Bridget Lazenby-Gould, a New Zealand-based iStock photographer, tells us of her life-long love of photography, the pursuit of capturing “the essence of New Zealand” through her lens, and her top tips for aspiring stock photographers.
Bridget was given her first camera at age 8, and since then has hardly put it down: “I asked Father Christmas for a camera and I got it, and from then on I saved up my pocket money every week for film”. She was influenced by her father’s love of photography and admits to growing up “quite arty”; Bridget attended Art College after school, where photography played a big part in her projects.
Bridget grew up in New Zealand, before her parents moved the family to the UK when she was 10. However the memories of New Zealand were never far from her mind. “I’d look back at photos of when I was a child in New Zealand, and the things I missed were the cabbage trees and the flax and the Punga fronds.”
Rediscovering the camera
Following Art College, Bridget worked in an art gallery in the UK for almost a decade, before deciding to relocate back to New Zealand to start a family. Bridget credits the web designer at the gallery for introducing her to stock photography: “iStock were looking for photos of artwork at the time, which we decided not to do, but when I was at home after work that day, I started researching stock photography”.
When she eventually moved back to New Zealand to start a family, Bridget landed a job at a photo lab, and it was there that her photography career really took off: “I was able to work on my own photos in the quieter times and obviously got good discounts too! It was the perfect job to have with young children as well, because I would work when I had free time, and put it down if I needed to.”
Finding her niche
Bridget was always an admirer of the unique flora and landscapes of New Zealand, so this was a natural starting point for her photographs. “I am passionate about New Zealand. I see beauty everywhere I look, and I try to capture and convey the beauty I see around me – the perfect natural light, the iconic scenery and of course the flora. New Zealand has its own flora, and that’s how I see it [New Zealand] – it is the harakeke, the cabbage trees and the vibrant pōhutukawa. They’re iconically New Zealand… I started to take shots of different flora and it sold well. And then the more I sold the more I photographed. I’ve now started taking close-up photography of local plants as well.”
Although Bridget’s best-selling images are mostly of native New Zealand flora, there have been some surprising top sellers as well.
“One of my top-selling photos was taken when we were on a long drive home from a holiday, and our baby was having an amazing meltdown so we stopped the car and went for a walk. I came across a goat tethered up by the road and I thought I’d take a photo of it. I don’t usually shoot pictures of animals, but this one became one of my most popular shots! It’s the photo I come across the most — I’ve even seen it on ads for Oxfam. My tip for photographers is to always have your camera because you never know what’s going to become a top seller!”
Advice for aspiring iStock photographers
Apart from always keeping your camera nearby, Bridget has some other helpful tips for those trying to make it in the world of stock photos:
- Perseverance: “I’ve spoken to lots of people who are interested in selling photos, but when they’ve submitted images and gotten turned back, they don’t try again. I got turned down probably the first 2 or 3 times I sent through photos, but I took on board the feedback each time, and eventually I got accepted. So just keep trying.”
- Practice, practice, practice: “The more photos you take, the more you learn. And you just keep on learning – I look back at my early stuff now and think it’s awful, but the more I take the more I learn. The feedback from iStock is a good help too. It makes you stop and think and research a bit more and learn a bit more. What I’ve learnt is that the more close-up a shot is, the better it sells, especially of my succulents and of course New Zealand landscapes. So I always keep my camera nearby and take as many photos as I can.”
- Perfect composition: “As an ex-Art Student, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of a well-laid our image. I try and capture the photo as I would paint a picture. I often use the Golden Ratio – a composition technique I learnt in Art College – especially for landscapes.”
Bridget Lazenby-Gould is a Kiwi photographer, based in the idyllic Golden Bay. Bridget has been an iStock exclusive photographer for 6 years.
See more of Bridget’s iStock images here.