Pinterest for Photographers - How to Grow Your Audience and Book Clients Using Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest is one of those things I never really expected to be using “for business” but once I realized its potential I was blown away! Like, WHY didn't I start using this sooner?? I’ve been on Pinterest for less than a year and my page gets over 600 THOUSAND views a month and I’m honestly lucky if my Instagram gets more than 3,000 views a month. Of course, views are one thing, but of those people viewing my pins over 40K actually engage with them - this means they’re clicking on them and re-pinning them, which in turn puts my photos in front of even more eyes!! Hello, free marketing! Not only am I starting to book more clients from Pinterest, but I also use it as a free resource for my current brides. If they need wedding inspo, I’ve got a board for it 😘

Before I get into tips for growing your Pinterest account I first want to share the reasoning behind my approach to pinning and why it’s such a great marketing tool for your photography business!

Pinterest and Google are BFFs.

Think about what people, or heck, think about what you do when you get on Pinterest, or what you were doing when you found yourself there. You go there to search for something, right?! Pinterest is just as much of a search engine as Google is and they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

How many times have you looked up something on Google, clicked on a photo, and found yourself on Pinterest? Here’s a specific example of what I mean. If you search “Santa Monica Beach couples photoshoot” on Google and click to see the images, this is what shows up.

The very first photo you see here is mine and there are two other photos of mine that show up in the top rows, meaning that those are probably going to be the first photos people click on when they search for something like that (because let’s be honest, people don’t really scroll much past the first page or two of search results). If you click on them, they take you to Pinterest. And once you’re there, if you click on that pin, it will take you to the blog post on my website where I have even more photos from that session. And guess what? I just booked an elopement in Santa Monica and my bride said she found me on Google!! Most likely from those photos!

Moral of the story here: Pinterest is amazing for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which basically just means it helps you show up more often in search results, and that leads to more business for you, which is the ultimate goal here, right?

Okay, so now that you hopefully have a better sense of HOW Pinterest can be helpful for your business and why you should care about it, here are some tips on how to grow your audience!


Switch to a Business Account

First things first, if you want to use Pinterest to grow your business and get the most out of your pinning efforts you should have a business account! You can either create a whole new account or switch your personal account over to business (that’s what I did). Switching from personal to business lets you keep your viewers and followers, but I literally had 0 followers when I started to biz-pin lol. Read here on how to do this.

Claim your Website and Other Accounts

You do this in your Pinterest settings and it basically just means you’re connecting your website and verifying its authenticity to Pinterest. I also have my Instagram linked! More here on how to do that.

Enable Rich Pins

This one is HUGE. Once I did this I REALLLLLY started to see big spikes in my monthly viewers. Rich pins basically just show more information on the actual pin itself and in turn receive more engagement. This link shows you how to get started with those. The first step is kind of confusing, but if you have a blog on your website it probably already has metadata on it (title, description, date, etc.). If you try to do step 2 (validate and apply for rich pins) and something’s wrong, it will tell you what you need to fix. I recommend using the URL from a specific blog to do this. The photo below is an example of what it will say once you’re approved. (You will first get an email saying it’s being reviewed, and then you’ll get another saying if you’re approved - this doesn’t take too long.) You only have to do this once and any past/future pins that were/are linked to your site will also become rich pins!

This is a screenshot from my recent analytics (on Pinterest: go to Analytics, then Overview). The “R” under pin type shows that my pins are rich pins! Side note: my Santa Monica Beach photos are stilllll my top pins even though I pinned them forever ago! Crazy. I pinned those photos before I enabled rich pins, so don’t worry if you haven’t been using rich pins this whole time because as soon as you enable them all your past pins that are linked to your site will automatically become rich $$$. ;)   I also pinned those before I stopped using client names in titles - it’s not necessarily bad to use names, they just make your title longer and the names don’t really add value to your pin. People find my pins by searching the keywords “Santa Monica Beach Couples shoot” or the more general phrase “beach couples photos”, not by searching “Neha and Amit”. More about keywords below!

This is a screenshot from my recent analytics (on Pinterest: go to Analytics, then Overview). The “R” under pin type shows that my pins are rich pins! Side note: my Santa Monica Beach photos are stilllll my top pins even though I pinned them forever ago! Crazy. I pinned those photos before I enabled rich pins, so don’t worry if you haven’t been using rich pins this whole time because as soon as you enable them all your past pins that are linked to your site will automatically become rich $$$. ;)

I also pinned those before I stopped using client names in titles - it’s not necessarily bad to use names, they just make your title longer and the names don’t really add value to your pin. People find my pins by searching the keywords “Santa Monica Beach Couples shoot” or the more general phrase “beach couples photos”, not by searching “Neha and Amit”. More about keywords below!

KEYWORDS

Keywords are simply words that people search for in search engines AKA words that you want your photos to show up under when people search them. For example, if someone is looking for inspo for an engagement session in Joshua Tree, they will probably look up “Joshua Tree Engagement Session” or “Joshua Tree Couples Photos” (duh lol), so if you have photos of a couple in Joshua Tree, use those keywords in your pin title and description instead of your couple’s names. (Nobody will be searching Pinterest for “Bob and Sally’s” engagement session, I promise.)

Sometimes I’ll include both the words “engagement” and “couples” in my pin titles so it’s more likely to show up in a search for that location no matter what someone types in.

In addition to your pin title and descriptions, you should be using keywords in your bio, your display name (even having just “photography” or “photographer” helps), and your board titles and descriptions. More about boards next!

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is when you use multiple keyword phrases in your pin description. I usually always start my pin description with the same keywords I used for the title, followed by a few other keyword phrases that also relate to the photo. (I wouldn’t go toooo crazy on the keywords though because I’ve read mixed things about whether or not you will get penalized for it.) For example, I would title the photo below “Kauai Elopement at Waimea Canyon” with the following description:

Kauai Elopement at Waimea Canyon | Hawaii Elopement | Destination Wedding | Rue De Seine Wedding Dress | Boho Wedding Style

Anyone searching for one of those keywords could very possibly be interested in this photo.

Another note: this is just how I write my pin descriptions, you can choose to use actual sentences if you want or do whatever. I think of the description as a way for my photos to show up in searches and then the photo itself will attract the clicks and re-pins.

This is the actual pin of the photo above. You can tell it’s a rich pin because it links to my website and there’s a preview of the first couple sentences of my blog. This is why I don’t worry about having my pin descriptions in sentence format - there’s already a little story snippet to draw people in if they want to click and read more about the photo! This is also a great example of what I meant when I said rich pins have more information than non-rich pins. You see the pin title (which is the same as the blog title - this happens automatically when you pin from your website), my Pinterest display name, a link to my website, a preview of my blog, a date to show how recent the photo is, my name again saying I was the author of the blog, AND then there’s also the pin description (not shown in this photo). SO MUCH INFO.

This is the actual pin of the photo above. You can tell it’s a rich pin because it links to my website and there’s a preview of the first couple sentences of my blog. This is why I don’t worry about having my pin descriptions in sentence format - there’s already a little story snippet to draw people in if they want to click and read more about the photo! This is also a great example of what I meant when I said rich pins have more information than non-rich pins. You see the pin title (which is the same as the blog title - this happens automatically when you pin from your website), my Pinterest display name, a link to my website, a preview of my blog, a date to show how recent the photo is, my name again saying I was the author of the blog, AND then there’s also the pin description (not shown in this photo). SO MUCH INFO.

Boards

If you’re a wedding photographer, I think the most important board to have is one dedicated solely to your own work. My board is literally just called “Carrie Rogers Photography”. When someone goes to my pinterest profile they can see that that is my business name and they can expect that all the photos in there are mine. This is the only board that you should NOT pin anyone else’s photos into.

The rest of my boards are inspo boards! I have boards for engagement session outfits, save the date ideas, places to elope, and pretty much anything that I could think of that a bride would possibly need for their wedding or elopement day. Not only am I reaching brides that could potentially still be looking for their wedding photographer, but I am creating the ultimate wedding resource for the brides I already have booked! I love sharing my Pinterest with my clients because they appreciate having a bunch of inspiration and ideas all together in one place (instead of having to do a ton of searching themselves with no clue where to start) and I’m also giving them an idea of things that look good in photos that they might not have thought of before. A lot of times people don’t realize something is a possibility until it’s presented to them! A couple fun examples are first looks with bridesmaids and flower hats! 😍


Naming your boards

I already mentioned that you should use keywords to name your boards, but it’s definitely worth talking about it again. One word names might be cute and aesthetic, but they don’t help your boards show up in searches. Instead of “love” use “engagement session inspo” or “couples posing ideas”. Words like “dresses”, “jewelry” and “cakes” are super vague but even just having “wedding” in front of them gives them a more relevant title. The key is to name your boards something people are searching for!

Don’t forget to finish your boards with descriptions and a category! In your description you can add more specific keywords that relate to your board topic in order to boost your SEO even more.

Don’t forget to finish your boards with descriptions and a category! In your description you can add more specific keywords that relate to your board topic in order to boost your SEO even more.

Sections or no sections?

Within your boards, you have the option to have multiple sections if you want to organize or divide your content up even more. I’ve experimented with having my boards divided into sections and I didn’t like it. I actually noticed a drop in my engagement at one point and although I don't *know* it was because of the sections or for some other reason, it went back up once I made the sections their own separate boards again. I personally like seeing all my boards easily by just scrolling down my page, instead of having to click through each board to see the different sections.

The only board of mine that has sections now is the one for my own work. I have a couples/engagements section and a wedding/elopement section because I use this board as my “portfolio”.

Side note: I have a board named “wedding day details and flatlays” and I can see how having a section in there for “ring shots” would work nicely, but I wouldn’t ever make “wedding day details and flatlays” a section in a super broad board like “wedding inspo”, if that make sense.

It’s just my personal preference not to use sections, but they can help your SEO if you name them with keywords. Keep in mind, though, that board titles rank higher than section titles so if you really want traffic for something super specific, you’re better off making it a board by itself. I give some examples of this below.


Strategic Boards

If there’s something specific that you really love to photograph, make a board for it! For example, I LOVE shooting adventurous engagement sessions in super epic places like national parks or spots with amazing views so I made an “adventurous engagement sessions” board! Seems so duhhh, but before I only had a couples/engagement session inspo board and that doesn’t target adventurous couples as specifically as I wanted. I also have a specific board for boho wedding inspiration because that’s a particular wedding style that I really like! Another good idea if you shoot in a specific location or landscape a lot is to make a board just for that. i.e. “Oregon Coast Elopements” or “Mountain Elopements” or “Joshua Tree Weddings” etc.


Personal Boards

I have boards for tattoos, my style, cats (lol), home and office decor, and travel inspo and I consider these my personal boards since they don’t directly relate to my wedding photography. Some people say to hide your personal boards and keep your Pinterest business only, but I like having them up so people can kind of get to know me on more of a personal level! I do get viewers and engagement because of these boards, but that’s just a bonus! My focus on Pinterest is to market my photography, and then these boards are here to give people something else to connect with once they visit my page. Just like how on Instagram you mostly post your work and then share more personal bits about you in your stories or captions. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Since these are my personal boards, I’m not necessarily  trying  to SEO the crap out of them so I have pretty basic titles.

Since these are my personal boards, I’m not necessarily trying to SEO the crap out of them so I have pretty basic titles.

GOOD CONTENT

When you’re picking photos to pin, keep in mind what people are looking for on Pinterest and what content generally does best. If you’re not sure, then think about the kinds of things you like to pin in your inspo boards. Here are a few types of photos that I’ve personally seen do really well.

1. Photos with a lot of emotion and/or movement
2. Photos that showcase a location really well
3. Photos with creative or fun poses
4. Photos with lots of color

Generally, vertical photos do better than horizontal photos, and COLLAGES do better than single photos. Seriously, if you take anything away from this blog (besides probably the whole rich pins thing) let it be to start pinning photo collages!

Delete Unsuccessful Pins

This is something that I’ve read mixed reviews on because an initially unsuccessful pin could possibly go viral sometime in the future, but I have found that my engagement goes up when I clean out those pins from my boards.

I usually give my pins a few weeks to a month or so before I delete any, but if at that point they still have 0 re-pins and a super low impression number, I will get rid of them.

Why do this? Less is more. Even if you have fewer pins, if all of those pins have a bunch of re-pins, it makes you look really awesome to Pinterest. People will start to trust in your ability to pin only the best content and in return you’ll receive more and more engagement.

It’s important that when you’re reviewing your pins, you learn from your mistakes. If something doesn’t do well, probably don’t keep pinning similar pins, yeah?

I’ve noticed that my horizontal photos don’t do very well at all (not because the photos themselves suck, but I think it’s because of how small they show up on your screen). So now, if I really love a horizontal photo, I just include it in one of my collages.

In general, I actually don’t pin as many photos from each blog as I used to. I kind of know what’s going to do well so now I only pin the best and I save time later because there are less duds to delete.


Hashtags

Some people don’t know that you can use hashtags on Pinterest, but YES you can! I add 4 - 5 hashtags that are relevant to my photo at the end of my pin description. Aaaand that’s pretty much it. This article goes a little more into how hashtags work and how to find the best ones to use, so if you’re interested in learning more, I found it super helpful!


My Pinterest “Workflow”

Just like with any workflow, some people do things differently than others, but since this is my blog, here’s what I do:

1. Blog session on my website
2. Pin my favorite photos directly from my blog to Pinterest (using the Pinterest save button - here’s how to set that up if you don’t have it yet)
3. Create a few different collages with favorite photos (I do this in Photoshop) and pin those (link to blog)

For sessions I usually make 2 or 3 different collages depending on the variety of photos and for weddings I will make a collage for each part of the day (getting ready, ceremony, portraits, etc) and then one that’s a mix of the day as a whole.

All of my own photos that I pin go directly into my Carrie Rogers Photography board under the appropriate section.

Then, the next day I will go into my Carrie Rogers Photography board and re-pin my pins into my other inspo boards. For example, if I just blogged and pinned a full wedding day, I will re-pin the bride-groom portraits into my wedding inspo board and the details into my wedding day details board and so on. This helps your photos show up in a wider variety of searches!



PIN PIN PIN

Once your Pinterest is all set up and good to go, it’s important to be active! Follow other people, pin other people’s pins, and continue to pin your own work. The more you pin, the wider your audience will grow, and your work will be seen by more and more potential clients!

I’ve grown my Pinterest completely on my own in that I’ve never used ads or any automation apps, but I’ve heard that Tailwind is amazing for scheduling pins if you don’t have time to do a lot of pinning yourself. I might look into this at some point, but for now I enjoy being a “do-it-yourself-er”.

 
 


Okay, so I know that was a TON of information, but I tried to put basically everything I know about Pinterest in here, along with any tips or tricks I do, and my mindset behind them. I’m constantly learning new things, whether it’s from trial and error, my analytics, or new articles I find on Google, so I’ll try to keep this updated as I go!

Just keep in mind, I’m sharing what I’ve done and found to work for me - I’ve got good numbers to show proof that what I do works, but I’m not Pinterest Jesus and I can’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll have the same results lol.


Thanks for reading! 💛


If you found this helpful or encouraging feel free to share this with others and let me know in the comments if you have any questions! :)