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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-odd chickens, five ducks, and three very naughty goats. And as … Read More
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-odd 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, 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 animals
I 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 Read Less
  • Owner
    Barbara O'Brien Photography — Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • Owner - Animal Wrangler
    Animal Connection — Minneapolis, MN, USA
View Full Resume →
• Nestle Purina
• Purina Mills
• Pfizer
• Buckeye Nutrition
• Iams
• Voyce
• 3M
• Target
• Cargil Nutrena
• Fallon Worldwide
• Colle McVoy
• Bader Rutter
• Periscope
• The Telegraph - London
• The Hotel Bel Air – Los Angeles
• Omega Fields
• Country Living Magazine
• Outdoor M… Read More
• Nestle Purina
• Purina Mills
• Pfizer
• Buckeye Nutrition
• Iams
• Voyce
• 3M
• Target
• Cargil Nutrena
• Fallon Worldwide
• Colle McVoy
• Bader Rutter
• Periscope
• The Telegraph - London
• The Hotel Bel Air – Los Angeles
• Omega Fields
• Country Living Magazine
• Outdoor Magazine
• Yankee Magazine
• Farm Boy Brand
• Wisconsin Department of Tourism
• Vet Street Read Less
Tim Drabandt - Senior Designer - Space 150

We partnered with Barbara recently for a shoot that involved real people in everyday situations. Barbara has a knack for getting talent comfortable with her and her lens. Her crew is nothing but the best, and are all very talented in their own right. They helped us troub… Read More
Tim Drabandt - Senior Designer - Space 150

We partnered with Barbara recently for a shoot that involved real people in everyday situations. Barbara has a knack for getting talent comfortable with her and her lens. Her crew is nothing but the best, and are all very talented in their own right. They helped us troubleshoot on the fly, and worked hard to achieve the shots we were looking for. The crew was also nimble, so that when a day involved more than one location we moved quickly, but with confidence and got the shots we needed before moving on.

When it comes to casting, we couldn't be more impressed with Barbara's investigative skills. We were in a bind casting one persona, and we just couldn't find the right person. Barbara assured us that she could help us out, and three days later we had a group of great candidates to chose from. Barbara's well connected within the community and our client was just thrilled with the options she provided.

I couldn't recommend Barbara enough. Her eye for composition, calm demeanor, and ability to work quickly were invaluable on our three day shoot. She comes highly recommended and we hope to work with her soon.


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. She not only had great ideas, tons of experience, a fabulous crew, she was totally professional and fun to boot! I call her the Pet Photographer Whisperer.


Dan Adamson - Co-owner/Creative Director - Farm Boy Co-op & Feed Co. (Farm Boy® & Farm Girl® 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 understands animals and how they feel, think and react. This is reflected into her lens and then into my project, creating that bond that all of us feel when we are with our pets. The love and adoration is captured in her images and connects with the consumer leaving a lasting impression. This is why I have worked with her time and time again, because anyone can take 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't think I've worked with any other photographer who can capture an animal's personality quite the way Barbara O'Brien can. I always will picture her knee deep in a lake trying to get just 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 job done well 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 on multiple 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 make organizing 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. Read Less
Member Since: Jun 27, 2011