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Through the Lens with Michelle Mensing Photography

The western, rural, and ag life has been a part of Michelle Mensing’s entire life, and now she’s sharing it with the rest of the world through her photography. 

Krysta: Can you give our audience a little background on yourself and you got into photography?

Michelle: I grew up on a family farm in southwest Iowa and was active in 4-H and FFA where I began learning more about photography and showing some of my images at the fair. Following college, I started my career in the agriculture industry and picked up a camera again as a hobby. I loved how that creative outlet kept me connected to the family farm I grew up on. My husband and I also enjoy traveling to see and photograph beautiful rural America. 

Krysta: Has your style of photography changed at all since you started your business? If so, how would you describe your style then compared to now?

Michelle: My photography style is always changing as I continue to learn more about the art of photography and improve my editing skills. I definitely lean towards rustic and warm vibes in my editing style but like to make sure the colors remain authentic.

Krysta: What inspires you as a photographer?

Michelle: Farming and ranching includes long days and nights, sacrifices, tough decisions, and an uncertain financial reward. But it provides an incredible way of life for so many families. I love capturing these everyday moments to let them see the beauty of their hard work and I think it is so important to preserve the memories of generations learning and working together.

Krysta: What do you want people to feel when they look at your photography?

Michelle: At peace. I hope it makes people feel the comfort of home no matter where they are from. People are becoming further removed from agriculture, and I love being able to help others feel more connected to the industry through my images.

Krysta: What is something you wish people knew about being a professional photographer?

Photography does not feel like work to me. I truly love capturing these moments for families to look back on and helping small businesses showcase their products and services. 

Krysta: Can you tell us a little more about your idea for offering stock photography to rural businesses?

Michelle: My photography hobby turned into a business when I realized there was a demand for these agriculture and western photos I had been taking. During a call in the online Cowgirls Over Coffee group, several women expressed the desire to share their farm or ranch story, but struggled to have time to take photos while juggling their many responsibilities with work, kids, etc. I realized that my photography skills could help fill this need. 

There are many stock photo memberships available, but a lot of the photos are perfectly styled flatlays with pink and bright white colors. I felt like that type of image didn’t resonate with anyone in farming and rural communities. I had tons of photos of my family’s farm that were just sitting unused on my computer, so I decided to make them available to rural entrepreneurs to share their story or help promote their businesses by using photos that resonate with their communities. As I’ve continued to build my stock photo membership, I’ve added additional photos for service providers with a more rustic feel, beef and dairy photos for producers to promote their products, as well as other rural, ag and western inspired photos. 

Michelle Mensing Photography creates digital content for rural entrepreneurs. Her stock photography subscription provides a library of high-quality images that accurately portrays rural lifestyles. These photos are great to use on social media, for creating graphics, in newsletters, blog posts, emails and presentations. Michelle also does custom product photography for business owners, as well as family farm and lifestyle photoshoots. Follow along on Instagram @michellemensing.photography to learn more. All photos were taken and supplied by Michelle Mensing.

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article with Michelle Mensing was created for the Spring Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in April 2023. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Hi everyone! I'm Krysta Paffrath, I am a proud Arizona native who has a passion for everything business and rodeo. I am beyond thrilled to be the Editor in Chief for Cowboy Lifestyle Network. With my background in digital marketing and rodeo, this was a natural fit for me to join the team. My adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit has guided me to work in many places like the WYO Quarter Horse Ranch in Thermopolis, Wyoming, a working cattle ranch in Seligman, Arizona, and many places in between. I am passionate about preserving the western way of life and working with different brands and rodeos to make that happen. If you're looking for a write-up, please shoot me an email at krysta@clngo.com. Learn more about me at krystapaffrath.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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