My Art Projects – Bemidji Photographer

I love doing hair and makeup, but I normally hire it out to my amazing hair and makeup artist Kaalene for photo shoots.  That way I can focus my efforts on the photography.  But on the rare occasion that she’s unavailable,  I get to do both.  All the images below are from projects I have done the hair and makeup for.  I even sewed and designed some of the outfits.

This first image below was from a photo shoot I did for a beautiful young lady that was going into modeling.  She needed images for her portfolio and a rep card.  Modeling agencies prefer very simple makeup for rep cards so they can really see what the model looks like.  So for this shoot we kept it a little more subtle.  Isn’t she gorgeous?

crimped hair model rep card gray scarf

Here’s a fun one of my beautiful friend Emily!


The next image came from a photo shoot I had been wanting to do for years!  Originally I wanted to do the shoot with a white horse and have my model in a white dress.  Since we were not able to find a white horse we changed the look to what you see below.  I love how they turned out!


The next image was inspired by one of my favorite photographers, Sue Bryce.  I love how she incorporates flowers and fabrics into her photos.  I wanted to try it out with my own twist and style.  My beautiful friend Carmita was sweet enough to model with her cute pregnant belly for me.  I kept her hair and makeup more subtle to keep it earthy.


Since winter is my “slow” season, I actually end up trying to do a lot of personal projects then.  The one below was taken on a VERY cold day.  We would go out for 5-10 minutes and then head back in to try to warm up.  My model did such a wonderful job!  KD Floral and Gardens even let us use this beautiful ornament from her shop!


The next three images were inspired by all the flowering trees this spring in Bemidji.  I was itching to get out and take photos with them.  Raechel from KD Floral was sweet enough to donate beautiful floral arrangements to my project.  That girl is so creative and talented!  I even convinced her to model for the first image below.  Quite a beauty!



Isn’t the head piece below amazing?!  Another creation from Raechel.  I went for a fun and dramatic look with the hair and makeup for this one.  My model had the thickest hair!  It was so fun to play with!


Fun Model Shoot in Vegas – Destination Photographer

During the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas, I had the privilege of meeting the beautiful Klarissa.  We had connected before my trip and decided to meet up and have some fun with our own little shoot.  Her hair dresser did up her hair and makeup for the session, and then she even decided to join us for modeling.  It was perfect, too, because I had two other photographer friends that decided to join me on the fun excursion. We went to the Art District and then finished up at The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.  I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which building it is below.  It is amazing!

amazing graffiti mural  with crow photoblonde model in leather jacket with graffiti photopink pink pink with blonde model photovintage motel vacancy sign with blonde model in vegas photomodels in vegaswings graffiti in las vegas photoThe Lou Ruvo Brain Institute models photomodels at The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute photobeautiful blonde modelcreative lighting and background with model at night photoone light setup for model at night with steel background photo

Las Vegas Nelson Nevada Ghost Town Shoot – Destination Photographer

Here is the second set of pictures I took while I was in Vegas at WPPI 2013.  If you want to read more about my trip just click HERE

These were taken at a styled shoot out at the Nelson Nevada Ghost Town.  It was a runaway circus desert theme put on by Emma and Josh from Couture Clicks.  Thanks guys!

desert fashion fun at ghost town (1)

desert fashion fun at ghost town (3) desert fashion fun at ghost town (4) desert fashion fun at ghost town (2)

Event Organizers – Emma + Josh,
Venue – Nelson Nevada Ghost Town at El Dorardo Canyon
Wedding Gowns – Angel Rivera and The White Dress
Wardrobe Stylist/ Bridal Accessories – Renee Pawele
Hair Makeup Team leader – Liz Gowpani
Hair Assistant – Debra Weite
Menswear – Tuxedo Junction Las Vegas
Florals- Melissa Crazy Daisies

Graduation Announcements – Birth Announcements – Christmas Cards

I LOVE to get pictures and announcements in the mail from friends and family.  Many times they send them to share a life changing event or to wish us a Merry Christmas. Either way, I love them.  So much, in fact, that I have kept every single announcement and Christmas card I have ever received!  That’s right!  I have a lot of them!

Because I value the importance of announcements and cards, I have decided to offer them to all my customers.  Each card is custom designed with much thought and attention by me personally.  You pick the photos, and I put together a design to compliment them.  This service is offered exclusively to my clients.  It is such a fun way for them to share their special photos and memories with friends and family.

Below are some of the designs I have put together.  These are printed on a high quality 5″ x 7″ card stock   They are great for graduation announcements, birth announcements and Christmas Cards.  They are the high end option for someone looking to send the “wow” factor.



These next examples are 4′” x 8″ announcements.  These designs are only one sided and printed on photographic paper.



Las Vegas Nelson Nevada Ghost Town Shoot – Destination Photographer

From my previous blog post, most of you are aware that I recently traveled to Las Vegas for the WPPI Photography Convention.  It was amazing!  The classes I took, the friendships I made, and the vendors I saw made the experience unforgettable!  One of the most exciting events of the week was going on something they call a “shoot-out” put on by Emma and Josh from Couture Clicks.  The theme was “Runaway Circus” and took place at the Nelson Nevada Ghost Town at El Dorado Canyon which is located about an hour outside of Las Vegas. It was a great chance to meet amazing and friendly photographers and to work side-by-side with them.  I’m so thankful for opportunity. The images below are just a few of the ones I was able to capture of one of the models.  Isn’t she gorgeous?!  I wonder if anyone would be able to guess how old she is.

girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (6)girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (2)girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (5)girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (3)girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (4)girl in red vegas ghost town carnival photo (1)


Thank you to the following people for making this event possible!

What Happens in Vegas – Tips and advice for WPPI

What happens in Vegas … GETS BLOGGED!

What a trip!!!  For those of you who don’t know, I just got back from Vegas.  I was there for the WPPI 2013 Conference.  WPPI, which stands for Wedding and Portrait Photographers Int’l,  is a huge event that attracts up to 16,000 photographers from around the world.  This week long event has continuous classes offered by our industry leaders, a major trade show, and numerous networking events.

Before I left, I probably read a dozen articles on how to improve your trip to WPPI.  Because I’m so thankful for all the advice people were willing to share, I thought I would make a list of my own.  So, this list is for any photographer that is headed to WPPI and needs advice and tips on how to make the most of their experience.

1.  Stay at The Signature by MGM Grand.  Well, you don’t have to, but it was AMAZING!  I recruited three friends to join me in this adventure, so we were able to split the cost of a suite.  The major benefit to this was having a full size kitchen.  After we arrived at the airport we took a taxi to a nearby grocery store.  We stocked up on sandwiches, milk, frozen pizzas, fruit, veggies, etc.  It saved us money, and we really appreciated having a healthier option.


Another benefit to the MGM Signature is that it is right next to the convention center.  It’s a luxury hotel without a casino in the lobby.  We didn’t have to walk through gambling/smoking/drinking to get to our classes every day.  It was just a short outdoor walk which gave us a chance to soak up a little sun and breathe in some fresh air.

Walking back and forth between the convention center and the hotel also gave us a chance to meet people…like ZACH AND JODY GRAY!  If you’re a photographer you probably know who they are.  Zach grew up Northern Minnesota on the iron range and actually knew my husband who is from there as well.  Zach and Jody now live in Nashville and run one of the most successful wedding photography studios in the country.  They are Christians who boldly profess their faith and definitely have the gift of teaching.  It was awesome meeting them!



2.  Next tip is to stock up on sleep and Vitamin C before your trip!  They have hand sanitizer stations throughout the convention building.  Utilize them.  I was sick for the entire trip!  My nose would not stop running, my eyes would not stop watering, my throat would not stop burning, and I could not stop coughing.  It’s hard enough to sit in classes all day, but it is even harder when you don’t feel good.  I shouldn’t complain too much, because even though I was exhausted, I was still able to learn and see a lot.  If you do get sick, there should be a store in your hotel lobby. It most likely has Dayquil and cough drops and sunglasses.  😉



3.  Take as many classes as you can, but try to stick with a theme.  My focus this year was to learn how to run a successful business.  That’s right, I didn’t take any classes on how to take better pictures.  Want to know why?  The picture below was taken at a Master Class taught by Leanne Marie.  Each of those boxes on the screen represents a step she takes with each client.  Realize that these are only the steps that happen after she’s done photographing them.  That’s a lot of business to take care of!  They say to run a successful photography business, one must first be a good business person and then a good photographer.  There’s so much to learn!



4.  Don’t fill up all your free time.  When I was first putting my schedule together, I noticed some gaps in time.  I wanted to get everything out of this trip that I could, so I filled those time slots with extra classes.  I now wish I would’ve left more time for resting, going over my notes, and for spending time at the expo looking at all the awesome products.  Check out these awesome purses and wallets I found!


5.  Try to see one show or do at least one activity outside of work.  An entire week with all work and no play can be a drag.  Try to take time to experience something new and fun.  Me and my girls decided to dress up and see a Cirque du Soleil show.  There are many Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas, but Mystere at Treasure Island was the one we decided on.  It was absolutely amazing!  We don’t get the opportunity to see things like that very often in our little town of Bemidji. It is definitely an experience I will always remember!


6.  Bring a ton of business cards.  Part of the reason for going to WPPI is to network with other people in the industry.  Bring a lot of business cards.  Especially since you never know when a piece of chocolate might make its way into the pocket where you keep them and melt all over them.  That’s what happend to me.  True story.  Maybe I should’ve still used them.  They would’ve been the sweetest business cards at the show!  But seriously, don’t be shy.  Talk to people.  Ask them their name, where they’re from, what they photograph, etc.  There are so many awesome people at this show.  You never know which ones will become lifelong friends.

7.  Register with a separate e-mail.  When you go through the expo you wear a name badge that gets scanned by vendors.  The vendors will then send you tons of e-mails that will go directly to the e-mail you registered with.  This can be a headache if you have to sort them all out with your customer e-mails.  Set up a separate e-mail account that you can sort through on your own time.

8.  Wear comfy shoes and layers.  If you’re a wedding photographer, you already understand this. Vegas is big, and you will be walking/standing a lot.  The temperature also fluctuates.  Wear comfy shoes and layers.  You might also want to bring along a bag for all the fun things you find at the expo.  Vendors let you take pictures of their products which is a huge bonus.  There’s just too much to remember!

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9.  Try to join a shoot out.  There are many staged shoots taking place during WPPI.  I did my first one through Couture Clicks with Emma and Josh.  They are super sweet, and the experience was amazing.  They put together a Ghost Town shoot for a small group of us.  We then took the whole day to take pictures at an awesome Ghost Town location which was about an hour outside of Vegas.  I made some great friends and was able to learn some new things.


I’m trying to think if there’s anything else, but I think I covered it all.  If you think of something feel free to add it in the Comments below.

All in all, the trip was amazing.  I am still trying to sort through all my notes and ideas.  I learned so much, and I’m excited to implement a lot of it into my workflow and business.  My clients are the best around, and I want to make sure I’m providing them an amazing experience in every way.  I’m so excited for the next WPPI!  Maybe I’ll meet you there one day!



Congratulations, Erin and Dwayne!!!  I am so excited to meet you and take photos of your beautiful family!  What a contest this was!  PLEASE read their submission if you have a chance.  It is one of the most moving and emotional submissions yet!


“Hi! My name is Erin. I have been married to my husband, Dwayne, for almost 11 years. We have 3 wonderful kids. Sabin 7, Cullen 5, and Camdyn 2. Today, March 13, we found out that Dwayne has an incurable form of pancreatic cancer. It has been a couple of years since our last family photo shoot. We are hoping to have some family pictures done before he is too sick. We want to make so many memories in our time left together.”

Wow!  I was in tears when I read this, and I’m even fighting tears back now!  What a precious family going through something so unimaginable!  I was hoping they would win and decided if for some reason they didn’t I would donate a session to them as a gift.  I was so amazed as other participants in the contest actually started asking people not to vote for themselves, but to vote for Erin and Dwayne.  What a loving thing to do!!!  Thank you, everyone!

As a way of saying thank you to all the contestants for being so awesome, I will be gifting TWO sessions away!  The second session will go to Tanya Goosen, the runner up.  She actually e-mailed me and requested to be taken out of the contest after seeing Dwayne and Erin’s story.  She wrote,  “I couldn’t imagine winning when somebody is going through a much LARGER life change than we are!!!”  Hope you don’t mind me putting that on here, Tanya, but it was such a sweet thing for you to do!

Erin and Dwayne – I am SO excited to meet you and to take pictures of your family!  This is going to be such a special shoot!  You won a $300 session, but I would actually like to give you more if that’s okay.  I can tell you all about it and the really fun ideas I have for you!  I can’t wait to hear about your ideas are too!  You said you want to make many memories in your time left together, and I want to be there to photograph them!

One more thing before I sign off – I’m honored to be able to be a participant of several non-profit organizations that donate sessions to children with illnesses and diseases: NILMDTS, Inspiration Through Art, Tiny Sparrow Foundation.  If you know of anyone that could benefit from one of these photo sessions, please tell them to look up these awesome organizations.  They are a great way to connect families in need with photographers who want to give back.

I know any talent, ability, creativity, knowledge and equipment I have is a result of the Lord’s blessings, and in return I want to bless others.  Thank you, friends!