Q&A w/ KELLI TRONTEL


NAME : Kelli Trontel
BUSINESS : Kelli Trontel Photography
LOCATION : Whitefish, Montana

What three adjectives would you use to best describe your personality?
I asked Reed [my husband] to answer this for me and he came up with the “3 p’s” :: Passionate, Purposeful and Positive.

How did photography begin for you?
Photography has always intrigued me…however I was heavily into music and songwriting while growing up [yes, I was on Star Search when I was 12 years old!]. My dream was to live in Nashville and pursue music, but God had other plans for me in Music City.

There was a series of events that lead me to the place of starting my own photography business. One of them was being on staff for the Luis Palau Nashville Cityfest, where I took a season off from music…..and really opened my heart and my mind to a bigger picture of life. A life that didn’t revolve around MY DREAMS and what I WANTED to do, but what I was CREATED for. Big difference.

I was eventually at a crossroads with music and photography. It was either my bandmates or clients who took a backseat and that was not cool. I was really feeling that push and pull to commit to one or the other….and to do that one thing in excellence. At that time, I was surrounded by some of the greatest photographers in town, who took me under their wing and encouraged and shaped this other creative side in me.

Why the move to Whitefish, Montana from Nashville, TN?
My husband is also an entrepreneur and is from Montana. Ever since we got married…he has talked about moving back to the Northwest, which I would I always reply with…”I AM NEVER MOVING TO MONTANA!!” haha. Hilarious, right?

Well, an opportunity came up for us to partner together and start our very own business- so we sold our house and moved to Whitefish to open up the RED CABOOSE Frozen Yogurt + Coffee. I am eating my words about Montana- it’s an incredible place to live and I love that I get to work side by side with my husband each day! We opened our shop on February 25 of this year!

What inspires you?
LIFE. It sounds strange, but the truth is….life is short. My limited time on this earth inspires me to create and make my time count. 2o1o was a really rough year for me- I lost both my dad and little sister, and my perspective on time has changed….therefore what I put my hands to each day really matters.
On a lighter note…little details, fashion, music and love inspire me daily.

How has photography changed you as a person?
Photography has given me a voice. It’s ironic, I know…but I’ve never felt so confident in my life. I have always been a people person and my camera has served as a vehicle to really get to know people. It has given me an opportunity to share life with complete strangers…and help them tell their own story.

Who is your favorite friend? I’ll help you, her name starts with a “V” …
VANESSA! Of course….so many memories! So many adventures! I love you, friend!

What brings you the most joy?
My husband. He is so inspiring and steady.

Favorite dessert?
Frozen Yogurt, of course!!

What is your favorite blog site you gain inspiration from?
Hmmm…there are many. To name a few:: Creature Comforts, The 99 percent and Oh Joy!

Who do you admire in the field of photography?
Goodness, there are so many!! Amy Wenzel is high on the list. She’s real. She’s authentic.

What was your most enjoyable experience when you last collaborated with another creative?
My latest collaboration was with Jake Bramante of Silent Matter Productions and Vanessa for our JOLT promo video. It was amazing to me that we could create such a video while living in Montana and Texas. Technology blows my mind. I love that distance doesn’t have to come in between creativity.
I absolutely loved working with Jake- he brought a new level of enthusiasm and energy into JOLT as we were getting the idea up and running!

So, ten years from now … what does life look like?
I’d love for our family to grow and to be continuing to pour into other peoples lives.