The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers

What is Pinterest?

Chances are good that you’ve heard of Pinterest. You may be active on it already or you may just be beginning your own boards. If you don’t know what it is, from the Pinterest site’s about page: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Pinterest is a social media and social networking platform – a mix between Facebook and Flickr, even though it’s really its own new thing.

You can ‘pin’ pictures from anywhere on the web to ‘boards’ you make for certain subjects. Right now there is no way to hide boards or block users, so be careful what you pin. If you’re brand new to Pinterest, check their help page for information on how to pin, repin or even install pinning buttons into your browser toolbar.

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pin it4 The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers

I myself have both personal boards and boards for professional use. My personal boards include boards for planning my wedding, what I want my wedding photos to look like, photos that I just love, clothes and style.. etc. I follow people on pinterest who use their boards for recipes, kids’ crafts, home decor.. even workout routines!


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pin it4 The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers

Pinterest for Photographers

Professionally, I’m using pinterest to not only gather ideas for other photos I want to shoot for my clients, but I also use it for pinning my own photos to put into the pinterest world.

My boards full of other people’s photos are for shot inspiration, product ideas to offer my clients, and prop ideas for things I want to buy or use in shots in the future. Then for marketing my own work, I have a personal favorites board I pin my own favorite photos, and a bragging board to repin my own photos that have been pinned by other users. I even follow someone who uses her boards to show off her wonderful packaging and another photographer who uses pinterest for picking out clothes for her clients and ‘styling’ their sessions for them. If you want to find your own photos being pinned, go to (replace with your actual domain info). You can also add a ‘pin it’ button to your website so pinners can get to your photos easily.

Make sure to “pin” some of your favorite MCP Posts. If you’d like to add a ‘pin it’ button, the instructions are here. Note: If you have a wordpress blog, you need to edit the theme files and put that code where you need it in the Main Index template. This can break your site if don’t wrong, so be sure you know what you’re doing beforehand!


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pin it4 The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers

What to do with all that information?

  1. Make pin boards for shoots you want to do. Want a Harry Potter styled session that could be the envy of Style Me Pretty if it were a wedding? Pin anything you find from around the web to bring it all together in one place where you can see what doesn’t ‘fit’ before you buy it.
  2. Make a bragging board for everything people have pinned from your website. Not only can your followers see what you’ve shot, but this gives you the opportunity to put up a monthly blog bragging post linking the photos that people have pinned. Clients will love seeing their kids are so popular.  You could even host a photo session giveaway and allow people to enter via pinning a certain photo from your website.
  3. Make a board for products you offer with prices. Clients could add this to their boards around the holidays for things they’re wishing for.
  4. Create a coupon picture, then pin that and publish to facebook while you’re doing it. Your clients can use that coupon as well as share it by repining it.
  5. Make a how-to board for pinning photos or videos of your own shoots. You can talk about what inspired the shot, how you lit it, how you set it up.. etc. I’m waiting to do this until Pinterest makes a user-blocking feature so I can keep other local photographers from knowing all of what I do.
  6. Market your own photos by pinning things from your own site. Make sure you include your domain URL in the description. Most people do not change the majority if pin descriptions when repinning, so your website will go far! If you’re a wedding or pet photographer, this is doubly important because those photos really get repined a LOT.

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pin it4 The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers


This article was written by Heather Lickliter of Stylized Portraiture and Fairyography – Heather lives in Athens, GA with her fiance’ (John) and manx cat (Stumpy).

 The Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Photographers

MCP Guest Writer

This post was written by a MCP Guest Blogger. If you would like to contribute to the MCP Actions Blog, check out our Guest Writers Wanted page.

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25 Comments and 1 Replies

  1. 1
    Zach Prez says:

    Awesome timing – Pinterest is so incredibly HOT for photographers right now. Love your tip about how to view any photos pinned from your website, as well as the coupon image.

    I just wrote a post yesterday on the marketing ideas for Pinterest. I think the best idea was to integrate Pinterest with Facebook via a external link tab or HTML tab.

    Keep up the great ideas!


  2. 2
    Lisa Russo says:

    The Pinterest TOU says you should NOT use Pinterest to self-promote, so pinning your own items is against the rules. Just FYI.

  3. 3
    Traci says:

    I completely agree with Lisa. Not only is it against the TOU, it’s just plain gross. I unfollow people on pinterest that pin their own stuff. It’s just ugly self promotion and screams “me me me.” I hope you’ll consider changing this post to reflect the TOU and intent behind pinterest. If a photo is worthy, it will make it onto pinterest. You don’t need to be the one to put it there.

  4. 4
    Ashli M says:

    The Pinterest Etiquette says you can pin something you’re proud of, but avoid using Pinterest ONLY self-promotion. I think if you are an active member and pin other things, pinning some of your own work is fine.

    Avoid 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.

  5. 5
    Clarissa says:

    Awesome article! I LOVE Pinterest. It’s very fun to get new ideas and inspiration for shoots and weddings. And I love seeing the images that I’m so proud of, be repinned. =)

  6. 6
    Catherine V says:

    I agree that to post “a” personal photo (as in one or just a few), or post a single project you’re proud of is fine. I’m just getting a little tired of how every social media creation out there gets usurped for self-promotion. Sort of takes the fun out of it, frankly.

  7. 7
    leah w says:

    I totally agree with Catherine V – “I’m getting a little tired of how every social media creation out there gets usurped for self-promotion.”

  8. 8
    HeatherL says:

    Pinning your own images is the last item on a list of how to use pinterest to help yourself in your business in other ways not including pinning your own images. When I wrote this article, I wrote it in the feeling of being proud of your own work and putting out there for others to see. No one’s forcing people to repin or even look at my pins. If our images are being pinned or you have a pinterest button on your own site, then how does it matter how it got there? If it’s not my site to display my own work on, then what about posting to facebook also? Facebook’s not my site.

  9. 9
    Yolanda says:

    Self-promotion isn’t forbidden on Pinterest, but as others have mentioned it is frowned upon. It would be a poor marketing decision, then, to overtly use Pinterest for self-promotion. You are turning off the potential customers you are trying to attract and that’s bad business.

    However, there can be a happy medium. Think about the problems your potential clients might have that they would come to Pinterest to solve: (1) What to wear to a session, (2) Creative ways to use/display their images, (3) wall gallery ideas, (4) album design options. Those are easy.

    But think about who else your customers are. They’re busy moms, event-planning brides, image-concious teens… Make boards that solve their problems. Become an indispensable resource for information. Become essential.

    And become an expert. Curate boards that address not only your clients’ needs, but that exemplify your knowledge. That means curating good photography, great poses, lighting, software knowledge, etc.

    Yes, your images can be interspersed amongst the boards you curate, but the point is not to create boards that say, “Look at what I did.” Instead, you create boards that deliver information that others are looking for. And your hope is that you become that essential answer to their questions.

  10. 10
    Mindy says:

    agreed with all of the above about pinning your own work.

  11. 11
    Christina says:

    Technically…how do you advertise or promote your business on Pinterest. I have several photog’s pin their work…I’m sure…hoping to inspire others. Isn’t that what pinterest is really all about. Inspiration. In fact…I just snatched this qoute from there…”To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible”…lol.

    The point I’m getting at is that when someone repins your work…most likely you don’t know them and you will never know any information about them or where their from.. Pinterest doesn’t offer that information. So it’s not like you can pursue a lead. I’ve pinned three or four of my favorites of my work on Pinterest to inspire others but it’s also encouragement to myself to know that other’s honestly like my work and they aren’t just saying it because they know me and don’t want to hurt my feelings….lol.

    So what if they know where the picture came from? On most of my Re-pins…I want to know the artist behind the work.

  12. 12

    I also agree with the posts about pinning your own work. I’ve noticed more and more articles about ‘promoting your business’ incorporate similar suggestions. As the Pinterest Etiquette suggest, a few pins about some of your own work you’re particularly proud of is ok, but I do believe a ‘bragging board’ would be inappropriate. –jmo

  13. 13
    Sarah says:

    I agree with the other comments here regarding self-promotion, especially Catherine: “I’m just getting a little tired of how every social media creation out there gets usurped for self-promotion.”

    And along with them, I hope you’ll take time to amend this post so that it reflects Pinterest’s Terms of Use. If you are turning your boards just into an extension of your own website, then what’s the point?

    The fun of using that site is that it ISN”T our own stuff, its so that we can celebrate each other.. not ourselves. I’m disappointed that the writer quoted Pinterest without also looking into their terms of use… and disappointed in MCP allowing this guest post to be part of their site (which is usually really helpful).

  14. 14
    Alex Blair says:

    AH! I can’t get over how much I love MCP! I’m currently making a blog to express my LOVE

  15. 15
    Crystal says:

    I love the idea of using it as a customer service tool for clients who need help with styling. I’ve done this a few times and they seem to respond to it.

  16. 16

    WOW! I must be the only person who had not heard of Pinterest and only noticed it in the comments section of the Snag a Camera Giveaway blog…here I was thinking Facebook would be mentioned every second post but everyone was “pinning it!”. So I had to find out what pinning was. Thanks MCP for running a cool competition and for this blog on Pinterest, Love your site!

  17. 17
    Amy Matthews says:

    Thanks for the tips, I am loving pinterest and pinning away!

  18. 18

    I would have to say that Pinterest is really more of a simplified version of Tumblr. You have your re-pins/re-blogs, likes, and comments. Pinterest is a quick and easy way to visually bookmark and and catalog all the wonderful things you can find on the internet that interest you. Unfortunately, the gender ratio is almost staggeringly one-sided towards women, but as the service reaches critical mass I expect that to level out more.

    Regarding self-promotion, I agree that as long as you aren’t exclusively promoting your own products at the exclusion of everything else then you should be fine. What worries me is the amount of blog posts that I am seeing that encourage self-promotion for brands as another way to attract attention. I can only hope that companies who make their way to Pinterest won’t ruin it for everyone else that uses the service.

    There are some other more famous-ish photographers who use the service. Shana Rae is at but it looks like she is just getting started. She follows a lot of people, though, so check that list to see if there’s any other boards worth following.

  19. 19
    PancakeNinja says:

    Pinterest is so much fun!

  20. 20
    Loni says:

    I personally don’t see why everyone is against pinning your own work. I’ve never done it, but I’m glad that others do. I follow other photographers that do it. I love looking at other photographers’ work and if I like it, I’ll repin it. If not, I’ll ignore it. So why is it such a horrible thing for someone to pin their own photo? I don’t get it.

  21. 21
    Alice C. says:

    I’ve never really gotten into Pinterest, probably because I’d spend way too much time on it if I did!

  22. 22
    Ryan Jaime says:

    Great idea, but not enough time for the stuff I already do… sigh…..

  23. 23
    Amber says:

    No offense, men, but it seems that I have seen mostly women on Pinterest….Just an observation!

  24. 24
    Anita Brown says:

    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing.

  25. 25
    Candi Jerkins says:

    Love these tips, but as of March, Pinterest updated their terms of service and deleted their “avoid self-promotion” directive that they originally included when you signed on! PIN AWAY!!!

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