Photography for the local market

When it comes to brand communications, most local businesses are keen to tap into our famous kiwi pride, but doing so through photography isn’t as easy as dialling up iStock and finding a perfect shot.

We often have clients wanting to use a great image they’ve seen, but rarely does the photo fit both the local market and the product being sold. We’ve put together a quick guide on what to look for when sourcing images for your next project.

Stock photography vs. photoshoots

We find that the best option, hands down, is to organise a photoshoot featuring local talent in local settings. The benefits of doing so are numerous, not least of which is the opportunity to build a photo around your product, rather than attempting to make an existing photo suit.

Commissioned photographs are typically more expensive than their stock counterparts but the results speak volumes. There are also ways to ensure that photoshoots are financially viable, such as being organised with a list of shots you require, perhaps enough to cover your marketing plans for the entire year; most photographers charge for their time rather than on a per-shot basis, so it makes sense to get as much done as possible on the day.

For projects with limited budgets, online stock libraries can be an effective and inexpensive option for photography, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of using images that are not situationally or culturally appropriate.

Search local

There are some great local options available for true New Zealand imagery – from mychillybin with its affordable, royalty-free library through to the gorgeous high end shots at Photo New ZealandGetty images have a wealth of stunning kiwi shots and their new royalty free pricing structure is highly competitive, and Canvass rounds out the list with another solid library.

Cultural considerations

New Zealand is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and it’s important to reflect this in your brand’s photography. Avoid the temptation of using a great shot that you’ve found if it only features the cultures of another region of the world – the local market just won’t respond emotionally and you won’t get any cut-through in the marketplace.

Something old, something new

If you don’t have the budget to purchase or commission new photography, your designer can employ a range of post-production tricks to give new life to old or average images. Whilst the age-old saying tells us that you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, techniques such as collages, text cut-outs and (dare we say it) filters can transform an image and bring it in line with modern design trends.

Combining two or more stock images can be a cost-effective way of achieving the look you’re after – the example on the right was created from six individual images.

Ask the experts

At Magnum we know what works and what doesn’t, and how to get the best bang for your imagery buck. Drop us a line if you need help with putting a local spin on your brand communications.