The Urban Vibe: Senior Pictures with Street Art in Denver

I’ve long suspected that it’s impossible not to adore Sam... spending time with him while we photographed his senior session made me even more sure!

RiNo guy Senior Pictures with graffiti, photographer Jennifer Koskinen of Merritt Portrait Studio

Temperatures soared to near 100 degrees on the day we photographed this colorful high school senior session in one of my favorite, uniquely fun and ever changing parts of Denver...

But I’m pretty sure we laughed throughout the entire photo session, almost completely forgetting how hot it was. Spending time with this positive, talented, comedic and wonderful human is always a joy. Add to that the fact that my eyes were soaking up awesome possibility in every direction, and I was a happy photographer having way too much fun creating photos!

I love when people want to photograph in RiNo, as this part of Denver is relentlessly inspiring...

A burgeoning artist community at the mercy of its creatives (and a recent infusion of interest and money in the neighborhood), I think of this whole urban neighborhood like a living canvas. The combination of ever expanding commissioned street art and incredible alley graffiti makes the entire streetscape full of vibrant energy, color, and gritty artistry. And even in height of summer sun, there’s an almost overwhelming abundance of unique backdrop options for portraits.

So when you start with art, and then bring in an exceptional human -- a high school senior with a great personality and wonderful sense of style -- a guy like Sam -- talented, creative, positive and giving person with an infectious laugh -- you’re bound to end up with a pretty kick-ass set of senior pictures!

Truly, I adore this session most for Sam’s presence and breadth of expression, his genuine enthusiasm that communicates so well through his eyes, and the fact that he seemed to enjoy this location every bit as much as I did!

Sam, it was SUCH a joy to work with you and I can’t wait to see where you go next!

ABOUT JENNIFER : I’m an approachable, fun-loving Denver high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the eyes by giving my clients far 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 high school senior photo shoot for you!

Meet Andie | Senior Portraits in Santa Fe Arts District Denver

I was an Art & Art History major in college, so it was personally exciting for me to get to work with this absolutely lovely Visual Arts major from Denver School of the Arts.


And I have to say -- as much as I am in love with her session photos, it was the gift of getting to know Andie even a little bit -- her brave spirit, her creativity, her pursuits of social activism and her loving soul -- that I truly appreciated. Honestly this is the part of the whole portrait experience that I share with my clients that most makes me in love with what I do.

For Andie’s high school senior pictures, we took advantage of a quiet Saturday afternoon wandering the colorful Santa Fe Arts District. This was my first time photographing this particular vibrant neighborhood, and using gallery fronts, street art, trees and great light as a backdrop is -- not at all surprisingly -- quite fun! Of course, it helps that this striking young woman is utterly adorable in front of the camera. Composing her stunning features (including the deepest and most soulful brown eyes) against the backdrop of street vignettes and urban art was immeasurably satisfying.

To hear from her mom at our reveal session that I really "captured Andie" ... that is one of the most heartwarming and special compliments I can aspire to receiving. We sat for hours in her reveal session, looking at photos and connecting about life, art and the shared human experience. Did I mention how much I adore Andie and her mom?

I know I’ve said it before, but I need to again reiterate how much the experience of an in-person proofing session -- with real prints -- kicks butt over trying to ask clients to proof their photos on a screen! We had such a blast sorting colors, comparing expressions, and admiring the abundance of her personality and beauty that shone through in her photos.

So much love!

I’m a Denver based 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 -- I create an immersive and empowering experience, custom tailored around the personality and interests of each individual client. I would love to chat with you about designing an high school senior photo shoot for you!

Meet Kenya | Vibrant Urban Senior Session in Denver

Talented, beautiful, and possessing a personal style all her own, Kenya is an incredible young woman. I feel so lucky to have been the photographer for her senior portrait session in Denver. She’s another one of my beloved seniors from Denver School of the Arts, a theatre with major arrestingly beautiful eyes, incredible talent, and an undoubtedly bright future!

Senior Portraits Denver Merritt Portrait Studio

She wanted a more edgy, urban vibe for her session (perfect for her style). I’ve been wanting to explore a few areas near my north Denver Studio including all of the fantastic street art that is becoming the backdrop for a whole new vibe around the Five Points area.

After grabbing some rooftop photos at my studio (above), we headed to one of my favorite old buildings on Brighton Boulevard. Vintage brick washed in pool-blue and matching painted metal caught my eye each time I passed this truly gorgeous vintage mechanic's shop. We lucked out as it was closed and quiet on this particular Sunday… and hello? Just as perfect as I’d hoped!

[ CONTEXTUAL AFTER NOTE: I drove by here yesterday and apparently they weren’t as fond of the incredible vintage feel as I was, as they PAINTED OVER this AMAZING BLUE!! With a boring, flat new brick color!  Kenya, your session is now immortalized as the one and only time this shop was used for a portrait session (at least by me)! Thank you for letting me photograph you here as I really wanted to see your eyes against that color -- and it was amazing! Such is the nature of change, I suppose, and a good reminder to SEIZE opportunities as you see them come along! ]

Moving on... Our next location: Larimer Street Graffiti!

I’ve also been craving shooting portraits with some of the incredible urban street art and graffiti of the Larimer Street area of Denver, and my goal was to try to photograph it in a slightly different way than I've seen. So we played more with finding great compositions and ways to blur, frame and highlight the juxtaposition of her style with that of the colors of each location. It was a BLAST.

Oh but first we stopped for a refreshment and I had to snap this coffee shop portrait. How I love window light!

This young woman is incredible inside and out (and I loved having her mom and sister on our shoot -- also awesome people!) I'm so lucky to have spent this time with Kenya, and can’t wait to hear about her next adventures (including being part of cast in the recent Denver School of the Arts production of Spring Awakening that just qualified as one of only 5 high schools in the nation to be performing on the mainstage at the Thespian National Convention this summer!! CONGRATULATIONS to you all!)

All the best in your next chapter, Kenya!

I’m a Denver based high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the EYES by giving my clients more than just senior pictures -- I create an immersive and self-image boosting experience. I would love to chat with you about designing an empowering high school senior photo shoot for you!

Senior Photos on Urban Campus in Denver

There is such an abundance of talent in this generation it almost overwhelms me. Photographing these extraordinary high school seniors always leaves me feeling both humbled and inspired...

Fine Art Senior Pictures in Denver, photographer J.Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

Chris is one of those young men you just KNOW is going to make a difference, no matter what he does. His confidence on the stage, in character, breakin’ it down to a beat, improvising in a comedy skit or simply in his own self reads through his eyes, his body language and the passion with which he pursues his interests (which are many).

After watching him perform over the years at Denver School of the Arts, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be his senior photographer. The location for his senior pictures was my industrial studio in Denver… which always sounds funny as it’s so much more than just a studio….

One of the coolest things about the “campus” at which my studio resides is the never-ending change. The studio itself is in a loft above a fully functioning factory in an industrial area, and the grounds have an ever evolving life of their own (if you’ve seen a few of my sessions from here, you may already have noticed this). There are different physical attributes of this location every single time I'm there, from overstock building materials to actual construction, to a graffiti wall that is alive with color and always new -- giving each session its own, completely unique feel.

For Christopher's session, new concrete walls were curing on a large new structure under construction, creating a set of “one time only” backgrounds for his portraits. New rolls of sheet metal, construction chain link fence, a gorgeous, graffiti covered vintage train (never seen a train on our out of use train tracks!) Honestly it felt like we were on a movie set that had been designed just for us. Yeah, it was a pretty great day to be there!

The variety we captured during the session is going to make a fantastic session magazine… one of my product offerings that allows my clients to have a record of their whole session (and makes a great, affordable gift for extended family). So excited to be working on the layout as I blog this!

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!

Vintage Industrial High School Senior Pictures in Denver

Must be something about the name Maddie…

I’ve photographed several high school seniors named Madison and Maddie now, and every one has been simply wonderful, each in a different way! This adorable young woman was such a joy to work with -- my favorite thing a photo session filled with genuine laughter.

For this Maddie's senior pictures, we photographed on location at my industrial studio in southwest Denver. For those of you who have been following my work, this is my super unique studio located at a working historic factory building -- so her session had a natural, vintage / urban vibe. Don't you just love how this rugged backdrop highlights her stunning smile and spectacular blue eyes?!

It was a blast having her sister and mom along for her senior portrait experience. I know some photographers don’t like this, but I personally LOVE when a family member (or two) can join seniors for their session -- not only is it fun for parents (and a sibling) to witness this fun experience, but they often crack up their seniors during the session, and as a result I get to capture the kind of authentic expression that only the perhaps-slightly-embarrassing comment from a loved one can elicit (trust me, it’s worth it for shots like these). Plus I do like to include them in a few photos if they're game!

Huge thanks to my awesome makeup artist for this session, Ashleigh Franke, Beauty by Ashleigh

I'm a Denver based high school senior portrait photographer who specializes in bringing out connection and personality and my clients' EYES. I do this by giving them an immersive and fun photo session experience -- trust me -- this will be so much more enjoyable than traditional pictures! I'd love to chat with you about designing a high school senior photo shoot for you!