20 October 2022

Creative Talk with Kimberley Torrie from Picky

Our latest Creative Talk is with Kimberley Torrie, one of our amazing freelance Art Directors. Kimberley is a co-founder of Picky, New Zealand’s newest commercial image platform. Running for nearly a year, they represent over 55 photographers from all over New Zealand, with a focus on authentic, diverse, premium, high-quality imagery - which reflects the Aotearoa we know and love.

Tell us about Picky:

Picky is NZ’s newest commercial image platform – linking high quality, commercially available imagery, from a wide and diverse range of local photographers to an NZ audience. Our big ambition is to ensure there’s diversity in both the content and the creation of imagery used to represent our country. Ensuring the way Aotearoa is portrayed in media, design & advertising is reflective of NZ today.

What was the inspirational moment that was behind starting a business like Picky?

Picky co-founder Lauren Burton and I were working together at an advertising agency at the time of our brainwave. During lockdowns, our photoshoots were constantly being cancelled, re-arranged and often we’d find ourselves needing to quickly find stock imagery to get urgent comms out for clients or as a stop-gap for a postponed shoot. And in doing so identified that there was a real lack of authentic, high quality Kiwi imagery readily available. Lockdowns aside, we knew Picky had legs. A stock site which didn’t feel ‘stocky’. Chatting with lots of industry mates confirmed it too. We figured that there were so many epic photographers located all around Aotearoa - surely they had a back catalogue of their own images which could help start to fill this gap. So we figured why not become the glue to connect this creative community to agencies, marketers and businesses. As such, Picky was born.

How does it work – do you find the photographer and the talent / models for clients?

Picky is like a digital art gallery of sorts. We partner with photographers to showcase & market their readily available imagery on their behalf. We’re building a creative community where we essentially broker the licence between creators & clients. Through snazzy data from our platform we can see top searched categories, so we’ve started commissioning “Picky Bespoke” photoshoots all around Aotearoa. In this case, we help produce the shoot & source talent, who are then also part of the Picky Talent Royalty Scheme (earning royalties per image sold alongside the photographer).

Alongside stock imagery, Picky markets Mockshots – for those that don't know, what does this mean?

As well as Stock images, Picky also has a growing collection of mockup images. These are layered, Photoshop template images for designers, marketers & agencies to mockup and visualise their designs & ideas. They’re all shot locally and are fantastic for showcasing concepts within an NZ setting for pitches, presentations and press releases.

The local and authentic content for your clients is very important – do you feel New Zealand is currently represented well visually?

It’s definitely a journey. Brands & services on a whole want to be more reflective and representative to the makeup of the diverse people, cultures, land and buildings which we call home. It’s all well and good when you have the means to produce bespoke content. However when budgets, timeframes or other limiting factors pile up, stock content has a huge part to play. But often the result is a glossy or stereotypical international image being used and peppered into our media landscape. If your brand is targeting part of a New Zealand market, it should be creating content reflective of that audience.

What is it about Picky that you think is attractive to both clients & photographers?

I think it’s our drive to create the most authentic, inclusive, high-quality content platform. One which is truly reflective of Aotearoa as it is now, and to really help shape the vision of the country we aspire to be. For photographers our fair pricing & licensing structure is key. Half the retail price always goes to the photographer, no matter what. Photographers can specify the industries or clients on which they would like their content used, this control over distribution is really unique in the stock game. We also work really hard to build relationships and a community that photographers feel proud to be a part of, and we in turn are super proud of that. Clients love that they’ve been able to connect with incredible photographers, with a range of backgrounds & aesthetic, from all around NZ. It’s a more genuine offering for the brands and services they in turn represent. Plus we’re a “stock” platform which very intentionally doesn’t look, feel like or act like a stock content company. I think people find us pretty refreshing!

Picky offers different license structures to regular stock sites. How and why did you come up with these?

It came about two ways:

1. Fairness – to value photographers, their creative IP, technical abilities, experience & time. The value of an image to tell a brand story is huge, no matter the medium and that needs to be reflected in our pricing structure. Plus we’ve added initiatives like “Koha for Comp” – an honesty box system for the use of comp download images, instead of offering free comp images like other sites do. How many times has that moodboard ‘sold in’ an idea? Time for the photographer to get some of those winnings too.

2. What I as an Art Director, always wished was available. Take our RAW image offering for example. These are larger, editable files which enable the end-user to have more control over the retouching & grade of the image. So much easier than trying to tweak the colour on a tiny compressed jpeg.

Who is your inspiration – (Kiwi and global photographers)?

We’re so inundated with fantastic creative talent in NZ – every day we are in awe of the photos the Picky community are creating, plus all the photographers (from up-and-comers to the big dogs) who we’d love to get on board. We are also so incredibly inspired by how creative & innovative the business & startup landscape is here. We’ve been learning from so many creative problem solvers beyond photography – designers, developers, SEO gurus, pricing gods, coders, social media managers, community & partnership managers, other co-founders, business mentors, accountants, the list goes on!

Where do you see Picky growing over the next 5 years?

Onwards and upwards. Lauren & I hope to further diversify the content we provide to an even wider audience around the country. We want the Picky community to be platform creatives are proud to be a part of, one which nurtures and supports fresh talent and that the business & marketing world look to first. A little vague on my part but, beyond that, my lips are sealed!


To view the range of Picky stock images – head to their website here.