I love Pinterest. It has replaced nighttime reading. I know, so sad. When I’m ready for bed, I fluff up all 6 pillows (one should be propped up properly for pinning fun), get under the covers and grab the Ipad. I go to one app and one app only. Pinterest. It is the only app I indulge in at night. I use the word indulge because by this time, all 4 teens are in bed, my husband is downstairs doing his own thing, the dogs are asleep on the floor next to me and I am completely alone with my creative thoughts. Within 15 minutes in my mind, I have whipped up dinner for a month, removed stains from last week, built new backyard furniture, styled the most amazing wedding and learned how to photograph the moon while doing somersaults in a pool at night. Okay, so that first one was a stretch, I’m not that great of a cook. But here’s what I really learned from Pinterest since I’ve become a pinning fool:

Pinterest can help you as a photographer by:

-Providing so many ideas for posing. (But don’t get too excited, this one will also be below in the hinder section. ) Sometimes you just get stuck. If you only do families, you may get tired of doing the same poses over and over again and just need some new ideas. This is one area that Pinterest is great for. You create your Posing Board and pin away fresh ideas that you haven’t thought of. I look at those ideas and don’t laugh, but I even act them out. This way, when I go to tell a family what to do, it makes more sense in my head if I’ve made my own body move that way.

-Showing clients what to wear. How many of you have a What to Wear board? My guess would be at least 90% of you if you are a photographer. I love sending an email to a client with a link to my Pinterest board for wardrobe ideas. Everyone that knows me knows my own style is quite drab. I am super comfortable in jeans, a black t-shirt and Rainbow flip flops every day of the year. I look like I am in no position to give wardrobe advice. So I refer them to my handy board combined with a few pages of examples from past clients in a packet I send via email and bam! I have awesomely dressed clients.

-Giving examples for wall displays. Wall Displays is another board I have and honestly, it’s for myself and for my clients. I don’t like frames all neat in a row. I’m drawn to non traditional ways of showing your images and different styles of frames as well. That board has a variety of ways to showcase what’s important to you because we’re all different.

-Knowing what a client wants. When I book a wedding, one of the questions I ask a bride is if she’s on Pinterest. If she is, I start following her. By doing this, I get an idea of what her style is, what colors she’s drawn to, what photos and poses she has in mind and I learn more about her personality. It gives me a chance to see her other boards too, so I see what kind of activities she likes, what she likes to cook, where she likes to travel, what her ideal home would be decorated like. Yes, it all sounds rather stalker status, but I think of it as gathering information. There is a con to this and I’ll explain that next.

Pinterest can hinder you as a photographer by:

-Relying too much on those poses you pin to your board. I have seen some photographers that pin poses for every upcoming session they have. This can lead to you losing touch with your creativity and spontaneity. You have it in your head that the hand should go here and the chin turned like so. You need to be in tune with what the client can do naturally instead of what they are told to do from a picture.

-If a bride comes to you and says they say these great photos on Pinterest and they have to show you because they want the exact same photos, it’s your job to educate them before they go any further with that conversation. Pinterest is full of gorgeous photos, but these photos tend to be the best of the best from a photographer. The lighting, the mood, the venue…everything was perfect. You can’t always duplicate what you see. Be mindful of that and be professional in how you handle that. It’s good to know what their interests are, but don’t promise something you can’t deliver. And this goes with any client, not just a bride. At some point, you will hear a client request a certain photo or pose they saw on Pinterest. Remember, educate and don’t overpromise.

-Learn to put Pinterest down when it comes to work. As much as I love my creative juices to be inspired, I have found that I am able to come up with my own ideas even more without the aid of Pinterest. I used to fall into this trap of thinking if I wanted to do a new theme for a mini session-had to turn to Pinterest. I had an upcoming session with 5 children which I had never done…no problem. Pinterest to the rescue. I needed new props for my Valentine’s Day sessions. You guessed it…Pinterest for the win. Doing that didn’t require me to think. I still go through Pinterest every night and pin away, and I do pin some business related pins, but I have more fun pinning recipes, quotes and projects I’ll never do.

Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California.  Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children.  When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.

Visit her website.