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Interview with Troy Goodall, Advertising Photographer

Troy Goodall has noticed his passion for photography at an early age. After decided to follow his passion, he studied photography and pursue a career as an advertising photographer. I talked with Troy Goodall about his career.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Troy Goodall

Troy Goodall


by Melisa Kaya

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Consumers are most influenced by the media while making their purchase decisions. TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard or web-based advertising, each with its own unique method aims to influence consumers. Where this effect should be created with only one exposure photo such as newspapers, magazines or billboards, advertising photographers come into play. At this stage, advertising photographers are significant for both consumers and brands because we see the products or services from their eyes. Although Troy Goodall likes to be behind the camera and works in many different fields, he is an award-winning photographer with a specialization in advertising photography. In addition to the productions of world-famous brands, he also photographs celebrities and legendary athletes such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Usain Bolt, and Valerie Adams. Troy Goodall established his studio in Auckland, New Zealand in 2007. Since then he has been providing commercial advertising photography services to his clients. These clients are brands that want to promote their products and services, and organizations that aim to raise awareness on different topics. I talked with Troy Goodall about his career and the importance of advertising photography.

Troy, before talking about photography, I would like to learn more about you. When did you get your first camera? Do you remember the first photo that you shoot with it?

Growing up, I was your average Kiwi boy who had dreams of becoming an astronaut. Then a policeman. Then a chef. However, my dreams of being a culinary genius quickly changed when I was 15 and my Dad gave me a camera his photographer friend was getting rid of. It was an Olympus OM10 and I still have it to this day - it sits in a glass display case in my living room. The next day I joined a photography class at school and so began my journey to becoming a photographer.

I distinctly remember the first photo I shot with it, if you can even call it a photo. I used a 35mm black and white film, took a shot of a tree and then, with the help of my teacher, processed it in the school darkroom. It came out completely blank. It was then that I realised I knew nothing about how to capture an image, and it was this frustration that started my obsession with photography.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

Could you tell us about yourself? Who is Troy Goodall?

I’m a very family-oriented guy. I like to use as much of my spare time as possible with my lovely wife Jess and our three beautiful children, Piper, Lennon, and Mason. I enjoy watching horror movies (usually solo because no one else likes watching them) I also care a lot about my health and fitness so try to stay as active as possible I enjoy all opportunities to challenge myself both physically and mentally.

How did you decide to pursue a career in photography and establish your own studio? What inspired you?

As I said earlier, my obsession with photography began at an early age, and my passion for it only grew over the years. I also became quite good at it, so it was a no-brainer for me to continue studying it at university. Although I also dabbled in jewellery making and painting, I always came back to photography.

Straight out of university I worked in a photography studio for a couple of years, then did a small trip to New York where I tracked down a few of my favourite photographers. It was that trip and meeting those people which inspired me to break away and do my own thing when I returned.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

Could you tell us about Troy Goodall Photography and your team?

I would say it’s a bit of a lone-wolf scenario. I have agents who do the production and legal work for me (casting talent, booking locations, stylists, obtaining permits, sorting out all the contracts, etc.) so that I can focus solely on the photography itself, and I have a few casual assistants I work closely with on shoots and a casual staff member that helps me out with my social media, marketing, and general admin stuff. I can also contract people to help me out if I need it, but that’s on a job-to-job basis. Apart from that, it’s pretty much just me. In saying that I have a really collaborative approach to how I work and get to meet and work with loads of different interesting people regularly.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

What type of services do you offer to your clients?

My primary work is commercial advertising photography. Basically, agencies and brands commission me to make imagery to sell their products or services. However, the jobs can vary a lot, and sometimes I do campaigns that aren’t necessarily promoting a particular product or service, but are raising awareness about an important cause. For example, I have done work for the NZ Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, and KidsCan.

How did your interest in portrait photography begin? What is the most special aspect of portrait photography for you?

I like people, but I like to represent them in my own way. Basically, capturing my own representation of them. I often imagine that I were them and construct a narrative in my head about how I would feel if that was my life. I particularly love that it gives them a whole new perspective that is unrelated to how they see themselves. It may not necessarily be a true representation of them or their character, but a small staged moment from an outsider looking it. Because of that, it can be quite confronting for some, especially if my perspective differs from the one they hold of themselves, but ultimately it’s most important to me that my representation of them is what comes through in the end result.

I give minimal direction to start and then once I’m able to see what poses and angles are working I’ll focus my time on these. Often I’ll work from a gut feeling, rather than stopping and reviewing what’s been shot before carrying on.

Usain Bolt - Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

You have photographed many celebrities and successful athletes such as Usain Bolt and Valerie Adams. What are the key points that you pay attention to most before accepting a new project?

Ultimately what it comes down to is how realistic it is to deliver what the client envisions given the set of parameters you have to work within. Budget and time are particularly important; and with celebrities and athletes, in particular, you’re often given a very limited time to get the shot you need. So being confident that you have all your processes in place and leaving nothing to chance is key to a successful shoot.

Valerie Adams - Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

What is the importance of portrait photos for businessperson and companies? Why should they work with a professional photographer instead of photographing each other with a smartphone?

It’s not just about the difference in the quality of the photos you would get from a professional photographer with the right equipment versus an amateur with a phone, I would like to think that is obvious. But also the overall message you’re able to convey to your target demographic/audience. This business isn’t just about taking photos, it’s about using imagery as a means of conveying a message. This is hugely important because it takes a lot of planning and critical thinking to determine how to most effectively communicate the client’s idea to the consumer, and then also having the knowledge and skills to make it a reality. It’s very much a creative process. So taking a couple of shots with your phone might be fine for sharing with your friends on Instagram, but that’s definitely not going to cut it if you’re trying to effectively promote your business or products to consumers.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

Besides portrait photography, what kind of other photography fields do you like to work on?

Honestly, I just enjoy being behind the camera so I take opportunities wherever possible, regardless of the subject matter. Family, landscape, you name it. Most of my work is stills, but recently I’ve begun to branch out into motion work, which has opened up a whole new area of interest and opportunity for me.

What are the advantages of being an award-winning photographer? Could you tell us about the awards that you won?

Over the years I’ve picked up a few awards - to me they’re a way of getting feedback about your work, which in my experience as a photographer I feel like I don’t get that much of. Another positive is that they give my work exposure and so lead to more job opportunities, which is always good. Having a few awards behind you can also help communicate your effectiveness in the industry Its almost a form of trust.

Steinlager Edge - Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

Is it possible for abroad clients to work with you for their projects in their own countries?

Absolutely. More than 50% of the current work I do is outside of New Zealand.

Which factors determine the project budget?

There are really quite a lot of factors that determine the budget, and it varies a lot from job to job. It depends how complex the idea is to execute, how much planning it will take, who you’re casting, the location, permits, etc.

What are your expectations from your clients for a successful collaboration?

It can vary a lot depending on the job - some jobs involve a lot of planning and a lot of people, whereas others may require minimal planning and crew. However, regardless of the job, the key is effective collaboration, where all parties are on-board with and open to accommodating each others’ ideas and suggestions.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

How do you protect the rights of your photographs in this online era?

It’s pretty hard, you just have to be vigilant and aware of what they’re being used for and by who.

What advice would you give to photographers who want to pursue a career in portrait photography?

Simplicity is your best friend - try not to get overwhelmed by the technical details because it’s so easy to get hooked up on them and the image often ends up suffering for it.

What is your favorite photograph that you have ever taken?

To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve taken my favourite photo yet. Each one is so unique in its own right, with its own specific set of elements, that to compare them is pretty much impossible.

Photo by Troy Goodall

Photo by Troy Goodall

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

Up until this year, I hadn’t really dedicated a lot of my time to my social media presence. I had a Facebook page and Instagram account, however, there were too many other things that took priority over sharing my work on those platforms and my Instagram was more of a personal account than a business one.

At the start of this year, I decided I wanted to give myself and my work a bit more exposure on social media as it’s such a popular marketing tool these days, so I have someone doing that for me now. It’s already had a positive impact; people are more engaged with my content, my agents are more easily able to share my recent work and I’m slowly building up more exposure for my business.

Readers can follow me on Instagram at @troygoodallphoto and on Facebook at Troy Goodall Photography. I also have a website www.troygoodall.com where people can subscribe to regular updates about my latest work.

What is next for you?

Basically, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, at the end of the day photography is my passion and as long as I’m doing that I’m happy. I’ll always be attached to still images, but I’ve recently gotten a taste of motion work and I’m interested in transitioning into more directing roles. As the industry evolves and clients’ needs diversify, I can see myself combining more of this type of work with my current projects.

Thank you Troy for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Troy Goodall