Dream Fashion Editorial Photo Shoot | Redthreaded at Blanc Denver

There’s a question often posed to photographers: “which photo is your favorite? Photographer Imogen Cunningham is credited for having coined my idea of the most perfect answer, “the one I’ll take tomorrow.

Given my own enthusiastic desire to remain a"student of life," with a genuine thirst to keep learning, growing, experimenting and creating new work, this notion of each new session producing my new favorite -- until the one I shoot tomorrow -- resonates deeply.

But let’s be honest -- certain experiences do stand out and have the power to shape you as an artist...

... and I’ve got a feeling this session will hold a special place in my list of favorites for quite some time. This fashion editorial photo session pushed me into new creative spaces and invited an artistic freedom that I'm excited to keep stretching as a photographer and creative.


After photographing her work on the stage for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the uber talented seamstress / costume corset designer and fellow entrepreneur Cindy Settje of Redthreaded approached me with a commission to photograph her corset designs.

Drawing inspiration from imagery she shared with me, a collection of images marked by a moody, painterly light and historic-meets-contemporary feel, we designed the details of this editorial session with a full dose of enthusiastic, collaborative creative energy.

I knew immediately that Sarah (perhaps you saw THIS incredible session??) would be the perfect model for the look Cindy wanted. Having photographed her twice before, I am very familiar with just how much the camera loves her incredibly strong and striking features. But it was her theatrical experience that excited me for this shoot in particular -- I absolutely love working with this gorgeous and talented young woman, and was excited to explore some more fashion editorial poses with her. Not surprisingly, she ROCKED the session.

Inviting hair and makeup artist Sara Duffey to get to explore her creativity with a more avant garde look than we typically get to explore together was also super satisfying. Cindy threaded a gold theme throughout the session, so we got to play with gold leaf, gold lashes, glitter and an exciting modern-meets-historic look was born.

Then there were our dream team of fashion collaborators (links below)... OMG. In Sarah’s hair were creative and eye catching pieces, hand crafted and spectacularly designed by Frontier Millinery. And those shoes?!  SPECTACULAR designs (some of which were originally designed for Whoopi Goldberg), hand crafted by American Duchess. Perfectly appointed historical jewelry sparkled and completed the look, by Dames a la Mode.

And the corsets… the artful centerpieces around which this whole editorial photo shoot was styled...

Well, Cindy’s work is just breathtakingly incredible, as evidenced by her collaborations with regional theatres all the way to Broadway, Television shows, film and her own successful Etsy shop (also, her Instagram feed is awesome!) The exquisite fabrics, colors, combinations, details, designs and quality are stunning to behold.

And to photograph her incredible work: What. An. Honor.

Perhaps most satisfying of all is how much I enjoyed working with these PEOPLE -- such a wonderful collaborative team. SO grateful to have been asked to photograph this project. It left me at once deeply creatively inspired, and hungry to photograph more fashion editorial… something admittedly new to my body of work.

Finally, turn up your speakers, and enjoy this behind the scenes VIDEO (below) that I made to say thank you to the team!  Watching the looks come together in these creative people's hands is magical. Truly, I LOVE this work.

Seriously... PRESS PLAY!

BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO: Join us for a glimpse into the making of this fashion editorial photo session at Blanc in Denver for Cynthia Settje of Redthreaded.


Model: Sarah Doerner

Corsets + Styling: Cynthia Settje | Redthreaded

Shoes: American Duchess

Millinery: Frontier Millinery

Jewelry: Dames a la Mode

Hair + Makeup: Sara Duffey

Location: Blanc Denver

Photographer: Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

Photographer's assistant: Gabe Koskinen-Sansone

Sneak Peek | Styled High Fashion Session in Denver with Corset Designer Redthreaded

There will be more. I mean LOTS more. From this incredible, collaborative styled session I was honored and humbled to photograph yesterday in Denver. (seriously, I'm so excited I couldn't sleep last night!) But for now... here's a preview of what's to come! It was an extraordinarily wonderful way to spend the day -- surrounded by talent, beauty, lovely light, wonderful people and passion for great design.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you & yours!!

Photography | Merritt Design Photo
Model | Sarah Doerner
Hair & Makeup | Sara Duffey
Fashion & Corsetry | Redthreaded
Footwear | American Duchess
Jewelry | Dames a la Mode
Millinery | Frontier Millinery
Location | Blanc Denver

Stay tuned for LOTS more from this session!!

Fashion Inspired Urban Senior Pictures in Denver

I feel honored to get to work with every single person who stands in front of my camera...

Seriously. I get to see amazing things when I’m working with people -- not just in how they look on the outside, but in who they are -- what shines from within and glows through their expression. They say our eyes are windows to our soul. I’m not sure I realized how deeply I believed that until I became a photographer. More often than anything else, the characteristic people tell me they notice in my work is genuine expression and soul in people’s eyes.

That being said… this girl, Sarah, is… extraordinary. Gaze into her eyes for a moment and you’ll see what I mean! I’ll get to how much I adore her personality in a moment, but because this is a blog about photography, I have to start for a moment with a few technical admirations (is that a word?). I have learned a LOT over the years about posing. Posing for different body types, clothing styles, symmetry or asymmetry in people’s faces, men’s bodies, women’s bodies, children’s personality… I’ve taken classes, practiced, read countless articles, worked with hundreds of people, I’ve tried and failed, I've learned how to connect with and to direct my clients, and I’m absolutely still learning new things on every single shoot.

What’s amazing about working with Sarah is how natural she is in front of the camera. I looked back at photos from our first session together -- before I had much of the education and experience that I have now -- and realized how much she has taught ME, through what she does naturally. So THIS shoot -- a few years later -- was beyond satisfying. And I think the pictures show it well.

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted a blog with a sneak peek behind the scenes of this session. We photographed at two different Denver locations (three if you include the bonus pictures in the alley at the end).

Blanc, a converted barn/warehouse space in Denver, was our first location. Typically a wedding venue, this space was AH-MAZ-ING for portrait work (if you’re a photographer in Denver, you can have access to Blanc as part of your membership to The Studio -- more about this amazing group of women in another upcoming post!) Beautiful light, fantastic textures, the kind of vintage materials that are authentically vintage -- weathered through use and age -- all made for incredible backgrounds for Sarah’s portraits. We had a blast exploring the light, playing with posing, composition and learning more about the possibilities of this unique location.

After finishing up at Blanc we headed to downtown Denver, where we photographed inside the colonnade at the Byron White Courthouse. I’ve wanted to photograph portraits here since touring the Courthouse during a Doors Open Denver event. This row of columns is magnificent on it’s own, and the simple dress that Sarah wore was PERFECT to highlight her beauty in this powerful setting. Seriously, she looked like a Greek goddess in here!

As I mentioned, this was the second time I got to work with this incredible young woman and stellar high school senior… there are so many reasons I love working with her. Her eyes are incredible. I mean, ridiculous, right? And in addition to being absolutely gorgeous; she’s so talented it makes me want to cry (come to think of it, her extraordinary acting performances HAVE made me cry…)  On top of it all, she’s got an incredibly fun, witty and just the right kind of “out there” personality… and somehow she’s also grounded, hilarious, and feels like family. I adore her (and her awesome mom!). If you couldn’t already tell, and I am so flipping excited to see where her life and career take her, because I just know amazing things are in store…  

Oh right! And after all this, we still weren't quite ready to stop shooting... so one last set of photos in the alley before we stopped for a celebratory gelato!

Senior Pictures in Urban Alley, Denver, Merritt Portrait Studio

I’m a Denver based high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the EYES by giving my clients an immersive and fun photo session experience. I would love to chat with you about designing an empowering high school senior photo shoot for you!

Behind the Scenes on Urban Senior Portrait Session in Denver


This session was simply WAY too much fun not to share a glimpse of what goes on "behind the scenes" in a series of snapshots taken by my assistant (who happens to be my son!) I'm always amazed by how important it is to roll with changes in a "plan," as with this session where we ended up with multiple locations by default... if it weren't for that attitude, THIS could never have happened:

Urban High School Senior Portraits in Denver

We had initially planned to stay at one venue (see below photos) for our entire photo shoot, but a multitude of circumstances only allowed us about an hour at that first location. The venue, called Blanc in Denver, is Ah-MAZ-ing and available on limited basis through my Studio cooperative (ask me more if you're a photographer looking for an incredible studio opportunity!) It features a converted barn space, and is now being used as quite a unique weddings and events venue... or a great location for a portrait session! Here are some iPhone shots from when I scouted the place with Gabe (my assistant), and a few behind the scenes from Sarah's session.

After our allotted hour, we were all thrilled with what we were getting... and excited to keep shooting! So we ventured downtown to photograph Sarah in a few other urban locations that I've been wanting to explore as portrait locations.

I LOVE working with all kinds of high school seniors, and to get to work with such an amazing young woman as this, bringing her session to life was a joy beyond words. I've known Sarah for years; she was one of my first portrait clients in my other studio space, and she's an extraordinary person -- funny, strong, gorgeous, and rich with talent that will make you cry.

Seriously, she is going to be famous in the not so distant future and you'll see for yourself, if you haven't already had the opportunity to watch her perform in any number of regional theatre companies in and around Denver. This girl is going places...

And... I mean... I don't usually share back of camera shots OR photos of my desktop editing... but OMG!! I'm WAY too excited to keep these to myself!!

Stay tuned... the finished photos from this session are going to be craaazy beautiful.

In fact I'm excited to share a whole variety of exciting senior sessions that are coming up -- great people, great locations, great collaborations!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm a lucky, lucky girl.