Current Progressive Dairy digital edition
Advertisement

Featured farm photographer: Travis Senn

Published on 10 December 2019
Travis Senn

Where do you live?

SENN: I currently live in Gainesville, Florida, with my beautiful wife, Bethany, and our daughter, Savannah – though I’ll always be a Wisconsin boy at heart.

advertisement

advertisement

How did you get started in photography?

Sunrise is the perfect time to bring your camera as you check on the cows. SENN: Well, believe it or not, I actually started out as a film student. My original career plan was to move to Hollywood and become the next big thing, but I never quite felt at home in that crowd. After about two years, I switched my major to science communications, which allowed me to blend my talents for media creation with my passion for agriculture. After a while, my interest shifted more from capturing video to capturing stills, and it just sort of grew from there.

What is your favorite type of photo to shoot?

By shooting RAW images, you can bring out details you may not otherwise see in normal JPEG files. SENN: My absolute favorites are portraits. I also do a little landscape and always look to try different things when shooting. People and cows tend to make great subjects, though, so I don’t stray too much from that path. My most common muses are my family and the cows on the farms I visit. The two often overlap as well.

Describe your most memorable photo shoot.

advertisement

Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty when getting your shots. SENN: Gosh, it’s so hard because all shoots tend to have something memorable about them, but if you’re going to pin me down to choose, it would probably be a recent one. My photography has mostly been a hobby up to this point (an expensive one at that – just ask my wife). However, I had a lot of interest from people back home in Wisconsin wanting to book me for sessions, so I finally put it in my calendar. It was a busy weekend: got in at 2 a.m. one night, up at 7 a.m. the next day for a quick session, had breakfast, drove over to my second shoot at noon, took a lunch break and drove to my third shoot that evening before settling in that night for uploading and editing.

Many different areas of the country use different rations in their cows’ diets. I woke up at 7 a.m. the next morning for one more quick session before heading off to the airport for my flight home. I was wiped out after such a busy weekend, but it was my first photography “business” trip. It made me feel like a true professional. Even better – the pictures all turned out so great.

Why do you enjoy farm-related photography?

Have fun with your camera. Play with your subjects.SENN: No matter where you grow up, your home will always be a big part of you. I grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. For me, agriculture (specifically dairy) will always be at the core of who I am. My day job is working as an analyst for a dairy cooperative. My family owns a dairy, my cousins have dairies, my in-laws have dairies – heck, my wife and I met at World Dairy Expo, of all places. It only seems natural my photography showcases a community that has provided me so much.

What are one or two tips you would give to an amateur photographer who wants to take a great picture of people and/or animals?

SENN: Practice, practice, practice. I know that’s what everyone always says, but it’s so true. Also, never be afraid of shooting too much. You don’t want to miss that one great shot. Watch tutorials on YouTube. (Peter McKinnon is great to follow.) Follow photographers on Instagram for inspiration. Shoot RAW images on your camera if you can, and use apps like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed (free on mobile devices) to really bring out the most from your images.

advertisement

You don’t need expensive gear to take great photos. Remember, your skills will continue to grow over time, so be patient. Most importantly, let your images tell a story. That’s the sign of a truly great photograph. Last, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone whose talents you admire. Photography is a collaborative medium. Connect with others on social media. Meet up and do a group shoot. Find someone you can bounce creative ideas off of.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Travis Seen

PHOTO 2: Sunrise is the perfect time to bring your camera as you check on the cows. I caught this picture of the girls patiently waiting for breakfast while visiting my in-laws.

PHOTO 3: By shooting RAW images, you can bring out details you may not otherwise see in normal JPEG files. In this image, I was able to bring out the blue in the sky and showcase the pillowy clouds of a beautiful fall afternoon.

PHOTO 4: Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty when getting your shots. Find unique angles, different from our normal perspective. For this shot, I crouched down in tall (and wet) grass, using it to establish depth in my photo.

PHOTO 5: Many different areas of the country use different rations in their cows’ diets. I found a great opportunity to showcase what cows’ feed looks like in northern Florida.

PHOTO 6: Have fun with your camera. Play with your subjects. Every Tuesday, many dairy farmers on Instagram post pictures of cows and calves sticking their tongues out. I couldn’t help but entice this cute heifer’s tongue out for a quick shot. Photos and captions by Travis Senn.

Travis SennTravis Senn
TJ Senn Photography
Gainesville, Florida
Travis Senn

Instagram
Facebook

LATEST BLOG

LATEST NEWS