Brainerd Photographer – Leading a Double Life of Business and Photography

In the past couple of years, I have gotten to know a lot of new people through my photography business, people that I hadn’t had the opportunity to cross paths with in my twenty years in the community previously.  It has been such a fantastic experience, and it reminds me that in some ways, I lead a sort of double life.  My husband and I have lived in the Brainerd, MN area since the mid-90’s – he was transferred here with his company and I quickly landed in the automotive industry, which is what I had been doing prior to our move.  I have met so many great people over the years through my business connections – my involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, the Blandin Leadership Program, and a variety of non-profit organizations.  Because I have been so involved in the business community, I actually started to believe that I knew a lot of people in the community at large.  I have since found out how many people I don’t know.  It’s amazing how many people you come to know when you start hanging out in different circles.  Try hanging out at a football game or a gymnastics meet – there’s a whole different crowd!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still know a ton of people at those activities, but there are so many more that I’m just getting to know, and I’m loving it.

Continue Reading

A little look back, and a big look forward…

Oh. My. Goodness.  I have been soooo bad at keeping up on my blog!  When I looked back and saw that my last post was in July, I could hardly believe it, but indeed, that was the last time.  As many of you know, I have a full time career outside of photography, so I am in this business because I absolutely love it and it gives me incredible energy!  However, much to my surprise, I have discovered that there are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes I guess I just need to sleep!  As a result, when something has to give, my blogging is the thing that seems to fall to the bottom of the pile.

Continue Reading

My, how things have changed!

Deb Mitzel Photography 2017 Senior
Richelle’s family has strong connections to the downtown Brainerd area, and 7th and Laurel in particular, so it was fitting that we capture some photos in this special place.

“Boy, grad pictures sure have changed since I had mine taken!” I hear that all the time from parents when I sit down with them and their senior at their Pre-session Senior Consultation. During this visit, I ask their senior what their vision is for the session.  Do they have a particular location in mind?  What are they into…cars, sports, music, computers?  Do they want to incorporate any of those interests into their senior photos?  Are they a Pinterest user?  Would they like me to create and share a board with them to pass ideas back and forth that will help me see the types of photos they like?  To me, these are all things that help me get to know my seniors, and ultimately help me create the best possible experience for them.  As I see it, this may the only time in their life that they are the center of attention at a photo shoot.  For some it’s no big deal, but for others, it’s a really big deal and they want it to be fabulous.   Sure, many of my seniors will go on to get married, but even on that big day, the focus will no longer be on just them, they’ll have to share it with a new spouse.  I like to make sure my seniors have an awesome experience that they will be reminded of every time they look at their photos.

On the flip side, many parents tell me they went in to the photographer’s studio, took a couple of shots against a backdrop, and that was it!  If they happened to be one of the lucky ones, they got to do one outdoor photo outside the photographer’s studio.  What a shame – for them, it’s not a positive experience they remember every time they look at their senior pictures.  I’ve written about it before, but I was very fortunate to have a fantastic senior photographer – one who made me feel special, took me to multiple locations,  and let me have a variety of outfits, which created a really great and positive experience for me.  That has stuck with me after all these years, and is probably why I feel so passionately about providing a fun, personalized experience for the seniors I photograph.

When you work with me, you need to know that I will encourage your creativity and ideas, but if you just want great photos and a fun experience without input on all the details, rest assured that I have plenty of great locations and ideas, and you will walk away with great photos and a fun experience, whether you personally chose all the details or not.  Stay tuned to my Instagram and Facebook feeds to see some of the fun sessions I’ve had that incorporate the senior’s unique personality into the session, as well as some of my favorite local locations.

You can follow me on Facebook at or dmitzphoto on Instagram.

Deb Mitzel Photography 2017 Senior
Caitlin loves everything outdoors, so doing her session outdoors in her element made perfect sense.


Continue Reading

Meet Richelle – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160615_untitled_0059-Edit.jpgThis beautiful young woman places a high value on family and friends, and it is evident by the way she interacts with them.  Respectful and even a bit reserved, you can tell that she thinks before she speaks to ensure that others’ feelings are considered, traits that will serve her well long after high school.  Richelle is involved in basketball and softball at Brainerd High School, and loves wakeboarding and hanging out with her friends.  Welcome to the Deb Mitzel Photography Model Team, Richelle!  We’re going to have some fun this year.

160615_untitled_0188-Edit.jpg 160615_untitled_0087-Edit.jpg

Continue Reading

Meet Sydney – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0086-Edit.jpgSpend just a couple of minutes with this beautiful young lady and you will get a sense of how important family is to her, which speaks to her kind and generous heart.  She is an ambitious young woman, working two jobs, but also finding time to spend with her friends, family, and her precious pups, which mean the world to her.  After high school, she plans to attend college in Colorado, which is one of her favorite places.  Thank you for being a part of the Deb Mitzel Photography Model Team, Sydney!


160522_PB Model Shoot_0384.jpg

Continue Reading

Meet Sam – Pequot Lakes 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0441.jpgFrom the first contact I had with Sam, I could tell she was an articulate, “wise beyond her years” kind of girl, and I am having so much fun getting to know her.  She’s involved in volleyball and basketball at Pequot Lakes High School, and recently earned her black belt in taekwondo!  She’s a total sweetheart, but I wouldn’t recommend messing with her, because I’m pretty sure she could take you out if she had to. 😉  Thanks for being a part of my senior model team, Sam!  I’m looking forward to the fun we’re going to have over the next year!

160522_PB Model Shoot_0445.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0427.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0178-2-Edit.jpg

Continue Reading

Meet Molly – Pequot Lakes 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0207-2-Edit-2.jpgGive her a day of laying by the pool in Maui, Hawaii, and this girl will be in heaven.  With her sun kissed blonde locks and sweet personality, this young lady is quietly charming.  She plays volleyball and basketball for Pequot Lakes High School, and has dreams of becoming a pediatric dentist someday.  I am so glad you are a part of my model team, Molly, and I have no doubt that you can do anything you put your mind to!  Let’s have some fun this year. 🙂


160522_PB Model Shoot_0201-2-Edit.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0406-Edit.jpg

Molly, and her friend, Sam, who is also a member of my model team.
Molly, and her friend, Sam, who is also a member of my model team.
Continue Reading

Meet Caitlin – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0238-Edit.jpg

Great things come in small packages.  This young lady has such a wide range of talents, and interests,  making it tough to put  her into any sort of a box.  And I think that’s probably just the way she likes it!  Caitlin seems a little quiet when you first meet her, but don’t mistake that for a girl who is shy or doesn’t know what she wants.  This gal is a captain of her high school gymnastics team and loves to hunt and fish in her spare time, but she can still get girly with the best of them!  I love that!  Ask her about muskie fishing and her eyes will light up like a Christmas tree. So glad to have you in my model program, Caitlin!  I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

160522_PB Model Shoot_0317-2.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0291-2.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0196.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0178-Edit.jpg

Continue Reading

Meet Hanna – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0364-Edit.jpgWith a flair for fashion, and an engaging personality that will draw you right in, Hanna has got it going on!  When I first talked with Hanna and her mom about the model program, Hanna’s enthusiasm and passion bubbled right up, and I couldn’t wait to work with her.  She’s got dreams of being a clothing designer someday, but for now, she’s a very active high school student who loves ice cream, spending time with her friends, and can’t imagine what life would be like without her phone.  Thanks for being a part of my model team, Hanna!  I’m so excited to have you here.

160522_PB Model Shoot_0147-2.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0055-Edit.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0075.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0147.jpg

Continue Reading

Meet Jaelyn – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0288-Edit.jpg
Jaelyn 2017 Brainerd High School Senior


Can you say firecracker?  I’ve known Jaelyn and her family since she was a little girl, and I just love the attitude and personality she brings to everything she does!  There is never a dull moment when she gets going, so the fact that she loves to sleep, and her bed is her favorite place makes complete sense.  She’s involved in track, and is a captain on her high school gymnastics team, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for other interests, but she does love hanging out with friends and reading a good book when she can.  Jaelyn is looking forward to her senior year gymnastics and track seasons.  I know she’s going to have a great year, and I look forward to watching her grow, and enjoying all the fun and energy she is going to bring to the model team.  Thanks for being a part of my model team, Jaelyn!  It’s going to be an awesome year!


160522_PB Model Shoot_0369-2-Edit.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0355-2-Edit.jpg 160522_PB Model Shoot_0378-Edit.jpg

Continue Reading