The Ultimate Pinterest Guide For Photographers

by Jamie M Swanson

Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Photographers

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Pinterest is about to take the world by storm.

There’s been a lot of buzz about Pinterest in the last few weeks, so I thought it was time to share with you everything you need to know about Pinterest as a photographer.

I’ve been studying it fairly intensely for the last few months, and I think it’s only going to get bigger and more important to helping you market your business.

Here’s what you’ll learn about Pinterest:

What is Pinterest?
Why should you care about Pinterest?
Pinterest Etiquette
Strategies for Using Pinterest
Pinterest Tips
Resources for Photographers on Pinterest

So let’s get started!

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is basically a visual bookmarking site that has a strong social component built into it, making it easy for things to go viral.

Pinterest currently gets about 6 million monthly users and has millions of hits per week, and it’s only going to grow from there.

Pinterest accounts are obtained by invitation only. If you need one, leave a comment on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure you get hooked up.

Once you’ve got a Pinterest account, you’ll be able to create boards on which you “pin” things. You can pin images and YouTube videos from around the web on your various boards. Here’s what my boards page looks like (click for a larger view):

This allows you to keep all those lovely things from around the web organized in one nice place.

There’s also an incredible social aspect to Pinterest. Pinterest is most helpful once you start following other Pinterest users. Any easy way to find people you know is to connect to your Facebook account and add your friends. Just click your name in the upper right corner and select “Find Friends.”

Once you have added some friends, click on the logo at the top of the page and it’ll take you to a board where you can see you and your friends’ most recent pins.

Pinterest Home Page

This front page is where you’ll do most of your pinning and browsing. When you hover over a pin, you’ll be given the option to Repin, Like, or Comment on the pin.

Repinning the pin allows you to put it on one of your boards. Liking the pin puts it on a “liked” pins page that you can access by selecting “Likes” in the menu with your name on it in the upper right side of the page. Commenting allows you to add additional comments to pins.

Here’s a few other helpful things about the front page that you should know about as well (click image for a larger view):

Pinterest Home Page Layout Features

On the left you’ll see recent activity from your friends, such as when people like, repin, or comment on your pins.

The right side is where you find your own boards, add friends, and do all sorts of other stuff that I’ll let you explore on your own.

But the thing I love most is in the middle right below the Pinterest logo. This lets you change what you see.

By default, you’ll see the things from the people you are following. However, you can also select to see everything being pinned on Pinterest at the moment, or Videos, or Popular Pins, or Gifts.

If you want even more information about the nuts and bolts of using Pinterest, I highly suggest this helpful article about how to get started on Pinterest.

Why should you care about Pinterest?

Pinterest’s power comes from it’s incredibly viral nature. People can share things with just a click, and because it’s so visual (and we’re in the visual business) it’s an incredible tool for marketing.

Not only that, but it can drive an insane amount of traffic to your website when someone with lots of followers pins something from your website. In fact, Pinterest was my highest traffic generator last month to this site beating Facebook by about 20%!

Another fabulous thing about Pinterest is that the links are “do-follow” links, meaning they will help you rank better in search results. Now, they won’t necessarily get a lot of weight because there are so many links, but the sheer mass of links may help a bit.

Pinterest is also a great way to help serve your clients. When you can point them to a board of resources that have been created just for them and their needs, it leaves a positive impression on them and makes them feel more excited about working with you.

Pinterest Etiquette

As with any social network, there are a few rules that you need to follow when using Pinterest.

The main ones are about not using the stuff you find on Pinterest for commercial gain. So don’t go stealing other peoples’ photos and claiming they are yours, using them as if you took them, etc. As an artist, I’d hope that you are more than glad to respect copyright laws and ethics behind internet image usage.

Because of the way that Pinterest seems to encourage people to add prices to things and pin, I don’t actually believe that they ban you trying to promote products you sell on Pinterest. Their terms of service seem to prohibit things related to copyright issues and making money off of things that aren’t yours more than simply making money off your own stuff, but that’s just my interpretation (based on reading it and seeing how others use the site) so you may want to read it yourself.

They also ask that you don’t overly self-promote. You are free to pin your own content as long as that’s not the only reason you have an account. Quite frankly, you’ll get more traction using Pinterest if you pin all sorts of things anyways, so it’s in your best interest to follow this one. Keep a high percentage of your pins from other sources and you’ll be fine.

Strategies for Using Pinterest

There are lots of ways that you can use Pinterest. Here’s a few of the suggestions I have for using it, but I’d love to hear what you’re doing in the comments as well.

I’ll be linking to a few of my Pinterest boards in my suggestions – I encourage you to follow them and “repin” anything that you think would be helpful.

Use Pinterest Boards for Inspiration & Resources for your clients

Pinterest Wedding Boards

Think about what needs your client has and create a board that helps solve them.

For example, you could create an entire board called “What to Wear at your Photoshoot” that has clothing suggestions for their sessions. Or maybe you’ll have a board filled with props just for portrait sessions that clients can use as inspiration for their own session.

For my wedding clients, I’m in the process of creating a number of wedding inspiration boards. I’ve currently started boards for wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, wedding dresses, wedding shoes, veils, reception decorations, and wedding details. I’m planning on adding a venue board and some other location boards for engagement shoot ideas.

I’ll be sending links to these boards to my clients after they book with us just as helpful little extras that they may find useful. Pinterest is a bride’s best friend for planning.

Other ideas for boards you may want to create to show your clients:

Pinterest Price In Corner

  • Gift Ideas for Brides & Grooms (hint – if you use the $, € or £ before a number it makes a nice little banner in the corner of your pin showing the price of the item).
  • Theme Boards for themed shoot ideas
  • Color Boards
  • Seasonal Boards
  • Photos that link to articles about preparing them for their session or wedding
  • Helpful Wedding Planning Articles
  • Beauty Tips for the Wedding Day or Photography Shoot

I know, that doesn’t directly get you traffic to your website, but it will do so many good things for your reputation and word of mouth advertising from clients who feel like you went the extra mile that it’s worth noting first. Always think about what your clients’ needs are and how you can help ease them and you’ll be making good business decisions for sure.

Use Pinterest to get more exposure for your business

The more your images are pinned, the better chance you’ll have at getting people to visit your site and potentially book your services.

While this may be more valuable for people who work internationally or sell something on their website, it can still benefit local businesses as well because your clients will be pinning stuff that their friends will see. It’s much like Facebook in that way.

Think about ways to encourage people to pin your images.

The first step is to put Pinterest buttons on your site. The easiest way is to install a plugin that puts the button at the end of your post.

I helped develop a free WordPress plugin called “Pin it on Pinterest” with William Bay, and it puts a little window in your admin right under where you write your posts that allows you to select the image used and enter the custom description when they hit the button.

I like this for blogging purposes as it allows me to use an image with text on it (such as the title of my post) so it gets more attention in Pinterest, but it doesn’t allow people to select their own image yet (that’s coming in a future version) so it is probably less useful for typical photo posts right now. It is really nice to be able to put a default description in there, however, as people generally just leave it there and that allows you to select your keywords and put a custom call to action for people to read.

You can also do this manually for each photo you post or on only the posts where you want it. Simply visit Pinterest’s Goodies page to set one up and enter it into the html part of your post. That’s how I put the pin it button at the top of this post.

You can also add a “Follow me on Pinterest” button found here. It looks like this:

Follow Me on Pinterest

There’s also a pretty sweet Pinterest widget that shows your most recent pins in the sidebar of your WordPress site.

The next step is to encourage people to pin your photos. Tell your clients to go through and create an inspiration board from your own work that they can share with you to help you know what really draws you to them.

Give regular calls to action to pin the photos or the posts. It works particularly well at the end of your posts.

Having the buttons there and ready to go make it incredibly easy for them to pin your stuff.

Hold a Contest on Pinterest

This is a great way to encourage people to pin your stuff and interact with your website.

Mark Eric is running a contest for his blog readers that is incredibly brilliant.

To enter, he’s having people create a board with images from his site that inspire him as well as images with location ideas, clothing styles, and anything else they’d like to represent themselves and then he’ll judge them for creativity and give the winners a free portrait session.

You might also consider having people vote on a selection of images you post by repinning it, liking it, commenting on it, etc.

Or have them pin their own photos as a way of entering.

I’ll be curious to see how people begin crafting contests using Pinterest as it becomes more and more popular, as I’m sure there are many ways to do this that no one has tried before. Leave a comment below if you’ve got a good one that you want to share!

Sell Your Products and Services on Pinterest

Etsy sellers have been all over this since they realized the viral nature of Pinterest.

Pin a photo with information about your products and services with the price in the description.

It’d be a great way for people to add them to their wish lists for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

Sell Your Products and Services On Pinterest

Offer Exclusive Promotions or Incentives

Create a pin that gives them some special promotion for following you on Pinterest.

Change it up often to encourage them to come back to your board to see. This works better for portrait photographers where you have more repeat clients, but you may want to do some sort of promotion at special times of the year and use that to promote your business as well.

Network With Other Professionals & Vendors

I’m really hoping that a bunch of my wedding vendors get involved in Pinterest because it would be a very easy way to share images with them.

If you want to tag a user in a pin, simply use an @ before their name and it will tag them. You will need to be following at least one of their boards to be able to do this, however. They will be notified about the tag, and you can share things with them that way very easily.

Strengthen your Brand Using Pinterest

There’s lots of ways to strengthen your brand using Pinterest.

Create a board with inspiration around the web that fits your brand.

Pin personal stuff for your clients to get to know you and what you like. So much of what we sell is an experience, so it’s a great way to help them to know you better.

It’s also a super-helpful tool for when you’re thinking about re-branding as you can create an inspiration board with things you love that your designer can help to tie together into your site.

Pinterest Tips

Here’s how to make the most of Pinterest and not lose out on that extra bit of exposure.

Use the Search Function

You don’t have to search the entire internet to find things to pin on the boards you’re looking to create.

Instead, use the search function on the front page to find things that you might want to add to your boards.

Pinterest Search Bar

The search function is also fabulous for doing market research, looking for inspiration, identifying new trends that are emerging, and finding new people to follow.

Note: The search function is suddenly gone for me today. It used to be on the left at the very top in line with the Pinterest logo. I’m hoping Pinterest is just making some changes and that it will be back, but in the case that it doesn’t come back, you can use the address:

http://pinterest.com/search/?q=wedding+inspiration

Simply replace the term you’re searching for in place of the bold terms to search for pins on the site.

Best Practices For Writing Titles & Descriptions

Because the links are currently do-follow (meaning the have a positive impact on search rankings on sites like Google), you may get additional benefit from being intentional about how you enter titles and descriptions.

When pinning things, use full descriptions with good keywords. You can also add a link to a website in the description by writing out the full web address with the “http://” part.

Make sure when you pin directly from blogs that you are not pinning from the home page but rather the post page for that item so that it goes back to the right spot if you want to access it again.

While creative titles for your boards can be fun, you’ll get more potential search traffic if you name your boards with descriptive titles. Use the descriptions to add your keywords and fun elements. You cannot put active links in board descriptions. Make sure you’re being clear about what is being pinned on the board.

Caution: Don’t just fill things with lots of keywords over and over again. Search engines don’t like this and can penalize you for it, so when you’re doing this, make sure you’re doing it in such a way that people seeing it won’t think anything weird about it. It’s better to get people repinning your content by far than to stuff it with irrelevant keywords that might only hurt you anyways.

What Images Work Best

Pinterest Optimizing Images

One of the most powerful things I’ve found to make your images stand out is to put words on them. My most frequently pinned image for The Modern Tog is my pricing guide image, which you can see on the right.

This is part of why I like being able to select what image I want people to use when they hit the “pin it” button on my blog, as I don’t always want to have text on all my post images and this allows me to not have to have the image with words on it in the post at all.

Images that have people looking directly at the reader seem to catch peoples’ eye as well, and images that are stunning even at a very small size are also effective.

I’ve also started watermarking my client images again. It’s a way to create brand recognition as my photos are passed around Pinterest, as they may never actually click through to my site to see who created it. This is something you’ll have to weigh for yourself.

I suggest heading over to Pinterest and just browsing your board, intentionally noting what catches your eye and why. You’ll learn a lot simply through being observant.

Build a Network of Followers

If you want to build a following fast, make sure to interact and engage with people. Leave comments on things, use the @ symbol to tag people in notes, and thank people for pinning. There isn’t a lot of engagement going on other than repinning things right now, so this is a great way to really stand out and make yourself notable.

Resources for Photographers on Pinterest

Find your images on Pinterest
Want to see if anything from your site has been pinned?

Use the following web address, but enter your domain name at the end in place of the bold text:

http://pinterest.com/source/YourDomainName.com

This will show you the last several things of yours that people have pinned on Pinterest.

Follow me on Pinterest
Please follow me on Pinterest! I have several boards for photographers, including Posing Inspiration Boards, Photography Business Tips, Shooting Tips, and boards for my clients that you can follow and repin onto your own boards.

How Do You Use Pinterest?

I’d love to hear more about how you use Pinterest! Leave a comment below and share any other ideas you’ve had about how to use Pinterest!

Finally, if you found this post helpful, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would spread the word by pinning this and sharing it wherever else you hang out on the internet. Thanks!
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P.S. Would you please take a minute to fill out this super quick survey for me? I am planning out my content schedule for the next few months and want to make sure I’m as helpful as possible to you, thanks!

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Jamie M Swanson is a Madison Wedding Photographer with her husband Brandon. She enjoys photography, loves the business side of things, but truly comes alive by helping others grow their own businesses. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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StudioTrainer Kate January 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I’ve actually added a tab on my FB Fan page that shows my boards to encourage my fans to follow me (its increased my followings by over 300 people since I’ve added it). It’s easy to do – there’s a post on my blog with instructions.

Also, in some of my groups, we’ve made a board with contributors so that we can share poses that inspire us, or even pin posts from eachothers blogs that we love so that we can repin them and encourage and build traffic and commenting on eachothers blogs. It’s great for traffic and helping out our photography network.

Jamie M Swanson January 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Oh, great idea! I totally forgot to mention that you could create collaborative boards. :) What a fun way to use it!

Can you post a link to the post? I’ll make sure it doesn’t go to spam.

Thanks for sharing!

StudioTrainer Kate January 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm
Jamie M Swanson January 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Awesome, thanks!

Ruth January 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Kate…cannot thank you enough. I have installed the app and it looks great on FB. Awesome to have a Pinterest tab.

http://pinterest.com/rstenson/

StudioTrainer Kate January 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

You’re so welcome Ruth, glad you like it!

Lindsay January 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

Kate,

How did you make a separate “photography & business too” page on Pinterest?

Thanks,
Lindsay

Lindsay January 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

Nevermind, that was a dumb question! I figured it out. Thanks!

Alejandra January 27, 2012 at 8:28 am

Hi Jamie!
Totally loved this post! I just got into Pinterest and love it sooooo much more than Facebook!! Totally more visual! Thanks so much for this! I will be sure to follow you here!! Much love!

Jamie M Swanson January 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

Thanks Alejandra! It’s completely addictive, isn’t it? Glad you found this helpful, and thanks for commenting!

Paul Brown January 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

Great post and very informative. I had not really heard or taken notice of pinterest until now. Will have to get an account and look deeper. Thanks for posting

Jamie M Swanson January 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting. I hope you find it useful for building your business.

Lindsay January 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

Great post, thanks for sharing! Do you know if there is a way to send people to just my photo boards and not my personal boards? I don’t necessarily want everyone to see what recipes I plan to make or what books I want to read? :) Thanks!

Jamie M Swanson January 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

Unfortunately the only way to separate them is to have two separate accounts. I figure it’s a way to let them see more of who I am by just having it all there.

But you can link just to specific boards that they can follow (they don’t have to follow everything you post). Just go to that board, and then copy the link at the top for that page and send them that. They will still be able to see all your stuff though if they click your name.

Piper January 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

You mentioned wordpress allowing you to “select the image used and enter the custom description when they hit the button”. I would love to do this with my blogger blog, do you know if it’s possible?
Thank you this was wonderful information!

Jamie M Swanson January 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I’m not sure if there’s a way to integrate it into a blogger site automatically, but you can do it post by post by using Pinterest’s form here: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/#button_for_websites

You should only have to paste the code into your post wherever you want it in the HTML editor of your post. I’m not a blogger user, though, so I don’t know the step-by-steps. I’m guessing you could find it by googling. :)

Lea January 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Awesome tips! I love Pinterest, but after reading this I know I’m not using it to it’s full potential! I did start a brand inspiration board for my designer earlier this week so that’s one thing I can check off!

Jamie M Swanson January 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Sweet! Glad you’re finding it useful. I still have a “to do” list of things I need to do as well, isn’t that always how business is?!?

Sarah Arrow January 28, 2012 at 5:02 am

Fabulous Jamie, this is the best post relating to Pinterest I have seen. Have shared etc, it applies to more than just photographers – thank you

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Aw, thanks Sarah! For the kind words, for sharing, and for commenting. :) Love your gravatar, by the way!

Jill Fritts January 28, 2012 at 7:11 am

This is so helpful. Thank you! Especially the part about the MIA search tab…I had no idea how to work around that :)

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 9:39 am

You’re welcome! It turns out it was just down for a day out of maintenance…they posted it on Twitter. The search bar is back and working again today, but I’ll leave the comment for the sake of help in the future in case it happens again.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 9:29 am

As much as I love the inspiration,food and DIY on PI, let me just say as a photographer I have great concern as to where all this is heading.

First,PI ask that we do not self promote !!

Secondly,I am concerned about the thousands of people’s work that has been uploaded and shared no matter their “terms” that a photographer may have set forth,in fact many I have found are linked back to blogs that have lifted and used images and often times no way to find the original photographer and while PI ask that proper credit be given,yet for most,no one cares…the main goal is to share pretty things. Since when did the image or author of works not have a say in how their stuff is being used? Does this not matter anymore?

Thirdly, I am not sure how well it sits with me as a professional that some are using others work to promote their work. If others work is what is being used to draw visitors in ,then this gives these images value and there was a time we photographers were paid for this ( you know like how magazines bought images,authors bought book covers etc).

If you look at PI’s terms- liability it seems is place at the feet of the posters. Removing all responsibilty from PI should the images loaded be against user terms author or photographer set forth. Then look at the terms of usage,we are giving them royalty free rights to use as they see fit our images as wells as others that we are not authorized to give permission for them to do so.

Since when as photographers do we condone this? From where I sit if someone’s work is being used to bring business to us then that has value and the original artist should be paid for that value…no? How can we ethically use others work without even their permission? How can we ethically support a site that profits off others work freely without permission?

I think PI has great potential but from a professional photographer POV I question the ethics of it all .

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hi Heather,

Thank you for your comment. I always appreciate it when people leave meaningful comments on the blog!

Let’s tackle these one at a time.

Pinterest’s exact quote on self-promotion:
“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.”

(Emphasis on the word “purely” was mine.)

I think as long as the percentage of pins you place are not your own, you’re fine. If you’re not comfortable with that, then you shouldn’t do it. However, I’m sure there will be some people who abuse this, and that’s such a shame. It will reflect poorly on them, and just like with every other social media network out there they’ll have a harder time getting traction by only promoting themselves than by promoting others as well.

And it’s important to note that this is just the etiquette they request you follow, not in their actual terms of service.

I agree with you on the second point. There’s a good chance that people will not get the credit they should because of how or where something was pinned. However, adding a watermark to your images can help with this. It’s not the perfect solution, but it is helpful. There will always be people out there who are intentionally stealing images and using them incorrectly; I think most pinners are not doing this intentionally, so I don’t personally blame Pinterest for this.

Third, regarding your opinion about how it stinks how things have changed over time. I agree. However, by having other people pin my stuff, I am gaining a tangible benefit by getting far more traffic, new clients, and more exposure. I might not be receiving a check directly, but I’m okay with that. Things have changed, and I think at some point you’ll have to accept that while it’d be nice to be getting paid for those things again, things are never going to be the same again. They just won’t. There will always be someone who is honored that a magazine wants to use their photo and are willing to let them do it for free. Dwelling on what was and wishing it was that way again and thus bucking the way that things are now will only cause you to get bitter and lose new opportunities that arise to move forward in different ways.

I hope that doesn’t come across as too harsh, but it’s the reality of things whether we agree with them or not.

As for liability, if you see an image that is uploaded without proper credit, notify Pinterest and they will have a responsibility to remove it. If they don’t remove it, I’m sure they’d still retain some liability, but I’m not a lawyer so I don’t really know for certain.

Ethically I have no problems using it because I gain a huge benefit from it as well. In fact, I’m thrilled that they’re around, and I’m not worried about people stealing my stuff for their own promotion (or even using my images on boards for sharing with clients to help them) as it ultimately gets me really cheap exposure and traffic that DOES benefit me significantly.

I’m hoping more people chime in, though, as I’d love to hear other opinions. I’m certainly not saying everyone has to think what I do, nor am I saying you are wrong; I’m just trying to explain why I’m still glad to embrace this platform. I’m sure there are many others out there with your same opinion, and I think parts of it are completely valid. Thank you so much for taking the time to write out the comment as I think we need to be questioning this stuff when it comes up. :)

Anyone else out there have an opinion? I’d love to hear from more of our readers on this.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi..
Thanks for your reply at length.

First let me say,I am not concerned so much with my images as mine are all marked except on galleries that sell my work. Secondly,I am not sure I am longing for things as they were or that I think things “stink” as you assumed. I am placing this question more as for other artist not just myself who may or may not agree to the benefits of someone using or sharing their work. I think ultimately that is for each artist to decide NOT the person sharing or using it. I mean it is kind of like me telling you what is good for your business just by doing it and in essence suggesting that I know best. I am not longing for yesterday. I am looking at it from a perspective that if you are using someones work to promote or draw people into your business then that gives those works value and in an essence you are telling me that promotional photography or work has no value except to you as a promotional piece in which brings you more potential customers and more money in your pocket. How is that longing for yesterday? You see the great value in what traffic someone elses work will bring you for FREE. I rather like to think I am looking out for my fellow artist by asking questions that should be asked. I am just curious as to how the artist works you use to drive this to you benefit and is it for you or I to decide this is best for them ?

I am not trying to be snarky here but I in good conscious as someone who has been very proactive in my field and pay attention to the struggles many artist face,I HAVE to ask these questions. I am curious as well from my own business perspective but I rather not step on toes while doing it and assume every person who creates want their work used in this manner will agree with me should I undertake this. Especially given that when we share from previous shares that we have checked the artist terms of usage and then potentially opening myself up to copyright infringement when they find I have financially profited by basically using their works as a mechanism to drive people to my work. I think while the site is great,it isn’t something some should enter to in lightly and others should be asking themselves these questions. I would rather be sure than to get slapped with a lawsuit thus why I am asking these questions from a legal and ethical standpoint.
You mentioned that you are ethically not worried because you will benefit greatly and are not worried about people stealing your stuff because it is promotional . It isn’t me I am worried about. It is other artist whose works that may not feel the same as you and I find it a bit presumptious to assume the works you share of others will feel the same. Being professionally ethical has nothing to do with longing with yesterday and just because the internet has come along doesn’t give way to excuse professional ethics in any business and an all all free for all just because we will benefit. That is jmho.
I am not knocking anyone on this but I think these questions MUST be raised and addressed.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

Let me also add that normally people get paid for promotional works…to assume I should get paid for my work that benefits someone is “longing for yesterday” ? So my image that sold covers of a book or magazine ,now have 3x the impact online and 10 more users (mags ) needing it or using it, but I shouldn’t expect to get paid for much more traffic and usage and this is considered longing for yesterday? So, I should be thankful for someone giving it coverage and agree they know best? If my image is helping you to make money and I am in business,I expect to profit just as you would with terms of usage attached. I hardly find that longing for anything but looking out for the business I have busted my hiney to build.. Maybe you could enlighten me a bit on this..

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I can tell I touched a nerve by saying you were longing for the past, and I did not intend to insult you with that. I’m sorry, since it is clear that it wasn’t your intention with your comment about how things used to be. I completely agree that people deserve compensation for their work; I just know a number of people who are so tied to what “used to be” that it actually hurts them in the end because they just get bitter and can’t move forward and see that the way they are compensated has simply changed.

I certainly do NOT condone magazines or other entities profiting from images they use without permission, just to be clear. I’m just saying that many publications are finding it easier and easier to find people willing to allow use of their images in exchange for exposure and a link, and while it’s a bummer, it’s inevitable now that there are so many photographers, and many of them are really good and are more than glad to make that trade.

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the clarification. I see what you’re saying, and I really appreciate you bringing it up.

It’s definitely good stuff for people to consider and I’m glad you mentioned it. It’s refreshing to have people care so much about protecting people other than just themselves.

I think we’ll simply have to be really proactive in making sure that the stuff we pin goes back to where it should. I don’t know that I have the right answer to any of this.

I’m also hoping some other people will chime in on this – it’s an interesting discussion.

Thanks again!

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

There’s some more discussion about this going on over on our Facebook page about this comment, so you may want to head over there to check it out as well.

Is Pinterest Unethical?

Heather K January 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I did reply at FB, but just to chime in a main point here as well: I personally view Pintrest as the digital equivalent of a bride clipping out a cool photograph from a magazine to use as inspiration. Since when is this a huge negative thing? There is a huge difference between that and, say, a huge company stealing an image to use promotionaly all over the web or in print. When we take control of the situation by being actively involved in Pintrest and encouraging our clients to use it in a way that benefits us, we get much more than taking time being worried about it. Of course, I am coming from the perspective of someone that makes 90% of her income from the payment of my time- I can see how those who charge little or no “sitting fee” and then more for prints/digital images would be more concerned. It’s just not a business model that is easily meshed with the digital age, it seems.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Heather for me there is a huge difference. Brides purchased magazines and with the purchase it paid people’s salaries such as photographers,writers and editors. So at least for me it is a whole different ball of wax. But hey,why buy the mag for the images to cut out if you can get them for free. Unfortunately the rest of those peoples time are not for free and they have overhead cost if they are to continue in business.
Look,I will be first to admit PI is a visually stimulating and inspirational place. The concept is great a great concept to have a place to BM favorites where they are visually available..but to do so publically you enter into the artist who created the works terms. e BUT with their terms it opens a whole new ballgame. I am not faulting anyone for the overall idea. I am just asking some tough questions,one because I have them and two I think a mutual respect for others work is a good thing. The internet has certainly shaken up a lot of things and I think when artist in general lose control of how their work is used or where they are used, we as a whole should be asking those questions if we wish to continue in this business. I also think it is a sad state of affairs when some artist come back with get use to not having control over what happens to your images. It doesn’t fly with me. It is no different then coming in to my home and doing what you wish while I foot the bills. If sharing images a great thing then it should be up to the individual artist to have the say so..it isn’t up to me or you.
You do realize the terms of usage you have agreed to,correct? You acknowledge and agree that you are solely responsible for all member content you upload You agree that you are sole owner of said content or you have all consents or licensing to do so along with releases and that nothing you share will be violating a third parties copyright,trademark etc etc. So from most part,you need permission from said artist to share and have said agreement and outline along with personal releases of said people in images to share…
Now if it is your personal work the terms basically state you give them permission to copy,share and sell said image royalty free..so in hence if I am understanding this right,if you share then you agree to first terms that you agreed that you have the authority to grant first terms,if you fail to do so then you have wrongfully submitted into a binding contract you were not allowed to enter into to begin with unless you had permission to do so by the original artist. I am talking not of your personal work but of others work you share there. These are their terms not mine and seeing as how they ask that you not use this purely as a self marketing place,they are actually discouraging you from entering into work you legally have the ability to enter into. But by sharing you have agreed that you have the legal permission to do so to enter into these terms which I highly doubt many do but how will we know unless we ask said artist,blog,etc etc personally and have the proper releases for said person in the image.That is how I interpret it.

I have to get by this first before I ever think about it as self promotion, I am not the least bit concerned with that. I am concerned for people thinking they have a right to do what they wish with someones work. All my work clearly states on the images No Unauthorized usage.PEROID. It is mine,I busted my ass to afford the equipment,I paid my dues and I think at the very least people ought to have the least bit of courtesy to take 5 mins and ask me. I would extend you the same courtesy. If I choose to “free” market my work that is my call. If I find it marketed or used freely then expect a polite letter from me. I am not closed minded and I feel we always have room to grow and learn new things but I like to discuss issues so I have a full grip on the possible outcomes.

I think by having this discussion it is paramount to all of our successes or failures. I am fine to agree to disagree but I have to wonder what effect millions upon millions of free images will have on the industry,we have already seen the beginnings so it will be interesting to see after it all comes out of the wash and how many images can stand alone in that sea and will be of value to someone admist that sea of imagery. I know it looks as if PI will be very successful financially from the sea of free.. I do hope it will be as rewarding for those who help make it successful.

Sorry for the long winded response,
Best to you
Heather

Heather K January 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

…aaaand one more thing: how is Pintrest different, according to the points raised above, from a person using a bookmarking service? The company with the bookmarking service is making money- should I expect them to pay ME because their business model depends on distribution my content, or should I appreciate the symbiotic relationship this affords? Just a thought. :)

Heather January 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I have no knowledge of BM ing services but I would assume that it is private or has the option of being private? Also seeing as the Bm ing service I would assume they would not be directly profiting off others images but is more a service to you as an individual who wants better method of saving links versus a visual place with terms that allow them to copy ,adapt and sell said work that doesn’t belong to you but by you entering someones work you give them permission to do so to whatever you share because you have agreed that it ALL belongs to you. I think thus lies the difference.
Maybe something I should look into though as some place I can save my links for easier access without giving away work and accessing inspirational links without giving away some other artists’ work in the process. This would be my best guess at this point to that point.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This would be my best guess as to that point you brought up.

Heather January 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

correction – but is more a service to you as an individual who wants better method of saving links versus a visual place with terms that allow them to copy ,adapt and sell said work that doesn’t belong to you but by you entering someones work you give them permission to do so to whatever you share because you have agreed that it either ALL belongs to you or you have third party permission/releases to do so versus just a place to store your links . I am guessing that you are not entering into terms as with the other site that gives them permission to copy,adapt,duplicate or sell said works ,if this is the case then might be cause for some concern possibly.

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I know this is a serious conversation, but I’ve got a confession that I can’t keep to myself.

The little kid in me sees “BM” and thinks “poop”.

:)

Sometimes I think I’m about 13 yrs old inside. HA!

Heather January 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Jamie.
Thanks for your responses. I am not sure that I personally would label PI unethical as they spell their terms out in full. Are they taking the chance that most will not read with such a fine eye,very likely. .
My questions of ethics comes into play with users sharing,especially photographers who plan to gain by the usage of someones work and ethics that come into play as far as their terms of usage are concerned and knowingly load/share 3rd party work with this knowledge in hand.
Basically by sharing 3rd party work,you agree that you have permission/releases etc to do so and enter into first person usage terms that allow them to SELL,copy,duplicate,adapt etc etc said works royalty free. So basically way I read it,if your work is shared on this site unknown to you, and you later find your work there and later find that 3,000 people shared,sold or whatever,then the liabilty falls at the feet of those 3,000 users versus PI who has removed themselves from liability beyond 100.00 and by user agreeing to terms. I am by no way an attorney but this is how this reads to me. So basically any recourse,the photographer may have had has been seriously complicated and I wonder too that images that are never correctly marked by the user ends up costing the artist a chance at recovery based on “orphan works ” but I need to read more on that.
Anyways,it has been a pleasure. Thank you for your points that have been made to definately ponder on. Your blog post was very well thought out and user friendly and I am sure many users of PI will find it helpful.
Best.

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hi Heather,

Sorry for not responding again sooner, but I had other pressing things to attend to today. :)

I think it’s good to question things, and I sincerely appreciate that you were brave enough to bring the topic to an online public realm. If no one did this, things would never be challenged and changed. It’s also brought about some really good conversation about the issue, both here and on the Facebook page I linked to above. It’s questions we should be pondering, for sure.

While I still personally am very comfortable with using Pinterest in the ways I described in this post, I am glad that there are people like you around to question and encourage people to make sure they know what they are signing up for. I hope you’ll feel the same freedom to comment on things in the future as well. :)

Thanks again for the comments and thoughts! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Jamie

Heather January 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi Jamie.
I am not so sure I can claim bravery for a topic that after some research I realized many others in many public forums are discussing the very same thing from stock photography sites to fine art galleries,fine art photographers etc and bloggers such as yourself. That is what is so great about public forums . It allows for varying opinions and facts/questions to be exchanged and discussed. That is what is so nice about our country we are allowed the freedoms of expression/discussion. What a dull world if it wasn’t.
Thank you for allowing me the freedom to present my points of concern to someone so knowledgeable about a site that I was quite honestly on the fence about with it’s policies/terms as one can never be to careful about entering such agreements blindly and one can never be to careful when taking others words verbatim as facts.. So I value different inputs so as to make an educated decision about such matters. I had hoped it would open up a bit more discussion so I could make a better choice. I thank you for allowing me this format to present my concerns as you seem that you are to be very informed about this site and how to work it so one benefits beyond entertainment and your facts were well presented.
I would like to add should you feel the need to remove my threads of reply,feel free to do so as my intent was not to deviate from what you presented but it was to present possible issues- concerns that I had after reading your post that may evolve from such actions so as I could make the best choice for myself to avoid any issues down the road. It has been a pleasure.

Best
H

Jamie M Swanson January 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Oh, no, I highly value this as a place to discuss stuff, especially something important to consider like this, so I plan to keep the comments here. :) I really want this site to be a place where people can come and discuss, challenge, grow, share, etc. As much as I may know, there’s so much more information in a community, and I’m always excited to see other people joining in.

Thanks again, and it’s been a pleasure here as well.

Jamie

Rich Copley January 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Bookmarking this post. I was invited to join Pinterest and did so a few weeks ago. Didn’t think much of it. Then, almost every time I opened my email, there was a new friend following me. This was surprising since most other new social network sites I have run into since Facebook, including Google Plus, have been duds. (I know some people love Plus and get a lot out of it, but as a good friend of mine put it, ‘Google Plus feels like you’re at the party no one came to.’) Anyway, the message is clear: I need to get up to speed on Pinterest, and this post is certainly helpful, but a lot to take in at one sitting. Thanks, and I look forward to returning to it.

Jamie M Swanson January 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hi Rich,

Thanks for the comment. This is certainly one of the longest posts I’ve ever written for TMT. I considered breaking it up and making it a series, but instead I decided to make it an all-inclusive guide all in one place .

I didn’t name it “Ultimate” for nothing.

Enjoy Pinterest. Take it one step at a time, and refer back here as needed. And if you have any questions, never hesitate to ask. I’m always glad to help.

Rich Copley January 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

The a lot to take in was not meant as a criticism. Apologies if I cam across that way. I like it as one post, easily referred back to. Thanks again.

Jamie M Swanson January 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Oh, not taken as criticism at all, so no worries. Gotta love how hard it is to read intent behind stuff on the internet. ;) I always enjoy and appreciate your comments, Rich, so no worries!

Marlene Hielema January 31, 2012 at 12:24 am

Super awesome post Jamie! Well researched. Great examples.

Jamie M Swanson January 31, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks Marlene! :)

Vincent V. January 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

What a great article and the comments add some more nice insights :)

I have added it to my ‘Pinterest aricles’ board on my Pinterest profile http://pinterest.com/daarom

Cheers,
Vincent

Jamie M Swanson January 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing, Vincent! :)

Rich Copley February 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

For people who are on Wordpress.com blogs (an yes, I realize I need to be getting up to to .org sometime soon) this is a great guide to making a pin it button for your posts or images for .com:
http://betweenheandshe.com/2012/01/10/how-to-add-the-pin-it-button-for-wordpress-com-blogs/

Jamie M Swanson February 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

That’s an excellent resource, Rich. Thanks so much for linking to it here. :)

And yes, you definitely need a self-hosted wordpress site. It’ll make a HUGE difference to your business, from SEO to simply looking way more professional. And it’s not that hard. You can do it!

renee April 15, 2012 at 8:26 am

How did you find your Pinterest referrers? Or is this on Google Analytics?

Jamie M Swanson April 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I find this in my wordpress stats or in my google analytics account. :)

Richard Smith April 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Hi, Jamie. What an informative post! I especially like your example of Mark Eric’s using Pinterest for a contest.

You mentioned wanting to know how others are using the Pinterest – here’s one thing I’m experimenting with. At a “Stuff I’m Blogging About” board, I include images from my recent posts, with an invitation to visit the blog in the board’s overall description that says anyone referencing the board in a comment at the blog will get a shoutout in the post (I’ll include a hyperlink to the site of their choice). Just for fun, I call this, “BONUS POINTS” in the description. I’ll even extend that offer here to anyone interested. Again, superb post.

Jamie M Swanson April 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hey Richard,

Well that’s a fun way to do it! Hadn’t heard of that before, thanks for sharing!

Jamie

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