Meet Annika | Playground Garden Senior Portraits in Denver

Annika... one of my boy's first friends in 6th grade...

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Allow me to start by saying that I adore this young woman. I have adored her since knowing her as a precocious, hilarious and strong young middle schooler. She has always possessed a keen sense of comedic timing, immeasurable talent, and the kind of grounded, fiercely independent strength that you know will drive her to all kinds of interesting places in life. An actor, friend and beautiful young woman, she’s got it going on.

I had always pictured her wanting an edgy urban session so it was unexpected when we met for her consultation and she revealed that she wanted to do her senior session in the gardens at her old elementary school. She wanted to revisit who she was through the lens of who she is now. Being a senior is full of different kinds of nostalgia for different people, and what a wonderful opportunity senior photos are to explore where you’ve been as a diving board for jumping into the unknown.

And out of this very personal desire, a warm and fun photographic story was born as we discovered different sides of Annika’s personality amidst the sunflowers and summer light.

And then there's silly Annika... still so beautiful.

A few months ago when I was chatting with Annika about plans for what's next, she answered that she was “ready to be scared again.” I love that.

Here’s to that attitude of bravery and bold choices as the perfect approach to graduation. And life, really. Cheers to honoring where you’ve been and boldly writing new chapters into the unknown. What an exciting time to be a high school senior.

Annika… Gabe and I are thrilled to know you (and your family!)


NOW BOOKING Senior Portrait Sessions for CLASS of 2019! Session times are booking quickly so don't wait (sessions are first come first serve, currently booking summer and fall photoshoots).

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: I’m a fun-loving, Award Winning Denver high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection and personality in the eyes of my clients. I strive to do more than just take senior pictures for yearbook. Instead my focus is on creating an unforgettable experience. Together we are telling a part of your story with pictures. I collaborate with each of my clients to design an immersive and empowering portrait experience, custom tailored around his or her personality, style and interests. I’d love to tell a high school senior story about YOU. Let’s grab a coffee and chat about designing an amazing high school senior photo shoot for you!

Oops We Did it Again | 3rd Annual Silly Blossom Shoot

Ok so yes... there’s something about these blooms in springtime that I find completely irresistible. There's a melancholy to their fleeting beauty. Their wet, pink scent. The way they filter light. Perhaps living in the mountains for those 13 springs, where the world is nothing but mud brown and rushing water and no green until late May makes these technicolor trees I find in Denver, particularly vibrant to my eyes. I think of Doctor Suess as the hues buoy my winter mood.

Whatever it is, I'm almost grateful their time is short so that we are urged to stop and appreciate. AND have an excuse to do something silly in their midst. To create something joyful in the name of art.

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A few words on the random nature of this different kind of session. This particular series came to be quite by accident. I was taking a women’s portrait class three years ago and wanted to practice my posing and directing. My available subject? My then 16 year old son. It just so happened that the trees were in bloom and we were forecast to get hit with a winter storm which I suspected would freeze the flowers. I had a hunch my boy's sense of humor might find this idea amusing, so grabbed some fabric from my backdrop collection, promised him a pizza, and into the flowering trees we ventured.

The teasers from that first session went silly viral and a springtime tradition was born.  

And so here you go... the third installment of our silly blossom with fabric series!

Always gotta let the boy be himself, too. Perhaps you can discern which poses are all his?

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If you’re curious, here are our old silly blossom posts:

YEAR ONE

and

YEAR TWO.

Before we left these trees, as is also tradition, Gabe and I traded camera positions and he got a few shots of me, too... so... yeah... that's me!!

Later this summer my boy will be college bound. I'm already anticipating flying out to Savannah (where he'll be going for his BFA in Performing Arts at SCAD!) for next year’s installment. From what I see in photos, the trees out there are spectacular. I'm quite excited!

There are a few flowers left to bloom this spring -- want to do a blossom session? Drop me a line and we may still be able to squeeze in a happy, joyful flowering session with you!

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Oh... and last but not least, I've included one final parting photograph that takes me back to my landscape & flower photographer days, back when I lived in Telluride and chased sunsets and great light all across the San Juan Mountains.

That light at the end of the day in behind these spring flowering trees, even right here in the heart of Denver, is truly extraordinary. 

Cheers!


This photograph is available in various print sizes (Mother's Day is coming right up!) through my   Fine Art Photo Gallery  .  Navigate to: Art Prints & Landscapes.

This photograph is available in various print sizes (Mother's Day is coming right up!) through my Fine Art Photo Gallery.  Navigate to: Art Prints & Landscapes.

We Just Had To | 2nd Annual Spring Blossom Portrait Fun!

I mean, we didn’t really have a choice, did we?

I think of this as his "Stephen Colbert face" -- pure ridiculous and full of joy

I think of this as his "Stephen Colbert face" -- pure ridiculous and full of joy

Last year’s flower photo session with my son was such a blast, and with the threat of snow in the forecast, it didn’t take too much arm twisting to get Gabe to model for me again this year. I didn't even have to bribe him with pizza this time.

When we first arrived, he posed for a few artful and more cinematic feeling photos.

I should note there were about 400 people arriving as we started, drinking beer and setting up for sporting events right behind us. Gabe just did his thing as if they weren't even there. The focus of an actor...

And then it was time for him to just be a boy. The "personality" shots... all him.

And a few more... a touch less ridiculous... a little closer in...

The conditions were the incredibly similar to our cherry-blossom-play-time last year, but I tested out a few different lenses out there this year. My normal go to lens is out of commission at the moment, and I'm actually enjoying testing the limits of two other lenses I've had but not used as much. I quite love them! Always learning...

Gabe even snapped a few shots of me -- he's got a fantastic eye!

Creative Outdoor Portraits in Denver in Natural Light. Photographer Jennifer Koskinen

If you missed last year’s post it was equally silly, creatively inspiring and totally fun. HERE it is if you'd like to see! Man... I just realized this kid of mine is going to be needing his high school senior pictures this upcoming season!!

Despite the "snow" (which wasn't as big a deal as predicted), there's still color out there with which to play. If YOU would like some creative spring flower portraits -- buzz me asap!

This incredible wonder of nature in the city will go quickly and is a spectacular backdrop for child, family or personal fine art portraits!! I'd love to photograph YOU out here before it's all gone!

Pop Portraiture | Senior Pictures with a Comedic Twist

OK so first off, Greetings! It has been a while! The beginning of a new year is always a quiet time of reflection, and assessing business goals for my portrait studio for the year, and regrouping after the craziness of summer, fall and winter sessions. It was an incredible year for my photography business, and I’m ready to get back and blog some of last year’s amazing SENIOR SESSIONS!!

And seriously, who better to start that off with than THIS AMAZING HUMAN!!

senior portrait with comedic, snl feel in Denver, photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

I find it completely impossible not to smile around Cammy (actually his whole family is pretty smile-inducing). Talented, bright, and with a spirit and laugh that is positively infectious. His enthusiasm for life and for supporting those around him inspires me and makes my soul happy (seriously, this next generation is pretty awesome).

Fun, colorful pop senior photos in Denver, by photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

When he described his unique vision for his senior photos, I was excited for a session that fell a bit outside my normal high school senior comfort zone. For this one, we were going to create SNL-inspired, vibrant and fun “bumper” style photos, drawing on Cammy’s comedic, fun loving personality and adding colorful, pop / poster style effects in post production. We collected and shared ideas via Pinterest, booked time in my studio co-op, and we were off!

Happy, studio senior picture photostrip in Denver, by photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

As you can clearly see, this kid has personality for miles, so capturing authentic expression genuinely was a an effortless process, essentially we enjoyed a session of mostly joking around and sharing copious laughter, with some intermittent actual photographing!

Fun, colorful pop senior photos in Denver, by photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

Post processing his set was incredibly satisfying. I initially learned to use photoshop back in my architecture days, applying textures to 3D models I’d built in AutoCAD. So a photoshop project in portrait work taps into an old skillset for me, and it was really fun to stretch those muscles! Color and effects were added to provide the POP of our desired visual aesthetic.

Playful senior pictures in Denver, photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

Thank you, Cammy, for your talent, your spirit, your kindness… and for inviting me to be part of your senior picture experience and vision! I’ve been looking forward to this collaboration for years!

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: I’m a fun-loving Denver high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the EYES by giving my clients more than just senior pictures for their yearbook. In collaboration with each client I design an immersive and empowering portrait experience, custom tailored around the personality, style and interests of each awesome senior. Let’s grab a coffee and chat about designing an amazing high school senior photo shoot for you!

Oh the Things We Do for Art... and Pizza.

The remnants of our latest winter storm in Denver had barely faded this year when the trees started to don those precious and fleeting spring hues that inspire me walk around my neighborhood in an artist’s stupor. It’s almost too much for my eyes to take in, and sometimes makes me feel as though I’ve tripped into an illustrated children’s novel:

Pink tree, purple tree, yellow tree, blue… Green tree, lime tree, red tree too...

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Lately I’ve been obsessively photographing environmental and beauty portraiture, so it was on my mind to photograph a glamour portrait session out in the vibrant hues and rich colors this spring. But almost immediately on the heels of the first blossoms came predictions of yet another fairly significant winter storm. One of those, “totals could be measured in feet,” kind of storms. The kind that would almost assuredly wipe the color off the trees, and we’d be praying for it not to take the branches off the trees as well.

In Colorado, heavy spring storms inevitably result in my son and I spending the next morning wandering through our neighborhood, alternating between appreciating the purity of a fresh spring snow blanketing the city, and moments spent covered, ourselves, in snow as we shake and free the branches, watching them spring back to life... thinking about the importance of remaining flexible in life if you want to survive the heaviest of storms...

As the storm predictions marched closer, nothing opened up in my schedule, and I nearly surrendered to waiting for next year to execute my vision for an epic flower glam session.

Friday morning, the day the storm was due, time was up and thick clouds were rolling in. Around noon, as I was folding backdrops after my last professional headshot session of the day, I picked up one of the pink wraps I sometimes use in studio and all the sudden it hit me. The actual snow wasn’t due to start for just a few more hours and I was suddenly once again determined to Make. This. Happen.

Sometimes you simply have to run home, grab a green shirt (to bring out your model’s eyes) and a pink piece of fabric (for obvious reasons), kidnap your teenage son -- at the bus stop with his backpack still strapped from his school day -- bribe him with the promise of pizza (the BEST pizza), and beg him to pose for glamour-style portraits in flowering cherry blossoms...

All for the love of ART. And humor.

And what turned out to be a lot of fun packed into the 20 minutes before freezing drizzle started.

And thus this session was conceived, born and completed in just a few hours.

Turns out this boy of mine has really been listening as he has been assisting me on photo sessions over the years. Kid knows where the light is, and how to rock a glamour pose with his chin, shoulders and hands... AND throw in his own brand of teenage boy personality while he's at it. I know of no "Koala Pose" in the world of fashion photography... but perhaps it should be a thing...

Hilarious... and also kind of awesome.

The inclusion of Gabe's "Blue Steel through the Blossoms" was all him. I can take no credit for this last pose.

Judging from the overwhelmingly positive reaction a small selection of these photos received in just a few hours in photo groups on social media the next day, my takeaways are this:

Necessity really IS the mother of invention.

The answer often IS right in front of you.

Do something UNEXPECTED, do it from the HEART, and do it WELL.

 

Oh… and my son is THE BEST !!

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PS -- did I mention that my son (THAT AMAZING BOY ABOVE) is an incredible photographer, too? He has been working with me on photo shoots -- often as a second shooter -- since he was 14.

Here’s wishing an incredible next trip around the sun… to the most incredible, inspiring, supportive, crazy-talented, funnier-than-he-knows, wicked-smarter-than-he-believes, strong, sweet, loving, flexible, soulful, wonderful, GOOD HUMAN I’ve ever been lucky enough to know.

I love you, kiddo. Thank you for the photos of me!

 

Jennifer Koskinen is a Denver based portrait photographer specializing in empowering high school seniors, women, and headshot clients, as well as having a special passion for connecting with and drawing out personality in her subjects’ EYES. Sessions are custom styled around YOU: You should exist in photos... for yourself AND for your family!

Photos of Jennifer by the one and only, Gabe Koskinen-Sansone