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 facebook.com/debmitzelphotography or dmitzphoto on Instagram.

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

 

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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.

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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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