Bismarck's premiere newborn photographer | Bismarck area baby photographer | Bismarck family photographer » Megan Milbradt is one of Bismarck's best newborn, child and family photographers. Offering studio newborn baby sessions, first year baby plans and outdoor family sesssions in the Bismarck, North Dakota area.

moms of bismarck|mandan

I am thrilled to finally kick off the Moms of Bismarck|Mandan series!  My intent is to feature one mom every month this year.  I would love it so much if you would follow along throughout the year and spread the word around BisMan about this project.  I have high hopes of it being a wonderful way for all of us to come together in support and encouragement of one another, but the only way it will happen is if we all take part!  And PLEASE leave some encouragement and/or your thoughts in the comments.  It is a lot to ask for someone to open up their mind and their heart and share it with us so graciously.

If you are not familiar with the background of this project or if you’d like to nominate an inspiring Bismarck|Mandan mom that you know, please go read the original post (or click the icon on the right).

The Moms of Bismarck|Mandan January feature is Angela Ness.  In the short amount of time I spent with Angela and her family, I was touched by the love that they so clearly share.  I think it is apparent in the images, as well as the way Angela describes each one of them.  Imagine how loved her children will feel someday reading their mom’s beautiful words about them as they are right now.  And reading her words has inspired me to jot down some of my thoughts about my own husband and children.

Angela was nominated by her sister-in-law, and here is what Sara had to say about her:

My sister-in-law, Angela Ness is an inspiring mom to me.  She always seems to have everything in control!  She is a mother of 4 and works full time as a chiropractor.  She is her kids’ biggest fan and advocate.  She is involved in every aspect of her children’s lives and loves living each moment with them.  She always has the best snacks, crafts, and projects…I just don’t know when she has the time for everything.  On top of all of this, she still takes great care of herself!  She works out all the time, runs half marathons, and looks like she just stepped out of the beauty salon every day!  She is one of the sweetest, most genuine people I know, and I am glad that I can call her my sister. 

1.  Tell us your story!

My name is Angela Kay Ness. I grew up in Center, ND. My parents are Gary and Susan Hagel. My mom was an amazing homemaker and dad worked at a coal mine. I grew up in Center, ND my entire life and graduated from Center High School in 1993. I have one older brother, Kyle, who now lives in Seattle, WA. I met my husband, Brady Ness, in high school. He moved to Center in 1988 when his father got the Superintendent job at our high school. We dated throughout high school and college. I went on to undergraduate school at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. I obtained my BS in Biology in 1997 and worked for a couple of years before going to Chiropractic school in Bloomington, MN. I graduated from Northwestern Health Science University with a Doctorate in Chiropractic in 2002. I have been working at Southridge Chiropractic Clinic in Bismarck, ND for the past 12+ years.
Angela Ness

2.   Tell me about your family.

As I mentioned, I met my husband, Brady, in high school. We dated for 11 years before getting married in 2001. We had a long distance relationship throughout college and professional school, but we made it work. We were married in 2001 and had our first daughter, Annika in February of 2004. Annika is almost 11 years old and is growing into an amazing young woman. She is exceptionally gifted academically and is very involved in extracurricular activities including: piano, basketball, gymnastics, softball, and soccer. She loves to go hunting and fishing with her dad. Sophia is 8 and is our sweet, soft-hearted daughter. She is very kind, non-judgmental, and accepting of anyone and everyone she meets. She is a lover of animals, is very athletic and a social butterfly. She is currently involved in basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. Hudson, our little man, is 4 1/2. He is all boy! He loves sports, Legos and doing anything he can with his dad. He also loves to cook and bake with mom. I tell him he should be a chef when he grows up! He is our organizer and helper, as he is eager to help clean up or do anything we ask him to do. Kennedy, our little princess, is 3 1/2. She is so sweet and a little character. She loves to make us laugh and she is just such a polite little girl. She and Hudson are definitely best friends! If 4 kids are not enough, we also have 2 dogs: Annie is an English cocker spaniel and is 11 years old and Macey is a yellow lab and is 7. We just had Macey bred so if things go as planned, our house is going to get a lot busier and more interesting at the end of February.

Moms of Bismarck Mandan

3.  What is a typical day like for you?

Our schedule is quite full chasing after kids for daycare, school, activities, birthday parties, and sleep-overs. A typical weekday consists of getting up around 6:30am and out of the house by 7:45. My husband takes the 2 little kids to daycare most days and I take the big girls to school. I start my workday around 8:15am and see patients until around 5:30pm. I then pick up the big girls from the after-school program and hope we have a little time to eat supper before activities start. Many days, I take off a little early to run the girls to activities and we fit supper either before or after, depending on what time it starts and finishes. We are pretty good about sitting down as a family to dinner nearly every night. On busy nights, it might just be hamburgers or sausage, but other nights, we are more organized and it may be steaks with vegetables and potatoes or a roast in the crockpot. After dinner, my husband and I clean up dishes and the kids do any homework and play. We like to play cards together and have been enjoying a friendly game of LIFE lately. We do not always have time for that but I typically exercise in the evenings and that usually consists of running on the treadmill. I do it at home and so my kids follow me into the storage room, which is quite large, and they typically shoot baskets and play while I am running. I joke that they follow me around the house all of the time. They do not often go play in there on their own, but as soon as I am in that room, all 4 soon will follow. Kennedy usually just sits in a kid’s chair and talks to me or reads a book, but the older 3 are typically playing basketball. If they get their way, their dad will come downstairs for “basketball practice.” They love that. Then, it is time for baths/ showers and bed so we can get ready to do it again the next day.

Bismarck family photographer

4.  What is one thing that you wish to accomplish, but haven’t yet.

Running a full marathon. I have ran several 1/2 marathons and enjoy the challenge of preparing physically and mentally. I have recruited my husband to do the last 3 with me, and it has been great running them together. With 4 small children and working full-time, it is difficult to train even for a 1/2 marathon. I cannot imagine the time commitment to do a full. I am also not sure my body could handle that amount of pounding but it is something I would love to do just once.   I am not getting any younger so not sure if it is in my cards but have not given up on that dream completely yet.

5.  What is an everyday moment that you’ve had with your family that you cherish?

Just a typical weekend at the lake. We have a cabin at Lake Sakakawea and the kids absolutely love going there. Brady and I always talk about how much work it is getting 4 kids and 2 dogs ready to go every weekend, along with groceries and clothes, but as soon as we pull up to our place, we realize how worth it the work is. We try to spend a lot of time there in the summer and the kids are the happiest when we are there. Brady and I seem to be able to relax like we are just not able to do when we are at home. So all of us, including our dogs, are the most at peace, relaxed and smiling at the lake.

6.  What is one life event that really shaped who you are today?

Having my first child. It completely changed my priorities. I used to believe that my career would define who I was but after having Annika, I realized that my priority was being a good mother and raising happy, healthy children and it became far more important than anything I went to school for. That has been reinforced more and more with each additional child we have had.

Bismarck Mandan children

7.  Share a story about someone in your life who has made a significant impact on you.

Recently, I lost my sister-in-law Julie to Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was a pharmacist by trade and after having their first daughter, she and my brother decided that she would stay home to raise their kids. It took me several years to understand how she could work so hard and go to school that long and not continue to work as a pharmacist, especially with such a great earning potential. She was diagnosed with ALS in November of 2013 and passed away at the age of 39 in December 2014. I realized now and throughout her journey that she was meant to have that time with her girls. Although her time here was way too short, she was with them at home during the formative years, where she created great lifetime memories and taught them so much about thoughtfulness, compassion and selflessness. In watching her struggle to leave her girls, it made me realize how precious my time is with my own kids and how I want to make the most of it. I have at times been one to try to get everything done and put off playing or reading with them. After she passed away, I decided I need and want to put them first, not only for them, but also for me. The kids will not remember how clean the house was, but they will remember that time we made Tie-dye shirts, the time they beat me at “LIFE”, and the time that we all shot bow at the lake. Julie taught me the importance of making memories for my kids. I want them to reminisce about their childhood with tears of joy and lots of laughs.

8.  If you could share one piece of wisdom to all mothers, what would it be?

Every child is different. Try to not compare each to their siblings, but rather celebrate their differences and their individuality.

Bismarck North Dakota photographer

9.  What are you most proud of and why?

My kids, absolutely. They are not only so important to me, but I am very proud of who they have become already. They are all so unique, and special, but they are also very thoughtful, well-behaved and loving.

10.  What do you love most about your husband?

My husband is an amazing dad. He is very hands-on with all of our kids and all 4 of them just adore him. He has been taking my oldest daughter, Annika, hunting with him since she was 2 years old. It never mattered that she was a girl and to this day, they have a very special bond. She gets upset now if he goes hunting without inviting her to go. As she gets older, her friends are becoming a bit more of a priority, which he has pointed out, but she still looks forward to that time with just her and her dad. He is really great about inviting all of the kids to go with him and is thrilled when they accept his invitation. He is a great complement to me because the things that he loves to do with the kids are completely different than anything I would choose to do with them and they love it all. The other thing that I love is that he can read me like a book. He knows when I am getting overwhelmed and he just takes over.

North Dakota family photographer

11.  What photos are you most grateful to have?

A couple of years ago I did a little re-decorating in my home and I took pictures of the kids in our yard. I had a canvas print made of each child and hung them in my formal dining room. They are the most beautiful pictures I have of the kids. It captures their young faces and they just look so happy. I should update them because they have changed looks so much, but I still enjoy them as much as I did when I first got them.

12.  What do you wish you had more photos of?

Me with the kids. I am almost always the one taking the photos so have very few of them with me! I always love family pictures with everyone in them.

Megan Milbradt photographer

13.  What is the best piece of parenting advice that you have ever received?

Enjoy your kids now because they grow up so fast. Do not wait to do things with them when you have time and all of your work in done, because you will never be caught up.

14.  What is something that causes you fear or anxiety?

I have a couple of kids (Hudson and Annika) with food allergies and I am terrified that they will have another anaphylactic reaction.

family photographer in Bismarck, ND

15.  What is your favorite quote or verse and what does it mean to you?

Love more; Worry less

16.  What do you feel is your most admirable trait?

I feel that I am a pretty driven person. Success is very important to both me and my husband and I feel that we have worked very hard to make the most of our life. If I decide to do something, I am willing to work very hard to attain it. I feel that it is a good trait that we are both teaching our kids. We have high expectation for them and they are learning to set goals for themselves.

17.  What would you like to change about yourself?

I definitely wish I had more patience. My parents are both the most patient people that I know and I am not sure how I did not get ANY! It is something I am always trying to work on. I do feel that I am better as I mature, but still have a long ways to go to get where I would like to be.


18.  What is something about you that would surprise even the people who know you well?

It is not a huge secret to the people who know me well, but most people who do not are very surprised when they find out that I hunt and fish. I tend to be perceived by most people as very “girly” because I love shopping, clothing and fashion, so it is shocking to many to see my “outdoorsy” side. I started fishing and hunting with my husband when we were dating; I have therefore been doing it for a very long time. I always say it was the only way I was going to see him because those two things are definitely his passion.   The amount of time I spend hunting or fishing has significantly decreased since having kids, but I still love fishing and get out a few times a year to go pheasant and deer hunting. My husband was quite proud of me this past season because I harvested 2 bucks. I shot my first with a bow and my 2nd with a rifle. I am certain that he was more excited about it then I was!

19.  What is the most important thing that you hope to leave your children with?

I want them to have great self-esteem, confident and know that I loved them more than anything in this world and am so proud to be their mom.

Bismarck Mandan moms

20.  What is something that your children have taught you?

It is okay for things to not be perfect all of the time and sometimes life is better with a little chaos.

And a few favorites, just for fun!

Favorite book?  Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries…the last book I read together with my 2 older girls!

Favorite meal?  Grilled chicken, sweet potato fries and asparagus with mushrooms

Favorite Holiday?  4th of July….time with family and at the lake…love SUMMER!

Favorite color?  Blue

Favorite TV show?  The Voice

Favorite household chore?  Cooking

Favorite song on the radio right now?  Dierks Bentley, “I Hold On”

Favorite Disney Movie?  Frozen because I got to watch it with all of my kids and they all loved it.

Bismarck, ND photographer

Do you know a Bismarck | Mandan mom who you feel is incredibly inspiring? It can be anyone who inspires you in any extraordinary way, the only criteria is that they must be a mother and live in the Bismarck | Mandan area. Please send me a note telling me a bit about this mom and how they inspire you!  Email to:  EVERYDAYARTPHOTO@GMAIL.COM

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  • Sara Ness - What an awesome tribute to Angela and her family! I am so glad you did this Megan! It will be something for them to cherish for many years.

  • Susan - Gary and I so very much enjoyed this awesome article on Angela and Brady ness and our wonderful Grandchildren who we adore so very very much! The pictures are so beautiful of them all. You did a Great job on the interview as well as the photos! We are so very proud of this family! They mean the absolute world to us! Gary and Susan Hagel

  • Kim - This article was absolutely amazing. It speaks of this family to a T, they are loving, committed, fun loving, involved and definitely family oriented!! The parents have taught their children what is important and they are taking such giant steps in being part of society, as their mom and dad are.
    What a wonderful family! I love each and every one of them!
    Auntie Kim

  • Becky - Angela is truly an inspiration to many. She makes me strive to be a better mom to my children and a better wife to my husband. She always has a smile on her face and a wonderful disposition! We love Angela and our kids love spending time at their house! :)

  • Sandra Weisgarber - Wonderful story of a wonderful family. So proud of them all.

  • Henri Berger - Angela, what a beautiful tribute to you n your family! Your children are absolutely adorable. The pictures are precious. Brady u look great too! May your family have a healthy New Year, N again I’m proud to know your family. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.

  • Deb Koch - What a beautiful story of such a cute family. Love the pics!! What a nice thing to have to look back to and cherish in the later years. Angela is such a nice and friendly lady. It was so nice to meet her family and her this way and to see what they do as a family. Awesome article!!!

This entire session wraps up everything I dream about as a photographer…beautiful family, cooperative kids, awesome location, and gorgeous fall light!  Need I say more?  I’ve had the opportunity to work with this family twice now, and I think they are just awesome.  Maybe because they remind me so much of my own family?!

It’s not too soon to start thinking about family sessions!  I encourage you to look through the DETAILS tab above and start thinking about planning your 2015 family portrait session.  Hopefully this thing we call winter will be over before we know it and we’ll be back to green grass in only a few months!  I am bringing something new and exciting to my child and family sessions this year, as well.  I have added a complimentary consultation with my client stylist to every session booked and I am so excited for my clients to have the chance to work with a professional in figuring out one of the hardest parts of every session…what to wear!  Please contact me if you have any questions about working with me and to start planning your session now!

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There is nothing better than a newborn baby. There really isn’t! This sweet girl surprised her parents by coming a little earlier than expected, but what a joy it was, I’m sure, to have a new baby in the family in time for the holidays. She was a perfect angel during our session and I just loved watching her parents interact with her. They were so relaxed and at ease; there is no doubt this is one blessed little girl! I am so looking forward to watching her grow throughout her first year!

I am currently booking newborn sessions for 2015, so if you are expecting, I encourage you to read through the session info in the DETAILS tab above to learn about my newborn sessions and the first year plan.  Feel free to contact me with any questions you have!  I would love to capture the memories of your child’s first days of life!

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moms of bismarck|mandan

To find the monthly features, follow the links below:

January 2015 | Angela Ness

The following is the background behind the Moms of Bismarck|Mandan project, started by Megan Milbradt of Everyday Art Photography in 2015.

“I don’t know how you do it all.”  “How do you find the time?”  “If only there were more hours in the day.”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you?  Maybe you’ve heard them from a fellow mom or maybe you’ve said them a time or two.  I hear a version of these quite often, and the truth is, any time someone says something like that to me, I do my best to smile and come up with some way to change the subject because deep down inside, a lot of the time I feel like a total mess.  Yeah, you may have seen me succeed or make progress on one thing, but there is always one hundred other things that I feel like I am failing on.  Feeling like I am never giving 100% to everyone and everything that is a priority to me is an everyday struggle.  And forget ever accomplishing the things that I really dream of doing.  Keeping my family and household taken care of and doing my job is more than I can handle most days.

My kids had a full two weeks off for Christmas vacation and both my husband and I had a lot of time off work during those two weeks, as well.  It is amazing how refreshed you can feel with two weeks of few schedules and commitments.  No alarm clocks, no lunch packing, no rushing, no meetings, no homework…just time together.  A couple of nights before the new year, I was up late after everyone else had gone to bed and I started to reflect on our time off and I thought to myself, “If this is how life was year round, I would have it all together.”  Right?!

The truth is, even if there actually were more hours in the day, I will never have it all together.  Well, at least not in my mind.  I will never accomplish everything I could possibly dream up for me to accomplish.  And that has got to be okay with me.  But I also want to remember that every day of my life, I accomplish a lot.  And just because I have not done it all at the old age of 33, that doesn’t mean I never will!  Even more so, I need to remember that there are so many moms around me who share these feelings, too.  And with that thought, came my light bulb moment.

As moms, we are so quick to compare ourselves to one another in a negative way.  “How is she better than me?”  “How am I better than her?”  What if we all started comparing ourselves to one another in a different way; a POSITIVE way?  What if we all realized that there are so many moms surrounding us who have been through the same things we have; who have the same hopes and dreams that we do.  And what if, instead of putting ourselves down for not accomplishing all that another mom seems to have accomplished, we start looking to them as inspiration for achieving our own goals?

The year 2015 will mark my tenth year of calling Bismarck my home, and in those nearly ten years I have met some amazing mothers.  I know that there is something to be learned from each and every one of them, the most important being that, while we are all unique, we are also so much the same.  That is why I have started the Moms of Bismarck | Mandan project.  Each month, I want to feature a mother in our community who can be an inspiration to us all.  Truthfully, I think everyone would qualify!  Every one of us is amazing, and while I know so many feel that they are nothing but ordinary, surely they have inspired someone in an extraordinary way, maybe without even knowing it!  My wish for us all is that we can come together to support and learn from one another and be inspired to stop feeling like we are not enough and start understanding that we are!  And I think one great way to start doing that is by getting to know and understand what is on the heart and in the minds of the moms who surround us.

Keep your eyes open for the first featured Mom of Bismarck | Mandan very soon.  In the mean time…do you know a Bismarck | Mandan mom who you feel is incredibly inspiring? It can be anyone who inspires you in any extraordinary way, the only criteria is that they must be a mother and live in the Bismarck | Mandan area. Please send me a note telling me a bit about this mom and how they inspire you!  Email to: After a quick post to Facebook, I’ve already received a handful of emails which have both brought me to tears and made me smile.  I can’t wait for you to “meet” these moms!

And if this project is going to be a success, it will only be because all of the Bismarck | Mandan moms encourage and support it, and that starts with you!  So PLEASE share this post on your Facebook timeline, email it to a friend, whatever you need to do to spread the word!

To help keep you updated on each amazing mom featured, be sure to the follow the Everyday Art Photography Facebook page and also subscribe to updates via email by clicking the green SUBSCRIBE button on the top left of this page.

I saw this quote awhile back, and as I was writing this post, it was constantly in the back of my mind.  No statement could be more true, and I think it applies perfectly to the context of what I hope Moms of Bismarck | Mandan will be.  As a thank you for your support of this project, I want to give you a free download of this print so that you can be reminded of these words every day.  Print it out, set it as your desktop background, do as you wish, and enjoy!  (click the image to download)

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This workshop is for you if:

  • You have invested a lot of money in a DSLR camera and still don’t feel like you are getting great photos of your kids.
  • You have looked at all the buttons on your camera and decided it would just be easier to stick to Auto mode.
  • You feel like you sometimes get a “lucky shot” and would like to make that happen more often.
  • You need a day just for YOU to learn and be inspired for the new year!

Here is what a past participant had to say about the Everyday Life Workshop:

“I highly recommend the Everyday Life Workshop! Megan is so knowledgeable & patient that she made it a breeze to not be afraid of my DSLR camera. I had my Canon for several years and never once changed the setting off “auto”. This awesome 1-day course allowed me to now take dramatically better photos by learning the basic principles of my DSLR camera. It was a great atmosphere with nice reference material, fun photo subjects, awesome food – just wonderful! I am now enjoying my kids activities and love of photography on the “manual” setting!”


workshop description

Since the day I became a mom, always having a camera by my side has been important to me. I’ve tried to capture not just the big events, but the small moments, too. By capturing those small moments with my camera, I look back and I see the beauty that our everyday life holds. The photographs of moments that seemed mundane and simple at the time are the ones I treasure the most.

This workshop is for beginner DSLR users who do not yet have a good understanding of how to use their camera in the manual setting, and it is for those who want to learn how to tell a story of their child’s everyday life through their photographs.

workshop date & time

Saturday, January 31, 2015 | 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

workshop location

This workshop will be held at my home in northeast Bismarck, and is open to all. I love this idea of holding the Everyday Life Workshop in a home because what better place to learn how to capture the everyday moments of your child’s life than the place where those moments are most often created?!

what we will learn

General rules for composistion and how it can improve your photo

How to tell a story with your photographs

Tips for getting more natural and candid shots of your children

How to work with the natural light you have available

Identifiying what is correct exposure

The basics of shooting in manual mode: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture

what’s included

50+ page workbook that details the lessons learned at the workshop for you to keep and refer to afterward

Shooting time with children for hands-on learning and Q&A with Megan

Lunch and snacks

A goodie bag and drawings for some fun photography related items

what you need

A DSLR camera

Your camera’s user manual

Any lens. You can bring the kit lens that came with your camera, or I highly encourage you to invest in a 50mm lens PRIOR to attending the workshop. The 50mm f/1.8 lens is very affordable (just over $100) and it will allow you to do so much more with it’s lower aperture capabilities. (And you’ll find out what aperture means at the workshop!!!) You can find them here: CANON | NIKON

workshop cost

$225 (plus ND sales tax), due in-full at the time of registration. The workshop will be limited to eight participants. Your registration fee is not refundable, but if you are unable to attend, your seat may be sold to someone else.

what this workshop is not

This workshop is not for professional photographers or those with to the desire to have a photography business in the future. Photoshop and editing will not be covered in this class, and there will be no business discussions.

how to sign up

Email Megan at and I will send you the information to pay for your registration. Your seat will be reserved only after payment is made and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.


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  • katilla louser - Do you have a spot open for your soonest class? If so I am interested in attending!

  • Jada Begger - Hi, I would be very interested in attending a workshop. Do you have a schedule for future classes? If the January 31st is not full yet, I may look into that one as well. Thank you, Jada