NP Design Photography – 3x 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. 3x Twin Cities Photographer of the Year.

Seven Sunday Habits

Everyone hates Mondays but perhaps it's because we are not prepared for the week ahead!  Try some of these tips and see if you can start off the week on the right foot!  Make them part of your Sunday ritual!

1.  Have a slow morning.

Don't rush to get out of bed and when you finally do...make your favorite breakfast!

2.  Write a to-do list for the week.  

If you're feeling overwhelmed, this will give you clear vision of what's to come.  You might be surprised as what actually has to get done vs. what you think you need to get done.

3.  Schedule things on your calendar.  

After writing your to-do list, grab your calendar and schedule time to actually DO the things on your list!  

4.  Meal Prep.  

This is a big one!  It will save you time, stress, money and quite possibly inches on your waistline!  Trust me...you will thank yourself later!

5.  Plan your outfits.  

Again, it will save you time and worries in the morning.  This will also make you think about what you are wearing.  Do you have items you never wear?  Maybe you can put together a couple of pieces you never thought of before!

6.  Make time for self-care.  

Sunday is the perfect day to schedule in some time for yourself and reset the week!  Two words...bubble bath!

7.  Go to bed early.  

It's important to have a good night's sleep so you have enough energy to tackle the week ahead!

Try this next week and come back and comment on how your week went!  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Films Every Fashion Lover Must See!

Aside from being so very entertaining, these films are ones we come back to again and again for the fashion eye candy. You know it’s a timeless 'fashion-girl film' when it still influences trends and wardrobe decisions years after year.  Fun fact: A very stylish female character carries each one of these flicks. Go Girl Power.

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 Get the Annie Hall look from  Ray Ban .

Get the Annie Hall look from Ray Ban.

Annie Hall - 1977 - Diane Keaton’s portrayal of the title character in this late-’70s Woody Allen film remains a unique fashion moment in movie history. Her androgynous wardrobe is still emulated today by cool girls everywhere. Add a trench coat, scarf and beach waves and you're all set!


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 Get the Black Swan look from  Free People.

Get the Black Swan look from Free People.

Black Swan - 2010 - The designing sisters of Rodarte had a hand in designing the film’s exquisite costumes. And we’re pretty much obsessed with all things ballet-inspired.  Body suits and fitted tanks keep this trend alive today.


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 Get the Clueless look from  Asos .

Get the Clueless look from Asos.

Clueless - 1995 - Besides standing out for coining many of the terms that we still use today, Clueless’s early-’90s era fashions were so integral to the story that they could be considered a character in the film.  After all, who pairs knee high socks with Mary Janes?


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 Get The Devil Wears Prada look from  Express .

Get The Devil Wears Prada look from Express.

The Devil Wears Prada - 2006 - Cliché and 'over the top' maybe, but The Devil Wears Prada in all its fashion world–centric glory will always be a guilty pleasure.  Doesn't every girl want to go shopping in a dream closet full of designer clothes?


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 Get the Romeo + Juliet look from  Free People .

Get the Romeo + Juliet look from Free People.

Romeo + Juliet (1996) - Baz Luhrmann’s modern adaptation of the classic featured the men in Hawaiian shirts and Claire Danes as an angel in white. The results were pure eye candy.  Lace dresses and flowers hair accessories complete today's look.


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 Get the Almost Famous look from  Nordstrom.

Get the Almost Famous look from Nordstrom.

Almost Famous - 2000 - Cameron Crowe’s acclaimed film perfectly captured the spirit of the 1970s in all its rock and roll glory. We wouldn’t count Penny Lane out as an inspiration for many designers!  Think suede, flokati and curls!


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 Get the Breakfast at Tiffany's look at  Express .

Get the Breakfast at Tiffany's look at Express.

Breakfast at Tiffany's - 1961 - The exquisite Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly is as glamorous as it gets. It solidified Hepburn as an icon in both the fashion and film industries. The cat-eye sunglasses, pearls, and full-length gloves are trademarks of the film and have become what people think of at the mere mention of the movie.  And shouldn't every girl get something special in a little blue box?


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 Get the Sex and the City look from  Nordstrom.

Get the Sex and the City look from Nordstrom.

Sex and the City - 2008 - Many stylish female leads have made memorable appearances on television, but none have left a mark quite so impactful as Carrie Bradshaw and friends on Sex and the City. The sartorial masterpieces that costume designer created for each episode had fashion lovers tuning in for more every week.  From gorgeous floral dresses to sexy slips, casual or fancy, subtle or flamboyant. The iconic outfits provided endless eye candy, leaving us all with a serious case of shoe envy and the urge to shop for clothes just like theirs. Simply put, you could always count on the cast for great fashion.


Special thanks to fashion blogger Allyson Payer.  For more trends specifically for high school seniors, check out our Pinterest page for all the latest styles for any personality!

2018 Spring Trends

Who's ready for Spring?!?!?  Warmer weather, beautiful blooms and Spring Fashions!  We asked Express - Maplewood Store Manager Jen Tessier to give us a little inside scoop on what we can expect for 2018!

For the Ladies:

The Americana collection is great for any daytime or nighttime get togethers. Full of casual tops with sporty details in many silhouettes-baseball tees, off-the-shoulder, and cold shoulder.

Spring brings so many additional options for bottoms! Skinny cuff crops, denim mini skirts, and denim shorts are back!

Bodysuits are adding many new details-lace, cut outs, ties, and many more. Pair it with high rise jeans, shorts, or skirt, and you have a great look for any occasion!

Wear to work collection is adding in wraps, ties, and embroidery to take the looks from day to night. Adding pastels to those daytime neutrals will give you that look and feel of spring.

For the Gents:

Shorts and Tropical Vibes-Beach ready graphics or a short sleeve button up with shorts and he is ready to weekend! With new drawstring styles and a wide assortment of flat front shorts in slim and classic fits, there is a short for every man.

New Soft Denim assortment for men include Stretch and Stretch+ fabrics! This 100% cotton denim is extremely soft and made for comfort. Pair them with a soft wash shirt or a graphic tee for a cool, casual look.

Men’s dressy shirt collection is full of florals, stripes, solids, and prints going into spring. Pair them with the new pants in fun colors and fabrics for a sleek party style.

To see more of these latest trends, stop in and see Jen at Express-Maplewood!  These styles won't last long so if you want them in time for your senior shoot, don't delay!  Special thanks to Jen for sharing the latest trends with us!

What are the Photography Degrees?

Back in ???, we talked about what it meant to be a Certified Professional Photographer.  (CPP)  But just like with other degrees, there are higher levels in the photography industry as well.  

Professional Photographers of America offers three different degrees, representing different areas of expertise:

Photographic Craftsman (Cr.Photog.)
Awarded for service as an orator, author or mentor. This degree shows that you have gone beyond the creation of images and dedicated your time to move the industry forward and encourage education.  To earn this degree, the photographer must have earned 13 speaking merits + 12 additional merits to be called a Photographic Craftsman.

Master of Photography (M.Photog.)
Awarded for superior photographic skills—demonstrated through the Photographic Open category of PPA International Photographic Competition, advanced education and service to the industry.  To earn this degree, the photographer must have earned 13 exhibition merits + 12 additional merits to be called a Master Photographer.

Master Artist (M.Artist) (formerly known as the Master of Electronic Imaging Degree)
Awarded for superior photographic skills—demonstrated through the Artist Exhibition category of the PPA International Photographic Competition (with images evaluated for computer-applied techniques and proficiency), advanced education and service to the industry.  To earn this degree, the photographer must have earned 13 artist exhibition merits + 12 additional merits to be called a Master Artist.

Photography is not a static industry; new techniques and technologies appear constantly. Chasing a degree can help keep a photographer in tune with the advancing industry.  Degrees also give photographers tangible and attainable goals to strive toward. Kind of like why we go to college, right?  Education is key so it's important the photographers keep up and adapt with the changes clients need and want for professional timeless portraiture.  After all...portraits live on for generations!

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5 TIPS FOR OVERCOMING A BORING SENSE OF STYLE

It sneaks up on all of us. You think you’re dressing like everyone else, then one day you look around and realize modern-day style has moved on without you while you remain stuck in the same old, boring fashion zone you’ve been for years, leaving you looking older than you need to and totally out of touch.  But how do you update your look without running out and buying a bunch of new clothes willy, nilly? If you’re stuck in a style rut, here are 5 easy tips to overcome a boring sense of style and help you get noticed for the delicious dynamo you are.

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1) TRAILBLAZE A PATH TO YOUR INNER STYLE

First, you must be open to change now, not 10 pounds from now. Finding clothes that fit the body you are currently sporting is important, and it helps improve self-esteem.

Next, do your research. Look around for inspiration. Do you know someone who always seems pulled together and looks great? Take note of what she has on and shop for something similar. Pinterest and Instagram are also great places to go for inspiration. 

If you feel out of touch and don’t want to end up looking like your 14-year-old daughter or 90-year-old grandmother, then hire a personal stylist to help show you which current styles would look best on your body type. If it is not in your budget, try asking a friend whose style you admire to go with you, or see what services are available at your local mall. Many stores offer free or low-cost personal shopping services.

Finally, another fun way to discover your style personality is to take a quiz.

2) SHOP SOMEWHERE NEW 

If you’re still shopping at the same stores, in the same departments, why not shake things up a bit? Step out of your comfort zone and try shopping somewhere new. Small boutique stores, such as Casual Affair Boutique,  tend to carry the most current styles and updated merchandise. They also carry small designer brands, so when you buy something, you’re more likely to look unique in your new outfit.

Chances are that even if you spend a bit more than you’re used to, you will find something you love and adore which means you’ll wear it many more times than just another cheap, boring item from the sale rack. I like to call this price per wear. If you take the amount you spend on an item and divide it by the number of times that you wear it, it can justify the original expense.

For example, you may find a funky faux fur vest at a local boutique. Try pairing it with some jeans to run around town in. This one piece may be a bit more expensive than what you would normally pay, but if you absolutely fall in love with it, you will wear it frequently and it will be worth the price.

Try to avoid buying sale items that end up hanging in your closet with the tags still on them. Sale tags can woo you into buying an item that you don’t necessarily love and adore and then never wear. It’s always better to hold off and find that next special piece, even if it is full price.

3) STOP TRYING TO BLEND IN 

This is the time to sizzle, not fade away. Why not shake things up and shoot some color into your wardrobe? This spring you’ll see lots of bright and cheery hues vying for your attention like Pantone’s 2018 color of the year, Ultra Violet. Color is an easy way to add some much-needed punch to your closet. Even if you love black, with just a dash of color from a new spring top, purse, shoes or scarf, you can go from dull to dashing in an instant.

However, buyer beware! Not all colors look good on all people. A good rule of thumb is that the color should not wash you out, or be so loud that it outshines you.  When in doubt, drape the item near your face and analyze how it complements your hair, eyes and complexion. Does it fade, stick out or flow? 

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4) DON’T FEAR LETTING GO

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome can be what to do with all those clothes stuffed in your closet. It’s time to pull up your bootstraps, roll up your sleeves and get rid of all those old, boring, tired and ill-fitting things. Most women have a closet full of clothes they don’t like or never wear. If you remove those items out of your closet, you’ll have a much better idea of what you really need to buy to keep your closet fresh and inspired!  There are lots of places looking for donated clothes!  One of our favorites is Two Fish Thrift Store.  Items that are donated are then turned around and sold with proceeds going to Five Loaves which services our local community.  Each dollar raised at Two Fish allows Five Loaves to purchase $7 worth of food.

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5) GET ON TRACK WITH A NEW HAIRSTYLE  

If you are still sporting a style that you’ve had for the last 15 years, it’s time for a change. Period. You can buy the latest clothes and accessories, but if your hairstyle is dated, you will look dated.

Your first step is to make an appointment with a reputable hair salon. Ask to book a consultation with one of the top stylists. It might take a few weeks to get a space, but it will be worth the wait. Don’t be shy about going for some color and a new cut or style. If you’ve been sporting a short look for a while, it might be time to let your hair down and grow it out! Or if your hair is dragging you down, just a few inches longer can make a huge difference.  While you're at it, you might as well a few pointers on new make up trends, too!  Get in touch with our Stylist Jenna Lundell and book a mini makeover!  You won't regret it!

With a little effort, you can rev up your wardrobe and start dressing with more flair and pizzazz. It’s about finding a style that reflects the inner you. Dress like you are a force to be reckoned with and see if you’re not feeling bolder and more stylish each day. Have fun!

PROM 2018 - Tuxes and Ties

Guys are you ready for PROM?  We talked to Cathy Rivard, owner of Apple Blossom Events in downtown New Richmond for the hottest tux color trends and accessories for 2018!

 "Maroon and Blue tuxes are definitely a statement this year.  The Ike Behar line is really trending right now." States Cathy.

"Maroon and Blue tuxes are definitely a statement this year.  The Ike Behar line is really trending right now." States Cathy.

 Cathy also says "Another hot trend is the  'Black Out' look!  Very sliming for all body types!"    

Cathy also says "Another hot trend is the  'Black Out' look!  Very sliming for all body types!"    

 "Blue tuxes are definitely a statement this year.  Go Ultra Slim or Indigo and stand out from the crowd!"

"Blue tuxes are definitely a statement this year.  Go Ultra Slim or Indigo and stand out from the crowd!"

Don't forget the extras!  Accessorize with the latest in floral print or polka dot ties. Prom is the best time to express yourself with confidence and be uniquely you!

"What makes us unique is personal attention to detail.  Savvi, Du Bois and Jim's Formal Wear are just a few of the high end brands we carry.  We care about what you like to wear and take time to help you pick out that perfect tux and accessories to match. We have several samples on display for you to view and sample sizes to try on.  Making you look good is what we do best!!" 

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 Now that we have your outfit picked out, don’t forget about those corsages for your gals.  The Apple Blossom Event team will help you select the perfect flower and color to make your PROM  look complete.  "We love designing with orchids and Ranunculus for that upscale look."  Remember...girls love “bling” so surprise her with a special keepsake bracelet to wear, or simply add a little “bling” touch to make her corsage sparkle.  Looking for a more trendy look in corsages, let us design an arm band style or even an ankle corsage! 

Remember this is your PROM and we want you to  have fun and ROCK IT!!!  For more information, Check her out on Facebook for our special PROM hours starting March 13th!   https://www.facebook.com/ABEvents715/

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Cathy Rivard is the owner of Apple Blossom Events.   She and her team at specialize in planning and managing high-end, original events that are entirely tailored to every client’s imagination. Whether you desire an intimate wedding on a private beach, or an out-of-this-world product launch with talented entertainment, our team will deliver beyond all expectations.  For more information, contact Cathy at:  crblossom@me.com

 

NPDP Senior - Jimmy Brandvold

Today we turn the spotlight on St. Croix Central High School Senior Jimmy Brandvold.  Hear all about his experience and see some amazing images from his custom designed senior album!

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We believe in telling the Senior Story.  And there's no better way that with the NPDP Senior Album!  "We love the book you put together for Jimmy-something for him to look back on!" said Lisa, Jimmy's mom.  "You were able to capture Jimmy so well!  His smile, his person!  His love of football and wrestling as well as his love of life!"  I mean when you win the State Championship for football - you definitely want to highlight it-Right??!?!

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Jimmy's story is a little unique.  Jimmy had already had his senior portraits done by another photographer but after seeing our sports images and our album, he and his parent knew they wanted something more.

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"Thank you for welcoming us with all his wardrobe changes and taking the trip out to the CSS football field.  You do a phenomenal job!"  

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"It was a lot of fun and I will highly recommend you to all of my friends!  As Jimmy put it 'It was a fun ride!'"  Fun ride indeed!  Thank for letting us tell your story, Jimmy!

Why Hire a Certified Professional Photographer?

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These days, anyone can buy a camera or even a cell phone and take some pictures, but a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) shows clients that they are a true professional in the field of photography.

Would you use a first-year resident doctor to save a few dollars on an operation? Of course not!  When things matter, you've only got one shot. And there's no substitute for experience.  Certification shows that your photographer took the time to learn how you perform to a higher standard. Certification makes it a critical difference!  

Getting certified isn’t an easy process, either. With a failure rate of over 70%, a CPP candidate has to pass a rigorous exam and portfolio review of compulsory and client work. The process is designed to ensure that the photographer has a working knowledge of the technical and creative aspects of photography including posing, studio lighting, composition, and post-production. It takes most photographers several years of hard work to obtain this certification and many never complete it.

Here are just a few benefit from choosing a Certified Professional Photographer:


Consistency. CPPs know how to achieve great results—every time. You get a strong collection of images that tell your story, not a few lucky snapshots, and you will work with someone who knows how to produce a quality image under any circumstances. 
 
Technical Skills. CPPs are more than picture takers. They are students of art, lighting, posing, fashion and even interior design. They combine these elements to create images that fit your unique style and become works of art you will treasure for generations. 
 
Unique Artistry. CPPs have the skills to create unique, customized works of art—not cookie-cutter pictures. They follow an artistic vision. It’s your story captured as a collection of art.
 
Professionalism. When you hire a CPP, you know you're getting someone who is willing to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible images. They are business owners who thrive on customer service and satisfaction, and they continuously aim to produce products that exceed your—and their—best expectations. These images are keepsakes whose stories you'll tell time and time again and treasure forever. 
 
Just about anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But when life's biggest moments are unfolding and there's just one chance to capture that perfect memory, don't risk it. Entrust your photography needs to a Certified Professional Photographer and see the difference for yourself.

Looking for a Certified Professional Photographer in your area?  Go to Professional Photographers of America and make sure you click on the 'Show only Certified Professional Photographers (CPP).'

I Performed at the Super Bowl Half Time Show!

Not everyone gets their 15 minutes of Fame' but in the case of Class of 2017 Senior Model Gabbie Vogel...she got to dance with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl half time show!  

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About two months ago she received a message from one of the captains on her University of St. Thomas dance team saying that the team had been chosen to perform in the halftime for the Super Bowl!  "Watching previous shows, I figured I'd be holding a light and walking around." said Gabbie.  Then she learned that she would be part of a choreographed dance and be on the actual field!  "Being so close to JT and able to seen on TV was definitely a shock!"  After signing confidentially agreements, the team got started with a strict rehearsal schedule that included 5+ hour long practices that were held almost every other day from the end of January until the Friday before the show.  "For me, it was a no brainer, I would miss any class necessary for this once in a lifetime opportunity!" said Gabbie.  

 Ariel shot during the half time performance.

Ariel shot during the half time performance.

Gabbie and the University of St. Thomas Dance team were joined by other high school teams from the area including the University of Minnesota’s Premier team and marching band and many more.

 The University of St. Thomas Dance Team.

The University of St. Thomas Dance Team.

"Practices were long and a lot of stopping and going.  We were given headsets for the week leading up to the show where KP, one of the main people who ran the show, would speak in our ears telling us when we could take a break or when we were needed to be down on the floor practicing.  We had practice at the Kennedy High School, the state fairgrounds, and at the stadium multiple times.  In all, Gabbie guesses she spent over 50 hours practicing for the big day.  The week leading up to the show we had Justin Timberlake, along with his choreographer, producer and director of the show present."  Gabbie said that one of the first things that Justin said to the group was how honored we was to be able to perform on the field with them.  He ended his pep talk with 'Let's go kick some ass!'  "The last few practices, his back up dancers also showed up and on his birthday his family came including his adorable son. The practices the week of the show (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) were full dress rehearsals, meaning I got to experience the halftime show about 10 times before the real thing!  Those were the best practices because JT is obviously talented, but his dancers are also incredible and as a dancer myself, I tended to 'fangirl' over them almost more than I did over Justin!"  

"Stepping out onto that field on game day was INSANE!  Looking around I could see the packed stadium of people, and if that wasn’t enough KP saying in our ears that we had 115 million viewers really sent thrills of adrenaline and excitement through us all."

Gabbie stated that is was incredible to see how humble JT and his dancers were.  "He is funny and truly a genuine person...asking up how we were doing and even buying us hot chocolate and s'mores after practice!"  She also said that his dancers were amazing!  Many had worked with Brittney Spears or Nicki Minaj.

 Gabbie, in yellow, just steps away from half time superstar Justin Timberlake.

Gabbie, in yellow, just steps away from half time superstar Justin Timberlake.

"Overall it was an amazing experience I wish I could have every year, I even got to keep my yellow jean jacket they gave me. I will never forget being a part of something so huge and my team and I still feel so honored to be able to be a part of it!"

 Gabbie - NPDP Senior Model - Class of 2016

Gabbie - NPDP Senior Model - Class of 2016

Wow!  What an amazing experience!  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Gabbie!  We are so happy you got to be a part of this amazing event! 

Fashion Trend - West Dressed

I don't know if I am noticing this trend more since I came back from Nashville or if it's been happening for a while but this wild Southwest mixed with Boho look is really hot right now!

Don't worry if you don't own a pair of cowboy boots.  This look isn't about being a 'Country Girl!'  Bootie shoes, lace up boots, 'peek a toe' shoes are all part of this collection.  Flow-y fabrics, lace and layered jewelry and scarves are also a great way to get this look.  And don't forget the hat!  

I think what I love most about this trend is that it's perfect for all body types and ages!  And, you can take this look to a more urban fashion look by adding fur!

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So where do you find some of these fun looks?  Forever 21 has a great selection of jewelry at prices that make it easy to layer, layer, layer!  Francesca's also has great little booties and fun dresses to help you create these looks.  And don't forget The Gap - the original home of denim!

Now you've got the knowledge to be up to date on this fashion trend so take this look by the reins and make it your own!