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.

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!



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.



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.


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.


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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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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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!

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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:


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!


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??!?!


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.


"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!"  


"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?


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!  


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! 

Collage Wall Art - An NPDP Must!

Master Photographer Nate Peterson is known for taking dramatic, quality portraits which often makes it difficult when choosing wall art.  Our custom collage creations are the perfect solution!


We love to take several images and layer them together to create a unique art piece that showcases different poses and expressions.


Our custom collages are a big hit with seniors!  Most of our seniors get at least one collage sometimes more depending on their hobbies, sports or musical talents.


NPDP Graphic Designer, Allie Wrich takes Nate's images and adds just that special touch of graphics, overlays and text to make the final collage a work of art!


Collages from NPDP come as framed portraits, gallery wrapped canvas and even metal prints.  All of these products come ready to for you to take home and instantly hang on your walls.  After all, why wait to start enjoying your custom artwork!


Winter Vacation Hotspots!

Wondering where to take that family vacation?  Let the Travel Agent Jessi Mishler at Travel Leaders share her top picks for sun & surf! 


Travel agents at Travel Leaders Travel Now have signed on as Ambassadors for the “One Caribbean Family” Campaign. Our intention is to share accurate information and updates about the Caribbean and help travelers make decisions about their fall and winter travel plans.  

Approximately 70 percent of the Caribbean was not impacted by the recent hurricanes. The Caribbean is extremely popular among our travelers, as it offers a warm, sunny escape to our cold winters. In addition to an opportunity to enjoy fun in the sun, visiting the unaffected areas in the Caribbean also helps to boost the economy of the entire region; which is a mutually beneficial way to support the tourism industry that the Caribbean depends on.  Travel Leaders is participating in this education and awareness campaign in conjunction with the Caribbean tourism industry to spread the word that most of the Caribbean is open for business and waiting to welcome visitors with open arms.

The hurricane season officially wrapped up November 30, 2017 after an active season of 17 named storms and 6 major hurricanes.  It was an unusual year, with triple the average amount of hurricanes, but most of the damaged hotels and cruise ports have been quick to recover.  Travelers that planned to visit the Caribbean were especially interested in following the storms paths, and may have even learned about some islands that they hadn’t heard of before to add to their travel wish list. Some people used to confuse the island of Dominica with the Dominican Republic, and also Antigua for Anguilla.  But if you studied the storms, you can probably now name several more islands than before.  Maybe you also learned about the “ABC Islands” of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, that are below the hurricane belt.

We are booking all of our usual winter hotspots; Jamaica, the Dominican, Aruba, St. Lucia, Barbados, Caribbean Cruises and of course, all over Mexico as well. There is plenty of warm sun and sand for everyone. Our expert agents look forward to advising you on the best Caribbean vacation to fit your travel expectations!


Jessi Mishler is an 'All Inclusive Travel and Gluten Free Specialist.'  Her destination specialties include the Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Punta Cana and the rest of the Caribbean.  To learn more about vacations with Travel Leaders contact Jessi here.