Haynes was apprenticed as a photographer and opened his first photographic studio in Moorehead, Minnesota, in 1876. In 1877 he made a 400-mile trip by stagecoach from Bismark, Dakota Territory to Deadwood, taking photographs of the country. In 1878 he took a photographic trip from Bismark to the Pacific Coast, and a 3,000-mile trip down the Missouri River and back. In 1881 he went through Yellowstone National Park photographing the Mammoth Hot Springs, the Great Falls, and Grand Canyon. In August 1883 he accompanied President Arthur's expedition through the Yellowstone area, and later that year he photographed the driving of the last spike on the Northern Pacific Railroad. He became the official photographer for the Northern Pacific, and in addition to his regular studio, he maintained a pullman railroad car converted into a traveling studio. Haynes specialized in views of the Yellowstone region in the 1880s and published many tourist view books and inexpensive photogravure portfolios of the scenery. In 1889 he moved his studio from Fargo, North Dakota, to St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1895 he enlarged and modernized the business. His business was transferred to his son Jack in 1916.