Okay, so writing is not really my thing. My mom and fiancé are probably sweating thinking about the idea of me writing things and putting them out for the public to see. Pictures are more my style. Always have been, obviously. I always tell a story better with a click of the shutter. I never did super great in English (I was a science & Ag kid okay), my grammar can sometimes be atrocious, and spelling is hit or miss!
However, I have two of the best jobs on the planet and they just so happen to lead me to wonderful people and fantastic experiences and I would love nothing more than to share them with you.
Monday – Friday and sometimes weekends and weeknights too, I dedicate my time to being a Livestock Production Agent for K-State Research and Extension. I landed the job straight out of graduate school and had no idea what I was getting into when I did. Between you and me, I thought it was a starter job. Something to get my foot in the door of the industry. Learn the ropes and then have some experience on my resume when I found something else! Turns out, it’s the job I’ve been dreaming of my entire life.
I’ve always loved teaching. I love learning. I love working with kids or young adults. However, I don’t know how teachers do it. I knew that actual teaching was never for me, but had always knew I wanted to stay close to the Ag Education field. I grew up in 4H and FFA and knew that I wanted to somehow be involved with the organizations as an adult but just didn’t know how! I also grew up on a traditional commercial cattle operation and was surrounded by cattle producers my whole life. I had always felt this pull towards the industry to work with men and women like the ones I’d grown up around. Help them become better ranchers, raise better cattle, and be more successful. I just felt like if I went that route, I would miss the youth involvement that I had such a big passion for.
Then I became a Livestock Agent and get to do a beautiful mixture of both. I get to work with and educate producers every single day by holding educational programs on relevant topics and consulting individuals on how to better themselves and their operation, while also being involved in 4H and FFA by running and organizing county fairs, coaching judging teams, and mentoring 4H kids.
Mama, I made it.
Now for the part time job (or other full time job as David likes to call it). For as long as I can remember, photography has been in my blood and bones. Growing up, it was my mother who carried around a camera and made us smile and pose for pictures as soon as we could manage. She would shoot a few weddings a year, and take photos whenever we would work cattle, brand, or just do things around the ranch. So typically, I was in front of the camera instead of behind it. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school she turned to me in a branding pen one day and said, “I want to rope, you shoot for a while, and then we’ll switch in a bit”. Little did she know, we’d never switched back.
I put it down for a while in college and when COVID hit in 2020, I just felt the urge to find a little joy in such a rough time. As usual, it started off as just pictures of horses and cattle, then a few humans, then I started selling photos, and it all let to a consistent stream of inquiries from people wanting photos. I SWORE up and down I would just stick with western lifestyle photography. I just wanted to shoot brandings, cowboys, rodeos, and livestock. Fate had better plans.
In 2021, a childhood friend reached out to see if I would come back home and shoot her wedding. Honestly I was terrified and wanted to say no, but ended up saying yes for two reasons. 1. I literally could never say no Berkley Simonis & her family. 2. My mother had photographed Kansas’s (her mom & my moms best friend) wedding years ago and they would be having it at the same spot. How freaking cool – two generations of photographers photographing two generations of their closest friends. I couldn’t resist and well, I loved every minute of it. One wedding led to another, and then another, and now here I am. Photographing 10-13 weddings a year and loving it all.
Like I said, I have two of the best jobs and the stories that come out of them are ones I just cant hide from you guys!
Hope you enjoy!