Brainerd Photographer – My Senior Experience

I’ve talked before about the great experience I had with my senior photographer.  I grew up in a small town, so I had known him all my life, and he was only a few years older than me.   I have written about the fact that I never really felt like I could smile.  I don’t remember specific anxiety about it, but I distinctly remember being pleasantly surprised when my proofs came back and I was happy with them and how my smile looked.  I am a child of the 80’s (yes I’m old), and at that point the majority of senior pictures were in a studio in front of some lame bookcase backdrop, and most of them looked the same.  My experience, however, was significantly different.  Jay (that was my photographer’s name) did some of those indoor studio shots, too, but the backdrops were better, and then we went to several different outdoor locations to shoot as well.  I think I had four or five different outfits, and he made the entire experience comfortable and enjoyable.  It obviously must have been, because 30 plus years later (yep, I said I was old), I am still talking about it.  In fact, I enjoyed working with him so much that he was also our wedding photographer when my husband and I got married.  That positive and personal experience with Jay is what drives my passion for developing a relationship with my clients and providing the best senior experience possible.

I understand that most of us are a bit insecure about having our photos taken, so isn’t it nice to know that you’ve got someone on the other side of the camera who wants to get to know who you really are, and will do everything in their power to present you in the best light, in the way that everyone else sees you?  Not necessarily in the critical way you see yourself?  Man, speaking of that…the other day I went on a shopping trip because I was in desperate need of some new clothes.  So, off I went, determined to find something new to make me feel good and spunky again.  Well, that whole idea went south as soon as I stepped into the dressing room at the department store.  When was the last time you stood in front of the mirror in the harsh light of the department store dressing room half clothed?  Well, I did it the other day, and I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t a pleasant experience!  Now I work out regularly and try to watch what I eat, but man, it was still a “come to Jesus” moment for me.  Fortunately, I don’t live my life half clothed under the harsh lights of a department store dressing room, but if I did, I would need someone alongside me to peel me off the ceiling from that scary experience!  That, my friends, is what I try to do for you as your photographer!  I think we all view ourselves as half clothed under those harsh lights, and we need someone to come along who sees the real us, and can show us what we really look like under soft natural light with all our clothes on…let me tell you, it’s a very different, and much more pleasant experience!

 

Until next time…

Deb

P.S…and if you’re going shopping, be sure to bring a friend along for moral support!

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Brainerd Photographer – Planning for your Photo Session

If you’ve ever talked to me about my photography or spent much time on my website, you know that providing an “experience” is very important to me. I know the idea of providing an experience has become a bit of a catch phrase in the marketing world – don’t we all like doing business with people we know, like and trust? Sure we do – it makes perfect sense, and I guess to me, that’s just common sense! With regard to my photography business, my goal is to take experience a little further. Photography is such a personal thing – it’s just me and my camera with you, in what, for most people is a pretty vulnerable position. Some people like having their picture taken, but most are a bit self conscious. I completely understand that and don’t take those fears and concerns lightly. I want to make you feel at home in front of my camera, and know that I will do everything in my power to have you feeling comfortable during the process so you walk away feeling confident and excited to see the images that I’ve captured.

I want your session to be reflection of you, so we’ll put a plan together to make that happen before I ever pick up the camera. We’ll do this during your pre-session consultation. This is when we’ll meet in my studio to get to know each other a bit and plan out your session. I am specifically referring to my process with seniors here, but other than business headshots, I prefer to meet with all clients ahead of time for a consultation. I like to know what your goals are for the session, what you’re planning to do with the photos, who you are, what you’re into, what your concerns are, what you’re excited about. I want to tell your story through images, and capture you in a way that is authentic and true to the person you are at this moment in time. If I don’t have the opportunity to meet you until a few minutes before your session, we’ll still capture some great images, but they may not really tell the story of who you are, and I want you to look back at your photos when you’re my age (which is pretty old!), and remember fondly where we went, what we did, and some funny story that happened along the way. That is the authentic experience I want for you!

When it comes to senior photos, or any photos for that matter, deciding what to wear can often be an extremely frustrating process. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work with someone to give you honest advice and help you find the outfits that look great and help you feel “like you”? I’ve been working with Jennifer and her team at Fashion Affection Boutique in Baxter for the past year with my senior model team, and they have done a fantastic job finding clothes to match the style and personality of each model. We will be working together again this year for my model program, and Jennifer has graciously agreed to provide some wardrobe guidance to those of you who might need it when planning your sessions. If this is something you’d be interested in, just let me know when we schedule your session, and we’ll arrange a time for you to stop by Fashion Affection and get the help you need. Having clothing that makes you feel good and looks good on you is so important! Thanks to Jennifer and her team at Fashion Affection for helping us make your senior experience just a little bit better!

I recently did a photo shoot with the ladies of FAB. They are one fun loving bunch of ladies, and I promise they’ll take great care of you when you visit their store!

Until next time…stay Modern. Authentic. You.
Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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. 🙂

 

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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.
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Meet Caitlin – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

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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.

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Meet Jaelyn – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

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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!

 

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Meet Jillian – Brainerd High School 2017 Senior

160522_PB Model Shoot_0260-2-Edit.jpgWhen asked what she likes to do in her spare time, Jillian said “play piano”.   It is her happy place, a way to decompress and get lost in the moment. When asked to list three things she couldn’t live without, music made the list, right after her family and phone, of course.  🙂  Jillian also plays the flute, but while music feeds her soul, this girl is also a hard core athlete as the pitcher for her high school softball team, and a straight A student with goals of pursuing a career in the medical field.  She seems a little shy when you first get to know her, but take a little time to get to know this young lady, and you’ll find an articulate, well-rounded young woman destined for success.  Thanks for joining the model team, Jillian!  I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!

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One of my favorite senior session venues in the Brainerd Lakes Area…Paul Bunyan Land!

Deb Mitzel Photography 2017 Model Team on location at Paul Bunyan Land
Deb Mitzel Photography 2017 Model Team on location at Paul Bunyan Land

There are so many great places in the Brainerd Lakes Area to photograph seniors, but one of my favorites has to be Paul Bunyan Land.  Yes, I am talking about the amusement park, but there is so much more to it than that.  Since I am always on the lookout for fun locations to take photos, I contacted them a couple of summers ago to see if I could possibly bring some clients out for a photo session.  Lois and her whole family were extremely accommodating and welcoming.  The Rademacher family owns and operates the park, and it is obvious from visiting with them that it is a labor of love.  They take great pride and pleasure in seeing their guests enjoy and appreciate the park.   I have been out there several times, and see something new and different each time I go.  And you don’t have to have kids with you to appreciate it.  You could wander for hours in The Pioneer Village alone.  The artifacts and antiques they’ve collected over the years are incredible to see and appreciate.This Old Farm-2558.jpg This Old Farm-2524.jpg

Vintage fire trucks remind us of those who protect and serve.
Vintage fire trucks remind us of those who protect and serve.
The main street boardwalk provides the perfect backdrop for classic photos.
The main street boardwalk provides the perfect backdrop for classic photos.

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Vintage gas pumps and antique cars take you back in time.
Vintage gas pumps and antique cars take you back in time.

The old buildings and antiques have such great character, colors, and textures – it’s a photographer’s dream for backdrops and props.   I appreciate how welcoming they’ve been to me, and would really encourage you to take a trip out there this summer.  If you haven’t been there in a while, you’ll be surprised at all the things to do and see.  From amusement park rides like the Tilt a Whirl, Frog Hopper, and the Ferris Wheel to a walk down the streets of The Pioneer Village, where you can imagine what life was like as a dentist, banker, or photographer in the pioneer days, there is something for everyone.  Visit their website at www.paulbunyanland.com if you want to plan ahead, and add Paul Bunyan Land to your To Do List for this summer.  You won’t be disappointed!

The carousel provided a fun backdrop for our model shoot at the park.
The carousel provided a fun backdrop for our model shoot at the park.

 

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