Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and when I say I love it I mean I reeaaalllly love it! I can get lost looking at gorgeous images, ideas and inspiration for hours on end.

However as a wedding photographer, Pinterest has presented itself with a few issues.

The moment a couple gets engaged and they start planning their wedding, most couples turn to Pinterest to find inspiration and ideas, which really is a great way to start visualizing what you want for your big day. However what most couples or general public (non photographers) don’t realize is that some if not most of the images on Pinterest are purposefully added on Pinterest to serve as inspiration. Strictly that. Inspiration.

The gorgeous visuals of décor, tables overflowing with flowers and beautiful ideas, most probably were part of a styled shoot where stylists and photographers combined their efforts to showcase something over the top, unusual or just plain gorgeous; however it may not always be practical at a real wedding.

The same goes for bridal couple photos. There are so many gorgeous photographs! Photos that are taken at the perfect time of day, with gorgeous light, the angle is just right, the wind plays along, the location looks like heaven and the facial expressions are perfect. Some of it so beautiful you cannot help but want or have your own replication. I mean who has not gushed over photographs where you can see (and even as a photographer just know) everything went absolutely perfect for that photograph.

Here is a perfect example of a Pinterest Inspiration Board.

blue moodboard

So what is wrong with having these photos as your inspiration or the type of photos you want taken at your own wedding? Nothing essentially, the problem however comes in when couples take those photos, hire a professional photographer and expect them to deliver the exact same photographs.

As any photographer will tell you, the collection of perfect photos you have collected and want your wedding photographer to replicate most probably is the most unrealistic thing to ask of any photographer, no matter how good they are.

Between you and me, the chances are that the photographer might also feel a little bit offended is very likely, (Most of us are sensitive artistic creatures that will protect, nurture and pride ourselves at our craft) so by asking a professional photographer to replicate photographs might have them feel that you don’t trust their artistic capability and just want them to copy someone else’s ideas. (Welcome to the world of a visual artist) 😉

A photograph where everything is 100% perfect only happens if you are extremely lucky. It cannot be faked, it cannot be replicated and the chances are your photos will not look exactly like the photos on pinterest.

The photos you see on Pinterest are photos that are either styled to look a certain way or it is a once in a blue moon lucky photograph taken at a real wedding. Don’t believe me? Try to find a entire wedding album with every wedding photo being of the “oh my word it is perfect” category. I have checked. There isn’t one. Most of the photo’s you see are 1 or 3 photos of a real wedding, or a few more of a styled shoot, where everything went perfect.

Styled shoots are the perfect way for creative photographers, stylists, florists, hair & make-up artists, designers and venues to showcase something phenomenal.

Hours of brainstorming most probably went into the theme of the shoot, the décor details and the sourcing of the venue etc.

Models where hired to be styled as the bride and groom, and most probably hours were spent to take those gorgeous photographs you get to see.

Personally I love wedding themed styled shoots, it gives me the perfect opportunity to style and shoot exactly how and what I want.

Shireen Louw Photography_0026

Weddings however are very far removed from styled shoots in the sense that weddings are fast paced little events happening throughout the day. You are limited with locations, time and sometimes the weather does not play nice. Chances that all the elements on the day will be perfect and work well together are not 100% and you will most probably face a few challenges, no matter how hard you try to get it perfect.

Since I have been in the industry for many years and have met and photographed hundreds of brides, I know how much effort goes into planning their special day and I also know the expectation they have about their photographs etc.  This is the reason why I always mention it to the bridal couple if they present me with samples of work they love, that they should realize that I will be capturing their day as it happens, and that the chances of them having those “once in a lifetime” wedding photographs are more likely to happen if they are relaxed, not stressing about replicating photographs or angles and leave the creativeness into the capable hands of their wedding photographer, since that is what I am great at and hopefully why they hired me in the first place.

I do however will take photographs presented to me at times as a clue as to what kind of style & photos appeal most to the couple and incorporate it into my own creative process on the day.

Using Pinterest for inspiration purposes are fantastic, but realizing that it should just aid as inspiration and not as a replication will keep you satisfied with the end result of your own wedding.

Shireen Louw Photography_0025


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