A buddy of mine and fellow photographer posted an article from PetaPixel in regards to Weddings and Pintrest – in the light of how it ruins the creative process of the shooter. Let me start by saying I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PINTREST. [For those who don’t know, Pintrest is a site that has pictures and links for many things from nerdage, to photography, to travel tips, and many more creative and informational tips. You can “Pin” these ideas to a thing called a “Pintrest Board” to group them together.] I know some photographers will behave in the “I think I’m way more artistic than you and ‘Pintrest Photographers’ make my blood boil” fashion and will disagree with that statement and call me a fool, but when it comes to WEDDINGS, I find a Wedding Photography Pintrest board to be an asset. The article, entitled “How Pinterest Can Discourage the Creative Process for Photographers” starts to cite the usefulness of the tools, mainly that it helps the bride create the mental image of the wedding on all avenues, from color scheme to venues. It gives great ideas, and it does help narrow down what they wish to see, especially in the avenue of photos. Then it takes a turn and starts referencing the frustration that comes with a person wanting to replicate images and that it emotionally damages the ideas the photographer, and also makes them feel insecure about their final product. I find this to be pretty bogus. Most photographers are so self indulgent, that they can't admit to needing a creative generator. The only identifiable problem I have seen is when a Bride models her photography off of other previously shot photos by different studios, when the bride receives their photos, sometimes they are not identical, and they get frustrated or feel unsatisfied. Reason being, every photographer is different (for one) and for two, all the factors going into the shot are not always the same. This is completely understandable (and also unavoidable if you play your cards right) – but just for elaboration’s sake, here’s why:
Say for example, you’re in the countryside. You have a lot of background to work with. Say there’s water, and trees, and fields and beaches, and old & rustic barn doors. The sun is shining with just enough cloud cover that solar flares at a minimum and still creating a gorgeous glow. That’s going to lay a beautiful back drop for what you’re going to be working with. Now, in contrast, say you’re in the suburbs. It’s a gray day, maybe even sprinkly rain is in the mixture. The church is in a less than flattering area where there’s not much nature, nor is there any industrial back drop to make it look at least sort-of cool and intentional. You don’t have much time to go on a long adventure with your bride and groom, and if you’ve got to head more than fifteen minutes away from the site of the reception to get the shots you want, you’re going to run into time restriction issues. In contrast to that picturesque countryside, you’re going to end up with VERY different pictures. When establishing what kind of photography they would like for their wedding, make sure the Bride and Groom take that into consideration way ahead of time.
Say your Bride comes to you and says “this is what I want.” As a photographer, you’re supposed to try your very best to make that happen with the tools and locations you have. Key point: WITH THE TOOLS AND LOCATONS YOU HAVE. If you’re given strict assignments, like for example “You have an hour and a half for photos after the ceremony. You must take photos of X amount of people, within that time frame, and leave aside more time for the Bride and Groom to get pictures together in another designated location.” You abide by that as best as you can. If you’re not given ample amount of time, you work with what you have. Tip for future photogs – sit down with your bride and say “how much time do I have to work with?” This is going to save a lot of time and heartache later – and make sure that they know that catastrophes such as prolonged start times for the ceremony itself will not be your fault if it cuts into your photo time. You must work with what you have, and meet deadlines set by their schedule. Also, I very much insist you get a list of who’s being photographed and use it during the time to check them off piece by piece, so you don’t forget anyone and you have your bases covered. You are there to work with what you have, so make sure you have MORE than you need.
Taking these two things into consideration, Pintrest can be a gift and a curse.
Gifts – Some fabulous shots taken by other photographers can give another photographer inspiration/help them create something they haven’t before:
As you all know, I’m a small operation. Small operation being me, my camera, and my equipment. I don’t have assistants. I don’t have accountants. I don’t have a million other things factoring into what I do. I just do it, and enjoy doing it. So if my Bride comes to me and says “Hey, I really like this shot, can we try this?” I will attempt it to the best of my ability, along with not being insulted (Photographer egos are another post I’d like to do at another time, as I feel this article I read was an emotional problem more than a legitimate one). Be sure though, that your Bride knows the facts: Sometimes the shot can’t be identical. You can attempt it, and do your very best, but sometimes it doesn’t always work. In my particular case, sometimes it does. Below is an example of my Pintrest experience with my most recent Bride & Groom for their engagement photos. The Bride told me about her Pintrest board (we’re also friends in real life) and she said “I’d like to attempt some of these.” She kept an open mind, and with a bit of creativity (and a lot of snow in our boots) here we are (First Shot Pintrest, Second Shot Acronym [Formerly A.C00P Photo&Design]):
Side note: ours was better, eat your… heart…. out :)
Curses – If a Bride comes to you with a full on print out of her entire wedding Pintrest board and says “I want every single shot, identical on here.”:
Now, that’s insane, and probably sounds pretty Bridezilla-ish, right? Chances are, it’ happened to someone. But the bottom line? You, as a photographer need to communicate with your Bride. “This can be taken into consideration but is not a realistic request to replicate every photo and here’s why.” They hired you initially because they like YOUR work. They need to remember that, and you need to be as tactful and kind as possible to remind them of that and not radiate any cocky behavior (egos again!). Your “creativity and judgment is not being insulted” by their request to copy the board, but remind them that you have your own style and ideas and you will do your best to make their wedding what they want it to be, as best as you possibly can, with using your talent, AND some ideas they like. Remember, it is their day, not yours. And in turn, your client will need to remember the reality of the situation: They only have so much time with you – and in a chaotic moment such as a “messy suite while getting ready” isn’t going to create the same image as the “made bed, crisp sheets, done up Bride in a calm state holding a bouquet with full makeup and gorgeous hair.” (See photo in article).
The thing I took from this article, though (despite its emotional undertones) is something important. Being that it is the “Bride and Groom’s Day” – they need to remember one simple thing: be them. Do you want to re-create a photo identically from someone else’s wedding? Or would you like to build your own ideas based on the things you’ve seen and make the photo your own? Make it special, make it unique, and most of all, make it you. There’s nothing worse than getting back your photos and realizing they don’t depict you as a couple.
Weddings are stressful enough – you want to remember why you’re doing it in the end when you see those photos. And that’s what I’m here for – to capture that for you.