So what’s this Pinterest thing, then?

So … Pinterest?

Essentially, it’s an online pinboard. A place where you can collect images of things you love from all over the web via a handy little button you install on your toolbar. You can organise them into themed boards and share them with other Pinterest users … and the best thing about it, is that the ‘pinned’ image retains the link back to the url you pinned it from, so you can always go back to your favourite places to see what’s fresh and new there.

My Pinterest boards ....

You can ‘follow’ people or boards that you find interesting, and people can follow you and your boards … and you can repin their images to your boards, too.

You can use it for … collating reference material, creating inspiration or mood boards for home decorating or gardening, collecting all those craft projects into one place, organising your online recipe collection, making a list of awesome holiday destinations and and and …..

It’s a *lot* of fun … and offers such an easy way to collect and curate your own personal galleries of beautiful images, that it’s easy to get carried away ….

Ragebuilder ... Pin all the Things

(can you tell I’ve got myself into a pinning frenzy before ๐Ÿ˜‰ )


There is one important thing you need to remember.

Behind every image, is a person.

The person who took the photo, the person who created the content, the person who designed the product you love or the art you admire. That image is the result of their hard work, talent, skill and inspiration, so it’s only right that you make sure they get the credit they deserve.

That means you need to observe a little etiquette! Before you pin, or re-pin, stop and think and make sure that you are pinning directly from the source url – that means from the specific post on the photographer’s website, not just from their homepage, and NOT from google, or Tumblr, ffffound, weheartit, piccsy, or any other place it has been featured.

The same applies if you are re-pinning an image from someone else’s boards – always check that the image links back to the original source. If you can’t trace the original source – and if the image has come from Tumblr, there’s a good chance you won’t – then DON’T PIN IT ON YOUR BOARDS.

If there’s an image you love and you want on your boards that’s not credited, you can try to hunt down the link:

  • click on the image and it will take you to the page it was posted from … if you’re lucky, there will be an onward link to take you to the source url. But, sometimes, you will need to take the information you can find about the picture and google away until you find it.
  • if you find the link, you can either pin direct from that url (best practice) OR you can ‘edit’ your pin in Pinterest and update the url with a little copy-and-paste.
  • if it’s an image from google, you can ‘edit’ the pin, and then copy the url info into a new browser tab – that should take you to the source page, and from there you can copy+paste the url back into your pin and update it that way.

It all comes down to how much you love the image, and how obsessive you’re prepared to be to track down its rightful source!



I recommend that you do it! Not only does it let you open up a potential source of fabulous, inspiring images, it also allows you to give the photographer responsible for the work proper credit for their image, so that their work is recognised as their own. This is not onlythe right thing to do, but also because IT INFRINGES THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS if you do not.

There’s a lot of discussion about the ethics underlying Pinterest at the moment, so it’s worth mentioning that when you sign up to Pinterest, you are certifying that you have the RIGHT to pin that image, and also that you agree to licence that image to Pinterest. So – if you don’t have the right, stop and think whether you *should* pin. This article by DDK Portraits about the legal implications of using Pinterest outlines the possible risks you are running. I don’t know if this is a storm in a teacup or not, but it’s definitely something to be aware of, particularly if you are posting images from a professional photographer.


The other thing you should not ever, never do, is pin someone else’s work to your boards with the intention of copying it. Again, the artist has put their time, talent, skill and inspiration into creating this piece. Not only are they capable of producing it to a much, much higher standard than you could ever hope to acheive, copying someone else’s design is tantamount to theft …and while I don’t imagine anyone reading this would consider ripping off someone’s else work on anything like this scale, just think how artist & designer Tatty Divine felt when she saw her designs in Claire’s? Is it any different for any other artist if you copy their work and claim it as you own? Steer clear, then, and don’t pin or re-pin any tutorials showing you how to do it, either.

If you want any more information, you can read about it in this article on Pinterest on lovelife’s blog or at linkwithlove.

And, of course, I am more than happy for you to pin any of the images of my work from this site or my Flickr account – as long as you play nicely and link me up ๐Ÿ™‚

Or you can follow me on Pinterest

a selection of my recent pins on Pinterest

12 responses to “So what’s this Pinterest thing, then?

  1. Great information Lucy, really helpful for a Pinterest novice like myself! And you have some beautiful pins. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yeah great post lucy, the whole copyright pinterest thing seems very murky still and you dont really know where you stand, without legal advice. I tend to skip the terms and click “i agree”, occassionally i will skim them. The trick i guess is to always give the appropriate credit to the original artist/crafter/creator/designer/etc as we all want people to help promote our work.

    But I worry a little about my greeting cards being leeched online, but unless i come across a clone, i think its best to put it down to free social promotion.

  3. Hi Lucy,
    This is a really well written appeal to the higher self in the Pinterest community. I hadn’t read the conditions but presumed if I gave credit all would be well. But now I see I didn’t do it correctly so thanks for the heads-up.
    From now on I will make the extra effort. It feels good. Thanks. Julia

  4. Great post Lucy. I’ll be double checking my image sources and crediting appropriately. I LOVE your boards – I don’t know where you find them all but i’m glad you do!

  5. hello there, very good wordpress blog, and a fairly good understand! at least one for my favorites.

  6. Interesting read indeed, thanks for sharing great information about pinterest. I don’t think everyone thinks like this, and it’s great when more and more people talk about these things! Thanks!

  7. An excellent and very timely reminder about copyright issues and service agreements. While your article concentrates in Pinterest, the same issue applies to blog posts and anything else that gets posted. We tend to sign up for accounts and click on the “I agree” to terms and conditions without ever reading a word and Google images often get copied into posts without so much as a thought to the owner.
    Thanks for reminding us about what’s at stake.

  8. This is a great post and you make some great points as a noob to pinterest myself i too have got carried away with pinning everything I like, but you have made me sit back and realise there is so much more to pinning thank you

  9. Excellent post Lucy – Pinterest *is* so lovely, it’s only right that we give that extra thought to doing things properly and keeping it fun.

    And I love that you pin SO MUCH – and it’s ALWAYS beautiful!! xx

  10. Great post, Lucy. I have avoided getting too deep into Pinterest, but I did install that little button on my toolbar, so I’m ready to go. And now I’m aware of linking back properly, so thanks.

  11. Thanks for pointing out some of the terms of service we’ve agreed to (but probably never read)…and specifically that we’re certifying that we have the RIGHT to pin every image that comes along. I’m sure very few of us read the details when we opened our accounts and this one is so important.

  12. Really like this post. I’ve had an image of mine up on Pinterest without proper crediting. I think it was from someone on Tumblr who got it from someone else’s blog who didn’t credit me. I don’t think it was malicious, but a bit of extra consideration might have gotten me some good exposure or even some sales. I’m becoming more and more obsessive about sourcing my pins and it feels good to do it! Sometimes I catch one that I didn’t get quite right, and I go back and edit it at that point. I’ve been trying to name an artist in my description too, which I think helps when the pin goes back to someone else’s blog post featuring the artist or crafter. Good intentions are really important here too — I think for the most part people aren’t trying to ‘steal’ things etc, but just need to put a bit more thought into what they are doing. Like you said, if you are announcing “I LIKE THIS!” then surely a few extra clicks are worth the bother. ๐Ÿ™‚

I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what you think ....