One of the things I love the most about being a professional wedding photographer is the ability to create beautiful, memorable images for my clients. Although we photograph many weddings each year, lots of times going back to the same locations over and over again, I strive to make each wedding unique by creating different looking images for my clients. My reasons for this are twofold. First, I want to make each of my weddings unique and provide fun, creative and artistic images for my clients, that they will cherish for a lifetime. If you put all of my wedding albums from the same location together in a row, you would see that the images differ a bit and are not the same pose, same place. The other reason is purely selfish. I feel that in order to better myself as an artist and keep things interesting, I need to try to create new imagery, making images at the same location, but not making the same image. This is what keeps things fresh and feeds my love for wedding photography. So, at each wedding I photograph, I try to make the images different, even when I’m at the same location.
Where do I seek inspiration for my newly created images? Pinterest.com of course. I also gain inspiration from other sources, but mostly the Pinterest website. With the extensive library of the Pinterest website, there is an unlimited supply of images to be inspired by and I love going there to see all the great wedding images and feed my inspiration. However, I do have a Love/Hate relationship with Pinterest and here’s why…
Lately, (this is happening a lot more often) I have been getting several shot lists, and links to Pinterest boards, both from perspective and future clients, with photos that they saw on Pinterest that they want me to do. While I have no problem giving our clients what they want and I will certainly do so, this practice is killing the creative process of wedding photography. Perhaps there is some confusion between the two words: Inspiration and Duplication. I love to get INSPIRED by photos that I see, not only on Pinterest, but from many other sources. But my goal is not to DUPLICATE the images that I see, but to use that as a basis for my own take on it. Use it to inspire me to create my own images. Because if I did try to duplicate an image, that does not help me grow as an artist. It just teaches me how to copy someone else’s work. It also doesn’t get my clients excited about my work…because it isn’t my work. Of the times I have duplicated and image that a client requested from Pinterest, once the client sees the image, there is no emotional connection or impact. It’s simply bland. Yup, okay good…you got that one. Yes, you got that one too. But when they see the images that I have created, that they were not expecting, that came from within me at that very moment, then I’ll get the WOW, OMG and OOHs, they have a much greater impact and are treasured much more by my clients, because they have not seen them before. They are emotionally connected to the image because it brings back memories of their special day.
I feel my clients are drawn to me and my style of photography because they like what I see when I look into my camera. They like my creativity. This is the reason they choose me to capture their wedding memories. But sometimes, someone will show me a bunch of photos they found on Pinterest and say, I want you to do this photo and this one…oh and this one too, etc… There goes my creativity! 😦 If I have to worry about a shot-list: gotta do this shot, then gotta do this one, oh and can’t forget this one, checking off each one on the list so I don’t forget any…then the entire wedding will be a duplication of other peoples photos and will not be a true representation of the reason the clients hired me in the first place. There will be no time for me to be creative, if I’m constantly looking at a list, or some Pinterest photos that I need to copy. The end result will be a wedding that doesn’t match my style and doesn’t represent my work and doesn’t provide that emotional connection for my clients.
So, I just wanted to voice this to any future brides out there reading this blog. If you hire a professional photographer because you like their style and the images they have created, then allow them to WOW you with their talent. Providing a list of Pinterest photos that you want them to duplicate will totally squash their creativity and in the end, you will not like the images as much as you may have thought you would. A wedding is an Amazing Day and should be filled with images that make you say WOW, OMG and remind you of that amazing experience, not images that make you just say, yup…okay…got it…good.
I feel that Pinterest is a great tool for gaining INSPIRATION. I don’t feel it should be used for DUPLICATION of images that someone else has already created. Ask your photographer to look at the images that you like and that you are drawn to. We can be inspired by them to create something unique and quite possibly better than the images that you saw and those images will have a better emotional connection and timeless impact than anything that can be duplicated.
Thanks for reading.