Pinterest isn't a great marketing tool for photographers. Not in the traditional sense. This is because Pinterest wasn't designed for self-promotion; but, if used properly, it can be incredibly helpful to photographers by:
- providing insights into what client's are looking for
- helping educate and guide clients
- being a resource for personal inspiration
In the right hands, Pinterest can make photographers more effective, more interesting and -ultimately- more successful. Here's how:
1) Client Mood Boards
Clients can be notoriously bad at expressing what they're looking for from photographers.
- Can you make me look professional yet approachable? Casually buttoned-up. I must seem authoritative.
- The apartment should be shot so it appears high-end and luxurious, but also warm and welcoming.
- I want my handbag to look timeless, you know? I want it to feel mysterious and sultry.
How much simpler for the client to create their own board on Pinterest that visually explains what they often struggle to say verbally. The photographer should encourage the client to pin reference imagery that would help inspire the photographer.
The key words here, of course, are "reference" and "inspire". The client must understand that references are just that - a reflection of the visual style they would like to see in the photographer's work. Not a carbon-copy. It should be "inspiration" for the photographer, whose work already demonstrates a style the client likes. Or else why was the photographer chosen in the first place?
2) Client Education
Photographers can also use Pinterest to help guide the client.
For example, if the photographer feels there are some best-in-class images that will help bring the client to a better place, then Pinterest offers an easy and dynamic space for this. As all photographers know, there is oftentimes a disconnect between what the clients think they want, and what they really want...
If a website is the photographer's buttoned up portfolio and Instagram is the arena for looser creative expression, then Pinterest is a giant interactive pin-board that allows photographers to educate, define and inspire.
Photographers should be thinking holistically about photography when it comes to their Pinterest boards. Consider what else could be of value to the client:
- Photographers can show how a wedding color can be used to great effect across the entire wedding: from the save-the-date card to the bride's bouquet, via the table centerpieces and fairy candles, using imagery from wedding planners, florists and stationers along the way. Thinking about how photography fits into the broader picture will bring incredible value to the client, making the photographer an indispensable member of their team.
- A headshot photographer could create a board around what aspiring actors should wear for a theatrical headshot vs. a commercial headshot. It's knowledge like this that separates the good headshot photographer from the bad - as discussed in our post Models & Actors: 4 Things to consider before hiring your headshot photographer - and will position the photographer as someone who will shoot the actor in a way that the casting director will want to see.
The key is adding value to the client's experience with the photographer.
3) For Paperwork
It's definitely not sexy, but Pinterest can be used in a very functional way too. Photographers can help clients ahead of their session or shoot by linking contracts or model release forms, etc., if they're available on the photographer’s website.
It's a simple, easy-to-implement action that the client will appreciate.
4) Personal inspiration
Pinterest is an inspirational treasure trove. As a visually-driven platform, it encourages users to explore in multiple directions, leaving a trail of pins to be collected and reviewed. As creatives, it is critical for photographers to remain on top of relevant trends and visual techniques, which keeps their work on-point and interesting.
While Pinterest is a social platform, it is used more for saving and sharing content than interacting with others, unlike Facebook or Twitter. So it is critical that the photographer doesn't just shill their own work; instead they should celebrate what they discover. It marks the photographer as an authority on what constitutes noteworthy imagery.