About Barbara O'Brien Photo Farm
Hello there, I’m photographer Barbara O’Brien. I’m based in Stockholm, Wisconsin(population 63)—not too far from Minneapolis. I live on a farm with my family, three dogs, eighteen cats, ten rescue Morgan horses, two ponies, seven sheep, thirty-some chickens, five ducks, and three very naughty goats. And as luck would have it, I’m not just an animal photographer, but a trainer as well.I know where to find animals actors—most are in my own backyard—and more importantly, I know how to properly handle them.
My love for animals began early. As a kid, I used to sneak stray cats into my house, and since I wasn’t allowed to have a puppy of my own, I walked the neighbors’ dogs instead. At 19, I eloped to have a horse. (Horse people get this.) I’m happy to say that yes, we’re still married...and yes, I still have horses. Shortly after that I created The Animal Connection, an agency providing trained animal actors for film, television and advertising. Nowadays, I’m both a professional shooter and trainer.
During my career, I’ve tackled a range of assignments, including obtaining a polar bear from New Jersey,
capturing 17 cats in one shot, and photographing a 1500-pound cow in my studio. (Did I mention I have my own on-farm studio? Clients love it!) I personally audition all the animalsI photograph, and I truly love them all—and they know that I love them. This creates a mutual trust that allows me to get close and produce emotive natural photographs. But I don’t just shoot animals! I photograph people too. And people with animals. And kids with puppies. Actually, kids and puppies aren’t all that different—it’s all about finding out what motivates them, and then keeping them happy.
I am so lucky that I get to play with animals every day. I really do have the best job ever!
If you’d like to see my book or meet in person, give me a call. I promise to bring triple chocolate homemade brownies, chock full of real Wisconsin butter and eggs from my own hens. I guarantee it’ll be the most delicious meeting you’ve ever had. - Barbara
You probably know enough already but if you have nothing better to do you can read the nice things people have said about my work and see some nifty awards my awesome crew and I have won.
Nice Things People Have Said
Julie Lyrek Cline - Senior Art Director / Accessories & Apparel, Weekly Ad Marketing, Target
Barbara Rocks! I hired Barbara to be the photographer for Target's Weekly Ad Pet pages. Shenot only had great ideas, tons of experience, a fabulous crew, she was totally professionaland fun to boot! I call her the Pet Photographer Whisperer.
Dan Adamson - Co-owner/Creative Director - Farm Boy Co-op & Feed Co. (Farm Boy® & FarmGirl®Brands)
Barbara's work speaks for itself. Outstanding!
Her enthusiasim and authentic down to earth personality makes
her a absolute joy to work with. Highly recommend!
Kelly Esterby - Farmhouse Design - Freelance Graphic Designer
It takes a true talent to capture the spirit and the soul of an animal. Barbara understandsanimals and how they feel, think and react. This is reflected into her lens and then into myproject, creating thatbond that all of us feel when we are with our pets. The love and adoration is captured in her imagesand connects with the consumer leaving a lasting impression. This is why I have worked with her timeand time again, because anyone cantake a picture but not everyone can evoke an emotion. Barbara is personable, hard-working,funny, creative and a joy to work with.
Katharine Holden - Communications at Stratis Health
Barbara O'Brien's photography is superb. I've worked with many photographers but I don'tthink I'veworked with any other photographer who can capture an animal's personalityquite the way Barbara O'Brien can. I always will picture her knee deep in a lake trying to getjust the right shots of a dog splashing about joyfully. She got very wet and she got the shots.Barbara O'Brien is not only creative,she is also organized. You can count on her to get the jobdonewell and on time.
Hollie Mae Schultz - Photo Stylist & Creative Director for Fashion
Barbara is a absolute joy to work with and be around! I have had the pleasure of working with her onmultiple projects and she has always been the utmost professional and superior at her craft.
Donna Kelly - Freelance hair and makeup artist
Barbara is so talented I don't know where to start.
Her photography is amazing with it's bright fresh look.
Her kindness and warmth makes everyone from models to a chicken want to smile. She can makeorganizing a room full of children and animals look easy while still getting the perfect shot.
I feel lucky anytime I have the privilege of working with her.
Awards & Features
- Dog Face: canine portraits by Barbara O’Brien | The Telegraph UK
- 30 Endearing Dog Facial Expressions | MSN
- The Animal Connection, an interview with Barbara O’Brien | Wonderful Machine Blog
- Focus On Barbara O’Brien: From Animal Trainer to Photographer | Digital Photography School
Design Sites that been Kind Enough to Feature my Work
- Photo Ink
- Trend Hunter
- My Modern Met
- Design You Trust
- Design Inspiration
- Photography Served
- Communication Arts Exhibit | Blackwood Pet Food
- Feb 2012 Creative Review TBonz