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.

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.

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!

Your Story. Your Album.

So it's your Senior year!  You want this year to be big.  Epic!  These will be the "glory days" you look back at in 20 years and think, Remember when...  You need to make this awesome and your Senior pictures are going to document everything unique about YOU!

The NPDP Senior Album tells the sort of you.  Who you are now.  How do you want to be remembered in high school?  Every page says something important about you.  Twenty pages telling your story; the chapters of your Senior year bound into the ultimate keepsake.

Our signature album is custom designed by our full time graphic designer to include all your favorite images, favorite colors and show your lifestyle!  No two albums are ever the same!

At NPDP, we believe in the importance of the Senior Album so thoroughly, we include the album with every session!  You no longer have to 'choose your favorite.'  You get to keep them all in an album designed just for you!    

How to Plan Your Perfect Graduation Party

Nowadays, you practically need to hire an event planner for a Graduation party!  They certainlyhave become ‘events’ rather than a social get-together in the garage!  As a high school senior, this big bash is all about you and your accomplishments so let’s celebrate

Location!  Location!  Location!

You have two choices on where to have your party- home or at a restaurant.  There are reasons and advantages to both.  If you are looking for a cozy gathering for family & friends, then having your party at home is your best bet!  This is the perfect chance for you to serve your mom’s favorite mac and cheese or your aunt’s favorite carrot cake!  If you are looking for something a little different, then a restaurant might be the perfect change!  With a list of possible food choices, several local restaurants that can accommodate large gatherings!  And mom and dad don’t have to stress out with all the ‘home projects!’


Choose a theme or color scheme.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be your school colors.  I love this ‘Kate Spade’ inspired combo.  Your graduation party would not be complete without all those embarrassing photos of you!  But there are creative ways of showing your photos that also make great centerpieces!  Ikea lanterns are a bargain at $7.99 and easily fit a 4x6 photo.  Insert a flameless candle and watch your images glow and dusk!  Don’t forget to include a sign in board or sign.  It’s always great for guests to give you ‘life lessons!’  You never know when you are going to need it!  Be sure to show your graduation images!  Your album, wall art and gift prints are a great way to show everyone your ‘senior look!’

Invite Etiquette

Finally, but probably most important…your invitations!  Your invitations say a lot about who you are so make sure they reflect your personality and show off lots of images!  Also, be sure to mail your invites six weeks prior to your event.  (eight weeks are recommended if your event falls on a holiday such as Memorial Day or 4th of July)  This will give family and friends plenty of time to plan ahead!  And remember, for every invitation you mail out, people will send you a check so don’t be stingy on the invites!  After all, collage is expensive!  Happy Celebrating!


Senior Fashion Trends from Express

Want to know what to wear for your senior session?  We interviewed Jen Tessier, Brand Manager at Express in Woodbury to hear all about the new senior fashion trends for the Class of 2018!

For the girls:  Off the shoulder tops and Cold shoulder tops are the hottest trend for the upcoming seasons! Weather you are pairing them with high rise jeans or a basic ankle dress pant, these tops are hot. Ankle pants are worn everywhere, from running errands to the office. Ankle jean leggings with a cotton top for a more casual look, and Ankle Columnist pants with a blousy top for a more polished look. Pair them with pumps, flats, or a cute bootie to finish the outfit. Layering is a great way to add just a little extra to any outfit! Lace bralettes are the accessory becoming a trend to wear under any great top. A basic top can always be topped off with a jacket to give any outfit a completely different look. 

For the guys:  Express has always been known for the top selling 1MX shirt. Now Express introduces a new great shirt for men, the Performance Stretch Easy Care shirt can be dressed up or worn casually. It has that sleek look keeping it professional and great patterns to take that look a little more casual. Whether you are looking for a casual look of denim or chinos, or a great suit, the fashion forward skinny pant is everywhere. Express has a great selection of cotton suits as well as the classic wool blend suit. The suits come in the 3 different fits from skinny to modern, and a great range of colors.

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Jen Tessier, Brand Manager at Express-Woodbury, has worked for Express for 20 years.  She has recently been promoted to Store Manager at the Maplewood Mall location and will take on her new role in May so be sure to stop in and say "Hi!."  Click here to view more outfits from Express.

8 Movies Every Senior Should See Before Graduation

Into the Wild - Based on a true story.  Recent HS grad Charles is on track for a great college but gets rid of almost everything and travels to Alaska for adventure, experience new things and take risks.   Just don’t leave without telling your parents, that’s not cool!

Toy Story 3 - Might seem like a kid’s movie but trust me…all graduating seniors should watch it!  In this movie, we watch the toys try to figure out their life without Andy after he has outgrown his toys.  It’s so much more emotional than it should be and it will make you feel all the feels as you realize what you’re leaving behind.

Grease - All of the bad messages aside, Grease is a great movie for seniors to watch because it’s about a group of friends going through their last year together.  It will remind you to tell your crush how your feel while you still have the chance - just don’t change yourself for him/her!

Dead Poets Society - It’s the story of a poetry teacher who inspires his class.  While heavy at times, it’s also pretty inspirational and motivational.  It will make you laugh and cry and rethink everything.

The Breakfast Club - If you don’t know what this movie is about, I genuinely feel sorry for you.  Five students who are an unlikely group stuck in Saturday detention.  What could possibly happen?

Billy Madison - Is this a masterpiece?  Not even close but a guy who has to go through all of elementary, middle and high school to prove himself will remind you that if you ever want to get anywhere, you can’t slack off!

Clueless - While this movie doesn’t focus on graduation, it does focus on relationships and friendships - which isn’t that what all seniors are really dealing with?  

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - This movie seems like it’s just about some seniors cutting class but there’s a bigger session here.  It will really make you think about what you want to do after graduation and how you;re going to meet everyone’s expectations.  It will also make you smile!

Adventure land - this movie isn’t exactly about hs seniors but it’s worth watching.  James, a collage grad who plans to travel abroad for a summer but when his plans fall through he has to get a job at Adventureland.  It’s a great comedy that will remind you that even if your plans after high school don’t go the way you want, everything will work out in the end.

Education Rocks!

Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

Having just got back from eight days in Vegas at WPPI, the NPDP staff is pumped for our 'Class of 2018' Season!  Nate, Teresa & Allie took classes on lighting, posing, new senior portrait ideas, modeling, headshots, glamour photography,  unleashing your creativity and walked the trade show floor to look at new products!  "Keeping up with the latest trends is a MUST for our business!" states Teresa Peterson, Event Coordinator.  "High School seniors want what's hot NOW not yesterdays news.  It's important that we educate ourselves on how to make them look and feel fabulous as well as investing in lighting, cameras and equipment so that we can create edgy looks, fashion looks and boho looks to satisfy every seniors' personality!"

Nate checking out the latest in Profoto lighting.


They even spent a day in the desert with other photographers on a photo adventure!  "Working with other photographers on creative projects like this stretch my creativity and imagination."  said Nate Peterson, Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer.  "It allows me to play and create something different!"

Nate in 'The Valley Of Fire,' Las Vegas, NV


Now back at the studio, the team is primed and ready for our senior model photo shoots!  Can't wait to create some epic images for the Class of 2018!  Who's first?  Stay tuned!


Kate's Senior Experience | Hudson Senior Photographer

Hudson Senior, Kate's fall session was filled with laughs during hair and makeup, a ton of fun outfit changes in the studio and some incredible light during her outdoor shoot. Nate was so excited about Kate's images, that he decided to enter them into the Twin Cities Senior Photographer of the Year competition. And won! (More on that later!) To read all about Kate's session and see a few of her award-winning images, continue scrolling!

From Kate's mom, Kris: "Our entire session with NPDP was perfect and worth the investment. Nate is professional, yet fun and the whole experience was stress-free."

"Our daughter loved the pampering by the hair/makeup stylist and we able to relax and enjoy every minute." We have a great memory of her senior session - both of us had a blast!"

"The album takes our - and everyone who see it - breath away! Exceptional quality and attention to detail. So glad this was part of the experience, I know I will enjoy it for years to come! Kelly was also awesome to work with! As was Teresa - they all cared about our experience!"

"Don't go anywhere else! What NPDP offers is unique to this area and you won't find a better quality experience. I wish I had known about NPDP for our older son and it is too late to capture that moment for him. I can't express how happy the photos of my girl make me! :)"