engagement session guide

heck. yes.

Engagement sessions are my absolute favorite, hands down.

Why? Because there’s very little that makes me happier than a good love story,
and this is my chance to learn about yours.
Engagement sessions can be whatever you want them to be! Let’s plan something fun!

Ultimately, they’re a time to hang out, to just be yourselves, and to take a minute away from your busy lives to reconnect. It’s time to take a break from the planning and the working, and get stoked about committing to one another.

Don’t know where to start? That’s okay! This guide will walk you through all that we need to plan for, and just let me know if you have any questions at all!
I’m here for you.

heck. yes.

Location : Mount Falcon

Permit Required : Yes (JeffCo - $25) 

Notes : Great distant mountain views, not overly crowded. Lots of open space to roam! 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Mizzy & Shane

denver

while Denver itself is more of a city, there are plenty of areas nearby that make for great mountain locations.

Location : Lookout Mountain

Permit Required : Yes. (JeffCo - $25)

Notes : Foothills mountain views, and a pretty popular spot. It has gotten more restricted over the years in terms of access, but still offers great photo opportunities.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Corey & Dustin 

Location : Arrowhead Golf Club

Permit Required :

Notes : 

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jordan & Trevor

Location : Red Rocks 

Permit Required : Yes. (City of Denver - $25)

Notes : Have been a subject of a session at Red Rocks, and I can't get over the cool rock formations and the red sandstone. Not to mention how many amazing musicians have played live on the grounds. Such an amazing location!  

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None as of yet. Will you be the first?! 

Location : Blackstone Rivers Ranch

Permit Required : Reservation Required.

Notes : A gorgeous wedding venue nestled into the forests and mountains ~45 minutes outside of Denver in Idaho Springs. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Kristen & Neil

HAVEN'T SHOT HERE YET! 
WANNA BE THE FIRST?

Location : Boulder Canyon (secret spot 1)  

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Fairly flat 3 minute hike to an overlook. The overlook area itself is rocky and would require attentiveness at all times.

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Taylor & Trevor (ceremony & portraits 1) 
Jordan & Walker (first half of session)

Boulder

nestled in the foothills of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Boulder provides endless photo opportunities.

Location : Boulder Canyon (secret spot 2)  

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Approach requires scrambling on steep & rocky terrain. Only experienced hikers/climbers should attempt getting to this location. (Parking may be limited by canyon construction.)

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Backcountry Pulse 

Location : Chautauqua Park  

Permit Required : Yes. (OSMP - I have an annual permit.) 

Notes : Extremely popular, but it gets the most perfect golden light in the evening. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
The Peters Family

Location : Flagstaff Road   

Permit Required : Yes. (OSMP - I have an annual permit.) 

Notes : Short but often steep hikes from my favorite pull-offs on Flagstaff Rd. These areas can be busy so parking can be an issue. It's usually best to meet at Chautauqua and ride together up the mountain!  

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Rachel & Carter (first half of session)
Christin & Craig (first half of session)

Location : Lost Gulch  

Permit Required : Yes. (OSMP - I have an annual permit.) 

Notes : Gentle scrambling to an epic overlook. Often extremely busy, but it's totally possible to shoot around people. Incredible views for such an accessible location.  

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Rachel & Carter (second half of session)
Paige & Scott (second half of session)

Location : Settlers Park   

Permit Required : Yes. (OSMP - I have an annual permit.) 

Notes : Short but steep uphill hike to red rock formations similar to those found at Garden of the Gods or Red Rocks. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Lynelle & Matt (2016 tab)
Anna & Kyle (second half of session)

Location : Gross Reservoir   

Permit Required : Yes. (Denver Water - $50) 

Notes : Lots of photogenic locations both on the shoreline and overlooking the reservoir. Usually not terribly crowded. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Lynelle & Matt 

Location : East Magnolia (secret spot 1) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Short 5-10 minute hike uphill to the meadow on trail. Located around 9k feet above sea level. Beautiful views of Indian Peaks wilderness & mountain range. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Can't share the gallery due to privacy requests. 

Nederland

not far from Boulder is the rad little hippie town that I call home - Nederland. It's far less crowded and a lot higher in altitude.

Location : East Magnolia (secret spot 2) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Short 3 minute hike slightly downhill to the meadow on trail. Located around 8.5k feet above sea level. Beautiful views of Indian Peaks wilderness & mountain range. Forested area close by with tall pines.

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Alex & Josh

Location : Neighborhood Hike (secret spot 3) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Uphill hiking required from the road, but the pine forests are so worth it here. Many variations are possible, including some that lead to views of Barker Reservoir and/or the Indian Peaks.  

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Andrea & Weston

Location : Barker Reservoir 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Available locations vary depending on how full the reservoir is. Lots of rock outcroppings, forest trails, and shoreline to explore!

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jennifer & Paul (first half of session)
(Gallery with photo shown on right cannot be shared due to privacy requests.) 

Location : Arapaho Pass & Lake Dorothy

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : For those looking for a hiking adventure to spectacular views- I would love to do a session on this trail! 
This hike is around 7 miles roundtrip with 2k ft. in elevation gain, but is so worth it!
One of my absolute favorites in Colorado. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jeff & Katie (casual shoot on hike with newly engaged friends)

Location : Peak to Peak (secret spot 4) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Short hike through aspen grove to a rock outcropping that requires some easy scrambling to top out. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jordan & Walker (second half of session) 
Stephanie & Jackson (second half of session)

Location : Caribou Mountain

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : ~15 minutes up a 4WD road takes you to a couple old mining structures and views looking back towards the foothills between Nederland & Boulder. A 30 minute steep uphill hike will yield more epic views. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jennifer & Paul (middle of session)

Location : Brainard Lake

Permit Required : No. 

Notes : A great 3-season location, Brainard Lake offers incredible views immediately accessible from the summer parking lot. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Stephanie & Jackson (first half of session)

Location : Lake Isabelle

Permit Required : No. 

Notes : Still in the Brainard Lake area, but requires a longer yet relatively easy hike to Lake Isabelle. The views are 100% worth the mileage, and we could take photos along the way!

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Only personal photos so far here, but I can't wait to do a professional shoot at this lake!

Location : Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain NP

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50 + entrance fee) 

Notes : Only open during the summer and early fall - but offers some of the most incredible views I've ever seen in Colorado. Be prepared for wind and quickly fluctuating weather conditions.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
I've never shot a session on TRR, but would LOVE to. Want to be the first? 

Estes Park

an area near and dear to my heart, home to the spectacular Longs Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Location : Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain NP

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50 + entrance fee) 

Notes : One of the most popular destinations in the park, but for good reason. 4 gorgeous lakes all within a couple miles of easy hiking. Dream is my favorite of the 4, with views of Hallett Peak over an alpine lake.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
The last e-session I shot there was in 2016, so it's not a great current representation of my work. 

Location : Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain NP

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50 + entrance fee) 

Notes : A very popular spot for elk viewing, but is so vast that you're almost guaranteed to have plenty of room to roam. Mountain views in every direction!

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Mckensie & Will (second half of session) 

Location : Hidden Valley, Rocky Mountain NP

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50 + entrance fee) 

Notes : A lesser populated spot on the way up to Trail Ridge Road. A great stop for photos, but probably wouldn't provide enough scenery for an entire 2 hour session.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Mckensie & Will (first half of session)

Location : Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain NP (offsite) 

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50 + entrance fee) 

Notes : Best during summer & fall months, as the road back closes in the winter. Gorgeous forested trail to cascades and wooden bridges. Depending on how far you're willing to hike in, Ouzel Falls is a great destination!

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Only personal photos- no professional session yet! Want to be the first? 

Location : Lily Lake, Rocky Mountain NP (offsite)

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50) 

Notes : Extremely accessible and therefore - busy! But there's enough space for everyone at this gorgeous location. Lots of rocky forests to surround yourself in, or catch views of Longs Peak near the lake. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Michael & Taylor
Jaime & Bart (portraits only)

Location : Gem Lake, Rocky Mountain NP (offsite) 

Permit Required : Yes. (RMNP $50) 

Notes : This hidden little alpine lake really is a "gem", hence the name. Scramble up above the lake if you're willing for some gorgeous mountain views! 
3.5 mile hike, 1k ft. elevation gain.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
I've never shot a session at Gem Lake, but would LOVE to. Want to be the first? 

Location : O'Connor Pavillion  

Permit Required : Yes.
Contact Karen Shea.
970.577.3956 / kshea@estes.org

Notes : One of the coolest places I've ever been to for an elopement or wedding in Estes. All the chill, Colorado Rocky Mountain vibes. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Hannah & August  

Location : Allenspark (secret spot 1) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : I keep this location extremely under-wraps as it's extremely near and dear to my heart. My husband & I had our first date, got engaged, and said our private vows at this location. It's one of the best views of Wild Basin & Mt. Meeker, and rarely crowded.
Road closed in winter. 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Sarah, Serge & Bear
Taylor & Trevor

Location : Allenspark (secret spot 2) 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : Shown to me by an elopement photographer I'm friends with and I love it almost as much as the spot Bobby & I said our private vows at. Lots of forested areas, rock outcroppings, and mountain views.

Website : none 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amber & Shayne

Location : Sunshine Mountain Lodge

Permit Required : Rental Required.
Contact Cat & Cory : info@sunshinemtnlodge.com

Notes : The perfect low-key mountain vibes venue for a 100 person (or less) wedding. It also sleeps 40 people for those who are having lots guests coming in from out of town. This is where Bobby & I had our wedding and I wouldn't have it any other way. We LOVE SML!

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
A gallery I shot for the owners

Location : Planet Bluegrass

Permit Required : Contact - weddings@bluegrass.com 

Notes : This has to be one of the coolest venues I've ever shot at. Planet Bluegrass is a legendary music venue and now a wedding venue as well! Imagine kayakers making their way down the creek as you say your vows... that actually happens a lot. It is quintessential Colorado with all the laid back vibes.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amber & Matt

Allenspark / Lyons

Think Estes Park, but way less busy. This area is extremely special to me - it's where I fell in love with my husband!

Location : Grand / Shadow Mountain Lake

Permit Required : Not that I know of.  

Notes :
Photos lakeside or better yet- on the lake- are perfection and without all of the crazy crowds that you find in other parts of Colorado. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amber & Shayne (stayed at Colorado Cabin Adventures) 

Grand county

probably the most under-rated area in Colorado - it's all the views and grandeur without the crowds. 

Location : AA Barn

Permit Required : Yes.

Notes :
The perfect low-key spot to have an intimate wedding or elopement as long as you're okay bringing in everything. You can even be awesome like Amber & Shayne and tube down the creek into your wedding. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amber & Shayne (reception only) 

Location : Bar D-M Ranch

Permit Required : Rental Required.

Notes :
This property has it all. Views, a ceremony area riverside, a house, and a barn/lodge that can serve as a reception area for a small wedding or elopement. I wish I could shoot here again and again. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jenna & Randy 

Location : Devils Thumb Ranch

Permit Required : Rental Required.

Notes :
I cannot recommend this location enough. Mixing that ranch-land feel with mountain views, a horse drawn carriage to a private location is perfect for an elopement or even a date-night engagement session.  

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Sarinna & Joey 

Location : Fishing Pond 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes :
This spot would be a great follow up to catch the alpenglow, but wouldn't be enough material for a full session. We'd also have to keep our eyes peeled for moose here.

Website : none  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 

Location : Fraser (secret spot 1)

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes :
This would be a great location for a couple that likes to mountain bike but also wants beautiful backdrops for photos. There are lots of photo opportunities within a couple miles of this spot in lodgepole pine forests and creekside.

Website : none  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet! Will you be the first? 

Location : Sapphire Point

Permit Required : Yes for elopements/weddings.  

Notes :
Extremely accessible *incredible* views, but for that reason it is often extremely busy. If you're up for a short hike, we can easily avoid the crowds.

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Erica & Cody
Amanda & Brian
Ashley & Brian
Allie & Nick

summit county

All the mountain views...

Location : Windy Point Campground 

Permit Required : Reservation required for reception.  

Notes :
A little nook on Lake Dillon perfect for a laid-back reception after a ceremony at Sapphire Point. 

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Maddy & Sam (Reception only) 

Location : Snake River Inlet 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.   

Notes : An inlet off of Dillon Reservoir with a rocky shore and a
cove-like feel. Mountain views. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amanda & Brian (second half of session)
Katie & Dave (second half of portraits) 
Haley & Gary 

Location : Dillon Reservoir (on the lake)

Permit Required : Rental required.

Notes :
Take a boat tour and see the res together!

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Maddy & Sam (Reception) 

Location : Breckenridge (secret spot 1)

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes :
The first time I saw this location, I had just returned from New Zealand and thought the views from this spot were comparable. Truly a beautiful hidden gem. Accessible by 4WD and not safe in the winter. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Brittany & Ryan (first half of session)

Location : Loveland Pass

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes :
Super accessible views on top of the world? Yes, please! Often crowded and dramatic weather at 12k ft, but you can't really beat the scenery.

Website
 : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Katie & Stephen 
Maddy & Sam (first look only)  

Fort collins

one of the places I've travelled to the least in Colorado, but I hope to add more locations soon!

Location : Horsetooth Reservoir

Permit Required : Yes. (Larimer Co. Open Space - $25)

Notes : Very accessible and therefore often busy, but the views of the water from the desert-like rock outcroppings is to die for. Lots of little nooks and trails to explore. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Chelsie & Jaime

Colorado Springs

Lots of red rocks and southern Colorado deserts. 

Location : Garden of the Gods

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : Almost always extremely busy, but luckily there's enough room to roam and rock formations to check out that we can always find great spots for photos. The red sandstone fins really are a statement in the background. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Kelsey & Bobby (second half of session)
Pamela & Jeff
Kaelyn & Josh (second half of session) 

Location : Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Permit Required : Unsure. Looking into this!

Notes :
Similar to Garden of the Gods with the red rock desert feel, but far less busy. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Katherine & Dan (portraits only)

Location : TihsreeD

Permit Required : Rental Required.

Notes :
A mountain retreat that sleeps around 40 people for a small wedding or elopement weekend.  

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Marianne & Mike

great sand dunes

Sand dunes smack in the middle of epic mountain scenery.

Location : Great Sand Dunes NP

Permit Required : Yes. (GSDNP - $200+)

Notes : An unexpected landscape in an already picturesque state, the sand dunes provide the epic factor with a more romantic and other-worldly feel. 


Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jen & Will (second half of their elopement day)

Location : Joyful Journey Hot Springs 

Permit Required : Rental Required. 

Notes : 
The perfect retreat for a getaway, complete with geothermal springs, a spa, yurts, and the Sand Dunes close by. Not to mention mountain views & a geodesic dome greenhouse to fill out the grounding vibes. 

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Jen & Will (first half of their elopement day)

Vail

I mean, it's Vail. 'Nuff said. 

Location : Piney River Ranch

Permit Required : Yes. $125 for e-sessions. Way more for weddings.

Notes : 
I literally cannot think of a more beautiful place for an engagement session or wedding. The backdrop of the Gore Range over a pristine alpine lake is about as "Colorado" as it gets.

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Abby & Jon

Location : Holy Cross Event Deck

Permit Required : Reservation Required.  

Notes : 
If you're getting married in the Vail Village area, a ride to the top of the mountain is pretty much necessary.

Website  

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Ashley & Brian
Blair & Hyder

Location : Booth Falls

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : 
 If you're up for a fairly steep, long hike - the trek to Booth Falls offers tall aspen groves, pines, valleys, and a waterfall. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Only personal photos so far! Will you be the first to make this hike with me?

Location : Shrine Pass

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : 
 Get away from the crowds in Vail Village and head into the mountains. I love how pristine and  Road closed in the winter. 

Website : none 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Marianne & Mike

Location : Camp Hale Fishing Pond

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : 
 Wander off the beaten path to this little fishing pond surrounded by mountains on the way to Leadville.  

Website : none 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 

Location : Turquoise Lake

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : 
 I still have yet to explore this area, but what I have seen is beautiful. Nestled close to Leadville, this would be the perfect spot for a half session in-town, and then escape to the lake for mountain photos.

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Shannon & Reilly (second half of session)

Location : Mayflower Gulch

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : 
 A gentle uphill hike with lots of tall pines, old mining structures, and mountain views along the way. 

Website : none 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Does this photo come even close to doing this location justice? No. It was taken on an old iPhone while on a tour with my baby and husband... but it would make an epic location for a session. 

Aspen

The hype is real. 

Location : Maroon Bells

Permit Required : Reservations required for elopements.

Notes : 
 One of the most iconic vistas in all of Colorado, Maroon Lake reflects the 14er magic of the Maroon Bells standing proudly on the horizon. Due to high traffic, shuttles there have been implemented as well as orange rope fencing off the lake area for restoration. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Tanner & Teak
Kendall & Jimmy

Location : Independence Pass

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : 
 Get on top of the world at this epic spot outside of Aspen. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet! Want to be the first? 

Location : Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs

Permit Required : Reservation Required. 

Notes : 
 This area is perfect for making a getaway weekend out of your e-session, or the hot springs is an awesome wedding venue as well! 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Annie & Jack

western slope

Mini - Moab... aka my favorite landscape in the world. 

Location : Maison La Belle Vie

Permit Required :
 Not sure. 

Notes : 
 A lovely wedding venue, but would also make a great e-session location for wine-lovers looking for a vineyard location. Great views of the Grand Mesa. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Kortney & Sean

Location : Colorado National Monument

Permit Required :
 Most likely, but am looking into it.  

Notes : 
 Basically a mini-Moab - this red rock high desert landscape echoes the Southern Utah landscape exactly, but in Colorado. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet professionally! Want to be the first? 

Location : Devils Canyon Loop

Permit Required :
 Not that I know of.  

Notes : 
 If someone were to blindfold you and drop you off here, you'd swear you were in Moab. Juniper trees, scrub brush and red sandstone everywhere! My paradise. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet professionally! Want to be the first? 

gateway / paradox

like something out of an old Western movie.

Location : Gateway Canyons Resort 

Permit Required :
 Reservation Required.   

Notes : 
 Essentially in the Western middle of nowhere, you feel like you might as well be in an old John Wayne movie. Channel your inner Westworld at this beautiful resort. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Alexis & Greg

Location : Paradox (secret spot 1) 

Permit Required :
 Not that I know of.    

Notes : 
 Like Moab without the crowds. You're more than likely to have this location entirely to yourself!

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Ellen (a bridal session)

sedona

another desert location of my dreams. Hello, Vortexes! 

Location : Sedona

Permit Required :
 Not that I know of.    

Notes : 
 A whole 'nother can of worms that could lead to 100 location ideas in and of itself. If you're interested in going to Sedona for your e-session or elopement/wedding, let's chat about where we could go!

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None professionally, just personally. 

moab

well... if you're here for desert photos, Moab really is my favorite place in the world.

Location : Moab

Permit Required :
 Depends on where we go.    

Notes : 
 A whole 'nother can of worms that could lead to 100 location ideas in and of itself. If you're interested in going to Moab for your e-session or elopement/wedding, let's chat about where we could go!

Website :
none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Amanda & Chad

telluride / ouray / ridgway

Nothing can really beat the San Juan's.

Location : Top of the Pines

Permit Required :
 Not that I know of.    

Notes : 
 Some of the most stunning views of the Cimarron Range / the San Juans I've seen from such an easily accessible spot. Perfect for an e-session or a chill wedding that doesn't need a ton of amenities. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Ashley & Adam

Location : The Observatory at Alta Lakes / Alta Lakes

Permit Required :
 Reservation required for the Observatory. Not that I know of for the lower lakes.     

Notes : Reminds me a lot of Piney River Ranch but in the San Juans. Super close to tree line, the jagged peaks surrounding you make you feel like you're really out in it. 
  

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Rachel & Carter 

Location : Amphitheater Campground (Entrance)

Permit Required : Not that I know of.    

Notes :
Accessible even in the winter, you can get some beautiful views of Ouray and the surrounding mountains here. Works great for an e-session or small elopement.   

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None that I can share (associate shot for another photographer).

COMING
SOON

Location : Bear Creek Trail 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.    

Notes :
This trail is not for the faint of heart, but if you're an experienced, sure-footed hiker, we could get amazing shots here. It's epic as hell, but the trail gets very narrow with extreme drop-offs. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet! Just personal photos taken on my honeymoon. Want to hike this with me? 

Location : Ouray (secret spot 1)  

Permit Required : Not that I know of.    

Notes :
A little nook surrounded by mountains and views of Engineer Mountain.  

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Can't share (associate shot for another photographer). But here's a personal photo so that you can see the view.  

steamboat springs

Hot springs, waterfalls, and lots of green. 

Location : Mad Creek Trail

Permit Required :
 Not that I know of.     

Notes :
You don't have to hike very far to see the beauty on this trail, but you do have to hike. :)    

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Just personal photos - no professional sessions here yet! 

Location : Perry Mansfield

Permit Required :
 Reservation required.      

Notes :
An awesome wedding venue on the outskirts of Steamboat.     

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Sarah & Matt

Location : Fish Creek Falls Overlook

Permit Required :
 Yes, after Memorial Day.

Notes :
A beautiful view of the falls and 360 views of mountains/the canyon.     

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Chelsea & Preston (ceremony location) 

Location : Rabbit Ears Pass West 

Permit Required :
 Can't seem to find an answer, but I'm working on it!       

Notes :
A beautiful view of the falls and 360 views of mountains/the canyon.     

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Chelsea & Preston (ceremony location) 

Location : Mile High Station / Zuni St. 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : Get that industrial look with a pop of color.  

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Kate & Jon

Denver

Location : Bigsby's Folly

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : The coolest little winery with colorful urban decay close by.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Lauren & Alex 

Location : Denver Botanic Gardens

Permit Required : Yes. $100 for e-sessions. 

Notes : Colorado is a little limited in its foliage variety, but not here.  

Website 

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Bridget & Kyle

Location : RiNo

Permit Required : Not if under 5 people.

Notes : Mural art + industrial vibes.  

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Anne & Casey 

Location : Westlands Park

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : A super unique park with perfect golden hour light.  

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
The Andraschko Family

silver plume

Location : Silver Plume / Bread Bar 

Permit Required : Not that I know of. 

Notes : An old mining town right off of 70, known for the trendy "Bread Bar" serving cocktails and a hand-picked selection of craft beer.  A 5 minute hike will get you to mountain views overlooking the highway. 

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
David & Justine

manitou springs

Location : Manitou Springs

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : A little hippie town meets Swiss Alps, known for it's proximity to Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Kaelyn & Josh (first half of session) 

vail / leadville

Location : Lionshead Vail Village  

Permit Required : Registration required. 

Notes : Lionshead is full of photo-ops with an upscale Austrian mountain town feel. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Tim & Kayla

Location : Leadville 

Permit Required : Not that I know of.  

Notes : A true blue mountain town at altitude.

Website : none

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Shannon & Reilly (first half of session)

salida

Location : Salida

Permit Required : Not that I know of.

Notes : I've only been here once, but fell in love with this cute little town right on the Arkansas River. Known for the wall of kayaks/canoes. 

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
None yet! Want to be the first?

have yet to shoot there, but can't wait until I do!

boulder

Location : Downtown

Permit Required : Yes. City of Boulder. 

Notes : The heart of Boulder with lots of shops and active energy.  

Website

Links to sessions/weddings I've shot in this location : 
Gayle & Jeff
Margaret & Jamie

Often times, your home can be the perfect reflection of you two in your element. Cooking together, hanging out listening to records, cuddling in your bed, whatever feels comfortable to you will read so well in photos! 

Some examples of in-home sessions : 
Kim & Ryan
Ali & Matt 
Bridget & Garrett

your home

Air bnb

If you're coming in from out of state, or just don't really think your home represents you the way you wish it did, planning a fun weekend getaway and renting an Air BnB that you love can be a great way to make an engagement session next-level fun! 

Air BnB

Here are a couple blog posts (I did not write these) about cool Air BnB's in Colorado : 

9 of Colorado’s Coolest Remote Airbnbs
17 Best, Coolest & Unique Airbnbs in Colorado

Will someone please rent this bad boy out? I'm obsessed.

home studio list

A couple geniuses put together a website that compiles the most stylish homes and homeowners who are willing to rent their spaces out by the area, specifically for photo sessions! 

Try check out Home Studio List to see if anything strikes your fancy. 

winter

spring

summer

fall

In Colorado, winter can mean 5 feet of dumping snow, or a sunny 65 degree day. It's usually a toss up.  

Why winters can rock : 
• The snow is an awesome reflector. 
*  Easier to avoid crowds.
• Mountains look way more epic with a bunch of snow.

Why they can be tough : 
• Roads closed/limited access due to snow. 
• The weather can be a little brutal. 

Preparations to make : 

•  Handwarmers 
• Hot beverages (spiked for extra warming effects)
• Traction (ie: microspikes, nanospikes, snowshoes)
• Lots of layers 

Which season do you two cherish above all others? What time of day do you feel the best? And don't worry about weather... unless it's real bad that is.

when to plan your session

Like winter, spring can provide totally different weather from day to day. Generally lots warmer in the lower elevation areas, but still lots of snow up high.  

Why spring is beautiful : 
• Still lots of snow on the mountains. 
*  The green on the aspen starts to come back.
• It's a lot lot warmer.

Why they can be tough : 
• Roads at elevation are often still closed/limited access due to snow. 
• Mud. 'Nuff said. 

Preparations to make : 

• Everything from the winter category.
• Be ready to get a little muddy.

My favorite of all seasons. The trails are dry and the wildflowers are out.  

Why summers are my fave : 
• Access to the backcountry really opens up. 
• One word - warmth.
• Later sunsets.

Why they can be tough : 
• The daily afternoon thunderstorms (aka lightning to worry about). 

Preparations to make : 

•  Bring layers. The temp shifts drastically when the sun goes behind the clouds.
• You'll need lots of water with the heat. 
• Sunscreen. 

Fall in Colorado is golden (pun intended). The busiest season for sessions & weddings, hands down. 

Why fall is amazing : 
• Leaf change, duh.
• That crispness in the air.
• All the fuzzy feels. 

Why they can be tough : 
• CROWDS. Like, thousands of extra people, everywhere. 
• It can easily snow at any time after September. 

Preparations to make : 

•  Warm layers. 
• Pad extra time to get anywhere, as the leaf-peeper traffic is crazy.

sunrise

sunset

I think the main thing to consider when it comes to sunrise or sunset sessions is how well you fare in the morning. If you're going to be super tired with bags under your eyes, sunsets are where it's at. 
But if you thrive in the morning and get energized off those alpine starts, then HECK YES. Let's do it! 

Sunrise Pros : 
• Typically WAY less crowded anywhere you go.
• Depending on the area you're considering, the colors might be better at sunrise than sunset. 

Sunrise Cons : 
• You've gotta wake up early early to get ready, get to your location, and (possibly) hike in before the sun rises. 
• Generally it's really cold, even in the summer.
• I feel like the colors change quickly, and the harsh light comes out pretty fast. 

Sunset Pros : 
• The golden hour is the best hour. 
• You've had all day to prep/get ready. 
• It's generally warmer in the afternoon/early evening. 

Sunset Cons : 
ª Everyone loves sunset, so the crowds can be a bit wild. 
• It's sometimes hard to predict when the sun will set behind the mountains, and therefore we can lose light faster than we thought. 

Rain

Sun

snow

Light drizzles are the name of the game! Torrential downpour, thunder, lightning and wind? Let's reschedule. 

Rain pros : 
• All the moody/rich color vibes (aka MY FAVORITE). 
• Rain = clouds, and clouds = the most beautiful even lighting ever. 
• It cools the day off. It's a little reset button. 
• Less crowds. 

Rain Cons : 

• Rain is wet, lightning is dangerous.
• I can't let my equipment get soaked.
• It can be uncomfortable and/or cold. 

Sunny days can be amazing, but just like with rainy & snowy days, they present their own challenges. 

Sun pros : 
• Warm, uplifting and playful vibes. 
• You don't have to worry about getting struck by lightning! lol 
• More chance of color at sunset (provided there are some clouds in the sky). 

Sun cons : 
• Can be so harsh that any surrounding color will be cast onto your face. 
• Creates harsh shadows, and therefore we're more limited as to where we can shoot. 
• More direction required. 

Snowy days are some of the best, provided it's not a wet/heavy snow. 

Snow pros :  
• Magical winter wonderland vibes.
• Snow is a natural reflector so your skin is gonna look awesommme. 
• It's so very "Colorado". 

Snow cons : 
• less/no access to certain locations. 
• Often rquires more preparation (ie: snowshoes, spikes, more layers to stay warm, planning, etc.)
• Can throw off auto-focus on cameras a little if it's actively snowing, but it isn't a big deal. I can still get plenty of sharp images! 
• It's cold. 

Obviously we can't control the weather, but here are some good things to know about what differences each one of these scenarios mean for your session date!
Also know that if the weather is terrible, we can reschedule. It's not a problem!

Did you know bright colors can actually reflect back up on your faces during a shoot? Neutrals are always a safe choice, and look great with the background!

neutrals

This might be one of the most important items! Engagement sessions dont need to be fancy, they need to be YOU.

wear your faves

What looks better than a fuzzy sweater? A fuzzy dog.
Yes I'm cheesy, but they're family, so feel free to bring your pet along!

bring your pet!

Doing something fun during your engagement session?
Dress the part!

active-wear

In non-snowy landscapes, white clothing really pops against the scenery. It can also bounce bright even light back up to your faces.

whites pop!

Pair a fun pattern (plaid, florals, etc) with a coordinating solid. 

pattern + solid

Add something fun and "you" to your session, whether it's your favorite beanie or a magic wand!

accessorize!

Keeping your wardrobe simple and classic allows you to be the focus of your photos. Not your outfit.

basics.

Ultimately - whatever you want! But hover over these images for pointers.

what to wear

One outfit? Try TEN! Just kidding, maybe not ten. But feel free to bring a couple different options to give your session some variety!

options!

Engagement sessions are a great time to intentionally set aside time for just the two of you, and enjoy each others company. We can keep it sweet and simple, or make it an experience. It's up to you! 

make it meaninful

KEEP IT SIMPLE

No need to make it complicated - 
you really want some beautiful photos for save-the-dates and to send to family & friends. 

I will direct you into poses that don't feel stiff or awkward, and we'll come away with some gorgeous images that will allow you to feel totally confident in front of the camera on your wedding day. 

The side perk of an engagement session is that we get to know each other, which makes having me lurking around with a camera on your big day far less weird for you!

MAKE IT AN EXPERIENCE

Does spending 2 hours in front of a camera with nothing specific to do sound kind of intimidating/boring to you?
It does to a lot of people.. 

We can totally make this an experience rather than just a photoshoot!

Let's make this not only painless, but fun! Something that you look forward to instead of dread.
Something that reconnects you as a couple and cuts out all of the day to day noise.

click here for more info...

Making an Engagement Session way more you. 

Wait, you mean engagement sessions don't all have to just be a bunch of mush!?!

Nope! Mush is always welcome (I'm a hopeless romantic so I applaud it), but that's not all a healthy relationship consists of, right? 

You're a lot more than sun-rays and snuggles. Let's tell a story about WHY you love each other, and not just that you do. 

Examples of couples doing something they love during their session

choose your own adventure...

real ideas from real people (including me)

christin & craig 
Trail running couples session

jennifer & colton
ice fishing
e-session

amber & shayne
camping
e-session

do you have an idea?
Send it my way and I'll add it here!

LIKE TO HIKE?

Pack a small picnic for a short hike (including chocolate and an adult beverage).

Stop, sit down together, and spend five minutes writing each other a little love note. Then take turns reading them out loud to each other, or switch and read them silently to yourselves.

"Cycling, since we met on a bike ride and still love riding together."

- Emily S.

PLAN A MINI DATE

Start out by grabbing a drink at your favorite coffee shop or brewery. 
Next give each other a $10 limit and shop for the perfect small gift at your favorite store.
Take some photos outside around your favorite architecture or murals.
End with tacos & margs. 

"We’d go to a coffee shop, or out for ice cream and a walk or take the dogs on a hike or to the park, there are some really cool board game and arcade bars near us, as well as a dog bar, that we’d go to. An in-home session playing board games or video games would also be perfect for us as a couple."

- Emma B.

TRY SOMETHING NEW!

What is something you've been wanting to try together but just haven't gotten around to it? 
Make something together. Boulder that project you've been meaning to try. Let her teach you that card game you've been avoiding.
Get creative!

"Spring/summer would easily be camping and fishing! Winter would be great for a good powder ski day shoot too!"

- Samantha D.

take a look!

If you're feeling overwhelmed and just want to see what others are up to, feel free to check out these full engagement sessions for inspiration!

see full
e-sessions

This is a lot of info, no? If you have any questions at all about your couples/engagement session, send me a note! I'm here to help!

ask
questions

I'll get back to you ASAP with answers, until then - get stoked for your e-session! It's gonna be so much fun. 

YAS! Got it!

YAS! Got it!