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Laura Finley with Piper View Designs Featured farm photographer

Published on 18 January 2019
Laura Finley

How did you get started in photography?

I first started in photography while I was in college at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I took one class and fell in love with it. However, I have another passion for design and marketing, and that’s what I followed first.

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When I launched my business, it was to offer marketing and design services to farmers and agricultural companies. That still is a key part of my business, but as I started to connect with my community I had more and more people ask if I could do photography for their business first, and then their families.

I saw a niche market where I live for an agricultural family photographer who could capture the rural lifestyle my community embodies. I invested in it and practiced a lot before starting to offer it as a service and finally began with it in the spring of 2018. I’m lucky enough to travel to various events and photograph them as well. It’s a career that has already taken me so many places and allowed me to meet incredible people.

What is your favorite type of photo to shoot?

My ideal photo shoot would be at “golden hour” [the period of time right before sunrise or right after sunset], capturing a farming family or couple who love their cattle, land and, most importantly, their family. I think farmers have some of the best values a person could obtain, and to be able to capture those imperfectly perfect moments of their everyday lives is something special.

The farming family hehind Duschner Dairy in Farley, Iowa

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I love that I am able to bring the ordinary moments of farming into a light that shows how truly special this industry and the people behind it is. Working with clients who have a desire to improve today’s world, who know the meaning of hard work, who aren’t afraid to push their boundaries and who have a meaningful calling to the agricultural industry is what lights my fire and is what I aim to capture during my farm photo sessions.

Describe your most memorable photo shoot.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with Miss OCD Robst Delicious-ET VG-87, the dam of Delta, Denver, Dante, Director and Dion, and Sandy-Valley Robust Ruby-ET EX-90, the dam of Rubicon and Regma, along with some of their owners at Farnear Holsteins in Farley, Iowa. I don’t know if there are two more influential brood cows in today’s industry, but it was pretty incredible to be able to capture both of these ladies together.

Miss OCD Robst Delicious-ET VG-87 (left) and Sandy-Valley Robust Ruby-ET EX-90

And on top of that, their owners are some of the most intelligent and down-to-earth people I know, and I think it’s a privilege to work with dairymen who, in my opinion, are ahead of their time. It was just a great day spent with some of the best in the industry.

Why do you enjoy farm-related photography?

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The people – I think the people in the agricultural industry, especially dairy, are full of heart, hope and faith, and those are just my kind of people. They work hard every day to produce food for a world that doesn’t always understand their way of life or their careers, and despite the push-back and down markets they face, they still wake up every morning to give their herd the best care they can possibly give.

Joel Kluesner enjoying some milk

I think farming is a beautiful way of life that can be put in the wrong limelight occasionally, and if I have the opportunity to capture the real, beautiful moments of it, I will.

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

Practice. I always have my camera handy, and I try to take as many pictures as I can. The more you practice and understand the capabilities of your camera, the better you will become. I also think finding your own style is really important, but you need to understand this takes a while and don’t become too frustrated with yourself; it’s a large learning curve when you try to take something many people do and make it uniquely your own.

Regan Demmer getting the grand champion slap at the 2018 World Dairy Expo

It can take a lot of time, patience and practice. But most importantly, if photography or any other career is heavy on your heart and something you want to explore, go and do it; jump in head first because you won’t know until you try. It’s the best thing I ever did that I wasn’t sure I’d succeed in. And finally, find a mentor who challenges you to think for yourself and to live outside of the norm, and always keep learning.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Laura Finley with Piper View Designs

PHOTO 2: The farming family behind Duschner Dairy in Farley, Iowa.

PHOTO 3: Miss OCD Robst Delicious-ET VG-87 (L) and Sandy-Valley Robust Ruby-ET EX-90 (R), two of the most influential brood cows in today’s industry.

PHOTO 4: Joel Kluesner enjoying some milk and cookies from a Piper Bros Dairy Bottle.

PHOTO 5: Regan Demmer getting the grand champion slap at the 2018 World Dairy Expo Red & White Junior Holstein Show with Robin-Hood Pretty In-Red, recently classified EX-94. Photos by Laura Finley.

Laura Finley with Piper View Designs
Farley, Iowa
Piper View Designs
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