Before & Aftereffects

A picture is worth a thousand words but a good-looking picture is worth much more

Avoid the use of poor images for your promotions. The most successful publicity photos look lifelike, convincing, and are free of distracting clutter. Professional Photoshop retouching is a great way to correct poor photos to maximise the performance of your images. Being concerned with maximising image quality whether for reasons of pride if nothing else, is beside the point, because in the end everybody wants their pictures to look good on the web and in print.

The temporary home for the Christchurch Convergence dance school post 2012 earthquake featured a makeshift dancefloor made of plywood sheets ‘joined’ with black duct tape. As a result every photo of students and classes is marred by the distracting and unwanted black grid.

The good-looking image is uncluttered by unwanted objects and blemishes

Editing out the unwanted grid in Photoshop allowed the subjects of every dance studio photo to shine out as the “hero” of the image.

To shoot candid photos of students in the dance studio, the photographer elected to shoot ‘news reportage’ style. The result is high ISO jpgs, with the aperture wide open and a shutter speed of 1/80 th of a second.

This shooting strategy does away for the need for the flash, but it results in colour images that are grainy or “noisy”. Also, because of the interior low light the skin tones even of young children will be blotchy, also unsightly colour casts of green and yellow that are less than flattering may result from shooting under fluorescent lights.

The relatively slow shutter speed increases the risk that the slightest movement of the subject or the camera will yield “soft” out of focus images, slightly blurry and lacking in sharp contrast.

Portrait photography is a genre where black & white images really shine. A good black and white treatment has a way of stripping unneeded information from an image helping to emphasize specific elements to the viewer without the distraction that colour can provide. For a dance studio website the conversion of these grainy images to black and white was an optimal choice for the hero images to be used. 

Crop and straighten photos remove blemishes and unwanted objects

This photo captures the fun of the moment in this competition performance piece, but the original has some problems.

Cleaning up the image focusses the viewers’ attention on the subject.

To download the Before & Afterimage PDF click on this photo, or this link.

Clipping portraits from their backgrounds makes them very versatile

While the poise of the dancer caught in this moment is timeless and everlasting the imperfections of the original image are so distracting they subtract from her finesse.

Recomposing the shot and cleaning it up showcases the dancer’s grace and form as well as retaining a sense of place.

Once cut away from its background an image like this one becomes a very versatile publicity image that are used for many applications for print and web.

Colour & tonal correction make the image better looking

The first thing we always want to do is fix any overall tonal and/or colour problems in the image. These are commonly called “global” problems. Images that are underexposed and lacking in contrast like this one are fixed almost instantly. The image is straightened and the background elements are extended to the edges pretty quickly too.

Removing the specific blemishes and unwanted objects from the image is fixed with more time-consuming tools that take another level of specialised skills and expertise to yield the seamless result in the great looking edited image below.

Removing the specific blemishes and unwanted objects from the image yields a seamless result.

Unwanted objects impair the quality of photos

Unwanted objects impair the quality of images, making them vanish allows the simple beauty of this candid dance lesson photo to really shine.

Unwanted elements can distract from an otherwise eye-catching photo

A good black and white treatment strips away unneccessary elements and focusses the  viewers attention on the subject.

Because of the interior low light the skintones even of young children will be blotchy, also unsightly colour casts of green and yellow that are less than flattering may result from shooting under fluorescent lights.



Posters are a form of advertising that’s accessible and are quickly developed

Professional-quality campaign poster series are developed from great looking photos in a few minutes. Compared to other forms of advertising, posters are quick, easy and accessible means of getting the word out and building the right image for your campaign.

A professional’s camera will produce images that have better focus and more intention

As a photographer when asked by clients, “Can’t I just take good pictures by myself?” of course I’m going to advocate for my profession and say, “On balance it would be best to get them taken.” What my experience as a photographer and creative designer has taught me is a few things about the knowledge skill and care that goes into shooting a great photo, beginning with having the right equipment on the spot to do the job. Relative to amateur photography on compact cameras or phone cameras, it is better and more cost-effective to get your pictures taken professionally.

©magentadot brands

Auto Restorations capabilities brochure

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Auto Restorations logo. Brands for New Zealand companies, Christchurch, New Zealand.Auto Restorations has a story to tell. This capabilities and profile brochure was designed with people in mind who will have heard about Auto Restorations by other means, such as work of mouth, the core of the brochure design, as with the website redesign is for people to see the sort of things that Auto Restorations do, the sort of company that they are. The idea is to give them the impression that Auto Restorations are people worth their while to deal with. So the main purpose, as with the website is to; showcase their work, give an impression of what the company is like, give the impression they are reliable and work to the highest achievable international standsards.

While Auto Restorations’ accomplishments do weigh-in to the decision the Classic car collector makes to put their USD$500,000–1,000,000 prized possession into a container and ship it half way around the world, often for years of careful work, it is Auto Restorations’ people that do the driving in that decision. To focus on the international recognition and the cars and put the people who made them in the back seat is to put the cart before the horse. As General Manager Allan Wylie explains; 

“The international renown that the firm has earned over the years is due to the exemplary skills and talents, and exacting standards of our individual employees”.

The layout is used to tell the story one panel at a time

The double gate-fold eight-page “peek-a-boo” folder format is a “You-are-there” format to present the work, the company and the people behind it. The layout tells the company’s story, details their capabilities and showcases the cars one panel at a time. The poster-like front cover design tells Auto Restorations’ story too, it introduces the firm with a composite image that confidently states their abilities, and their business with purposeful imagery, under-stated type and confident branding. The cover sets the stage for the brochure, the work speaks for itself. While the two inside spreads, 420 mm wide and 840 mm wide respectively, combine into single pages that give the brochure an expansive look.

Eye movement is key to an energetic layout. To create it, it helps to take a cue from the movies; keep the camera moving. The eye tends to track objects in descending order of size, this effect guides the reader around the pages purposefully. Alignment is neat so I also took the opportunities for visual alignment of page elements as they emerged. Wide margins and short line lengths of text are used because not only does it make the brochure look more sophisticated, it makes it look brief and on-point. The wording has also been worked on carefully to stay on the right side of the thin line between confidence and boasting.

The efficient design uses only two typefaces, a low key sans serif in several weights for text and headings and an auto-badge flowing script for accents. The text font is from the same font family as the logo was re-created using, this ensures basic visual consistency throughout.

The A5 landscape “wide” orientation folds gate-fold style into four equal panels, and tucks into a standard C5 business envelope for low cost international mailing. The calibre of the design and the subject really shines on the AA grade card weight stock, impeccably printed and finished by Croft printing in Christchurch.

Pictures tell the story

The success of the brochure, as with every printed piece, rests on the images I used. The piece is energised by photos that captivate the reader using techniques of rhythm, variety and zoom. The photos are work of at least ten photographers including myself, and many images needed some post processing and compositing work. There photos and other graphical elements create motion that draws the reader’s eye to skim and seek out the information that is presented to them in a sequence directed by the visual heirarchy of page elements.


Project name: Auto Restorations gate fold eight-page folder
Client (Industry):
Auto Restorations (Travel & transportation)
Disciplines: Copywriting / Digital Illustration / Illustration / Icon design / Photography / Print production / Promotional design and advertising /
Format: Brochure Date: 2010


Printer: Croft Printing Limited
Design firm: MagentaDot Brands
Copywriters: Allan Wylie / Shaun Waugh
Art director / designer / photographer: Shaun Waugh
Photography: Beachbum studios, Wouter Melissen  of, Richard Owen of and others
Font credits:
 Futura, Raceway

©magentadot brands

Cashel Street, Pop-up Mall, night photography, post earthquake, illuminated at night by WindsorUrban luminaires and lighting poles. Photo shot for WindsorUrban website redesign and rebrand project.


Craft means you care and you know about what you are doing

With any visual communications project first and foremost it is essential to represent your identity or brand with professional imagery. MagentaDot Brands makes every effort to work with our clients so that the standard of their imagery and visual art design is to a high-quality professional standard. In addition to the photography services below;

  • Event/location photography
  • Portraits
  • Product shoots
  • Group Photos
  • Action photos

MagentaDot offers documentary and event photography as well as capturing photos that are optimised for use online or in print. Our high-resolution DSLR camera equipment allows for images to be printed in formats as large as a billboard while retaining the sharp detail and image quality. When the requirements of a photography brief are outside the range of my capabilities or photography equipment I commission photography from preferred specialist providers.

Graphic design craft

Client design and branding projects often involve the typographic styling and layout of supplied text combined with imagery. This imagery is;

  • supplied by the client , or
  • stock imagery may be utilized,
  • custom photography is shot by MagentaDot graphic designer, or
  • a photographer is commissioned to shoot original works

Because I do all the production artwork for client projects, I ensure that before graphic elements such as photos are applied to any design project, quality visual arts design and graphic design principles are applied to all imagery.

Photography workflow

I am proficient in the industry standard Adobe Creative Suite software used for graphic design and desktop publishing. For photography I use a Lightroom and Photoshop workflow to develop and post-process all imagery to the highest graphical standards.

The visual arts design applied to a graphic design project will often entail some digital compositing, such as cutting product images away from their backgrounds or using the image editing tools in Photoshop to digitally assemble multiple images to make a final composite.

Photography portfolio pages

Eldee Velocette, front three-quarter, poster, A2, portrait, CraftsmanshipFully equipped and race-ready Eldee TT Velocette Classic racing motorcycle

Velocette Racing New Zealand organisation logo. Classic racing motorcycle enthusiasts organisation brand. ‘Coca-Cola’ style sloped and looped copperplate lettering in metallic gold on a black background, consistent with the historic livery of Velocette motorcycles. Brands for New Zealand / International organisations.Publicity/launch photos presented in a slideshow documenting the transformation from the 1950s Eldee-2 to 2014 Eldee-T.T. carbon fibre racing machine representing New Zealand at the Isle of Man Classic TT, 2014.

Horizontal Directional Drilling, Tru-Line Civil, Akaroa, documentary, photography, Akaroa Water Supply Stage 3, Reticulation Upgrade, Vermeer HDD,Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) Akaroa

Tru-Line Civil Logo. Brands for New Zealand companies, Greymouth, New Zealand.Documentary photography chronicling HDD installation method for new drinking , Tru-Line Civil. The slideshow documents the drilling of a pilot bore and the subsequent back reaming of a 120m long drinking water supply pipeline up to the summit of Coachmans Road, Akaroa

The 125mm pilot drill bit and HDD unit. Horizontal Directional Drilling, Tru-Line Civil, documentary photography, Parklands West, Christchurch, New Zealand, Gravity Wastewater Replacement, HDD.HDD Parklands West

Tru-Line Civil Logo. Brands for New Zealand companies, Greymouth, New Zealand.Continuing the ongoing project to photograph TruLine Civil’s range of work methodologies and then follow through by writing them up as Case Studies on their website.

Gallery mock-up of shots from the Kinetics portfolio.Phil Price Kinetics (PKP) gallery

This portfolio represents a selection of “personal best” images from an 8-year ongoing collaboration between myself and Phil Price (Phil Price Sculpture and MagentaDot Brands).

Planting_Tree_of_Life__Phil_Price_Kinetics-2682Phil Price Kinetics “Tree of Life” installation, Melbourne

The large scale, wind-activated kinetic sculpture “Tree of Life” is a major, permanent Public Artwork designed and made by Phil Price of Christchurch, New Zealand. This portfolio chronicles two days work in Karingal, Melbourne by Phil, his highly skilled employees and sub-contractors installing this major work in Melbourne, Australia, December 2012.

Zephyrometer_Phil_Price_Kinetics-0897Phil Price Kinetics Zephyrometer gallery

Zeph’ is a civic sculpture made by Christchurch artist Phil Price and was installed in 2003. It is a wind-and-gravity-activated kinetic sculpture consisting of a 3250 kg ‘balanced’ lead counterweight housed in a durable composite shell fixed to a gimbal at the base of a 26m tall needle.

Zephyrometer_reinstall_Titan_crane-0411Phil Price Kinetics Zephyrometer re-installation

April 10–11, 2014—After 11 years in action Zephyrometer was removed, fully refurbished and then re-installed in Evans Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.

Pilot drillshot, the bit enters and passes through the 5m entry pit, Horizontal Directional Drilling, Tru-Line Civil, documentary photography, Parklands West, Christchurch, New Zealand, Gravity Wastewater Replacement, HDD

HDD Documentary Shoot, Parklands

TruLine Parklands West Infrastructure Repair map and infographic of HDD activity fitting a 90° bend to sewage line in 4m deep sheet-pile entry pit on the corner of Rothesay Rd and Putake Dr, Parklands, Christchurch, New Zealand.Continuing the ongoing project to photograph the client, TruLine Civil’s range of work methodologies and then follow through by writing them up as Case Studies on their website. I was contracted to document the span of a day on location in Akaroa. The brief is to record a fine-grained record of TLC’s capability in the relatively new Civil Engineering field of “Trenchless Technology”, in this case specifically Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). This fast and highly accurate “Horizontal Infrastructure” laying technique is achieved by way of a synchronised deployment of highly skilled and experienced operators, high tech machinery and tight coordination between the project team members. From skilled labourers and drivers up the chain to the site engineer—close communication is maintained between the project team members via modern telecommunications. The weight of two men on the entry drill rod helps the pilot bit achieve bite into the sandy ground. Horizontal Directional Drilling, Tru-Line Civil, documentary photography, Parklands West, Christchurch, New Zealand, Gravity Wastewater Replacement, HDDThe brief was to document the highly accurate and technically difficult drilling required to install new Parklands West Area Infrastructure Gravity Wastewater line at over 4m depth in very challenging, “running sand” or water saturated sandy ground, and all achieved within 2m of an existing, “pumping” half metre diameter wastewater pipeline from the Belfast Freezing Work. I used the novel approach with this case study of interviewing the site foreman as he walked me around the job site and explained the HDD project in overview, and the specific characteristics of the sub-task I was there to photograph.


Client (Industry): TruLine Civil (Construction/Contracting)
Discipline: Documentary photography / Corporate communications design / Infographics / Maps / Technical writing / Web content management
Format: Website / Case Studies / Methodologies
Location: Parklands West, Christchurch, New Zealand
Date: Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Title, Opto short film.

Opto | Kinetic sculpture short film

Scupture short film: Opto | Phil Price. Published on Apr 27, 2014 The kinetic sculpture “Opto” is by Phil Price of Christchurch, New Zealand. Commissioned by the Moreton Bay Regional Council and installed in 2011 at Redcliffe, QLD, Australia.

As the title suggests, this sculpture is about looking. It is a focal point, while looking at the sculpture you can’t help but see through to the environment beyond. The giant pair of round frames are placed where the land meets the sea and move in response to how the wind is blowing. Opto serves as a celebration of this beautiful place: past present and future.

Opto’s movement is entirely wind powered. It was made of composite materials and steel in Phil’s workshop in Christchurch New Zealand. Private, public and corporate commissions undertaken world-wide. Contact Phil Price. | The music; Mozart’s delightful violin sonata in E minor. The video is made for Phil Price by Thomas Rands and Shaun Waugh (a collaboration otherwise known as Sparkling Duet).


Project name: Opto Short film

Client (Industry): Phil Price Sculpture / PKP Kinetics (Fine arts)

Disciplines:  Art direction (collaborative) / Editing / Photography / Promotional design and advertising / Videography / Video editing / Video production

Format: Short film

Date: 2014


Shooting: Shaun Waugh / Phil Price

Editor: Thomas Rands

Design firm: MagentaDot Brands / Sparkling Duet

Art director / designers: Thomas Rands / Shaun Waugh

Font credits: Caecilia

Agrimm trichoprotection, Vinevax, Pruning wound dressing, self-adhesive label, foil pouch, vacuum pack

Vinevax rebrand project portfolio

Vinevax_logo_radiused_256pxThe innovation in marketing communications terms that the concept of this product logo represents to the client is that the new Vinevax name and brand system approaches the task of product branding from appealing to the customer’s point of view. The idea leverages what the product does for the user.

Because the biotechnology of the ‘living barrier’ product benefit is a new alternative to many customers, the priority is to show how it behaves biologically and objectively prove that this benefits the customer. This creative direction engages the customer more sensibly than the legacy brand focus on attributes like the physical form or formulation of the product.

The initial applications of the new brand were in print applied to a series of Vinevax product capabilities brochures tuned to specific formulations of the product, and a new packaging label system.

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As a graphic designer and brand manager I strive to produce the best logos, conceptual print collateral pieces and websites that money can buy. In 2002 the Vinevax product naming, logo design and branding project was no exception.

Agrimm Technologies was an established biotechnology company, formed by two scientists from Canterbury University in 1984. Agrimm Technologies’ laboratories and specialist production facilities based in Lincoln, near Christchurch have grown to be a world leader in the development and manufacture of effective, safe and environmentally friendly biological or ‘living barrier’ plant protection products focussing on the Trichoderma family of beneficial fungi.

Around 2002 the results from independent field testing from a PhD study being conducted at Adelaide University proved that a formulation of their ‘Trichoseal’ wettable powder product for vines was a protective and a cost effective treatment against dieback disease. At this point Agrimm engaged the services of the tattoo studio who developed the exciting new product brand and positioning statement ‘Vinevax’, ‘Living barrier wound dressing for vines’. This marketing effort superseded the legacy product that had been sold, but effectively not marketed, under their Trichoprotection® quality mark.

I designed the new logo, system of product brochures, packaging system and trade advertising. The art direction emphasis on careful editing, photo composites and custom infographics demonstrating the product’s performance contributed to a project that turned out to be a tremendous sales and marketing success. Part of the creative thinking behind the branding theme art direction was to fully engage the strengths of the product and interest of the horticultural market by maximising the integration of colour and type, image and message. This was brought together in the conceptual A5 print brochures printed on quality medium weight board. The print is quality finished with metallic foil stamping of the logo symbol and spot overglossing of images.

These days I am well aware you want your branding and marketing communications to work hard. As hard as, let’s say, this Vinevax brochure does. So to see more proof just have a look around or call Shaun on;
+64 21 067 6176.
Or email him


Project name: Vinevax Pruning wound dressing brochure & packaging
Brand and identity systems design / Information design / Illustration / Package design / Print production / Product naming / Promotional design and advertising / Typographic design
Client (Industry): Agrimm Technologies (Biotechnology)
Formats: Booklet / Brochure / Direct mail / Packaging / Label
Date: 2002

The brand design rationale

A blend of the outstanding clarity and distinction of the new product name, and research into the client’s market, their competitors and the biology of commensalism (by which trichoderma behaves as a living-barrier to plant pathogens), plus extensive visual research lead to several design solutions. Our recommendation to the client in the presentation, is inspired by one of the intricate yet simple mathematical designs that are found in nature. One that is related to a certain mathematical sequence know as the Fibonacci series—as seen in the opposing spiral forms of flowers, pinecones and pineapples. Inspired by these natural forms the bold, clean dynamic new brand expresses at once a radiant shield-like energy, dynamic rotation and vigorous growth out from the centre.



Printer: Croft Print Limited
Design firm:
Account executive: tattoo
Copywriter: tattoo, including product naming
Creative director / designer / illustrator / print production: Shaun Waugh, The Waugh Office
Font credits: Barmeno, Garamond Condensed