Blaine County Beacon: Make Time for Your Dreams


September 22, 2021

From the first time that she held a camera, Bree Swanson confesses that she instantly fell in love with photography. She credits her motivation for this creative pursuit with having grown up around photographers.

Being surrounded by a supportive group of other photographers who encourage her to keep working at her craft is the background Swanson brings to her current endeavor with Bree Swanson Photography. From livestock to portrait photographers, she has had a lot of positive reinforcement to reach her present skill level. In her words, "The only background I really do have is simply inspiration and help from other photographers."

To make people aware of her photography craft, Swanson uses social media and word of mouth. She also sells her photographs on her newly designed website: where she identifies "Western Lifestyles. Portraits. & More" as her specialties.

Some of Swanson's recent photo shoots were the Blaine County Kids' Rodeo, the Bear Paw Roundup PRCA Rodeo, and the Dodson Fair Ranch Rodeo in August. A visit to the gallery on her website not only showcases the results of her work but provides a testimony to her talented eye and ability to capture the emotional intensity common to the sport of rodeo. Using a Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 lens, Swanson caught expressions that depict both the human and animal competitors' athleticism, grit, exertion, and immense concentration followed by either disappointment or satisfaction.

"I find it rewarding that I can put a product out there for people to use, even if it's just to hang up on their wall," Swanson exclaimed.

Anyone who wishes to purchase photographs from one of the recent rodeos is encouraged to shop Swanson's gallery.

The aspect of operating a photography business that has most surprised Swanson is all of the support she gets from the local community. "People often walk up to me and ask about my photography. These actions are just so heartwarming and make me love photography even more," Swanson reports.

As her greatest business challenges, Swanson names coming out of her shell and posing people in a photograph. The biggest reward for her has been the smile on people's faces when they see the results of her work.

Looking ahead, Swanson hopes to continue taking pictures for the rest of her life. She expressed a particular interest in the livestock angle of photography and hopes to focus specifically on that someday.

The advice Swanson offers to others thinking about starting a business is to have confidence. "Don't ever think that you're not good enough. Always be looking for ways to improve in any line of work. In the long run, life is too short to not follow your dreams, and you're never too young to start. We're all busy, but you have to make time for your dreams."

For the time being, this sixteen-year-old junior at Chinook High School (CHS) operates her business as a side-hustle since she is active in sports, FFA, and ranch work. Swanson is a middle blocker on the CHS volleyball team and plays the wing and point guard positions on the Lady Sugarbeeters basketball squad.

Last spring, Swanson was inducted into the National Honor Society, voted Student Council Secretary, and elected President of the Chinook Chapter of the FFA. She hopes to increase involvement in the FFA during her presidency. Although that is one of her focus areas, she declared that her main goal in the coming school year "is to encourage youth work ethic, cooperation, respect, and citizenship."

During FFA officer interviews, Swanson described herself as humble, caring, and hardworking and credits leadership training as a vital component in all aspects of FFA. "Leadership is an essential life skill. It helps FFA members develop self-confidence and responsibilities. The future of agriculture depends on my generation of young leaders and their leadership skill. The FFA Vision says it best, 'FFA provides the next generation of leaders who will change the world.'"

Her parents, Klint and Lori Swanson are the owners/operators of Shipwheel Cattle Company, a family managed operation raising registered Black Angus cattle.

A quick assessment of Swanson's diverse involvement and statements of philosophy might suggest that this young lady is going places. With her eye on the horizon, she hopes eventually to pursue a degree in Ag Communications and to bring that knowledge and education back to the ranch and perhaps do some outside work for other ranchers as well.


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