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Pandora’s Box of Pinspiration – How to Use Pinterest to Your Advantage

If you have been in the Wedding Photography business for any amount of time , chances are you have received a question similar to this –

“So this is my Pinterest Wedding Board. I wanted to know, could you take all these photos I adore on Pinterest at my wedding?”

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 4.11.22 PMIf you photograph babies, bellies, seniors, or families – you are not immune to this infamous question either! This has become a major stress-adder on photographers. Many oblige to follow the list from dear old Pinterest. Some refuse to work with it, explaining that it kills the creative process in creating their best work by putting them into a box. And it can. So what is a photographer to say to their client when the Pinterest bomb is dropped?

I want to first acknowledge that when confined to a list, the creative process for a photographer is definitely hindered, and may inhibit them from being able to photograph each image in the artistic way they see it. I also want to acknowledge the fact that each wedding day is completely unique, making a particular image difficult or even impossible to duplicate identically. The weather is unique, the location is unique, the lighting is unique, the time of day when photos are taken may be different, and each couple is very unique. If promised to follow the Pinterest board of a client without proper education and managed expectations, a bride and groom are bound to experience some disappointment when their images look differently than the Pinterest portraits.  However, the manner in which a photographer responds to this question could also create a negative moment in their customer experience if not handled with consideration and proper guidance.

Before I get into my personal solution to this question that plagues creatives everywhere, I want you to know I have both photographed weddings where Pinspiration was provided and where it was not. And from that experience, I have learned that the following method works best for me.

The way I see it – when asked this kind of question, my responsibilities are to:

A.) Honor my commitment to consider, esteem, and act upon the desires of my client,

B.) Honor my commitment to protect my creative abilities,

C.) Educate my client on what I am able to do, and

D.) Manage their expectations so that disappointment is prevented.

Therefore, I respond with something like this:

Dear Sarah,  I am so thankful you thought to share your Pinterest board with me; I love your taste in portraits! 🙂 I am more than excited to see what kind of imagery speaks to your heart and I cannot wait to capture your own special day. Because your wedding day is going to be one-of-a-kind and I don’t want to miss one unique and personal aspect of your wedding, I would greatly appreciate if you would narrow this list down to your top 5-7 photos and share those with me. This way we can be sure to incorporate this inspiration into your  day while saving time to capture you, your husband, and the personal moments and scenery especially unique to your wedding. I also want you to be aware that we will do everything in our ability to create a similar image to these top 5-7 photos, but because the weather, location, lighting, time of day, and personality of each couple is very unique, these factors may create a different look to the image…but I think these unique factors I just mentioned will make it an even more special photo personalized for you! I can’t wait to view your Top 5 and look forward to you sharing these with me! Let me know if you have any questions!

By doing this, I accomplish all my responsibilities (as listed above) while addressing a possible point of conflict in a positive and assertive way that guides your client to a compromise that will benefit both me (the photographer) and my client. For me as the photographer, it relieves the possible pressure of unrealistic expectations, provides sufficient time to be creative, and hey – it even gives me 5-7 poses to work with right off the bat. For the client, it affirms that I, as their photographer, care a great deal about giving them a positive experience, beautiful photos, a personal say in their wedding photos, and something they didn’t know they needed – realistic expectations that will enhance their memories of their experience in working with me. So I see it as a win-win.

As for my strategic way to make sure I don’t forget these poses or portrait ideas when shooting, stay tuned for my Dirty Little Secret on a professional way to keep endless portrait ideas in your back pocket at all times…coming in a post soon! 🙂