As a contemporary photographer, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, the everyday person now fancies themselves as a professional photographer.
And, while taking beautiful photographs is easier than ever, capturing truly remarkable and unique content remains an art form, and not just anyone can do it.
The power of a good photo cannot be ignored. Whether you’re using a stock photo in a marketing campaign, as the OMA did in its highly successful ‘Look Up’ OOH campaign, or using photography to engage consumers in a social media promotion, having access to a library of compelling photos is vital for every marketer. This is especially true if you’re launching a campaign and are pressed for time to shoot your own content (as often happens!)
Considering this, B&T wanted to sit down with a local Australian photographer to find out about what goes into creating powerful photos. Chatting with Stocksy United’s Kayla Johnson, we talked about what influences her style, how her clients use her photos, navigating Australian stereotypes through her photography, and her experience using and shooting stock photos. Read about Kayla’s experience below.
How did you get into photography?
My mum bought me a Polaroid iZone when I was around 10 years old and I’ve been playing with cameras and taking photos of things ever since.
Your photos have quite a vintage/old-school vibe to them. What appeals to you most about that style? What about it appeals to clients most and how do they use the style?
I’m a nostalgic person. In that vein, shooting film for me is my own very small resistance to contemporary digitisation practices. I enjoy the imperfection of film and the spontaneity it offers as opposed to the refined nature of digital.
It’s exciting and offers the opportunity to capture life but remain present in that you don’t have the satisfaction of viewing the image immediately. I think this translates to my work and is why my images appear candid and authentic – because they are! My style appeals to clients looking to move away from generic stock photography and into something more naturalised.
What’s your favourite subject matter to shoot?
I’m taking photos all the time of my ordinary life – of my friends or whatever I find myself coming across in my everyday travels. Memory is incredibly fallible and fragile and outside the fun of photography, I take photos to capture and document my life and my experience of the world.
Australia often has some very typical stereotypes associated with it as a country. How do you showcase Australian content in a different light and address Aussie stereotypes? Or are stereotypes important when trying to convey the Australian persona?
I had a friend visit me a few years ago from overseas. She had a free day and when I offered to take her to see the Harbour Bridge in all its glory, she told me she wasn’t keen and had already seen it on Google Images. This has really stayed with me and has helped inform my thinking about what I’m contributing to the already overwhelming, almost infinite amount of Australian content the Internet has given us access to.
I feel the only way my work can remain unique and truthfully depict my life and surroundings is to capture only things I’ve experienced. While I do live in Sydney, home to the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, I rarely pass by them and instead spend my time at home or with friends in the Inner West. Those are the locations that are important to me and things I’d rather capture.
What has been your experience with Stocksy as a platform?
I have been a Stocksy member for two years now. It’s a pretty special community to be a part of and I’m happy to be among such creative and inspiring people. The Artist Relations Team is very engaged with all Stocksy members and communicate feedback regularly with us about upcoming trends and themes among clients. It’s nice to be among fellow photography dorks and of course, monetise my work.
How can Aussie brands use platforms like Stocksy/use photography to improve their brand/brand presence?
There is such diverse and truly striking stock content available on Stocksy. Those looking to refresh their visual brand and communicate with their target audience in a more authentic and visually artful way couldn’t not benefit from using the platform.
You can view and purchase Kayla’s photos here.
Stocksy United is a royalty-free stock photography and footage agency founded on creative integrity and respect for artists. Quality content paired with expert curation by creatives makes discovering unique, beautifully authentic imagery effortless. Explore Stocksy’s collection of exclusive imagery and easily find the perfect assets for attention-grabbing projects. Visit our page here.