VS. reality. I would like to encourage our facebook friends read it from a positive prospect: Be yourself and confident to let your photographer doing what their best. Cheers!

  • Nostalgia Photographics - I think some brides think it’s their responsibility to come up with a shot list for their photogs. This is a great article that will no doubt set all those busy brides at ease. Trust your photographer, leave it to them.

  • Nita A. Barnard - Pinterest opens an entire world of art and perspective. Our clients are saturated with beautiful wedding and family photos each day. We see their pins, and get sweaty palms because we are into this six months, have no props and haven’t invested in a great piece of glass yet. Instead of getting scared, feel challenged….
    Ask your client why she likes a certain pin. Get her into the conversation. Very likely, she doesn’t know about ISO, composition, lighting, shutter speed. What she will tell you she sees is going to be about how the photograph makes her FEEL. This will give you insight on how she thinks, what she thinks is beautiful. We have the creative talent, but we need to funnel their perspective through our lens. They are buying it, they must be happy. Not only will you get a better handle of who she or her family are, but you will have a lifelong client. Spend time with them, talk to them. Make it an EXPERIENCE, and you will win every time.

  • Michelle Peterson - I think Tony and I were blessed because we chose a photographer whose style we loved AND because we got married before the dawn of Pinterest. I loved this article and really believe that photographers, and all artists for that matter, need room to be creative in order to do their best work. Troy says it both directly and gracefully <3.

  • Lisa Pletsch Michels - Love this blog post! I totally understand from a creative perspective, the artist might feel discouraged by a client simply mentioning the word “Pinterest”. However, I also think that Pinterest is something that can be used as inspiration for clients to figure out what their style is. They should know what type of things they like and be able to have a conversation with a photographer, hairstylist, florist, etc….. about these things. THEN leave it in the hands of the artist to create from there. Clients can use what they like to search out who they will hire by looking for someone who displays examples of a similar style.

    Someone commented on artist vs. vendor. I think there ARE lots of clients who see it as a vendor situation. That is, they are paying you to give them what they want. They may not view you as an artist unfortunately. They do not understand or think about issues of copying/copyrights etc… I do not agree with hiring someone and saying, copy this, do that, it needs to look like this… but I do think I can hire someone and show examples of things I like so the person I am hiring sees a little of what direction I want to head in. Clients need to look into the style of the person they are hiring and like it. If the client does not like examples of your work, they should not be hiring you. After meeting and talking and seeing examples of things, I should expect to trust the artist I hire to create something I will be pleased with!

    I love how this blog post gently and effectively says things that help clients to see it from the perspective of an artist who takes pride in creating something wonderful for a client, rather than being “directed” and told what to do by the client who does not have full understanding of all the elements that go in to what the artist creates.

  • Chelsea McGowan - Amen & amen.

  • Shipra Solanky Panosian - Thank you for this. Thank you! Wonderfully and sensitively written.

  • ARTEFLORA DESIGN - Not only from the view of the photographer, but also the view from a floral designer, Pinterest is great for sharing and a very useful tool for communication with brides. Our brides today come to us with such pre-conceived notions of the visions they have of their wedding….a finished event. The internet is their friend for idea shopping and being able to communicate to their vendors. Being able to create in your place in the world is so very different than whereever or whomever the photos on pinterest were generated. Equally, professionals search Pinterest filling their page with wonderful ideas as well.
    From a professional floral designer’s perspective, I have seen “pins” of mine in which the “original pinner’s informationa nd website of origin” have been completely removed by the person who re-pins them! What a tragedy, as it is blocking future business from seeking that person’s professional talent! Not only that, but classifying yourself as a “copy cat” only degrades your own professionalism. Pinterest is about “trust” and “sharing” ideas, not taking someone’s image and reproducing it as your own creativity… yourself….be an individual… who you truly are!

  • Blue Glass Photography, Virgin Islands Destination Wedding Photography - Perfect Post! Just recently, a bride baffled me with a spontaneous drop of the hat request at her sunset beach wedding. She wanted me to duplicate several amazing sunset images that she had collected on Pinterest and stored on her i-pad. Her request was not that unusual, but her timing was a bit amusing considering that we were both in a full “Serengeti style” gallop at the exact time of her request, trying desperately to escape a somewhat predictable & apocalyptic rain storm that clearly was going to devour any chances of a decent sunset. When we finally got to a makeshift shelter ( completely drenched), I quickly composed myself ( by removing my wet turbo battery pack that was itching to electrocute me) and turned to my lovely but bewildered client and said “how long will you be visiting our beautiful islands?”. Fortunately, the story has a very happy ending. Two days later (with no rain or a Pinterest loaded i-pad insight), I captured the couple at the same location with an amazing Caribbean postcard sunset.

  • Sweet Pea Photography - I have been WAITING for someone to post an article just like this one! Articulated perfectly.. Thank you!