Ok, this might be a controversial post but please hear me out.
Every photographer has their own process in creating images for their clients. A lot of the time, Pinterest plays a big part in it.

Why we won’t plan your photo shoot with a Pinterest mood board

What’s a mood board?

A mood board is a visual representation that consists of images, photos and sometimes text to illustrate ideas, goals or inspiration for a certain topic.

Mood boards can come in handy for a variety of creative jobs where a visual style guide helps a designer or photographer to understand the vision their client might have for an assignment.

Through colour schemes, example images, drawings and photographs, both sides can get a clearer idea of what’s desired or possible within the scope of a project.

The danger of Pinterest

Pinterest serves as a way to create mood boards for all sorts of projects. Since it’s such a visual platform, it’s easy to draw ideas and inspirations from different sources into a board to create a vision – for anything really.

A lot of photographers use this to collect styles, colours, moods and location ideas for their clients. That applies to wedding, family, branding or even pet photographers. And I can totally see the value in it.

However, I don’t use it for my clients.

Don’t get me wrong, I love and use Pinterest for my personal life all the time. I find recipes, interior and design ideas to learn more about what I love or want to try. And also to learn what I don’t like.

When it comes to my photography though, I stepped away from Pinterest a few years ago.
The reason is that it’s too easy to look for more than inspiration. There are so many images and ideas on the platform and more often than not, people fall in love with what they see and are inclined to copy their inspiration.

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”

I don’t fully agree with that. I don’t fully disagree either but imitation can easily lead to copying. I’m not someone who recreates another artist’s work. My clients book me for my style – and that’s applicable for my family as well as my branding clients. The style I represent is authentic and honest which relates to how I work as well as what my clients want to express. Authenticity does not come from recreating existing work.

Seeing images you love online can create an expectation I, as your photographer, might not be able to meet. And that’s not necessarily because I can’t recreate it (although sometimes that’s exactly why). A lot of times it’s because the people in the photo do not resemble you, my client. We can’t find a location that matches the image you’d like to have and none of us can control the weather. There are a lot of elements that play into the success of a photo session.

Your own vision, my creative freedom, our unique surroundings and your trust in me are key components of that success.

How do my clients and I prepare for a shoot then?

I’m a family and branding photographer. Both genres work in a very different way.

My family photography is as documentary as you’ll let me be during our session. That means I don’t direct you or anyone on the shoot. The goal is not to get a picture-perfect portrait but capture the moments that make your family so uniquely wonderful.

In preparation for that, all you need to do is get comfortable with me being your life for as long as our session lasts. You don’t have to clean up your house or your kids. Nobody needs to be briefed to be on best behaviour and you don’t have to have any activities planned that you wouldn’t usually do.

There won’t be a style guide for what you should wear, what time we should meet to capture the best light in your garden or your favourite park or a list of treats that make sure your kids won’t have a tantrum. Any of those things would compromise the integrity of capturing the real experience of a day in your life.

Before your session, you will receive a questionnaire that tells me a bit more about your family dynamics and the things that are important to you as a parent. That’s all the preparation that is needed.

My branding photography and films are a little less documentary and a little more planned, naturally. You’ll receive a questionnaire (or 2 if you want a brand film) so I can learn more about your business, your values, your mission, your clients and your goals.

Again, you won’t receive a style guide but I can help you choose your outfits if you’re unsure what to wear. We’ll plan which props might be useful to bring and where to go. It’s important that we roughly know where we want to shoot – your office or shop, a co-working space, a cafe, the beach or whichever place you pick. The location we choose needs to work with your brand and your personality.

The goal is to create images that are authentic and represent you and your business. My brand shoots are very much a collaboration but you take the lead. As much as I can learn to understand your brand, you know it best and I’m here to support and facilitate you.

Final words

I’m not against Pinterest boards. A lot of photographers use them very successfully with their clients. But everyone has their own way of bringing someone’s vision to life.

Some clients send me photos to illustrate the style they like or to give me a better idea of what they want to get out of their session and I’ll always appreciate that. But it’s my job to manage expectations and tell those clients that we most likely won’t be able to reproduce what they’ve sent me. Instead, we’ll work on a way to create a version of it that absolutely represents them as a person, a brand, a business or a family. You can’t be more authentic than that.

Authenticity is everything when connecting with your own audience or creating images that your children will see as a representation of how their life felt like growing up. Let me help you with that!

If this inspired you to maybe work with me, get in touch and we can have a chat about what I can do for you!

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Not ready to chat? No problem, why not have a look around my website to learn more about what I can do for you, your business or your family…