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.

Styling Your Clothing to Your Home Decor for Family Portraits

You found the perfect photographer to capture your family, now deciding what to wear can be challenging.  These photos are going to be displayed on your walls and cherished for years to come!  Deciding what to wear can seem overwhelming but when you work with professionals, they will guide you through every step of the way!

Coordinate Colors - Gone are the days of everyone wearing a white shirt and matching.  Instead, pick a couple of colors and chose solids and small prints that fit the color scheme.

Look at Your Home Decor - Is your living room decorated with bright colors?  Maybe the family room has a more neutral feel.  Make sure your photo day wardrobe has those colors so that your wall portraits will be a custom fit!

Accessorize - Small accessories are perfect to make outfits pop!  Especially if a piece has sentimental meaning, like Grandma's locket or Granddad's pocket watch!  Necklaces and hats are also great for kids to play with and let's the photographer capture their personalities!

Textures are your Friend - Just like accessories, textures add depth and dimension to photographs.  Leather boots, silk scarf and knitted sweater not only look great as layers, they also have different textures that play well together.

Classic - These portraits will be on your walls so be sure to not get too trendy.  Cartoon characters are fun but can be distracting and date your images.  Keep clothing logos small as you want to show your family off, not advertise for the clothing company.

Hair & Make Up - This can be overlooked with mom getting everything ready for her family!  Take an hour before the session and let someone spoil you! Let a professional do your hair and make up.  You will be amazed and how great you will feel and it will show in your photos!

Pinterest is Your Friend - Pinterest makes it so easy for you to plan your family's wardrobe!  Pre-existing boards often link to stores where you can even purchase your items!  NP Design & Photography not only has a Pinterest board for families but also has a color palettes guide to make it easy!  

NPDP Family - The Tillys

Every once in a while a session comes along that is so fantastic that it's magical!  This is that session!  Donna & Jim Tilly have been pillars in the New Richmond community for years so it was an honor to capture their smiles, goofiness and their love!


"Nate & Teresa went out of their way to make sure that my parents were comfortable and relaxed for their session."  said Linda Aton, daughter to Donna & Jim.


"The pictures of us emotes tears!" commented Jim Tilly.


"It's hard to explain what this experience meant to our family.  To see my parents being so full of  love and tenderness towards each other and to have that captured forever in pictures is such a beautiful gift and keepsake!" stated Linda.  "This was not just a photo shoot.  This was a day that all of us will remember forever! Every step of this experience was unique and special!"


"Mom and Dad love their wall art but I think the album is their favorite!  I'm sure everyone at The Deerfield has had to take a moment to look through their book!"  - Linda


"My favorite part was when Nate said 'Dance your wife around the garden' and my dad started singing 'I'm In The Mood For Love' while Nate got some amazing shots!" - Linda

Capturing moments like this are priceless!  We are so happy we got to be a part of it!

Nate attends 'Master Minds of Photography' Event!

Master Photographer Nate Peterson, owner of NP Design & Photography, New Richmond, WI, was one of only 100 photographers invited to attend the ‘Elite Mastermind’ event in Omaha, NE from Saturday, August 19th-20th.  This event was an exclusive ‘invite only’ featuring the country’s best photographers assembled together to discuss their studio successes, the changing industry and pushing new boundaries.  Photographers were chosen by talent, experience and passion for education.  “It truly was humbling to be included with so many talented photographers!  It was a great weekend of celebration, education and fellowship.” Stated Nate Peterson.


Nate Peterson has been named 3x Twin Cities Senior Photographer of the Year, Wisconsin Senior Photographer of the Year and numerous other awards.  He is a ‘certified professional photographer’ and ‘Master Photographer’, currently working on his Craftsman Degree.  He currently serves on the board for Twin Cities Professional Photographer’s Association of America.

Nate's photography was featured in the 'Elite Masterminds' commemorative book.  

Nate's photography was featured in the 'Elite Masterminds' commemorative book.  

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.