Let's consider how and where you can find beautiful, lovely, quirky, cool images to inspire your wedding planning-other than on Bridal Musings of course ;)
I think that weddings bring out the scrapbooker (not to mention the obsessive compulsive tendencies) in all of us! Some brides cut and paste with scissors and glue, while others cut and paste with the click of mouse.
This post is for brides wanting to find, collect and share images that inspire them online. But don't worry if you're a traditional scrapbooker, this post is not only for the tech savvy bride! I'm going to give you a step by step guide to the chicest and most user friendly websites for finding, collecting and sharing inspirational images online.
Image Inspiration Websites:
These websites are specifically designed for people to search for and share inspirational images. The great thing is you are not just restricted to the images that are on the sites already. These sites have additional ‘bookmarklets' or ‘browser extensions' which let you grab images from elsewhere on the internet and include them in your selection of inspirational images saved on the site. This sounds far more complicated than it is. Often it is simply a matter of dragging and dropping an image into your bookmarks bar (that space just below where you type web addresses) and clicking on it as and when you spot an image you like.
But be warned, these sites are extremely addictive!
We Heart It
Here's how the folks at We Heart It describe their site:
‘It's where you keep your inspiration. We Heart It lets you create an online album (a heart) with your favorite images and videos. At the same time you can see what other people are adding to their own hearts and save it on yours to grow your collection.'
You can search for images using keywords (tags) or click on popular tags. It's really simple: if you love the image, click on the heart in the bottom left corner, it will go a lovely shade of pink and the image will be saved for you in your favourites for next time you visit. And, of course, you could always right click or use a screenshot tool and save the image to your computer if you'd like to access it offline.
Here's a screenshoot of ‘My Heart', which is basically a page of images that I have ‘liked' (or ‘hearted'?) from around the web and from the We Heart it website itself:
On it's ‘About' page, Polyvore is described as ‘the web's largest community of tastemakers where people can discover their style and set trends around the world. Trendseekers and shoppers alike come to Polyvore to discover the hottest brands, products, trends and looks.'
This is a fashionista's inspiration board tool where you can search for items on the Polyvore site or easily grab images from internet shopping sites (using the ‘clip to Polyvore' bookmarklet tool) and include them in your board. Once you have your images you drag and drop them onto your ‘board' and re-arrange them/re-size them by dragging the corners to make the image smaller or larger. An instant inspiration board. Easy Peasy.
Here's a screen shot of one I made using beautiful heels I coveted from around the web entitled ‘Not Ivory or White':
You can see that on the right side of the page, the item, the online shop I found them from, and the prices are listed for your reference. These boards could be helpful for so many things-for example teaming bridesmaids dresses and shoes to see if they work together…or passing onto your partner just before your birthday! ;)
Polyvore helps you to create instant, stylish inspiration boards from images you find on the web. However, the ‘clip to Polyvore' tool doesn't work on all sites (including image sharing sites such as Google Image, We Heart It or Tumblr), it prefers online stores so the images are mainly isolated on white backgronds. Also Polyvore doesn't give you the option to upload your own photos, which is a shame.
What is Pinterest? On the Pinterest About section it says ‘Pinterest is a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard-a place where you can post collections of things that you love and “follow” collections of things made by people with great taste.' So the basic premise is you create “Pinboards” of images you like, and “pin” items onto the board when you spot something you like online, either from the many Pinterest boards already created or from other online sites. Sounds simple enough.
Here's a snapshot:
Pinterest is in private beta at the moment, which means they're still testing it out and it's not available for everyone to use yet, so you need to request an invitation. (And I haven't been invited to the Pinterest Party yet…boo!) However, I've been doing my homework, reading reviews and checking out other people's boards-there are some achingly stylish and gorgeous boards on there! (Which you can look at even if you do not have an invitation.) You can also use the comprehensive search tool to look for images on Pinterest. I've also been asking people on Twitter what they think and, all in all, the result has been very positive.
I'll update this post after I receive my invite…or it goes public!
UPDATED: I did get invited and I ADORE Pinterest…it's so addictive though! Come and see what lovely stuff I've been pinning.
UPDATED: My latest obsession is Wedding Gawker. Check out my post on it here.
Have You Considered Creating a Blog to Collect and Share Your Inspiration?
Lots of people are using Tumblr, a simple blogging platform, to find and share images quickly and easily. You may even want to go so far as to set up your own wedding blog to share your finds from the internet (like me!) or you could always choose to keep them private by not publishing them. This is a lovely option because not only can you have a place to store inspirational photos but you can also save songs, text, videos and links to blog posts/websites that inspire you too!
I have a Tumblr site, it was my practise site before I (well, Zee) set up this WordPress site. Now I use it simply to ‘reblog' cool things I find from the people I follow (a bit like Twitter-with images and texts rolled in) and using the ‘Share on Tumblr' tool, I can share interesting stuff from other websites to my Tumblr too! It really is one of the most user friendly blogging platforms out there, so if you're interested in blogging, it's definitely worth a try!
If you do decide to blog your wedding inspiration finds, try your best to credit the photographers/creators of the image. It's the polite (& legal) thing to do…
It's worth noting that all of the sites above have a social element too, whereby you can share your inspirational images with others and ‘follow' other people's inspirations. But you can engage with this social aspect as much or as little as you like.
Have fun exploring…and come and find me, I'd love to see your creations!
Please do let me know if you have found this post useful, it took me absolutely ages to put together. (This may have been due to the fact that I got distracted by all the gorgeous imagery!) As always, I would really love to hear your feedback…
Are there any other online tools/wesites you recommend for finding inspirational images? Or are you more old school, preferring to look at images in magazines?
Coming up soon…How to create an inspiration board using online tools-they're not just for bloggers you know!