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EMERGING ENTREPRENEURS: Two passions collide for an entrepreneur from Plymouth

Katie Reineking launched Dusty Boots Photography after she started taking pictures of farm life

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November 13, 2023

PLYMOUTH – Since she was little, Katie Reineking, owner of Dusty Boots Photography and herd manager of Kings-Vue Holsteins in Plymouth, said she’s had two passions – her family’s dairy farm and photography.

“I grew up on our (family) dairy farm with my grandparents and my parents,” she said. “Growing up, I always helped out on the farm and was involved in 4-H and FFA. I showed dairy through 4-H, as well as photography projects – we took laundry baskets full of projects to the fair to get judged.”

After high school, Reineking attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she obtained a degree in dairy science. 

“I knew at the end of high school I wanted to come back to the family farm and farm, so after college, I came back and began helping out,” she said.

Today, Reineking is the herd manager at Kings-Vue Holsteins – carrying on her family’s legacy as the farm’s sixth generation.

“I take care of anything to do with the cows,” she said. “I do the milking, the breeding, the feedings, I take care of the calves. I don’t do field work.”

In addition to owning and operating Dusty Boots Photography, Katie Reineking is the herd manager at her family’s dairy farm, Kings-Vue Holsteins. Submitted Photo

In the role, Reineking said she enjoys the hand she has in the breeding process.

“I start by picking out the bulls we’re going to use and breed the cows with them,” she said. “Seeing the new calves being born and watching how they develop is exciting.”

An equal passion
Reineking said the passion she has for farming is equally matched with her passion for photography.

“I’ve always loved photography,” she said. “I always wanted the latest and greatest camera to use for my 4-H photography projects and was always taking pictures of anything that caught my eye.”

After returning from college and taking on the role of herd manager at her family’s farm, Reineking said she started taking pictures with her phone – capturing her daily experiences on the farm, of the animals and the work she was doing. 

“I began using my smartphone to capture the beauty of the country life,” she said. “People told me I should start posting them on social media, so I did. Then, people started reaching out asking me to take their senior pictures or pictures for their wedding – things snowballed from there.”

Photography, Reineking said, though a life-long interest, was never part of her plan.

“It just kind of happened,” she said.

In the beginning, Reineking said the pictures she took were more about showcasing life on a farm than they were meant to be a launching point for a business.

“Even when you’re around the farm all the time, you don’t always notice everything because you’re so involved,” she said. “The pictures were an opportunity for me to share that beauty with the general public.”

Reineking said snapping pics of her everyday life quickly turned into a passion for capturing the special moments in other people’s lives. 

That’s when Dusty Boots Photography was born.

“I purchased my first DSLR camera and began spending countless hours reading, studying, researching and practicing to add on to what I already knew and what came to me naturally,” she said.

Katie Reineking, owner of Dusty Boots Photography, said taking pictures at the World Dairy Expo in Madison the last two years was a dream come true. Submitted Photo

Now, as a full-time photographer – “I’m at the farm and have my photography business, they are both full-time” – Reineking said the thing she likes the most about it is the relationships she’s been able to build – “being able to grow with them as their families grow.”

“A lot of times, I start with an engagement session and then their wedding, and then when they get pregnant, they call me for maternity pictures and newborns and I keep going back every year as their family keeps growing,” she said. “I like having those relationships with people.”

A quick peek at Dusty Boots Photography’s website or social media platforms, it’s apparent Reineking’s passion for farm life spills over into her photography work – whether it’s sessions held at farms, photos taken at farming events or the continued capturing of farm life.

“That all just fits together,” she said.

Two passions collide
Last year, Reineking said she was contacted by representatives from the World Dairy Expo (which is held each fall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison) asking her if she’d be interested in taking photos at the event.

“Maybe like two months before the expo, I got an email asking if I was interested in shooting (pictures at it),” she said. “I’d always gone to the expo… and shot some photos from the stands, but I always wanted to get down on the shavings and shoot.”

Not only was she able to take pictures inside the ring, Reineking said she was also able to show her first animal at the expo.

“It was a dream come true,” she said. “When it all suddenly happened and I was asked to shoot inside the ring, I was in shock. And then being able to have my animal there for the first year, too, it was a special year.”

Reineking returned to the World Dairy Expo last October as well.

“They invited me to work for the expo again this year,” she said. “Hopefully, it can become a regular thing.”

As the Sheboygan County 4-H Dairy Project chair, Reineking said she is in charge of the children who participate in the fair each year – which recently has included photographing the kids with their animals.

For the past two years, Katie Reineking has served as an official photographer for the World Dairy Expo held annually in Madison. Submitted Photo

“We had someone else that always took pictures of the kids when they got first place in their class and he asked me if I wanted to take over and do that,” she said. “So, ever since then, I’ve been doing it… We also have our Showcase of Champions sale I head up and also take pictures for.”

A fitting name
The name of the photography business – Dusty Boots Photography – Reineking said is a good representation of how things started.

“I’m working in my dusty boots every day while taking pictures – so I thought that was a good fit,” she said. “I have always worn my boots around, and that is how it started.”

More to come
With the unpredictability of the agricultural industry, Reineking said she isn’t quite sure where farm life will lead her in the future, but said animals will always be a part of her life.

“I take things day by day right now because everything in agriculture is so unpredictable,” she said. “I always want to have animals around. I always want to be able to show, but what that all looks like I’m unsure right now.”

Katie Reineking

As for the role as a photographer and the owner of Dusty Boots Photography, Reineking said she plans to continue taking photos of newborns, families, seniors and weddings.

“I like that I can offer families everything,” she said. “I would also like to do more graphic design work and ag-related photography.”

Reineking continues to make her presence known in both the agriculture and photography sectors.

She was featured in Progressive Dairyman magazine as its featured farm photographer, received the Friend of the Fairest award at the 2022 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair gala and is a Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 35 Under 35 Award finalist in the sustainable service category – which recognizes individuals who are serving agriculture through trade skills or advisory roles.

For more information on Dusty Boots Photography, visit

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