Pinterest: Inspiration for Photographers

Pinterest: Inspiration for Photographers

Pin ItSocial networking has exploded onto the scene over the last few years and many photographers use sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to showcase their work, network with others and to promote their businesses.


But there are a large range of other social networking sites that are well worth checking out.

One of these is Pinterest – a site that has been growing a lot lately and which an increasing number of photographers are using, particularly as inspiration for their own photography.

Pinterest is an invite only community so far (although it only took me a day or so to get an invite after I requested it) and is quite different to most of the other social networks I’ve mentioned above.

They call themselves ‘a virtual pinboard’ – a place where you can ‘pin’ websites, pictures around different categories that you are interested in. The things you pin on your board come up as images from the sites you pin – and you end up with a pinboard filled with images.

There are a variety of uses for it – one friend that I have uses it as a way to collect all of the different ideas she has for decorating her home. In a sense its her personal scrapbook of ideas that she draws on around her interest. For others Pinterest is more about networking and sharing and finding cool sites in their different niches of interest.

When it started Pinterest definitely seemed to be targeting ‘creative types’ of people – and was very popular particularly with women – but lately I’ve noticed more guys on their too as its user base broadens.


A growing number of photographers are using it in a variety of ways too.

  • Learning – the Photography category of Pinterest shows you the most popular things that are being ‘pinned’ on the topic of photography. Many of the things being pinned are tutorials and tips on how to do better photography (including, I’m happy to report, a lot of dPS tutorials. You can actually see the most recently pinned tutorials on dPS here).
  • Inspiration – also in the Photography category there are a lot of images that are purely being pinned because they’re cool images. A quick glance through them and you’re bound to find a little inspiration for your own photography. If you have a photoshoot coming up and you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to tackle it – create a board just for that project and begin to pin photos and sites that fit the brief.
  • Mood Board – a lot of photographers (and other creative types) that I know keep ‘mood boards’ in their studios, offices and homes. These ‘mood boards’ are about having a little collection of things that inspire them for current projects that they’re working on. In many ways that’s what many people are using Pinterest for.
  • Networking – Pinterest isn’t just about pinning your own stuff. It’s also about following other Pinterest users and having them follow you. You ‘follow’ people (or you can follow particularly ‘pinboards’ that they have. In doing so you start to see what your network is pinning and begin to get to know others. If you do sign up for Pinterest you can find me here.

I’m sure others are using Pinterest in other ways. One thing that you probably should be wary of doing is sharing too much of your own stuff. While their etiquette page says you can – it’s not really what the site is about. This isn’t really a site to build a gallery of your own pictures – rather its more about collecting and sharing what inspires you.

Are you on Pinterest? If so – how are you using it?

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Lori August 19, 2012 03:12 am

    Although I use pinterest mostly for inspiration, I am seeing recently with 'Pin Its' popping up on so many sites that it will eventually evolve and become like facebook for businesses. I have considered posting some of my photos but I am concerned about their Terms of Use. Should we discreetly watermark our photos - as it is so easy to lose the source? Unlike with Flickr, creatives are not protected in the slightest, but as we have learned with other sites, our creativity can grow by sharing.

  • Review Profits, Make Money with Review, Review Sites July 27, 2012 04:44 am

    I used to be recommended this blog via my cousin. I am now not sure whether this publish is written through him as nobody else recognize such detailed approximately my trouble. You're incredible! Thank you!

  • Julie Perez February 21, 2012 03:36 pm

    I love Pinterest.. I pin until 3am!!! But have you read the Terms of Use. It may shock you.

  • Ronda February 7, 2012 03:00 pm

    I used to use Google bookmarks for everything I wanted to save and come back to. With that gone Pinterest is a great way of saving sites I want to visit later like Photoshop tutorials. The great thing about Pinterest is that it's visual. After years of bookmarking and not giving a great effort of putting them in categories it was always a job to find that one site I knew I needed that I saved 6 months earlier. Right now Im organizing all my bookmarks and pinning them. So much easier to find when I can see a photo of what I'm looking for. A bookmark with a photo. That's what it is for me.

  • Carol. January 27, 2012 06:21 am

    I'm really enjoying Pinterest, I can get great ideas,recipes, crafts,home decor... I'm hooked!!

  • Angela January 18, 2012 08:30 am

    I love Pinterest So much so that I wrote a post about my obsession with it ( I'm beginning to build various boards I can share with my organizing clients. And I love being able to gather images that inspire me personally. Can really loose myself in it (which at times is quite nice) - so having to stay away until down time!

  • Patrizia Corriero January 15, 2012 07:47 pm

    Darren I opened a Pinterest profile just one week ago,but I'm really satisfied. I think that is the most important inspiring social network for artist and creatives. I was creating boards that concern photography and social network, the main sectors where I'm working, and I'm looking for some inspiration and so I repinn other content or I share great links I find around the web. It's great!

  • Photographer Aspen CO January 14, 2012 06:46 am

    I use pintrest for both posting my own photos and using other people's photos for inspiration. You stated that you shouldn't be posting your own photos, but if nobody is posting their own photos, where will the photos come from that other people pin? Somebody has to post photos:}

  • PaulB January 13, 2012 03:17 am

    Thanks for this, must admit it's a new one on me. Off to take a look!

  • Missy Rose January 10, 2012 05:26 pm

    @omar same to you - e-mail address is needed.

  • Missy Rose January 10, 2012 05:25 pm

    @jeff I need your e-mail address in order to invite you.

  • Omar January 9, 2012 03:00 pm

    Hi, I can you send me an invite too?


  • Jeff December 30, 2011 12:19 pm

    Does anyone else have an invite they can send me? I'm interested in trying it.


  • Missy Rose December 21, 2011 07:51 am

    @amanda - did you too get the invite?!

  • Missy Rose December 21, 2011 07:50 am

    @susie - did you get the invite?! If so have fun!

  • amanda December 20, 2011 07:27 pm

    Would love an invite thankyou if you can do this.

  • Courtney December 20, 2011 01:04 pm

    Looks too fun! :) reminds me of tumblr but bettter.

  • Missy Rose December 19, 2011 05:42 am

    I'm a pinterst addict!!! It's so much fun pinning. But the best part is to write comments and get responces. Now I'm in regular contact with some. And last but certainly not least I found this site through it!!!

  • Susie December 18, 2011 02:47 pm

    Would very much appreciate an invite to pinterest

  • sunscapes December 18, 2011 06:38 am

    I just noticed this the other day. I really wasn't looking for this stuff..decorating ideas and holiday crafts...but found them anyway!

    Pleasantly surprised.

  • Egil Saeboe December 17, 2011 08:57 am

    It´s actually just having your internet bookmarks made public.....

  • cvk December 17, 2011 01:06 am

    If you go to their site on Facebook and request an invite, and leave your email address, someone on the site will send you one pretty quickly.

  • Tor Peter December 17, 2011 12:37 am

    Sounds like something I should check out. Who invites who?

  • Rhonda December 16, 2011 02:41 pm

    I use pinterest in the same ways as mentioned above. Sometimes I will see something in home decor or holiday pins that inpire my photography. I look out for color themes mainly and just the "feel" of the pin..whether it be a bedspread or a pair of boots--from that I get ideas in my head to do a set up either outdoors or in studio.
    I lOVE it..

  • susy q December 16, 2011 01:10 pm

    I d like to join. Will someone please invite me.
    I am an artist and teacher~ digital photo. Ceramics, some inspiration and creative sharing.

  • Janus T December 16, 2011 08:25 am

    Its a great looking site and I have found some wonderful ideas for photos there but I'm in the same boat as others on here. It takes forever to get an invite. I've been waiting since late last week.

  • Adrian Haddock December 16, 2011 03:15 am

    Not asking for an invite,(would solve the problem tho) But who do you ask? I cant work out how to get in. There is no one in my circle of friends that has an account.

    Do i HAVE to make more friends? (LOL)

  • thinsmek December 15, 2011 04:16 pm

    Can Pinterest boards work in any way with Evernote?

  • Alexander DiMauro December 15, 2011 09:29 am

    I agree with @tanvi shah - maybe you got a quick invite because you have a known name? I've also been waiting quite a while with no invite. So, Pinterest is losing my interest for now...

  • Tanvi Shah December 14, 2011 04:49 pm

    Nathan - I've been checking out Pinterest for a week now and I havent gotten an invite yet. Can you pretty pretty please send me one?

  • maria rosalina December 14, 2011 04:19 pm

    I already used tumblr & I think you can use it more/less the same.. hehe

  • Felicia Broschart December 13, 2011 05:08 am

    Yes, I love, love, love Pinterest. It is quite addicting. It's great for all kinds of ideas and inspirations, from photography, to food, crafts, etc. I'm happy to send invites if anyone needs one.

  • Caroline December 13, 2011 04:50 am

    It's cathartic. If I'm in bad mood or a rut I'll spend 10 minutes browsing/pinning things and become giddy with inspiration. The site is definitely slow at times, and very buggy, but I imagine they'll work the kinks out eventually.

    BTW, It took 2 weeks for my invite to get processed, so I'd recommend getting an invite from someone if you're not patient.

  • Nathan December 13, 2011 02:59 am

    Anyone who wants in, PM me in the forums and I'll send an invite. Pinterest needs your email address to send the invite, and invites from other users tend to be much faster than invites from Pinterest directly.

  • Esmael December 13, 2011 02:30 am

    I would really appreciate if someone will let me in. Pinterest looks like an amazing place to learn and share ideas :)

  • Mary S December 13, 2011 01:37 am

    I love Pinterest, although I just started 'pining' I could get lost for hours! One photo, leads to one site, or another photo, another site, etc;. It is a great way to do a visual of your favorites too. What a wonderful way to see another lifestyle, a food, (a fabulous place to eat), or any craft you can ever imagine.

  • Nathan December 13, 2011 12:52 am

    My wife started using it, and she got me hooked. There is a lot of stuff from 9gag on there, and a lot of bad/cliched photography gets pinned and repinned. But it's good for keeping track of other resources--stuff that might not merit a favorites toolbar link but should be referenced once in a while.

  • Regina White December 13, 2011 12:48 am

    I love Pinterest. I use it for inspiration in all areas. Home, Photo studio, home office, cooking & ideas for my sons room and birthday party ideas. I also showcase my boards with great loves like NY, Ballet & cars. It's so cool because I can access it from my computer, iphone & ipad. I love to see what types of things others like and who they follow. I love it more than FB. lol

  • Sourabh Bhati December 12, 2011 11:22 pm

    Can someone please send me an invitation? this site looks promising...

  • Ian December 12, 2011 06:41 pm

    I've been using Pinterest for a while, and use it exactly as the site is meant to be used. I gather inspiration for ideas for my photography - my boards reflect the wide variety my photography covers, I also use it for the cooking recipes :D

  • raghavendra December 12, 2011 04:20 pm

    It is a good job for telling the different sources for photography.
    That is highly appreciable.
    But For pinterest we need an invitation for joining.
    That invitation takes a lot of days.
    And it really not good.

  • Brandon December 12, 2011 12:52 pm

    A non-photographer friend of mine who uses pinterest told me about a lot of the cool photos on the site, so I decided to check it out. She was right, a goot place to get your creative juices flowing.

  • ARC December 12, 2011 10:59 am

    Hmm the way I see it, it has no difference than Tumblr and when I opened the site, I can sense that I have seen all those quotes and photos somewhere on Tumblr/9Gag

  • December 12, 2011 10:56 am

    I am an avid Pinterest user! One of the things I like the best about it, is being able to use it in place of bookmarking. If I find something I like, say a recipe, I can pin it to my recipe pinboard and then be able to access it from any computer, ipad, or phone anywhere. The picture links right to the recipe post. It is like an on the go to do list! I also put on there things I find that I would like to purchase someday - then I can always go back and find what shopping site I saw it on. I think it is one of the best ideas I have seen in a long time!

  • Alyssa Schroeder December 12, 2011 10:35 am

    Pinterest is one of the best sites invented. Love it! Lots of brides on there wedding planning.. so a good place for wedding photographers to be :)

  • Sarah Satellite Eyes December 12, 2011 10:34 am

    Pinterest is the best! I use it for just about everything. For photography I have a board for inspiring photos, a board for techniques I want to explore, and a board where I repost some of my photos from my blog.

  • Neel | Food Photogarphy Blog December 12, 2011 10:34 am

    Hi Darren,

    Just got into Pinterest recently... As a food photographer, it is very much as you said, inspirational. I have used it to search food photographs for a certain subject. I was shooting pancakes today and thought of trying to find pancake photos on the site.

    With that went to Pinterest and searched for the word and of course many many photos of all kinds not just pancakes..

    Overall it was a good exercise.

    Thank you for sharing this information... The more photogs get on it, more information we'll find on Pinterest..

  • Bethany December 12, 2011 09:53 am

    My photography board is one of my largest boards on Pinterest. I LOVE finding new photography sources!