Kathy Olsen owns Kathy Olsen Photography and is well-known for her photos, which are regularly featured in the West River Eagle. In true home-grown fashion, Kathy operates her business out of Dupree, where she is from and where she currently works as a fourth grade teacher at Dupree School. A Tigers alumni, she went on to Black Hills State University and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. After college, she taught sixth grade in Eagle Butte for four years before moving back to Dupree where she has taught since.
Kathy said she got started in photography after an experience with her son’s photoshoot.
“I took him to Walmart to get his pictures taken and I wasn’t happy with his pictures. I thought I could do a better job myself. My mom and dad got me a green screen and computer software to go along with the camera for my birthday. Shortly after, I started taking my own kids’ pictures,” she said.
From there, friends began asking her to take senior photos, then family portraits, and then wedding pictures. “It just started growing from there,” said Kathy.
Since then, she has explored various types of photography and says she does “all kinds”, and has grown her business and reputation for her vivid action sports photos, and family, wedding and baby pictures.
Along with her trusty Nikon camera, Kathy said her diverse photos require various pieces of equipment that have helped her explore potential photograph backgrounds, including a green screen.
“I try to come up with many different unique and interesting ideas for different sports pictures. I also take lots of action pictures at all of the sporting events, and am always trying to get better action shots. I love doing outdoor pictures though, and mostly just use my Nikon cameras to capture people in the beauty of the outdoors,” she said.
Having a business located in such a rural area has not stopped Kathy from doing what she loves, and friends and use of social media has helped her promote her talents.
“I don’t do a lot of marketing. I get most of my business from word of mouth, and from people seeing my pictures on Facebook. The best thing about being a photographer is all of the beautiful and unique places that it takes you. There are so many places right here our area and in the our state that are so unique and beautiful, each in their own way, that I have been fortunate enough to be able to see and photograph because of my photography business,” said Kathy.
Her advice to anyone wanting to start in the photography industry is simple – “Take LOTS of pictures! Keep taking pictures and keep practicing. It takes a while to get everything…cameras, lenses, lighting and posing just right. You can do it,” said Kathy.