Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pinterest Problems

(don’t worry, I’m the copyright holder and original owner of this image)

I was first introduced to Pinterest a little over a year ago when I was collaborating on a shoot for Brenda’s Wedding Blog. At first, I was totally intimidated and didn’t really know how to use it. I already had ideas in my head of what direction I wanted this shoot to go and was pretty good at conveying them to the team. The shoot was a success – without the use of Pinterest. Similarly, I was able to plan my own wedding three years ago – without the use of Pinterest.

A few months went by and the Pinterest hysteria picked up. I quickly found myself losing an extra two hours of sleep every night as I browsed the shared pins and boards. I guffawed at the snotty athletic girl photos that said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” as I repinned any recipe with the description of “Red Velvet.”

As I’m a photographer, it seemed like a good idea to make a board for potential poses. I started storing all the cute child, senior & wedding poses I adored in there and would reference it when I needed a spark of inspiration before a shoot. I had another big collaborative shoot coming up, so we all shared a board and added our ideas to it. “Why didn’t I do this before?!” was all I could think, it made the process so easy!

It is unbeknownst to me why the creators of Pinterest would think that members would only use this site to chronicle their own work. I do indeed have a board that features my professional work and I use it as a point of reference for potential clients. I’ve already pinned everything of mine that belongs to me that I can find online. It’s not getting repinned much but I’d be happy if it was. To me, that would mean people liked what they saw and hopefully it made them stop by my blog for an additional look. Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone or every photographer on this issue.

Here’s what brought this issue up for me: I was recently contacted via email by a very successful, well-known photographer to take down his images that I had pinned, as inspiration for another shoot. I certainly didn’t go into detail with him, just said, “My apologies, they will be removed asap,” and I removed them immediately. I’m grateful he took that approach rather than having his attorney send me a letter threatening to sue me. Me! I don’t have much to lose (sidenote: I’m curious if my business insurance would help in this case).

So now I’m just completely confused. If I follow the Terms + Conditions of Pinterest, I should just go ahead and close my Pinterest account, as I’m not the copyright holder of even a small percentage of my pins and repins! I’m currently helping my sister plan her wedding and in doing so, we are collaborating on a Pinterest board for inspiration. No, I haven’t taken all of the photos that we’ve used on that board!

I really thought that Pinterest was going to be a virtual playground for creative professionals and it seemed that photographers, specifically, were getting the best use out of it. I am having a hard time grasping why photographers are now the ones that are so incredibly upset with Pinterest. I certainly don’t think that because someone repins my original image that it means they think they own that image or that they will get a print of that image to hang in their house. I am just a small time photographer though – I’m not a big deal. Is that why I don’t see this as such an epidemic problem?

What’s your opinion? Leave the pinning world behind or continue on into the great unknown?