Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Taking my photos beyond this blog March 22, 2019

Me behind my camera. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I NEVER IMAGINED upon starting this blog nearly 10 years ago that my photos posted here would be in demand.

But that proved to be true. I’ve sold photo rights to authors, businesses, tourism offices, marketing agencies, art curators, charities, media outlets and much more. That includes to museums.


I sold photo usage rights of this picturesque farm site just north of Lamberton in Redwood County, Minnesota, for inclusion in a museum video. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I’ve yet to see my photos in any of the three museums which bought rights to specific images. Those include The National WW II Museum in New Orleans, which incorporated a southwestern Minnesota farm site photo into a video clip about a Minnesota soldier.


My Laura Look-A-Like Contest photo close-up. Photo courtesy of Laurel Engquist.


An overview of a section of the Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit that included my photo, top right. Photo by Laurel Engquist.


At the American Writers Museum in Chicago, my photo of girls participating in a Laura-Look-A-Like Contest was included in a past exhibit on Laura Ingalls Wilder. My friend Laurel visited the museum and photographed my photo there.


Photo by Amber Schmidt.


A close-up of my photo posted at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Photo by Amber Schmidt.


And in St. Paul, my eldest daughter photographed my photo of the Wabasha Hardware Hank posted next to the hardware store exhibit in the “Our World” portion of the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The Wabasha hardware store inspired the exhibit which invites kids to “don an apron, strap on a toolbelt, stock shelves and help customers.”


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.


It’s an honor to have my work included in these museum exhibits. I appreciate when others find value in my photos. I’ve quickly found, though, that while some people want to use my photos, they don’t always value my images enough to pay for them. Too often I get inquiries to use my photos “for credit and a link.” Nearly every time, I decline the opportunity. “For credit and a link” doesn’t pay bills. “For credit and a link” doesn’t respect me as a professional. “For credit and a link” diminishes my value as an artist. If the individual inquiring about photo usage is being paid for work that will include my photo, then I too deserve to be paid. It’s as simple as that. And, yes, all of my photos are copyrighted. From the moment I create them.


© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


19 Responses to “Taking my photos beyond this blog”

  1. Claudette Says:

    Agreed. And wonderful! You have a great eye for your subjects. 🙂

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    Congratulations on your notable work and recognition. I have had many requests for photos, and I do “for credit and a link” because I didn’t pay the subject (usually wildlife) and I did not do the work to set up the opportunity. Most requests have been from individuals putting together garden/nature/wildlife interest publications or from awareness groups. Maybe if my blog was expensive to keep and I spent more time doing photography, I would be more serious about selling stock photos. It would be nice to be paid… but for me, it’s an enjoyable hobby.

    • It’s a choice each photographer needs to make. But, for me, it’s important to be paid, especially if the inquiring party is being paid for the work he/she is producing.

      Your wildlife photography is excellent and I’ve of the opinion that you should be paid for your images.

      • Littlesundog Says:

        I completely agree about being paid, especially when the inquiring party is being paid. Maybe there will be a day where I have more time to get my photos “out there” and reap a few dollars for my efforts. For me, photos of wildlife either take a lot of waiting or being at the right place at the right time!

      • And that’s precisely why I don’t do wildlife photography. You need to have an innate knowledge of wildlife also, which I don’t have and you clearly do. If someone asks to use your photo for credit and a link, ask once for pay and see what happens. I’ve done that and suddenly the person who had no money to pay me has money. Interesting how that works.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:


    You have a great eye for a picture.

  4. It’s wonderful your work is in demand and you definitely should get paid for it. The New Orleans National WWII Museum is on our list to do later this year, so I will look for your photo in the video while there. Your photos are always perfect for the post, and I totally understand why people would want to use them.

  5. See? I’m telling you, girl, you’re a celebrity!! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. Kevin Kreger Says:

    “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” – 1 Timothy 5:18

  7. Audrey your photo’s are amazing and worthy of payment for sure! Especially when the people using it are making money. It is certainly a choice for each of us who love photography. I have done many photo shoots for families and I choose not to charge them. I Use my talents as more of a blessing to those who might not otherwise be able to afford Professional-like photo’s, I warn them that I’m NOT a professional photographer, and that It’s just a well loved hobby of mine. I’ve only won 1 photo contest… the only contest I’ve ever entered, I did not win any money but that was fine with me, I won a 8×10 photo of my photo, ha ha….it is mounted on a board and has that professional finish. They also have the right to use my photo for advertising….. at this point it’s ok with me. As for you, congratulations on your success as a outstanding photographer, I’m a fan 🙂

    • Thank you, Jackie.

      I’m a mega fan of your photography also. I use my photo talents, too, for situations like you reference. Just this morning I shot photos at Sunday School. Likewise for Vacation Bible School. That’s my way to share my God-given talents in ministry.

  8. Bella Says:

    I will weigh in- your photos are amazing from rural landscapes, to the people in different communities,family photos etc but its your attention to detail to the small things most would overlook as simple as a door frame, signs, a flower box, discarded object you excel in as you always find some beauty in everything through your lens. A monetary reimbursement for your work is the piece de resistance.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I absolutely agree.

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