Photography for the local market

Jan. 24 2012  Dennis Simpson  Managing Director
Photography for the local market
Magnum commissioned this photo for a Mainfreight annual report.
Photography for the local market
Using online stock libraries and custom photography, we captured the essence of the kiwi music festival for this press & online HP campaign.
When it comes to brand communications, most local businesses are keen to tap into our famous kiwi pride, but doing so through photography isnít as easy as dialling up iStock and finding a perfect shot.

We often have clients wanting to use a great image theyíve seen, but rarely does the photo fit both the local market and the product being sold. Weíve 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 itís 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 Ė from mychillybin with its affordable, royalty-free library through to the gorgeous high end shots at Photo New Zealand. Getty 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 itís important to reflect this in your brandís photography. Avoid the temptation of using a great shot that youíve found if it only features the cultures of another region of the world Ė the local market just wonít respond emotionally and you wonít get any cut-through in the marketplace.

Something old, something new

If you donít 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 canít make a silk purse from a sowís 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.