Small Town Businesses are Special

I have loved building my business…I love the actual work and I love the people.  I have become friends with so many, many of whom I would have never crossed paths with had I not the opportunity to work with them and their families.  It hasn’t been easy, the business building.  Its long hours of work, constant learning the technical aspects of my craft, keeping up with trends, and just the daily grind of “business stuff”, like paying taxes, maintaining an old building, and boring administrative work.

But we had some hard times this summer.  That wind storm was a doozy, and though you may not have seen the damage so much from the outside, the inside of our Main Street business was destroyed.  The roof was left with multiple holes, one as large as 5′ in diameter and showing sky.  The water damage was massive.  The entire ceiling and all the insulation came down.  The electrical system was fried, the air conditioners were ripped from the rooftop.  Everything was soaked, the gym equipment rusted immediately and the cardio equipment was ruined.

Hazen Wind StormStorm 2016

It took 6 weeks to reopen the gym doors and it still is not quite finished.

I am thankful that the only damage done to the studio side was water across the ceiling and some coming through the dividing wall between the gym and studio.  But fear of the ceiling coming down in studio, prompted me to move everything from the camera room into the entry and office area.  Along with gym equipment, it all made for a lovely window display out onto Main Street.  Many people thought I was closed down as well and that hurt.

But here’s the thing….there are so many great people here!  So many that jumped up and said, “how can I help”!  And I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did just a little.  This wasn’t a personal tragedy as if our home had been destroyed.  It was a business…not so personal to most.

Jesse Flath and his dad Warren, Western Frontier Insurance, were the first.  They were there immediately, helping salvage what we could right away and even trying to patch the roof while the rain still came down.

James Sayler, West Dakota Lumber, came home from his vacation and got the ball roll rolling right away to get us the materials we needed to start repairs.

Speidell’s found us the some flooring once the water was finally gone.

Nick and Andrea Scharbach, D’Andrea’s Restaurant  lent us their storage space to keep the gym equipment while the interior was restored.

Westsern Steel Builders cleared the debris from the alley.

Mark Olson, Olson Electric, repaired the electrical system and got us back to code.

Keith and Crystal Kruckenberg (and their kids), Kruckenberg Construction, worked like banshees getting the ceiling put back up and the walls covered in fresh paint.

Specialized Cleaning and Restoration was fabulous and worked for days getting the mess out so that re-building could begin.

Our local businesses came out in force to help us get back on our feet as quickly as possible!

Add to that the great people that came by and lent their hands to all the messy work:  Laird and Jake Sheer, Thomas Leintz, Hunter Wood, Randy Geigle,  Nick and Ang Scharbach,  Jesse Flath, James Sayler, Tony Melberg,  Dave from Texas, Delanie Wiedrich, Aimee Grace Wiedrich.

Roof Water Storm Damagedestruction

And then – AND THEN – the Hazen Chamber of Commerce and the Hazen Lion’s Club sponsored a Fleischkeuke Benefit for the businesses effected by the storm!  Something that had never done before.  And the turn out was more than incredible!  It was over whelming and left me feeling quite humbled.  I saw friends frying up the fleischkeule, running back and forth trying to keep up with the demand, some of our youth sitting in the rain taking the donations, and people arriving with armloads of baked goods to donate.  When the line became too long for the fry truck to keep up with, Krause’s Super Valu volunteered their kitchen to help!  I watched people standing in line in the rain to order up some fleischkeukle.  I know they are delicious and hard to make and these benefits are a great time to satisfy the craving for them, but still…all these people were spending their money knowing that it would help out some of their local businesses and friends!

Hazen Chamber

There have been countless examples through the years about what a special community we live in.  I myself have  participated in benefits and even organized one myself for a friend I love.  I suppose I just never thought we would be on the other side of the story and it was humbling to find ourselves there.  The urge to say, “Oh, thank you, but we can manage” is strong.  But we needed this…maybe spiritually most of all.

I’m not the biggest fan of that tired saying, “Its takes a village”….  so let’s say it takes a town…it took our town to come together and make us feel like our businesses mattered, that our Main Street is valuable, and they want to see us get back on our feet and succeed.   We really do have an awesome little down town.  Its busy and thriving and cute.  And as sad as it is to say, that’s a little unusual these days.  Small local businesses struggle to stay afloat and many small town Main Streets have empty holes where businesses used to be.  I am proud to say that Hazen is the home of our businesses because our town cares, shops and supports the businesses and families that run them.  It couldn’t be done without the whole town!

And thank you to those who waited patiently for the gym to reopen…who didn’t jump ship and find another place.  Really, that means more than we can say!

And thank you to those who called and asked for photo sessions, wondering if I was working or not, but still called!  I needed that!  I really did.

The gym is officially re-opened and the studio is (as always) booking photo sessions!  Please give us a call!  And Thank You!

Please continue to support our local businesses by shopping and using local services.  Its the only way to keep our Main Street alive and thriving.

Links to their businesses are above…like their pages and show your love!

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North Dakota Senior Pictures 2017

Its back to school time!  And while there are probably a lot of kids out their groaning about heading back, I actually really do enjoy this time of year  – Its Senior Picture time!

I love this time of year as a senior photographer!

Let’s start off with a glimpse of the lovely Laura!  I’m so glad her wish for the sunflowers worked out – you just never know where a good field will be and we had one right here in town!

Dickinson Senior Photos

It’s the start of all things fresh and new: new seniors to photograph, new fashions, and new ideas!  Laura chose to go with a full session with both in studio and location shots so she has a great variety of photos to choose from.  Here’s just a few…

Bismarck Photographer
Unique senior picturesNorth Dakota photographerHazen photographerMinot PhotographerContemporary Photographer

New for me this year is my attempt at Snap Chat.  Look for sneak peeks of unedited session on Snap Chat. snapcodes

Of course, there are always glimpses of the new senior photos to be be found on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Here’s to another fun year…congrats to all of the incoming seniors, Class of 2017!

P.S.   Did you know you can choose to do a FREE family photo during your Senior Pictures Session?

Laura’s family in their own front yard – perfect timing for holiday cards!

North Dakota Family Photos

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North Dakota Senior Photographer

Bismarck Senior Pictures

Sometimes a beautiful photo just speaks for itself.  I have been photographing Madeline for years.  From the time she was just a little thing, skating her heart out.  She is a stunning figure skater, and I have always enjoyed those once a year winter pictures.  But this time,  it was time for her senior pictures!  And what a gorgeous young women she has grown into.  Madeline chose to keep it simple, bringing along a few simple yet classic outfits.  And I love that she chose some bold colors!  Simple styling but bold colors really made for some WOW moments.

Minot Senior PhotographerNorth Dakota Senior Photographer

Not to say that a great trendy print isn’t a great way to mix it up a little.  Add that in for a look of 2017 and we have a great variety of looks for Madeline to choose from.

Hazen PhotographerDickinson Senior Photographer


Natural Impressions: Photography by Justine is located in Hazen, North Dakota and specializes in senior pictures.

Serving all surrounding areas:  Beulah, Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, Mandan and beyond.

When you book an appointment, you will receive a FREE guide to help you prepare for a great senior portrait session!

Fill out the form below to get more information about sessions and availability. 



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Watford City Senior Pictures

Senior Pictures Watford NDI am always thankful when a senior makes a long trip to come see me.  I know she is looking for something fun, a little different from what is around her part of North Dakota.  After talking on the phone about what her ideas are, I send off a complete and Free guide on how to prepare for her senior session. Everything from outfits to bring, accessories, make-up tips, and directions on how to find the studio.  I always tell the girls to overpack.  We may not make it to everything, but having choices is always great!   When she arrives, we unpack it all and start talking again about her ideas and looking through what outfits we might want to use with what studio backdrops or outdoor locations.

Rustic Senior PicturesPosing seems to be one of the biggest worries.  It truly doesn’t need to be.  I am very good at directing seniors into poses from casual natural to fun and flirty.  I know the tips and tricks to help you look great from fingers to toes.

Senior Girl in FieldRiver Senior Pictures

I have a full service studio with a ton of backgrounds to choose from.  Props are usually kept simple so we can focus on the senior herself.  And just outside the Main Street studio are a great variety of outdoor locations!

Best ND Senior PicturesSenior pictures studio North Dakota

Learn a bit more about senior pictures at Natural Impressions: Photography by Justine in Hazen, North Dakota

Bismarck PhotogapherFill out the form below to schedule your senior pictures and receive the FREE guide to preparing for your session


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Why White for Baby Photos?

One of the most common questions about baby photography I am asked is why so many of the baby photos are done on white backgrounds…..

Bismarck baby picturesIncluded in the Milestone’s Baby Plan, you receive a 10×20 storyboard featuring your favorite photo from each of your 4 sessions.  To be sure that the the photos all coordinate on the final Story Board, we make sure the take plenty of photos on the white background.  Hey!   There are 5 photos on that storyboard!  Yes, you can also include a photo from your newborn session, should you choose.  Newborn sessions are 1/2 off with the purchase of the Milestone’s Plan – making Natural Impressions Milestone’s Baby Plan the best value in baby photography in North Dakota.

Milestones Baby PlanUsing pure white, we are sure to keep our complete focus on your adorable baby!

With the clean background, our eyes naturally go directly to those perfect little cheeks, curious eyes, funny little tongue and sweet smiles.

Baby Plan PhotographyMilestones Baby Plan


White will never go out of style.  Your baby photos will always look great hanging on your walls, no matter how many years go by or how many times your change your decor.

Clean, crisp and classic, white backgrounds will always look great!

Baby Plan PhotosBismarck Baby Pictures Packages


When adding in a prop the baby still remains the focus and the pop of color creates visual interest.  For your storyboard at the end of the Milestone’s Baby Plan, you can choose photos with a variety of accent colors and props, and still have a cohesive final project if the backgrounds are all white.

Dickinson Baby PicturesHazen Baby PicturesDickinson Baby Photography


When designing your storyboard at the end of the Milestone’s Baby Plan, you can choose photos with a variety of accent colors and props,

and still have a cohesive final project if the backgrounds are all white.

Dickinson Baby PhotographyBismarck Baby PicturesWhen you purchase the baby plan you receive a FREE guide on how to plan for each of your four sessions through out the year.  Tips on what stage of development we are trying to capture, best times to photograph baby, clothing and props, etc.

The absolute best value in North Dakota baby photography, the  Milestone’s Baby Plan gives you over $300.00 in savings! 

Bismarck Photogapher

To receive the complete pricing guide for the Milestone’s Plan fill out the form below


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