Professional Photography Today
Off the Cuff with Troy Freund
Camera of choice?
The camera is just a tool; the photographer is really what matters. But I will admit, the camera can make a difference. I use Leica, Mamiya and Nikon. I enjoy each for different reasons. The Leica just feels the best. The weight of its heritage challenges me to take better photos. The Mamiya captures the best-looking files, but is the most challenging. The Nikon is easy and does whatâ€™s asked.
Whatâ€™s most formidable for you as a photographer?
In this day and age, one of the bigger challenges is dealing with a â€śconvenience culture.â€ť With the ease of creating instantly viewable photos and the instantaneous-distribution ability of images, people place less value on making. Making a good, effective commercial/editorial photo will always have less risk when you hire a professional, not only because they know how to do the job right, but because they know what to do when things go wrong.
How has a professional photographerâ€™s purpose changed?
It hasnâ€™t changed. A photographer still has to work not just to see, but to observe better than the average person. Just because technology has made photo making convenient does not mean it has improved peopleâ€™s visual acumen.
On assignment, what have been some favorite discoveries?
The easy majority of my work involves Milwaukee, so the neatest assignments have come from changing how I see Wisconsinâ€™s largest city. For one assignment, I got to hire a helicopter and fly around Downtown Milwaukee. It was only about two hours, but it was a thrill seeing the city from that perspective. Another time, I climbed up scaffolding to the top of City Hall during a light rain. Yet another, I got to explore Downtown with the Milwaukee Kayak Company, which provided another unique view.
How do you keep your business green?
I keep my utilities at 100% engagement with WE Energiesâ€™ â€śEnergy For Tomorrowâ€ť program, encouraging them to buy more energy from renewable sources. I minimize paper waste in my office, print all my stationery on recycled-stock, and reuse as many shipping materials as I can. I drive as fuel efficient a car as I can afford. I deliver my images to clients electronically whenever I can, sparing the additional creation of garbage in burning CDs and mail packaging.
What advice would you have for someone looking to get into photography?
Take a business class. Be smart about your industry; market yourself with savvy. Stand up for yourself and donâ€™t allow your skills to be taken advantage of. Anytime you can enlarge your network of professionals, take that opportunity. Get out in the creative community and make a presence; people wonâ€™t hire you if they donâ€™t know you.