Gorgeous, Geological Location for Unique Senior Pictures

For 55 million years these selenite clay and sandstone spire formations have been evolving and eroding in a magical, little known and remote location east of Colorado Springs.

Senior Pictures Colorado location with Denver photographer Merritt Portrait Studio

Nestled just out of site, below the windy prairie, this geological treasure of a location was mined by natives over 5,000 years ago for the chromatic characteristics found in the pink, yellow and purple hues. This spot is now known as the Painted Mines, and one glimpse lets you know immediately that you’re someplace special. Rich in geological and archeological history, this place is hauntingly beautiful and an incredible location for a hike… or for unique photos.

I’ve been wanting to visit this amazing place and do a photo session here since learning about it a few years ago.

So... when Hannah said she wanted something different, specifically something that not everyone else would have for the location of her high school senior pictures, this was one of the first locations that popped into my mind.

I was THRILLED when she said she loved the idea!

And Hannah…

Oh man... this incredible girl is a force of nature herself, a unique and extraordinary human. She’s a survivor: a fiercely intelligent, talented, strong, kind, generous and beautiful young woman with an infectious laugh and grounded spirit of individualism that inspires me deeply.

Hannah’s gorgeous, deep blue eyes and dark hair, beautifully moved by gentle gusts of “model hair wind,” were stunning in this setting. The contrast of her striking look against this surreal geology was almost overwhelming for me as a photographer (seriously, I kept laughing when I’d look into the camera because it was all so incredible)!!

This naturally unique location was an absolute joy to explore together for this senior session. Overwhelming geological history calls out from the rich layers of undulating surfaces, leaving its mark of chalky dust if you touch the soft canyon walls. And the natural light is amazing -- bouncing everywhere with a color that is completely surreal.

Photographing for hours, we wandered happily to the sound of our laughter echoing off the canyon walls, catching glimpses of wildlife scattering by, from huge jackrabbits underfoot to soaring hawks overhead. And we breathed the scent of ancient clay dust and distant rain on the wind. It was a decidedly magical afternoon playing out there together for her photo session, well worth the extra drive.

a few final behind the scenes photos from our incredible session day!

a few final behind the scenes photos from our incredible session day!

As you can hopefully tell, it was a dream for my son and I to be out there photographing Hannah. Her session also made for an absolutely gorgeous storytelling Fine Art Album, my favorite new way to tell a story like this that families can keep forever.

And as with all of my most-incredible-senior-clients-ever, I’m crazy excited to see where this amazing young woman goes next!!

Now accepting bookings for Class of 2018 High School Senior portrait sessions. Summer and fall sessions will book up quickly, so contact me now (link above) if you'd like to set up a consultation!

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: I’m a Denver based high school senior portrait photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in the eyes of my clients. I strive to do far more than just take senior pictures for yearbook, instead my focus is on storytelling with pictures. 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!

Joyful Family Fall Pictures | Denver

Talk about FUN! My assistant (who happens to be my teenage son) and I talked about this session for days -- filled with happiness, love and togetherness -- we felt that connection long after this quintessential autumn family session.


In part, that feeling was owed to the luminous quality of autumn itself which was on full display. Anyone who has ever tried to take a walk with me in fall (or followed my instagram feed in fall!!) knows I'm more than a little bit obsessed with the magic of fall: warm tones, perfect breeze, incredible backlit foliage everywhere as trees prepare for their slumber, sunlight glowing with a warmth so beautiful it always makes me ache a little for how fleeting my favorite season really is...

But the thing that pushed us over the top with joy was this amazing family. As cliche as it may sound, it was like their love, their genuine enjoyment of each other, and their mutual respect spilled over into the world around them. These amazing children are at that perfect age to still be playful -- and to want to explore and play with each other. In fact, I got the feeling these siblings will be friends forever.

When they held hands it was not directed; when they played and ran and spun cartwheels, it was because they wanted to. I mean… even the SQUIRRELS in the park wanted to be with these children! (THAT was a fun moment... see the last photo in the series above... that's a squirrel on it's way up to join the kids!!)

Sometimes -- I’d dare say often (at least when I’m with my clients!) -- my job really does feel like play. I was enormously grateful to get to go outside and play with this beautiful family! And the emotion I felt from this bright and gorgeous mom when we had our photo reveal session further strengthened the feelings I had at the session.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this kind of relaxed, fun family session… both as a shared experience for your family, AND to capture this moment in your family’s story. One to be written and saved in the collective core memories and hearts of your loved ones... and their future kids as well!

ABOUT JENNIFER: I’m a Denver based family portrait photographer specializing in creating relaxed, natural photo session experiences and timeless heirloom photographs to last for generations. Your family pictures will be styled around YOU, and the actual experience promises to be a fun and memorable one for kids as well as parents. Drop me a line to find out more!

Meet Chloe | Light Filled Senior Pictures in Denver

Magical... Luminous… Natural… these are the words I think of when I recall this session.

Denver High School Senior Pictures, photographer Jennifer Koskinen, Merritt Portrait Studio

The former architect in me, without a doubt, loves photographing urban sessions. But with how much I love photographing senior portrait sessions in the city, I almost forgot how much I also love the open, late afternoon, long light of summer session in a natural or wilderness setting for portraits!

Our location for this magical session was essentially Chloe’s backyard… she is lucky enough to live right next to a protected wetlands and wilderness area south of downtown Denver. Open fields, reflective water, long grasses, wildlife, cottonwood trees and cattails… it’s quite the dreamy spot for pictures!

And working with this lovely young woman was a dream in itself. Intelligent, grounded, sweet, soulful… she has exotic and gorgeous features, and just strikes me as a wonderful human being from the few hours we spent together.

During this warm light-filled session, smoke from the wildfires burning out west was just starting to blow into the area and filter our atmosphere. Often, the dreamy quality of color and tone you see in the photos from late in this session is achieved through photo filters applied in post production -- but in this case, this look is completely for real. Smoky skies out west are not new, and I always obsess a bit about the possibly dire circumstances at their source, but they sure do make for some incredible, almost surreal light conditions.

I'm so grateful to have worked with this beautiful human and in this absolutely stunning setting!  I wish her the very best in her next chapter!!

Summertime Senior Pictures with Denver Photographer Jennifer Koskinen | 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 more than just senior pictures for a yearbook -- I strive to create an immersive and empowering experience, custom tailored around the personality of each individual client. I would love to chat with you about designing an 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!