Pinterest is having an interesting effect on wedding photography.
I want to take a minute to talk about Pinterest and the effect it’s having on wedding photography in general (and me specifically).
The good news is that Pinterest is raising the bar for everyone in the industry. Brides now have access to thousands of great wedding images. They are being educated as never before on what a great wedding photographer can do for them. It’s rare that I have a client who hasn’t spent hours pouring over Pinterest, looking at images and getting ideas for their wedding. They also get great ideas for photography. The days of having a few brides each year that were passionate about photography are going away. Now, every bride is passionate about her wedding photography because they have seen such great work on Pinterest. This is good for photographers who can perform at that level. We wedding photographers love to complain about the “Craig’s List” photographers who are working cheap and providing poor images but, thanks to Pinterest, it’s not a problem anymore since even the most budget-concious bride can go on Pinterest and see fantastic images that the “Craig’s List” photographer can not produce. The bar has been raised for wedding photographers everywhere.
Personally, I don’t have a problem when brides show me Pinterest images. The more I know about what they like, the better.
But, it’s not all good. (you knew this was coming, right?)
Many brides are placing their expectations too high as a result of Pinterest. They spend hours online, collecting dozens of images they love and then expect their wedding photographer to be able to reproduce them all on their wedding day. What they don’t understand is that they are selecting the very best images shot by thousands of photographers over the course of thousands of weddings. It’s unrealistic to expect your photographer to be able to reproduce all those images for you on your wedding day. For example, here’s a recent image from one of my weddings:
Right now, there’s a photographer somewhere who is being shown this image (or one like it) and being asked to reproduce it for a client’s wedding. Now, he may very well be able to do it (provided he has the equipment and knowledge. For example, that light you see shining around the couple isn’t from the sun…) but that doesn’t mean he will get a sunset like this one. There are several elements that have to all come together at the right time to get a picture like this and they don’t happen at every wedding.
But that’s not the bad part. The bad part is that he is also being shown Pinterest images from a dozen other photographers and being asked to reproduce them as well. Each image has a set of unique circumstances that come together to make them great. It may be something big like a perfect sunset or something small like a bride who is a dancer and can pull off the pose… or wind…. or a groom that isn’t shy about pictures… or a wedding dress that falls correctly when the bride is dipped… or whatever. (I once had a beach wedding bride show me a Pinterest picture that she wanted for her wedding and the couple in the picture were standing under an oak tree. I’m good, but I can’t produce an oak tree on the beach. :)
The bottom line is: Manage your expectations. Use Pinterest to see what’s possible and find a photographer who can do great work but don’t expect him to be able to reproduce the best images culled from thousands of photographers in the 30 minutes he has to work with you on your wedding day. He should be able to get you something great but accept that he has to work with what he’s given. If he’s good, he’ll produce something regardless of the circumstances, it just won’t necessarily be a copy of something you saw on Pinterest. :)