Friday, April 24, 2015

How Pinterest Can Ruin Your Photoshoot

First let me just say this: I LOVE Pinterest. Seriously. I do. It's fount of ideas, a fantastic way to keep track of things that inspire you and share your ideas with the world. I have lots of boards full of good stuff and use it a lot for my business as well. I think whoever dreamed it up was a darned genius.


Pinterest is like a sword. It is a thing of beauty that needs to be used carefully or you will cut yourself on it and bleed to death.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic. Like many things, it is all about HOW you use it.
Here is what happens though; some wide eyed dreamer will want to have their photo taken, whether it's for their wedding or family portraits or senior portraits or any kind of portraiture under the sun, and they will immediately consult the Pinterest. Then they approach a photographer with all their Pinteresty (see how I turned it into an adjective there?) fabulosity and proudly show EXACTLY what images they want their intrepid photographer to re-create.

Now, here is where the problem starts to happen.

DISCLAIMER:  Not everything you see on Pinterest is real.

I know, I know, I hate to be the one to give you the bad news. Many of the wedding photographs that you see are not from real weddings, but from styled shoots meant for photographers/stylists/makeup artists, etc, to show their work in a controlled environment. Some of the family photographs are also styled shoots. Often times, what you are really seeing is someones absolute best work in the best possible conditions. Maybe even extraordinary conditions, where some absolutely perfect thing happened like the sun coming out from behind the clouds to light up the brides hair, or doves flying off the church rooftop in sync, or the wind catching the brides veil and pulling it out like a great white flag of awesomeness.
What you don't see are all of the outtakes, the mistakes, the crying and puking babies, the sudden zit that attacked someones forehead the night before their boudoir shoot, what happened when it started to rain unexpectedly and moms hair went from sleek curls to "I just stuck a fork in a light socket" chic.
Not only is it unfair to you (trust me, your photographer cares about this), but it's also unfair to your photographer to expect your wedding photos to look just like what another photographer was able to create with 2 working models, a lighting crew, a stylist, a hair and makeup team on site, and ALL DAY to get the perfect shot.

Pinterest is fantastic for inspiration and to give your photographer an idea of the look you want to go for. I even ask my clients to create inspiration boards to share with me so that I have a vision of what inspires them. What I want to save you from is letting those uber-perfect images become your standard and expecting your own photos to look "just like the one on Pinterest." You are much safer finding a photographer and looking at their whole body of work to see what they are capable of and what style they shoot.
If you found a gorgeous sunset image with hazy sun flare and a dreamy quality on Pinterest, then hire a photographer who shoots black and whites in hard light, chances are not only will your photographer be frustrated because you hired them for someone else's style, but you will more than likely be disappointed by their effort to recreate something they don't shoot.
Let Pinterest be a source of inspiration and then talk that out with your photographer. Don't make Pinterest the standard your photographer must rise to, which they will try their damnedest to do, and then castigate yourself or your photographer when the result isn't what Pinterest promised you it would be.

Another way that Pinterest can let you down is by making  your wall art or album a carbon copy of everyone else's wall art and albums. You might very well end up in a field of tall grass holding a red balloon for your senior portraits, or standing on some railroad tracks like 7 out of 10 of every senior who brings their Pinterest board to their senior photographer.

Let me give one piece of advice here: trust  your photographer. Find an artist whose style speaks to you and let them know your hopes for your photos. Work with them to come up with an idea that suits not only their style, but who YOU are as a person. Portrait artists are pros at figuring out what makes their clients special, what makes them tick, and if you have an open and honest dialogue with your photographer rather than consulting the Pinterest, chances are that you will end up with portraits that express the photographers best work. In case you didn't know...YOU are a photographers best work. That way if you do end up in a field of wheat in some hazy sun-flare, it will be because that says something about who YOU are, not what Pinterest told you was popular.

So pretty please, keep this in mind when you are searching for inspiration for your own photoshoot. The worst thing in the world is for you to be disappointed that your photo didn't turn out JUST like the shot you loved on Pinterest but didn't know that it was a professional model in a designer dress who spent 10 hours on set to get that ONE shot.

***this also goes for your hairstylist and makeup artist. The cut you love might have been done on hair that has a different texture or thickness than your hair and on a girl who has the facial structure that is perfect for a bob. The makeup look might not work for hooded eyes, close set eyes, or only look good on gals with high cheekbones and strong brows. Safe rule; Pinterest is for Inspiration, not Standards.***