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Pinterest: To Pin or Not to Pin

Chances are, by now, you have heard of Pinterest, but chances are even greater that you are already pinning away. Pinterest has been around since 2010, but in the past several months, their traffic has grown exponentially. While Pinterest is a great source of inspiration that will spur your creativity and bring attention to your own work, if you are a photographer or designer, there are a couple of points to consider carefully before pinning your work. First, let’s look at some of the benefits of Pinterest, then we will talk about the possible gotch-ya’s:

  • Photographers and designers are driven by visual stimulation, obviously, and Pinterest allows you to create multiple “pin boards” to compile image sets to fuel your creativity. You can create and categorize boards with inspiration from everything to lighting setups you like, to wardrobe options, to hair and makeup ideas for your shoots.
  • There is a social-networking aspect to Pinterest that allows users to follow each other’s boards, that way, you can follow boards that inspire you, and draw inspiration from others’ image compilations.
  • In the same social-networking vein, you can link your Pinterest to Facebook, Twitter, and even Etsy. This is a great tool for cross-promoting your boards, and bringing traffic to your Pinterest account from outside sources.
  • Pinterest is gaining so much momentum in SEO that images hosted on Pinterest are beginning to turn up more and more in search results. By using the proper keywords when you pin, you will increase your chances of having viewers find your boards through search results.

Those are just a few of the many points that make Pinterest fun, beneficial, and a great resource for photographers. Now, let’s look at a couple of the things that you may want to watch out for:

  • Just like any image-sharing site, having your work on Pinterest will sometimes lead to image theft. If you are extremely worried about this, watermarking your photos will be in your best interest, but we all know that sometimes even a watermark will not prevent theft. You should consider whether or not the pros of sharing your images on Pinterest outweigh the cons, just as you would with any other site. The good news, though, is that if an image from your website, Facebook or Flickr is pinned, it will link back to your original image, as the person who is pinning the image (unless they have downloaded it to their computer, which is a big no-no) has to give the URL of the image in order for Pinterest to pin it.
  • One of first things you’ll see on the About page on Pinterest is the “Pin Etiquette” list. All of their points are straight-forward, however, #3 is interesting: [Soft Break]“Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.” (taken from the Pinterest website This guideline seems a bit vague, as I am not sure when the line is crossed between using Pinterest as Pinterest would like, or straying into nothing but self-promotion. I am assuming, like they said, it is fine to have your own work displayed on Pinterest, but they would like you to also pin the work of other users, not just your own. I think most of us are doing that, anyway, but it still seems like a potentially tricky balance to strike.

All-in-all, Pinterest is a really great place to find inspiration, and share with others. What has your experience been with Pinterest? Do you have any pros or cons you would like to share?

If you are already on Pinterest, I would love to connect with you here.  You can follow Laura from Pretty Presets here too.  Want to know more about the power of pinning?  Read more here!


Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.

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