Inspiration v.s. Imitation

Just as we consume calories, we also consume a steady diet of social media: Pretty blogs, immaculate Instagram feeds, and Pinterest boards bursting with jealousy-inducing details. And just like State Fair cheese curds, social media should be consumed in moderation.

Today, let’s focus on Pinterest. Future brides & grooms, if you want to work with me, a heads-up: I am kind of like the Surgeon General of Pinterest. When I hear that magic word, a red flag goes up and I make sure to have “the talk” with my prospective couple right away (it’s a gentle, friendly talk, of course!).

Yes, it’s a great tool for collecting ideas, textures, and colors. I use it all the time for curating recipes and home decor inspiration. When I was a bride, I pinned my little heart out. Pinterest is awesome, when used thoughtfully.

Minnesota Wedding Photographer

But we need to remember the difference between inspiration & imitation. Pinterest is a collection of fully-executed ideas. We have no idea what the original vision for the project was. In many cases, the available lighting & location have everything to do with the results. A thousand factors go into making the shareable eye candy we see online or in magazines (and in case you need the reminder, Pinterest isn’t real-life).

Your wedding is a life force, and you have full permission to treat it as such. Reflecting on my wedding two years ago,  I don’t think about the visual details & whether they “worked” or not. Instead, I remember how beautiful the day felt. So instead of imitating what you see on Pinterest, be inspired by it instead. Ask yourself, “Why do I like this image or design?” Find the common thread, and let that inspire you. Make it your own.

Apart from pretty details, there’s the whole topic of  imitating poses or actual wedding photographs found on Pinterest. As professional artists delivering an heirloom product, photographers need ample room to work their magic. Trust is cornerstone, and I’m blessed by clients who trust me wholeheartedly. The truth? I can’t deliver the images I do by looking at another photographer’s work. It shuts down my creative brain. In fact, a mentor once told me to start looking at my own work before every shoot. What a revelation! I need my own authentic vision to tell each story, so guess whose body of work I view before every shoot? Yep, mine.

I will almost never reproduce a photograph found on Pinterest, because it never turns out well. There has to be something genuine at the heart of the image, otherwise it won’t be successful. On those occasions, I always ask, “What do you like about this photo?” and go from there. The greatest Pinterest concession you will ever hear from me is: “Let’s be inspired by this idea & make our own version.”

I guarantee you’ll have gorgeous images whether you have Red Solo cups or Waterford crystal at your wedding. No one cares if your wedding matches your Pinterest board (and heck, why should it?). There is no secret coalition of Pinterest Police cracking down on wedding details, I promise. In addition, there’s no need provide your photographer with a shot list or a Pinterest board full of poses (Please-oh-please, no!). Any wedding photographer worth her salt know how to anticipate moments, roll with the punches, and capture your day authentically. That’s the art of it.

Minnesota Wedding Photographer

So focus on what matters most: Celebrating largely & beginning a marriage together. Trust your photographer to work her magic, whether it’s being a fly on the wall, styling your wedding details, or capturing raw happy tears. Be inspired by beauty as you plan this day, but don’t imitate someone else’s idea for the sake of creating a Pinterest-worthy celebration.

This has been a message from your friendly Social Media Surgeon General.



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