The Art of the Personal Project: Steve & Anne Truppe

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Steve & Anne Truppe
















How long have you been shooting?
5 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We have always been drawn to local businesses that combine good people, beautiful spaces, and delicious food, plus we are huge coffee junkies. Heritage General Store hits all of those high notes for us–it’s a killer coffee shop, they have their own line of bicycles, and it’s run by the sweetest people. We decided to document the energy and character of the environment to bring attention and support to this wonderful establishment.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This shoot only lasted a few hours, but the idea of it is deeply rooted in our beliefs of supporting local businesses that are doing great things.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on how elaborate the idea is and how much production it involves. Sometimes it is only a few hours, sometimes it’s years. There was a shoot we did this year that involved live ducklings which we had to plan for months in advance and then wait for the little peepers to be born! Currently we are working on a personal video project that has taken almost a year to complete, so it really differs. We typically want to take the time to craft a cohesive story and vision for any personal project we work on, but sometimes it is nice to just dive into an environment and document things as they unfold like we did with Heritage General Store.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different? It feels very freeing to shoot personal work, but also challenging. Sometimes we get bogged down by the daily grind, leaving little room for the creative juices to flow, but it is extremely rewarding to see our ideas materialize. We’ve also noticed that showing personal work has attracted prospective clients and ends up shaping and influencing our paid gigs.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not viral, but we have been featured on some great places: ADC Global, Working Not Working, and The Chicago Tribune.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We have! What we have found is that our personal work tends to be the thing that connects with people the most. Plus, since they are passion projects, there is an excitement that comes out when we talk about it which can be infectious.

Artist Statement
As photographers with backgrounds in architecture, we have always been inspired by what makes a place special. It’s the people, the details, the process, the design, and the environment that brings that story to life for us. With documenting Heritage General Store, we were given free reign by them to do what we needed to do, even allowing us to jump behind the bar with the barista. Diving right in like that helps us to create authentic imagery that gets to the heart of what a place is all about.


Steve + Anne Truppe are a Chicago-based husband and wife photography and video team who strive to evoke emotion and authenticity in all of their work.

While studying architectural design at the same college, they quickly discovered how well their creative visions meshed, but decided to pursue a joint passion in photography instead. Together they established TRU STUDIO, shooting side by side on commercial and advertising projects.

Steve and Anne love to travel and explore new places while sipping delicious coffees. Every Friday Steve and Anne make homemade pizza, which they have dubbed ‘Pizza Friday!’

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Suzanne Sease

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