May 3, 2015

5 Things Wedding Photographers Want To Tell You About Pinterest, but Cant

Pinterest is an amazing site–who doesn’t love using it?  It is visually stimulating–and it gets you inspired and excited about things.  It is a wedding Mecca….you can spend hours and hours admiring and pinning wedding images.  There are millions of them….truly a dangerous place for people who are engaged or people like me who LOVE wedding photos!  Now….how many of you have seen those Pinterest fail sites?  I am here to tell you how to curate your Pinterest self in a way where your wedding will not be a Pinterest fail.  I am going to tell you what every wedding photographer out there wants you to know because we have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  We love using it–we love that we can communicate and be on the same page about images with it, but we hate doing the same things over and over again because they became popular on Pinterest. Follow me here: Kivalo Pinterest

Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know About Pinterest

#1.  A huge percentage of the content that you are seeing on Pinterest wasn’t even a real wedding.  Let me explain….you know all of those amazing detail set ups you are seeing–those elaborately crafted mimosa bars, or dessert tables, or backdrops….many of those were prepared for hours/weeks and were done by professionals.  Then they were placed in the perfect setting, with the perfect lighting, and the photographer had hours to capture the perfect shot of that detail.  We will do the very best with your details–and make them as amazing as possible but please understand the ones you are seeing on Pinterest are the cream of the crop.  The top of the line.  The be all and the end all in wedding decor/dresses/locations.  In addition the weddings that are “Real Weddings” on Pinterest are the best of the world….they have been carefully curated and selected by the industries leading blog editors.  They have been chosen out of thousands because they were extraordinary.  While your wedding will be extraordinary it might not be for the same reasons that those images on Pinterest are.  It will be extraordinary because it is YOUR wedding, they are YOUR memories, and YOUR style….not because you had the best dessert bar.

dessert bar wedding

Top Left stylized shoot ||  Top Right Actual Wedding

Bottom Left Real Wedding from Top Blog  ||  Bottom Right Real Wedding not featured on Top Blog
what your wedding photographer wants you to know about pinterestBottom left stylized detail  || Bottom Right Same Idea in Action
real and styled

#2.  Timeless not Trendy…. This is a BIG one.  Say it with me….you want your images to be TIMELESS NOT TRENDY.  While I am not someone who has been in the game for 10-30 years I have been in the game long enough to see trends come and go.  When I was first starting out, and heck, I will admit even once in a blue moon, I still get sucked into a photography trend.  What do I mean by this? Well, I mean styles of editing, or popular posing.  What comes to mind most are things like what I will call the “spiderman kiss” (upside down kissing–one person is laying down and the other kisses them from the other direction), the photo of someone holding a frame and the people in the background in that frame (isn’t it better to just take a picture with all of the people and then put it in a frame?–that is a much more “frameable” and timeless picture than people holding a frame in a picture)   the bride dragging the groom, the groom holding the bride in his hand etc.  If these are really what you love then I say do what you want–but for me I don’t think they will withstand the test of time like the more classic Kennedy photos, or the royal wedding photos, or even some of the celebrity weddings.  A real moment or a beautiful traditional family formal will always win out to the “funny or ridiculous” images.  The timeless images are the ones that will end up on display and the trendy images will get put away or hidden in the years following the wedding.  I think what happens is couples want to be “fun” so they do these photos….but as a wedding photographer I try to portray “fun” in other ways.  To me “fun” is shown in your crazy dance moves, the laughter throughout the day of you and your guests, lawn games, those occasional funny looks people will give each other….that is “fun” and those images you wont look back on and think “what were we thinking”.  Another example is people want the Spider Man image because it is “romantic” but there are so many other intimate photos that can be “romantic” and much more naturally posed on your wedding day.  If you communicate to your photographer the “feel” of the wedding and what it is about these actual images hopefully we can make you even more happy than if you had just copied the trendy image.

Above Trendy ||  Below Timeless

Above Trendy  ||  Below Timeless

#3.  Even though it looks good and easy on Pinterest that doesn’t mean it will transfer well into your wedding.  You cannot do it all not everything you like will look good in your wedding.  This is where a planner comes in super handy.  They are able to look at everything you like and then pull out the best and make it all a beautiful cohesive look.  Cohesion is one of the most important things in your wedding images–if you have things that match it will look fabulous.  If you have a little of this and a little of that it will look like a wedding with a little of this and a little of that.  I guess what I am trying to communicate here is many of these photos you are seeing everything just worked out for that photo.  The timing, the lighting, the couples height and interaction.  Posing is different for every couple depending on their personality, their height, their “photogenic-ness”, their hair, their wardrobe, etc.  If you don’t have the perfect door with great light for the holding hands around the door before the wedding photo then it just isn’t going to look like the ones you are seeing on Pinterest.  If you don’t have the right connection to pull off a romantic and more intimate photo it just won’t look like the one you admired on Pinterest.  You have to not only be able to see yourself in the picture but understand your photo will probably look completely different than the one you saw.  That is a good thing–you want your photos to represent who you are…and be unique to the two of you.

 Left Picture Pinterest ||  Right Picture Actual Wedding

#4.  Wardrobe, lighting, and height…..I see photos all the time that I wish I took–that I fall madly in love with.  As I have aged into the profession a little I have begun to be able to tell you exactly why that photo is so striking.  It is often that the couple is very beautiful, or that the styling of the wardrobe and the color harmony of the background are perfect together.  Sometimes it is just that the light in the photo was perfect.  I can not recreate that light.  We can try to take that exact same picture and it will not look the same without that beautiful light.  Lighting on your wedding day is going to play a huge roll in what your images look like.  That is out of your control and my control–that depends on the time of day, the weather at hand, and location.  The time of day that is best for photos is 30-45 minutes before sunset.  The location and the wardrobe combination are part luck and part planning.  I say luck because you might pick a location to match your wardrobe, but then the location might have changed since you picked it (repainted wall, lighting is different, different season, the particular boat you wanted in the background isn’t there that day etc).  The wardrobe is key….for engagement sessions and wedding images alike.  The way the colors match or don’t match, the way it fits you perfectly, the grooms details etc.  There are lots of factors that go into the wardrobe.  What looks great on someone might not look great on you.  Another example would be if you are getting your wedding photos done in the summer on a lawn or at a park have your bridesmaids wear a color that is complimentary to green as that will most likely be the background color.  If you are doing your photos in the fall and you have orange and yellow leaves around choose a color that will compliment that background.  I, myself, am drawn to the more neutral palettes as they seem to withstand the test of time….the beige, cream, blush pink, grey, and light blue (periwinkle) colors.

Top Left and Right Pinterest Images for Inspiration ||  Bottom Left and Right How to Shoot Ended Up Looking 

#5.  “You don’t hire Van Gogh and ask him if he can paint a little more like Norman Rockwell” said a photographer friend of mine in a discussion about Pinterest.  This sums up why we, as wedding photographers, struggle with Pinterest.  We don’t mind if you want to show us some of the images that you love.  We like seeing that you like work that we like.  That’s the key–we should be admiring similar things.  If am pinning it I probably want to shoot it.  If you are pinning my work we are for sure a match.  What we “photographers” mind is when you have filled a board with someone else’s style and images and then you ask us to make them for you.  How can I better explain this–if you love Style Me Pretty you should probably hire a photographer who has been published on Style Me Pretty….if you love Offbeat Bride you should hire a photographer who is on Offbeat Bride.  If you love romantic and intimate wedding portraits you should look to hire a photographer whose portfolio represents that.  If you like laughter and candid moments you should hire a photographer who shows that.  If you like landscapes and bright colors you should hire a photographer who shows that.  If you are like me and like a combination of romantic, whimsical, and fun you should look for a portfolio that shows that.  I know that we probably all look pretty similar to you because you are not in the same industry that we are….but I promise you just as I had to sit and really examine who my clients are….if you really look at two or three photographers work you will notice they are different.  Their personalities will come through, their vision of the wedding day, their style…..narrow it down to just a couple people then really choose the one whose images you love.  While I wish I could make work exactly like Elizabeth Messina and Jose Villa and Susan Stripling….I can’t.  I can only make Kivalo images.  Honestly, most of us are happy to help you with the big decision….we will advise and recommend, and listen to your likes and dislikes and see if we are a fit or if we know someone who is just like what you are describing.  When we can make “Kivalo” images or “Van Gogh” images instead of “Messina” or “Rockwell” images we are happiest and if you like what we do you will be happiest too.

Top Left and Top Right Jose Villa ||  Bottom Left and Bottom Right My Shots 

Above is my photo of the girls laughing–love their grey bridesmaid dresses.


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