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3 Essential Tips for Making It as a Celebrity Photographer

I decided to write this article because I found a really interesting guy to interview about this subject-matter! Here’s a quick story of how we met…

I’ve ended up with a few celebrity/famous art collectors who get my limited edition large-format works. On occasion, I have them over to my art studio in New Zealand. One day, I got a request from Brandin Cooks, who some of you may know from the NFL. Anyway, he came into my studio here with a gentleman named Eric George. We all hit it off immediately! These are two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life. We liked one another so much that we decided to visit Japan together!


Anyway, it turns out that Eric (that's him on the right, above) often hires photographers for various purposes. Oh, it’s worth noting that he didn’t pay me to take these photos, since I was just doing it as a friend. However, since he does hire photographers often, I thought it would be useful to ask him a bunch of questions about this rather lucrative and unknown field.

Hmmm, so what’s up with this guy, Eric George? He’s a nationally renowned hand surgeon, serial entrepreneur, and investor. Apart from treating NFL and NBA athletes, and owning a hospital and several ambulatory clinics, he founded and currently runs ERG Enterprises, an investment company valued at more than $1 billion to boot. He’s also a recent author of the new book, We: Ditch the Me Mindset and Change the World. His book, released earlier this year, has received endorsements from names like Thomas Tull, founder/former CEO of Legendary Entertainment and minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Archie Manning; Jim Breyer (who was an early investor in Facebook and is a billionaire like Tull); and others.

This is all to say, Eric is among those in rarefied air, who celebrity photographers make their living on. I talked to him and here’s a copy of the transcript for you! 🙂

Question (Trey): Hey Eric! When do you look to hire a photographer?
Answer (Eric):
I feel like I’m always in need of a good photographer. From a personal standpoint, we hire photographers to travel with me and take pictures that I want to remember. Earlier this year, I took a trip to Southeast Asia with my family. We hired a photographer to travel with us and capture the experience. There are also other instances when I want to be photographed—most involve some degree of travel. A wedding, a party, a graduation. It always has to do with capturing a memorable experience, and it always involves the people who are most important in my life.

On a more professional note, I do a lot of speaking engagements and events where I need media captured. Partly to build my brand as a thought leader, and partly to stay active. For example, the best way to secure a keynote is to have a recent photograph of you giving a keynote. So, we look for photographers in that context too.

And beyond me specifically, we hire photographers for any number of reasons. To update a website, for instance, or capture pictures related to a project. ERG is a very active investment company, and we’re fully diversified, meaning we have a lot going on. We’re heavily involved in real estate and hospitality, for instance. Every property that we acquire, we need pictures. Our company has a unique investment philosophy, and that is to acquire and renovate existing properties, which means we always need pictures of the renovations and the eventual grand reopening. We’re also involved in other industries such as consumer goods, technology, health care, you name it. In those cases, we need photos that tell a company’s story, advertise a product, speak to a value proposition. We’re connected to all these different businesses that all need a good photographer with the right skillset.

Check out the full interview on the blog.


New Zealand in LA

In this video you'll see one of my photos hanging in Brandin Cook’s home in LA and how I go about producing a high quality look at it with minimal reflections, etc. He’s been a great collector of my art, and I really appreciate him! Another cool thing about Brandin, apart from that he is one of the best NFL players of the moment, or that he has a super cool shoe collection – he’s an avid photographer! He’s so curious about photography and he has such an amazing work ethic. Plus, he’s probably one of the nicest and most loving people I’ve ever met. Follow him on Instagram at @TheArcher. Hopefully this helps any of you who hang your own photos around a house or gallery and want to share an image of them in that location for any reason…


Detailing the Jules Verne Museum Shot

Wow this was quite an epic mission! I recently sold all three prints of the Jules Verne museum photo to three collectors. As these print out So Huge (almost 10 feet or 3 meters across), I decided to go through them with a fine-toothed comb. I found A LOT of problems, so I decided to re-create the whole thing from scratch once again. Yes, out of the core 225 photos. But now it is really perfect… something else, really and here you get to see inside the process.


Both the LA and Jules Verne videos were part of my Passport service. When you subscribe, you’ll get access to over 150 videos plus exclusive access to tons of extra goodies. Including early access to my brand new full length photography tutorial which I'm working on now. Head over here for more details.


StuckInCustoms.com is a personal blog where Trey puts up a new unique photo every day and writes about the art, the technology, and the story of the adventures. Actually, this is Trey writing about this in third person. Both Trey and I appreciate your support very much! If you think your family or friends might like this Newsletter (subscribe for free), please forward this to them. It'll make a fun email chain!

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Reminder: The Text HDR Tutorial is Always Free!

I keep a completely FREE HDR Tutorial on my website. It is a living document that continues to evolve over the years. It goes over everything you need to get started and is a great introduction to the basics of HDR photography and post processing.


Some recent photos from the blog

While I spent a few days in Brooklyn to research it for an art project I was working on, my friend took me here to Coney Island. What a cool spot! Unfortunately, it was the same day as the mermaid march, so there was absolutely zero parking… but that gave us a chance to go a little further down the beach to take a look at what it’s like to be in New York and sunbathe on the beach!

Not until the final two days there did I make it to the charming old town area of Montreal. The area wasn’t very big, but it was quite picturesque. I think you can walk most of it in less than 20 minutes, but pretty much every angle and corner was photo-worthy. We also ended up eating at a few different places around here and had an all-around blast. What a cool city… I gotta go back!)

As one of the sunsets was winding up, I decided to start criss-crossing the bridges to see different vantage points. Boston such an easy (and fun!) city to photograph. I ended up doing a few different long exposures, and this one turned out to be my favorite one.

This organ in Notre-Dame in Montreal is one of the only organs the Catholics are allowed to touch and look at during services. I have all sorts of ways I poke fun at the Catholics… probably because I went to an all-boy Jesuit school for four years where they tried to brainwash me. But, it didn’t work! However, having just poked more fun at them, I do actually have a decent amount of respect for the Jesuits. They at least have a lot of critical thought and philosophy that makes up the backbone of their teachings. There are a few logical fallacies here and there where it breaks down for me. But hey, that’s just me. I want to go back and do some DMT with some of my old teachers to see what they think.

What a great city Philly is! On my first night here, I was staying over there on the left at the Ritz-Carlton, and then I went out to take some night time photos. Usually, when I arrive in a new city, I have an unexplained high level of energy. I love to use this energy to go out and get lost in the city and take photos. The whole city felt very safe to me, so I had no problem roaming around and finding scenes like this. That’s the giant City Hall right there in the middle. It’s a well laid out city because there are four long roads that all lead right to that iconic building.

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