Trey Ratcliff's travel and photography blog has amassed
millions of fans. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Self-taught photographer Trey Ratcliff, who has more than
three million online followers, has moved to Queenstown.
Mr Ratcliff specialises in high dynamic range (HDR)
photography, which provides a greater contrast between
colours. His travel photography blog is very popular on the
Mr Ratcliff, who is from Texas, moved to the resort six weeks
ago with his young family. The move was not just for work, he
"I'm known for being a travel photographer but I haven't been
to all the places in the world.
"But New Zealand is the most magical - it just feels right.
"I thought it would be a wonderful place to raise my family,
my three young kids.
"Also, the people in New Zealand are so wonderful, they're so
laid back, and don't take themselves so seriously, and I dig
His blog, stuckincustoms, had amassed millions of followers
he said either wanted to learn how to take better photographs
or just visited the site for the visual pleasure.
The original intention of the blog was to document his
experiments with HDR, and in the beginning his mother was the
blog's loyal follower.
"I really just did it for myself.
The people that used to read the blog was me and my mum, but
it turned out that there were other people interested in this
"Now everyone takes photos, and just want to take better
photos.""Several things came together" which drastically
increased the blog's popularity, and with the advent of its
profitability, Mr Ratcliff was able to pursue his passion
He now employs about 12 full- and part-time staff.
"Google Plus has 350 million users and somehow I'm in the top
10, above Dolly Parton and the Dalai Lama; which doesn't make
any sense because I'm just a photographer," he said.
Of the business, "We have a few things there that people can
buy, for example a video tutorial and that costs money.
"[We] also sell apps in the apps store and we've had well
over a million downloads."
Having originally studied for a degree in computer science,
he admits he "came to photography in a very digital way" and
said there was "something very right-brain and artistic"
about the art form.
To maintain his world-traveller status he will continue to
travel for around three months of the year, but not all in
one go. His followers will see an increase in the number of
"People generally like to see epic landscapes.
"They like drama and romance and anything that feels
Mr Ratcliff's blog can be found at www.stuckincustoms.com and a
search of his name on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
and Pinterest will reveal his profiles.