Ashley Sevre has always enjoyed taking pictures, but it was one film photography class at Minot State University—taken on a whim, as she was pursuing a degree in information management systems—that ignited her passion for the craft. She purchased her first DSLR camera shortly after, and began teaching herself the basic techniques of digital photography.
Soon, friends and family began to take notice of her work.
“People were like, ‘Oh, those are so cute. Can you come take my family pictures?’” Ashley said. “And it just kind of spiraled from there.”
Today, Ashley operates a photography and videography business from her family’s third-generation grain farm just outside of rural Wildrose, North Dakota. She launched Ashley Sevre Photography as a part-time side hustle in 2010 and made it her full-time career in 2017, capturing senior photos, family portraits, newborn sessions, and more, and dedicating her weekends to photographing and filming weddings.
While Ashley’s work primarily focuses on weddings and portraits, she is also using her craft to capture a piece of history: the annual Sevre Farms film.
Every year, Ashley films her family’s farm season from planting to harvest. She flies a drone to capture aerial footage of the equipment in the field, and attaches a GoPro inside of tractors and on the backs of trucks to see three generations of farmers hard at work. In the winter, she sifts through hundreds of hours worth of footage, selecting the best shots and adding music to create a ten-minute film.
These films are not just advertisements for Sevre Farms; they are mementos that Ashley and her husband, Logan, hope to pass on to their children one day.
“My kids hear their grandpa talking all the time about, ’Oh, when I was 10, my father had…’ and he'd ramble off some name of a tractor. And I wonder, what was that like? What did that look like driving through the field?” Ashley said. “My kids are one and four. They may not remember riding in the tractor with Dad. I want them to have something to look back on, years down the road.”
In 2018, Ashley decided to place a GoPro inside the cab of a tractor for a change, and ended up capturing a memory that the family will cherish forever: then two-year-old Stella riding next to her dad, sharing PB & J sandwiches and taking turns talking on the radio.
“They’re both just shoving their faces, and she’s pointing out the window,” Ashley chuckled. “It’s adorable. And we wouldn’t have that if the camera hadn’t been running.”
Like any modern business, and especially any small-town business, Ashley Sevre Photography depends on the Internet. Ashley is constantly emailing clients and uploading photos to her website, frequently participates in online photography webinars, and also takes care of online banking for the farm—none of which would be possible without the broadband she receives from her local Broadband Association of North Dakota (BAND) member, NCC.
“The internet just makes my job possible. I don’t know where I would be without it, but I certainly wouldn’t be where I am,” Ashley said. “I use it in every aspect of my life, truly every day.”
Stories like Ashley’s are a reminder of why quality broadband is crucial to creating a thriving business community. In an effort to empower North Dakotans and the small businesses they own, BAND members like NCC are constantly implementing new broadband technology and laying fiber lines across the state. In fact, Ashley has had a fiber optic line on the farm since 2016—almost four years before the nearest town, Wildrose, just one mile away.
With access to this high-speed broadband, Ashley does not have to live in a metropolitan area to pursue her passion of running a successful photography business. She can do it all right from rural North Dakota, while preserving the history of the farm that she and her family call home.
“I've thought before that, you know, it'd be nice to be in a bigger city, with more people and more potential for jobs,” Ashley said. “But then I sit back and I think, I really love this farm. And then I think one day down the road, you know when I'm super successful, I can say I did it all living on a farm.”
To learn more about how BAND members like NCC empower local business, visit https://www.broadbandnd.com/