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Professional Photography Today

Off the Cuff with Troy Freund

May. 19, 2014
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Milwaukee photographer Troy Freund is passionate about his work. Whether shooting corporate headshots or exploring Wisconsin, the Cardinal Stritch-trained artist is committed not only to creating striking images but to keeping his business green. Freund spoke with Off the Cuff about his favorite cameras, social media activity and the importance of hiring a pro.


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 what’s asked.


What’s most formidable for you as a photographer?

In this day and age, one of the bigger challenges is dealing with a “convenience culture.” 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 photographer’s purpose changed?

It hasn’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 people’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 Wisconsin’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 Energies’ “Energy For Tomorrow” 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 don’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 won’t hire you if they don’t know you.


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