Pinterest Beats Paid Advertising for Wedding Photographers


Wedding photographers who aren’t using Pinterest are missing an important opportunity to both inspire current clients and to win new brides. That’s the opinion of a number of leading wedding photographers who have turned to the picture-heavy pinboard to show off their work and market their businesses. They’re shrugging off concerns about the uncontrolled spread of their photos and the site’s reliance on sharing copyrighted images, and are enjoying the benefits of building contacts with engaged women looking for photographers and with clients looking for wedding ideas.

That those benefits can flow on Pinterest to wedding photographers in particular isn’t surprising. The site’s demographics are about 70 percent female and the 25-34 age range is the most common, making up about 27 percent of the site’s users. With more than a quarter of those users in households with incomes of over $100,000 per year, those twenty-something and thirty-something women are a prime market for suppliers of wedding services, including photography. And they’re buying. According to one study, 70 percent of Pinterest’s users say they turn to the site to get inspiration on what to buy and 43 percent want “to associate with retailers or brands” with which they identify. The site reports 10 percent more purchases than any other social media platform, including Facebook.

That reach and those statistics are pulling in wedding photographers. A search on the site for “wedding photography” boards produces an apparently endless stream of images.

Create a Board Before the Shoot

Lisa Devlin signed up last year after noticing that a number of her clients and other people she know in the wedding industry were already using it. A UK-based, former music photographer who has worked with acts as big as Eric Clapton and Boyzone, Lisa switched to wedding photography after shooting her agent’s nuptials. Her quirky wedding shots have won her the title of British Journal of Photography and Wedding Magazine Wedding Photographer of the Year. She now also runs workshops at PhotographyFarm on the outskirts of London and develops Photoshop actions for photographers.

Lisa’s initial goal in joining Pinterest was to collate and share her ideas with stylists for PhotographyFarm. They start a board which evolves as the themes for the workshop come together. Those goals, though, have developed too. Creating a board is now the starting point for any shoot that Lisa is involved in. In 2012, for example, before a shoot in Nevada with leading bloggers Rock n Roll Bride, Gala Darling and Nubby Twiglet, Lisa started a board called Vegas Baby to share concepts between everyone involved.

“It’s a great tool for bringing visual ideas together so I also run some general inspiration boards for anything I see online that inspires me,” says Lisa. “It might be processing, concepts, fashion or quite obtuse things that appeal to me in some way.”

Inspire Current Clients, Win New Ones

Leeann Marie uses Pinterest in a similar way. Like Lisa Devlin, the Pittsburgh-based wedding photographer has also been on the site for about a year. In addition to seasonal fashion boards, she has a number of more professional boards that include montages of wedding details  and color-themed weddings.

The content that Leeann posts to Pinterest from her blog and website is primarily intended to get new brides talking, but she divides her audience on the site into two. For people who have already made a booking, the ideas that Leean shares become a precursor to the photography experience, an opportunity for brides to get excited about the prospect of being photographed looking their most beautiful. For engaged women wondering who to hire, Pinterest provides an outlet to meet photographers and understand their style.

“Think of how you can use Pinterest to appeal to current clients and future clients,” advises Leean. “Those are two different markets. Your current clients need ideas to inspire them and help them through a session. Your future clients need you to remain in their minds and be interactive.”

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Photography: Leeann Marie

The approach is paying off. Not only has Leeann seen one of her detail collages repinned more than 100 times to different wedding inspiration boards; she is also aware that her efforts on the site have translated into new bookings. A bride whom she photographed in October 2012 was a keen Pinterest user and was very excited to see her own wedding images appear on the site.

Not all clients may be that generous about their photographs being spread across the Internet, however, and the same is true of many photographers. One of the biggest criticisms of Pinterest is that it encourages the unauthorized publication of images owned by their creators. The site has responded to the criticism by rolling out a “no pin” feature that websites can install on their pages to prevent their images from being placed on a board. Flickr is one company that has applied the function to all the pictures on its pages. The assumption that photographers approve of sharing unless they take action to prevent it, however, may be worrying to some.

As far as Leeann Marie and Lisa Devlin are concerned, though, there’s little point today in worrying about where images placed online end up. Lisa invested money in enabling Pinterest on her site and instructed her Web developer to produce the first Pinterest-compatible lightbox. A “pin it” button now appears whenever a user hovers over an image on her site.

“We are in a digital age of online sharing. If you are overly concerned with your images appearing anywhere on the internet then do not post them on there yourself,” she says. “My attitude is that we should embrace this brave new world and be flattered that anybody else takes an interest in our work.”

The result, she notes is that only Google is a better source of traffic to her website, outdoing Facebook, Twitter and even her paid advertising.

“Brides have embraced Pinterest probably more than anyone else so if you are a wedding photographer and not active on Pinterest then you are missing out on a great marketing tool.”


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