Red Deer photographer goes back to his roots

This photographic journey I have been on began 17 years ago, and I didn’t even know what I was doing. What I was doing was studying Print Journalism at Lethbridge Community College, which included training on all the day to day activities involved in running a community newspaper. Photography was a necessary skill for small town newspaper reporters, but it certainly was not the focus of the program I was in. In fact, I was in college during what I call the digital revolution, where all design work on the newspapers were done in a program called Quark, but all the pictures were still captured on film. I learned how to process black and white film in the dark room and carried that skill set to my first (and only) weekly newspaper job.

All the photography I did during my 55 weeks on the job (I worked there just long enough to earn my holiday pay before I quit, but I digress) was shot on film. The images were processed then turned into tiny little dots of black ink and displayed on what I think is the equivalent of wet Kleenex for all the world to see. Or, more accurately, maybe 2500 people from the town I worked in who might have, maybe, sort of seen it. It wasn’t long however, when feedback started to come my way that the community members liked what I was doing with the photography and the creativity I was putting into the image creation. You see, i was willing to try different things than my predecessors had attempted, but I also had to get the image “right”. It couldn’t be too bright or the faces disappeared, it couldn’t be too dark or the faces disappeared, it had to be right. Back in the late 90’s you didn’t just Photoshop a newspaper image, you had to get it right. I was getting it right, and people noticed.

People started showing up at the newspaper office and asking if I could do some family pictures for them, or Grad pictures for the Playschool kids and all of a sudden I was a business owner. I left my regular pay cheque to pursue a opportunity in photography. And boy was I in over my head! I went straight to the deep end a flailed around but I didn’t quit. What I did do was start asking people much smarted than myself for help. I had the privilege of studying with some of the best photographers in Alberta and across Canada, and it wasn’t long before the business took off and over the next four years the business doubled each and every year. What more than doubled was my confidence and desire to be better and better at business and photography.

In 2005 a series of events and contacts altered my photography career in a big way. An opportunity to take over Red Deer’s premier portrait photography studio presented itself. After much careful consideration my wife, Denise and I decided to move into Red Deer and take over Traptow Photography. We are now in our tenth year and the business continually evolves. This blog is part of the process. I will be showcasing our corporate clients here, not only to display our corporate headshot photography, but to bring attention to their business and the benefits it has to offer to central Alberta. I am going back to my writing roots, and I hope you join me here for their stories. Oh, and their pictures, definitely their pictures!

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