peek into our current issue

picky is new zealand's freshest stock-image site

picky is new zealand's freshest stock-image site


Lauren Burton and Kimberley Torrie created Picky to help New Zealand businesses find awesome imagery.

In a nutshell, what’s Picky? Lauren: It’s New Zealand’s newest commercial image platform, linking high-quality, commercially available imagery from a diverse range of local photographers to a NZ audience. Our Picky community includes over 50 talented photographers who contribute thousands of images from all corners of our country.

How did you come up with the idea for the business? Kimberley: Lauren and I were working at an advertising agency. During lockdowns, our photoshoots were constantly being cancelled and re-arranged, and we’d need to quickly find stock imagery. We kept chatting about how so many photographers in NZ must have epic back catalogues of their own images – we just needed a way to get their content out there for more agencies, marketers and businesses to use. A huge part of my art direction job was spent looking through international stock sites, so we knew Picky had scope beyond lockdowns. Chatting with industry mates confirmed that, too.

Why is it important that the images on Picky are local? Lauren: If brands want to operate in an authentic way and distribute content that truly reaches their target market, they need to use local imagery. This notion of authenticity was imperative to us, not just in the images we supplied, but in those who supply the image. Our aim from the get-go was to work with photographers operating from all corners of NZ. We knew if we could achieve that, we’d be onto something pretty special. We’re so stoked with the female and non-binary interest in Picky. We’re currently repping over 60 per cent female photographers, which is huge, considering what was historically a male-dominated industry.

Is it a full-time business for you or a side-gig? Lauren: It’s technically a side-hustle, with the hours of full-time. I’ve actually just returned to Xero from parental leave, so it’s a constant juggling act (of the best kind). 

Kimberley: It’s an in-between, really. We both left our full-time jobs when starting Picky. I started freelancing four days a week to cover my old salary, which gives me a full weekday, evenings and weekends for Picky. I can’t wait until we can flip the balance to more Picky days and less work elsewhere.

How do you balance supporting the creative community while also making enough money to operate Picky? Kimberley: It’s such a fine balance. We set out and continue to have a fair market price for high-quality imagery and we split all sales 50:50 with the contributor. At the beginning, we offered fewer licensing options. Our belief is that a low-res image on social media has just as much impact as a high-res image on a billboard, so we didn’t price the usage differently. However, we quickly realised we were pricing out small-to-medium businesses – the ones who don’t have big agency or design-studio support. So, after quite the deep-dive with our customers, we went back to market with an additional lower-cost, online-only license to make sure we were accessible for everyone.

What lessons have you taken from the advertising industry into Picky? Lauren: When you stop and take stock of all the people you’ve met along your advertising career, you realise all the talent, expertise, support and opportunity is there for the taking. People want to see you succeed, especially when you are solving a problem that will directly help them. Everything we learnt in ad-land – confidence, expertise and a passion for creativity and craft – gave us the means and ability to bring Picky to life.

Kimberley: Endless and relentless problem-solving; there’s never one answer to any challenge (be that business, marketing, admin, or customer experience). We’ve just changed our creative briefs from communications-only to business-wide. Plus, our knowledge on strategy, concepting, design, and how to write and produce a campaign has been super-helpful in building our brand.

See more from Picky over here. Use the code FRANKIE to get 15 per cent off your first order.