NP Design Photography – Twin Cities Photographer of the Year

Our Creative and Fashion Blog is a great source for Senior Picture Ideas, Family Photo Ideas, Headshots, Modeling, Pet Photography and Fashion Photography. 2014 Twin Cities Photographer of the Year.

NPDP Senior - Lily Swiggum

Today we turn the spotlight on New Richmond High School Senior Lily Swiggum.  Hear all about her experience and see some amazing images from her custom designed senior album!


Lily's session was like the perfect Pinterest board!  So many great ideas and talk about a wardrobe!

"Nate for sure captured Lily's spunky, cool and kinda awkward personality...and her sense of style!  I loved that he commented on her style after the session-it gives a girl a boost of confidence to hear she has an eye for fashion!"  - Kenna, Lily's mom.


"We can't stop looking at Lily's album!  I love that she got to pick all her favs and keep in the album!"


"I love the attention to detail!  The hair & make up done right at the studio is a huge plus!  And things like music that the kids like playing during the session.  Nate finds ways to relate to seniors."


Thank you so much for letting us tell your story, Lily!  We know you will treasure your custom designed album for years to come!

Guide to your Senior Year!

1.Take the SAT/ACT at least one more time. We know that you were ready to move on from that phase in your life, but just one more try towards the end of your second semester in school with the goal to raise your score by just one or two more points can help immensely with the dollar amount you can get scholarship wise. And if you score stays the same when you take it again, that’s okay too. Just know that you tried one more time, because if your score does raise that extra $500-1,200 in scholarship money you can get really pays off.

2. Be smart about the classes you take. Typically, you want senior year to be the easiest year possible, your mind is on summer mode, and you are ready to move on from the beige hallways of your high school. But the thing is, a year off from a school subject is a long time to not be learning or reviewing that material. Example, if decide to be a marketing major, you have to take a lot of math classes, so even though you may have your 3 required math classes done after junior year,  not taking math your senior year could be a bad idea. It was so worth another year of math when you have to take college algebra one semester and calculus the next.

3.  Schedule your senior pictures early on. The best piece of advice we can give you is to schedule your senior pictures as soon as possible. Not only are most photographers booked several weeks out, but second semester of your senior year is pure craziness. It’s nice to get your pictures crossed off the 'to-do' list early on and know that you can have your pictures taken by the photographer you want. We are typically booked two months and we only photograph 100 seniors each year.

4.  Apply for colleges the day it opens to apply. Unless the first day college applications open is the day for early decision, apply to schools the day the applications open. A fun fact about college is that the earlier you apply and are accepted, the earlier you can pick your dorm room and classes. And as a freshman in college, your class options already aren’t going to be the best, so take any advantage you can get.

5.  Apply for at least one scholarship a week. When applying for scholarships, don't laugh at the $50 scholarships. I know you may be thinking, "What in the world would $50 get me in college?"  The little scholarships add up to so much more than you ever think they will. Every little bit you can get helps and counts towards something.

6.  Have a back-up plan. Let's be need to have a back-up plan. Sometimes, things don’t go the way we planned and the heart-breaking rejection letter comes in the mail. Please don’t be the person that only applied to one school that has to make quick decisions now on where they want to go. No matter what, the rejection letter will still bring heart ache, but at least you have a back-up plan to fall back on no matter what. And I promise, if any of this happens to you, keep your head up. It all works out for the best.

7.  Enjoy every minute of it. Before you know it, May is just around the corner and you have a last minute fitting of your graduation gown. The day that you have been waiting for since you graduated kindergarten and they announced, “And we now present to you, the future graduating class of 2018” has finally come all too soon. Enjoy every minute of it from the math tests you stress over entirely too much to how annoying everyone thinks the let out bell at the end of class is.

Special thanks to Megan June / Junior at University of MO studying Marketing for assisting with info on this article.

HS Senior Nicole Hedlund graduation collage framed by High Point Framing & Art Gallery.

HS Senior Nicole Hedlund graduation collage framed by High Point Framing & Art Gallery.

Back To School Fashion!

We are so honored to have Jen Tessier, Store Manager of Express at Maplewood Mall here to share what the hottest fall fashions are for back to school!

For Her:

Lace up details on sweaters and tees add just a little more to those tops. Paired with embroidered or distressed denim, this outfit is great for fall school days or in the bleachers of the Friday Night Lights.

Bell sleeves are back and bigger than ever. Worn on a crepe casual top with jeans, or a mini dress with over the knee boots, these sleeves are ringing in the new school year.

Statement earrings are the new go to accessory to add to any outfit, casual or dressy. Chokers are always a great add on to that sweater with jeans.

For Him:

A new trend for men, stretch denim!! These stretch fabrics are so comfortable that you won't ever want to take them off! Denim is for everyBODY from a skinny to a loose fit, destruction in different fabrics and washes, every guy should own jeans this season.

Casual plaid shirts are a always a great add-on. Great for any day of the week, and any occasion. Can easily be thrown on heading out the door with jeans, or put with chinos for a special event.

Henleys add a new style of tees, in short or long sleeve, that sharpen his look. Tees are a basic that are not so basic anymore. So many different options with graphics, pockets, buttons, or small emblems. Great for under those casuals shirts and sweater cardigans, which are right around the corner.

Jen Tessier, Store Manager at Express - Maplewood, has worked for Express for 20 years.  She loves working with high school seniors and their families to find the right wardrobe for photo shoot day!  Next time you are at Maplewood Mall, be sure to stop in and say "Hi!."  Click here to view more outfits from Express.

A Note to Parents...Surviving your Child's Senior Year


Try for that one perfect set of family pictures that no amateur can capture.  It seems like the kids are grown, that the need to document their gorgeous faces has lost its urgency as the transitions slow.  Wrong.  That just-finished-childhood-not-quite-adult look is fleeting. Get someone who knows what they are doing to capture it


Tell them why you failed and how your recovered and how, for some period of time you thought you might not.  We loom so large in our children’s lives, as the people who once held superpowers. Let them know how those powers have often failed you as both an adult and a parent.


This moment, these last days, are worthy of commemorating and do not let them slip by unmarked.  Jewelry and watches are traditional choices for senior year, but beauty and meaning, not expense, are the salient factors in this purchase.


Disclose what they just might not know, things about your life that you, perhaps, glossed over, but now realize that they are old enough to understand.  You will be letting them know that things are not always as they seem, and that they are a trusted near-adult confident, worthy of sharing family secrets.  Your child is probably 18, talk to them like the adult that they will soon be;  it will fill them with the confidence to get there.


I kept my kids on an insanely tight leash senior year.  I monitored their every movement and made them check-in constantly.  In short, I drove them crazy.  And then I didn’t.  Once they were on the downslope of senior year, once everything they could do for college admission had been done, I let them take some victory laps, the well deserved privilege of senior year. They broke curfews, went out on a few school nights, and had a taste of freedom to come.


Sit down and have the discussion, the one you will wish you had had if, God forbid, anything ever goes wrong.  Sure, you can tell them where the wills are and how you hope to see your possessions disbursed.  But this is not that talk.  This is the talk where you recognize that you are speaking to a near-adult and you tell them why you love their other parent, what makes a good marriage, how shocking it was to find yourself a parent and yet how marvelous, what kind of wife/mother husband/father you hope they will one day be.  It will feel sad, and poignant, but while you are still in that day-to-day high school routine, take a step back and talk about the really big things in life.


Give them the morning hug that had slipped out of your routine, and the kiss on the forehead that was, for years, a nightly ritual.  Sit by their bed with a hand on theirs because this is the time to try and capture that feeling forever.  This is the moment for that final squeeze, the brief moment when we clench them even tighter, hold them close enough to take their breath away and then let them go!

There's something very special about a gift from Tiffany's.

There's something very special about a gift from Tiffany's.

Decorating Your Dorm Room

One of the best parts about going off to college is decorating your dorm room!  It's the perfect opportunity to show your sense of style!

Remember-most dorm rooms are small...I mean REALLY small!  Large, bulky furniture will also make your space even more cramped.  Opt for small chairs, desks, ottomans to make the most of your space.

Most dorms come with a bed frame so why not make your own headboard!  Using cardboard and double stick tape, you can do this quickly and easily!  And, you can change it out seasonally!

Whether you believe it or will get a little homesick for friends and family.  Displaying your photos will help you feel connected to those far away.  Add some lights and you've got instant atmosphere!

If you are lucky enough to be in a dorm room with a large wall, a photo mural will make your space look even larger!  This can make your room feel much larger without the cost or hassle of paint or wallpaper. 

Closet space is going to be at a premium so why not display a few of your fav pumps on a bookshelf or night stand!

Everyone needs their space.  To create a bit of privacy, bookcases can offer separation without making your small space feel even smaller. A bookcase can divide a room while still adding a clear decorative element. If you can't pull in another piece of furniture, floor-to-ceiling curtains will make you feel like you're in a room of your own. Using an easy-to-install curtain track, simply slide the curtains into place when you need a few minutes of alone time. An advantage — your room won't suffer from a loss of square footage.

And finally, there are websites actually dedicated to Dorm Room decor and furnishings!  Check out Dormify or Dormco for bedding, small size furniture and more great ideas! 

How To Organize Your Vacation Photos

It's summertime and prime vacation season!  You will definitely want to preserve these memories for years to come so here are some tips to help you out!

Award Winning Image by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

Award Winning Image by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

Sort & Toss - Not every shot is a winner.  Throw/Delete shots that are too dark, out of focus or unflattering.  

Print - Yes...PRINT YOUR IMAGES!  The digital age has made photo sharing on cell phones/iPads so easy but what happens when that technology is corrupted or changes?  Be sure to print your favorite images so that you can preserve them for years to come!

Photo Boxes - Put photos that made the cut into photo boxes.  Sort by date and event to they will be easy to retrieve later.  Avoid extreme temps and humidity as this can shorten the life of your images.  

Vacation Albums - Storing your favorite photos in a box is a great way to stay organized but creating an album is the best way to enjoy your photos!  Consider making an album devoted to one trip.  Add comments, ticket stubs and other memorabilia.  We make a complete album of each of our trips!  It's a small expense upfront but we love having those memories preserved!  After all...some of your vacations may be a trip of a lifetime!

Images by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

Images by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

Image by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

Image by Master Photographer Nate Peterson

What's in my Summer Makeup Bag?

What are the 'must haves' we should have with us during the hot summer months?  We asked NPDP Hair & Make Up Artist Jenna Cagle from Spalon Montage-Woodbury to give us the run down!


Oribe Impermeable

This lightweight, low-hold spray is your key to frizz-free hair. The name is Spanish for raincoat, and it does exactly that! Spray this over smoothed out styles to lock out humidity or on damp curls to keep texture condensed while air drying. 

Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil

This stuff is amazing and super under-rated! If you have colored hair, this spray acts as a shield to stop color fading and UV damage.  No one really realizes the sun can damage your hair along with your skin. This spray works kind of like sunscreen for your hair!

Morrocanoil Treatment

Everyone has heard of Morrocanoil. It was the first argan oil haircare product and is still one of the best. It infuses hair with moisture, shine, and strength, making it the perfect thing to layer over your parched strands. They make a light version now too, which is great for fine or blonde hair that still needs moisture. 

Kevin Murphy Maxi Wash

Detox shampoo is a MUST if you do a lot of swimming this time of year. Whether you are in the lake, the ocean, or the pool, your hair absorbs minerals and chemicals that cause damage. Maxi wash gently exfoliates the hair to get rid of harmful deposits and can even remove the grimy green glow you get from being in the pool! I love this if my part line gets sunburned too, it has a slightly cooling effect and can speed up the healing/peeling process! 

Wet Brush 

I use a wet brush on myself every day. I have super fine, tangley, blonde hair, and this brush makes it so much easier to work through knots without breakage. I keep a mini one of these in the bag, it’s perfect for post-pool comb outs because on wet hair, and I use it dry all the time, too!


Mario Badescu Facial Spray

This stuff is my most recent obsession! It’s so refreshing and dewy to set your makeup with, but works great as a mid-day pick me up to add extra hydration to your skin! I’ve also been using it after long days in the sun to cool myself off and the aloe in it helps soothe sunburn!

Benadryl Gel

I’ve gone thru about a million bottles of this stuff. Bugs LOVE me and I get super bad reactions to mosquito bites. This magical potion has saved me! Just a little bit on each bug bite stops the itch and reduces the swelling. It’s a histamine blocker so it targets the irritants caused by bug bites, poison ivy, and sunburn, so it’s handy to have around!

Babyganics Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

Being a Wisconsinite, I have super fair skin and burn easily. I’ve used this brand of sunscreen for a few years and love it! This is the most natural sunscreen I’ve found that has the best ingredients and is still affordable. The sunscreen stick is great for small areas like face and ears, and now they make a spray version that applies so easily and rubs in quickly. 

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

This balm is amazing. It’s so moisturizing and has just a slight rosy hue, so it’s easy to wear! For a long time I struggled in the summer with all of my favorite lip products melting! I love anything in a tube or a tin that, even if it heats up, in still useable. I am a chapstick addict, so this is always in my bag!


Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer 

This tinted moisturizer is so easy to put on and gives you just enough protection. I love this because it evens out my skin, works as a sunscreen, and moisturizes all in one! The formula is super dewy and fresh, and the coverage is light. Beautycounter is an amazing brand if you like natural products, they formulate with the safest ingredients in the industry! 

NYX Tinted Brow Mascara

Brows are something I never used to think about, but recently I’ve been loving filling them in a bit! This product adds a little pigment to each strand and tames brows into place in one step. It’s super effective but super easy.

Benefit Bene-tint

I am a sunscreen junkie and I try my best to stay out of the sun, but sometime when I’m surrounded by tan goddesses I want to fake it and give myself a little color. I add a few dots of this to my cheeks, blend out with my fingers and instantly gives a rosy flush. When you’re as pale as I am, any color is good color, and this is an easy way to add some life back into your skin without getting an actual sunburn!  

Tarte Tartlette Tease Mini Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette

I found this baby in the checkout at Ulta one day and was OBSESSED. It has 6 shades, they are super pigmented and so easy to apply with your fingers! I also included this because it’s an inexpensive, great quality palette for someone who is maybe just getting into eyeshadow. I use this constantly, touchups, intensifying the eye, I’ve even countered with the dark brown shade! 

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter

HOLY GRAIL PRODUCT. I will never not use this. It is the prettiest champagne color, super pigmented but blends easily, and it is really buildable if you like a more blinding highlight. I use this every day on the inner corners of my eyes to brighten them up and swipe just a bit on my cheekbone to add a soft, natural glow.

Jenna Cagle is a licensed cosmetologist and hair professional.  Formally trained at the Aveda Institute, she now works at Spalon Montage in Woodbury, MN.  To learn more about Jenna, you can follow her on Facebook at Jenna at Spalon Montage Woodbury.

Clear Teen Skin

Clear skin is not only important for senior's important for everyday!  We asked Heather Olson, Product Specialist and Trisha Leir, Lead Patient Coordinator from  Skin Rejuvenation Clinic in Edina, MN to let us in on some of their trade secrets!

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Skin Rejuvenation Clinic is Minnesota's premier cosmetic skin and body contouring clinic and has been featured on the 'Today' show.  They have received numerous awards and pride themselves on providing a standard of excellence in improving and maintaining the beauty of your skin.  With four licensed physicians on staff, you won't just see their name in a brochure.  You will see their faces each and every time you visit their clinic.  For twelve reasons why you should choose Skin Rejuvenation Clinic, click here.

Get to Know Us - Meet Allie

You see us but do you really know us?  Today we take a look at NPDP staff member and graphic designer designer Allie Wrich.

I have been the full time graphic designer at NPDP for a little over a year but I’ve been a design intern here for three years. My training as a graphic designer started when I was a junior in high school and moved onto majoring in graphic design at Carthage College and Winona State University. What I love most about my job is the creative freedom. I love trying to figure out who people are through their images and expanding on that through photo manipulation and design so it’s never the same thing every day! And I LOVE seeing peoples expression when they see the final products, it’s priceless and so rewarding!

I’m a huge family person. If you know me, you know how close of a relationship I have with my mom and my two big brothers. We all love going to my cabin on weekends to fish, cruise around on the boat, and just relaxing by the fire. When it’s not prime cabin weather, I’m a lover of cozying up with blankets and binge watching Netflix and designing for the heck of it. I’m also a big fan of talking, and talking fast.  

My hero is both my mom and my dad. My mom is one of my heroes because she’s super independent, loving, positive, and I swear everyone loves her. My dad is my other hero because he was selfless, giving, and was super determined and hard working.

Favorite book is probably “Mother, Can You Not?" It’s based off of this hilarious Instagram account called “crazyjewishmom” All I’m going to say is if you’re in your 20s and haven’t heard of it, check it out, it’s hilarious.

Favorite song is "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd because it’s my dad's song and always makes me think of him, but my favorite artist is Zac Brown Band. I could listen to them for hours, also by far the best concert I’ve ever been to (both times.)

Something I can’t live without is either ice cream or dogs. Dogs are seriously the meaning of happiness. As for ice cream, dessert just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Best vacation I’ve ever been on is probably my travel study to Italy. I traveled to several different cities including Cinque Terre, Sienna, Florence, Rome, Venice, and a few more! The culture, food, and sites to see are incredible. I would love to go again someday!

Client Ravs - Noah Dendinger

We love hearing from our clients and today we are excited to share Somerset senior Noah Dendinger's NPDP Experience with you!

Noah Dendinger | Somerset - Class of 2017

Noah Dendinger | Somerset - Class of 2017

Noah is all about basketball...and shoes!  "I'm very happy that Nate encouraged me to set up the shoe display." - Noah.  We truly believe in capturing your senior's personality and all that goes along with it!  "I appreciate that he researched GQ basketball image to replicate."

Noah's wall art displayed at his home.

Noah's wall art displayed at his home.

"We ordered four wall art pieces and graduation announcements.  Everyone said it was the best grad announcement they've seen!" - Beth (Noah's mom)  The quality of the wall art and frames is outstanding!"  All wall art at NPDP is available as a canvas gallery wrap, metal print or custom framed portrait.  They are finished and ready for you to hang in your house.  We make it easy of for you to go home and start enjoying your artwork immediately!

Beth was so happy with Noah's experience that she's already planning ahead!  "Reserve an appointment for Henry - Class of 2021!"  We can't wait to work with you again, Beth!  We look forward to telling Henry's story, too!