Read an interview with Brittany Olson, owner of Photography by Berglane in Chetek, Wisconsin.

How did you get started in photography?

OLSON: I got started taking pictures when I was writing for a regional newspaper. I was a decent writer, but photography was my weak spot when I began my farm journalism career. As frustrating as it was for me at the time, I kept on practicing to hone my skills and, seemingly all at once, fell head over heels in love with capturing photos that told stories.

What is your favorite type of photo to shoot?

OLSON: Cattle photography, hands down. I love the variety of the shoots I get to do from seniors to families to weddings and everything in between, but cows (and the humans who care for them) will always have my heart. I enjoy capturing a bovine’s personality, as well as the challenges of working with cattle on their home turf.


Mara-Elise Vipers Vengeance, owned by Mara Budde of Fox Lake, Wisconsin, was a natural for the camera a few weeks before walking the colored shavings at World Dairy Expo. Photo by Brittany Olson.

Describe your most memorable photoshoot

OLSON: My most memorable shoot started off with a Jersey cow. A farming couple that I’ve really grown to respect, Scot and Becky Hammann of Barron, Wisconsin, asked me to take senior pictures for their oldest daughter, Brooke, last fall. They paid me with a Jersey cow I got to pick from their herd. I chose Triple H Kobalt Ocean EX-91, and she’s been nothing but a doll to care for and work with.


Brooke Hammann poses with her cattle (left to right), Triple-HH Chris Felicity *RC, Triple-HH Diamondback Fawn-Red and Triple-HH Defiant Fire. Photo by Brittany Olson.

When it came time to do Brooke’s senior session in October, we decked out the Hammanns’ cattle trailer with all the ribbons, trophies and plaques Brooke had earned over the years while showing cattle. We also did a family photo with Brooke’s show cow, Felicity, and Felicity’s two daughters, Fawn and Fire. It took a lot of convincing (and calf grain) to get the cow and heifers to cooperate, but we all made it happen. A few months later, Felicity suddenly died of a heart attack, and Becky texted me to let me know how thankful they were to have pictures of a cow that was very loved.


Triple H Kobalt Ocean EX-91 soaking up the last bits of sunlight during golden hour in one of our pastures. Photo by Brittany Olson.

Why do you enjoy farm-related photography?

OLSON: Dairy farming is my way of life, and I truly enjoy conveying the love and beauty we are surrounded with to the rest of the world through pictures of the work we do to cultivate our cattle, land and legacies. Besides, who doesn’t love a good cow picture?

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?

OLSON: Practice, practice, practice. Hone your skills, train your eyes, and play with the settings on your camera until you find what works best for you. You don’t need thousands of dollars in gear and pretty filters and presets to get a quality image, but you do need an eye for composition and lighting in addition to knowing how your camera works.


Afdahl Atwood Kiana EX-93 grazes among the fall colors. Kiana is owned by Brad and Kristin Afdahl of Arkansaw, Wisconsin. Photo by Brittany Olson.

If you’re going to start doing paid sessions, know what your time is worth as well as your cost of doing business. Don’t give your talent away for the sake of growing your portfolio.

Follow Olson through her websiteFacebook or Instagram.