Nine and a half years ago, Cody Tritter discovered his natural talent with a camera. He has since become a successful commercial and travel photographer. But in order to make the salary he desires, Tritter has become a real estate agent.

Tritter's journey began when he bought his first Nikon DSLR camera. Prior to this, Tritter had a point and shoot, “but back then,” he said, point and shoots were “four-megapixel monster cameras that were just you know, no good.”

After buying his first "real" camera, Tritter quickly realized the Calgary Zoo was the most dynamic place to hone his skills during the winter.

“I started to get some really good shots, so I just sent them to the zoo, for them to see them,” Tritter said,“[and] they ended up using a bunch of them for brochures and newsletters, and their placards and stuff. It kind of just started spiraling out of control from there.”

After becoming more comfortable with his camera, Tritter began traveling outside of the city to shoot landscapes. Allyn Roemer, Tritter's wife, accompanies him on his photo expeditions. Behind the scenes, Roemer said, they often spend hours waiting for the perfect lighting. Cold fingers and boredom are a small price to pay given the beauty of the end result. 

“People always say that once you have a camera you’re a photographer, and I guess I have a bit of a biased opinion because [Cody is] someone I really care about,” Roemer said, “[but] I was really blown away by Cody’s talent and his ability to take photos and turn [them] into such built pieces of art.”

Roemer is not alone in her admiration of Tritter'ss camera work. Several years ago, Tritter sent some local photos to the Calgary Stampede and five of his prints were shown in the Stampede Exhibition. The clients he attracted as a result of Stampede began to nurture the growth of his photography business. Tritter then began to branch out into commercial, wedding, and travel photography.

Body3 CodyJamesCody Tritter recently joined the Alberta Aurora Chasers to join others who also share his passions. Photo courtesy of Cody Tritter

From his spontaneous drives to capture the northern lights, to chasing bioluminescence in Costa Rican waters, it’s clear that Tritter loves the outdoors. He recently joined the Alberta Aurora Chasers on Facebook, which he said encourages him to go outside more.

In the past five years, Tritter has traveled to countries all over the world. Some of his trips included China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the U.S. Tritter specifically recounts an exclusive tour under a glacier in Iceland. The frozen mass had been collecting ice for millions of years, and during that time, the glacier had also trapped oxygen. When ice begins to melt within the glacier, prehistoric air is released.

“You’re breathing in air that’s been trapped for so long ... and maybe it’s a placebo, like you’re in a casino and you get fresh oxygen, but that’s what it felt like, I felt so invigorated and just energized. I was definitely the last person out of that spot.”

Although Tritter has been successfully selling prints and growing his client network through social media, he said photography just doesn’t cut it when it comes to steady income.

“It’s not that photography isn’t a passion, it definitely is, and if I could do it and make the type of income I want to make all the time, I’d do it more often.”

One of the many Icelandic glaciers that James visited on his trip to Iceland One of the many Icelandic glaciers that Cody Tritter visited on his trip to Iceland. Photo courtesy of Cody Tritter

So Roemer and Tritter began looking into opportunities that would allow him to work on his assets and how well he works with people. Having a flexible schedule is important to him, says Roemer, and paired with his passion for real estate, the decision seemed to be clear.

Last November, Tritter took his real estate exam and began working for the Greater Calgary Group at RE/MAX. Their marketing, which includes 3D tours of homes, drew him to the company; Tritter has since become personally involved in commercializing creative images for the company.

“I had a nightscape of Calgary and then I put a spotlight out with our team’s logo like the bat symbol and had a thing saying ‘leave the real estate stuff to us and the bad guys to the professionals.’”

Body4 CodyJamesCody Tritter has exhibited his work at the Calgary Stampede and at the gallery he runs out of his home. Photo courtesy of Cody Tritter

It’s ideas like this that set Tritter apart from other photographers and agents. According to his co-worker David Morrell, Tritter's personality has also helped him become more versatile. “He’s a very affable guy; Very friendly, very outgoing, very likeable, so people tend to work well with him, regardless of whether it’s photography or whether it's real estate.”

With 11,000 Instagram followers, it’s difficult to debate Tritter's popularity. However, photography is not the only thing that Tritter sees himself being successful at in the future. The young realtor hopes to move up the ladder.

“I don’t know if I’ll always be an agent on the ground showing homes. I’m rocking a beard right now, I’m looking like a lumberjack, but I clean up pretty well. Ultimately I’d like to take more of a management role, where I’m fostering a team,” he said.

And Tritter is not the only one who sees his career advancing.

“If people respond to him as well as they do on the daily basis, yeah, he’d do fine in leadership”, said Morrell.

“He’s the guy that gets everybody in a good mood, and gets everybody you know, going. He’s the party planner. Actually my favourite memory of Cody was getting our team to play baseball. He formed a baseball team and a baseball league, and we did quite well."

So when it comes to choosing between photography and real estate, Tritter said he has no plans to make that choice. He has discovered a comfortable balance between both occupations, having seemingly hit a sweet spot in his career journey.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include Cody Tritter's legal name. A previous version used the name he uses when shooting photography- Cody James.

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