So, here’s the thing – I actually love Pinterest. With over 4k pins of my own (and over 40 boards), Pinterest can be an incredibly powerful resource for crafters, makers, artists, travelers, home cooks and others. Despite its popularity and obvious usefulness, Pinterest has several large drawbacks for those of us working in the wedding industry….and I’ll tell you why.
Before we proceed, it is extremely important to note that the wedding realm is a $70 BILLION annual industry. Guys, that’s a lot of money. It is one of the most profitable and rapidly growing markets in the world and it didn’t become that way overnight. Websites like WeddingWire and The Knot pump newly engaged couples full of outrageously expensive “inspiration”; most of which comes directly from Pinterest. But here’s the thing – most couples don’t have the cash to order a custom made bridal gown, or to rent out a castle for their reception. The bottom line is that 90% of what you see on Pinterest in relation to weddings is entirely unrealistic. It goes further than that though….not only is the inspiration they share often out of reach for many, but so is the photography.
I have seen it all on Pinterest – beautiful and warm sunset lit images in the middle of a gorgeous landscape, perfectly primped bridesmaids sharing a toast, and the worst yet….entire pins called “50 Must-Have Photos For Your Wedding Day”. They’re everywhere folks. Not every bride will have their ceremony nestled in the woods lit solely by Edison bulbs, nor will every bride have a reception under the stars in the mountains. What’s even worse, and really is the driving force behind this post, is the emails I receive from prospective clients asking me to “recreate” half of the images they see on Pinterest.
With that said, as an artist and an independent thinker, I’d like to clear a couple things up….
1.) I will not, in any parameter, copy someone else’s work.
What if I walked into an art gallery and found a painting, sculpture or drawing that I absolutely loved, then decided to go home and recreate it verbatim? Can I call myself original? Can I even call myself an artist? Spoiler alert: the answers are no….and no.
It is incredibly important that you book a photographer because you love their style. I cannot emphasize this enough. You won’t need me to recreate anything, because I’m already coming with my own ideas. As a matter of fact, I photographed a wedding on June 3, and after delivering the images to the bride, Courtney, she replied with “I’m just going to delete all my wedding pins and replace them with your images”.
3 words: Case. In. Point.
2.) The photos themselves are often unrealistic.
Most of the images you see on Pinterest have amazing light rays pouring through, or warm sunset glows….but the reality is, most people don’t get married in the late evening. If you schedule your portrait session at 2pm, they will not look anything like portraits taken during golden hour; its two totally different types of light. I have had lots of people email me saying “I want photos like this”, of course referring to a dreamy sunset image, and when I ask when their ceremony is, they’ll say 1 or 2. Folks – it is not possible. To help you visualize that polarity, I included a comparison below. The left is shot at 2pm in full to partial sun, the right is shot at sunset, roughly 7pm.
Big difference, right? If you want photos like the right on your wedding day, you will need to schedule it accordingly. That’s something Pinterest doesn’t tell you, and because of that, it sets unrealistic expectations for many couples.
3.) A lot of Pinterest photos are staged.
One thing that bothers me the most is that many of the images that are pinned come from styled shoots. Let me clarify what this means: it's not an actual wedding. It's a staged wedding, where dresses are rented, perfectly placed details are borrowed, and the photographer can spend literally as long as they'd like taking images of "the bride & groom". So what does this mean? Take a look at some bridal prep images on Pinterest. For your convenience, I've attached one I found myself:
What do we notice about this picture? How about her perfectly positioned legs? Her sparkly heels? Her garter peeking from under her robe? The perfectly made bed? The fact that the room behind her is spotless? Although it is a pretty image, it is posed, no doubt about that. Nothing about it is representative of a "real" moment experienced when getting ready with her bridesmaids. To me, these are some of the most memorable times of the entire day; you are spending real quality time with your bridesmaids and prepping for the greatest day of your life. Why force an image? Below are some examples of my take on the getting ready portraits.