A woman who carved a niche out of close up bull photography on social media features in the latest episode of the From the Ground Up podcasts, Rebecca Greaves writes.

A woman who carved a niche out of close up bull photography on social media features in the latest episode of the From the Ground Up podcasts, Rebecca Greaves writes.

They say you should never work with children or animals, but By the Horns photographer Amanda King has carved a niche for herself doing exactly that.

The primary school teacher turned photographer has amassed a huge following on social media with her hallmark close-up images of magnificent bulls, as well as other farm animals she’s met on her travels.

She first branched out into animals when she wanted an image for their own home, a photo of a Highland bull, and soon friends and family wanted to know if they could have one too. She was doing it for fun, but quickly realised she might be on to something, so she started posting her photos to Facebook.

That was five years ago and, in August, her first coffee table book, A Load of Bull, hit bookshops. She also has an upcoming exhibition at Eden Park, Auckland, as part of Art in the Park, which runs from September 8-11.

“I would never have thought in a million years I would have this book.”

Amanda initially began her photography business as a sideline to her teaching career, starting out photographing children. When she and husband Fraser moved south to live on his family farm at Hororata, Canterbury, she began taking photos of the animals on the farm.

Within three months, her social media had blown up and the orders soon came flooding in from around the world.

“I was so surprised by the reaction I was getting from the public, it was crazy, so I thought maybe I should open a little online store.

Her followers on Facebook grew from zero to 16,000, fast. Suddenly she had a huge business on her hands that she wasn’t prepared for. She and her husband would be rolling and packaging prints at 11pm, once their young children had gone to bed. Luckily, she was on maternity leave from her teaching job at the time.

“It was an eye-opener, but exciting at the same time. I realised I really love this, I wake up every day excited…I’d always enjoyed taking photos but it had never crossed my mind to do it as a career.”

Animals are her main subjects, but she has branched out to include seascapes, landscapes and botanical prints.

“Pretty much everything I think would make a nice piece of artwork and that I’m able to do from around where I live,” she says.

“If we’re talking about animals, I like to be able to capture their personalities and it was always a vision of mine to create a piece of artwork that I could blow up into a large statement piece in a person’s home that might create conversation.”

Amanda’s fine art photography prints and canvases hang in homes and businesses from the United Kingdom and Europe to the United States, even Saudi Arabia.

“Most orders are for people’s own home and offices. I have had a few orders from interior designers in the States who were doing up restaurants, and even breweries. It’s a wide range of places.”

Originally from the suburbs of Brisbane, Australia, farming was completely foreign to her prior to meeting her husband while on her OE in London, where she was teaching and travelling on the school holidays.

“He always wanted to come back to the family farm, and when he moved back, I came with him. I am still learning every day being here on the farm with my husband. This is all a new experience to me.”

Amanda still has goals she’d like to achieve when it comes to her business, with plans to build and open a studio on the farm, where people can come to view her art. She would also like to get her own printer and start printing her own prints.

To hear more about Amanda’s story, how she has created a significant following on social media and turned it into a viable business, listen to the latest episode of Young Country’s From the Ground Up podcast.