Is Pinterest the most underrated photography tool ever?

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke via Pinterest)

There are lots of things to think about when you start planning a model photoshoot, so it can be useful to use visual prompts. You'll need to think about the vibe, the location, what the subject is going to wear and what poses you want them in, so having somewhere you can keep all your ideas together is incredibly useful. 

Whenever I come up with an idea for a photoshoot, I always start planning it using Pinterest. It’s the modern-day version of cutting and sticking pictures from a magazine to create a mood board, only you can add collaborators and easily send it to everyone involved. 

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Pinterest launched in 2010 and has since grown into a platform with 450 million global users, as of December 2022. Sometimes described as a visual search engine, Pinterest enables users to save pins (individual posts) and create boards containing lots of different images. 

It doesn’t matter whether I’m working with a musician on an album cover, planning a fashion editorial with a model, stylist and MUA, or working with a modeling agency on a test shoot – Pinterest is a smorgasbord of inspiration and ideas. 

If I have a very set idea in my mind of what I want to achieve, I will enter something like “neutral editorial shoot” or “flower bath photoshoot” into the search bar. But if I don’t have any solid ideas, I’ll use a much vaguer term like “editorial shoot” or “studio photoshoot ideas”.

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke via Pinterest)

Pinterest is also incredibly useful when you’re on a shoot and feel like you’re running out of steam or can’t convey your ideas with words. The phrase, “a picture speaks a thousand words,” comes to mind and I regularly turn to Pinterest if I want to show a model a particular pose, or an MUA a look that I have in mind. 

When I’m not using Pinterest to plan photoshoots I love using it for fun. I don’t just use it for photoshoots, either! I have Pinterest boards for everything from festival fashion to digital art to typography and tattoos. No matter what creative field you work in, may that be graphic design or textiles, you can use everything Pinterest has to offer – and best of all, it’s free!

However, one thing that has always puzzled me about Pinterest is where the images are sourced from. As a photographer, I would be dubious to upload any of my work to the site as it takes away the control you have over it. When it’s on a site like Pinterest, available for anyone to use, you have no idea where your photos might end up or what they might be used for.

I would love to contribute to Pinterest and help other creatives get inspired, especially considering how useful I find it, but even now there is something holding me back. As Pinterest is free to use, contributors can’t make any money – and other than exposure (which we all know won’t pay the bills) it doesn’t seem to offer any real reason to upload. 

That being said, though, hundreds of new pins are posted daily, and I am so grateful they are because photoshoot planning would be a lot harder without them. 

Check out the best photography lighting kits  – perfect for shooting fashion editorials, self-portraits or headshots – the best lenses for portraits to execute your ideas, and these portrait photography tips to help inspire you. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.