Love and Laughter | FUN Family Photos in the Heart of the City

Throwback Thursday coming at ya… and I gotta just start by saying WHAT FUN this darling, loving family was to photograph!!!


By way of an intro… Sara is an absolutely over-the-top talented Hair & Makeup Artist with whom I’m lucky enough to have formed a wonderful collaborative relationship. She works magic on my clients who get studio makeovers, both her artistry and demeanor are extraordinary, and she has the most adorable, intoxicating laugh (especially when her husband cracks her up). And speaking of her husband, I’ve gotten to know the always encouraging, generous and wonderful “Spud” as the ever capable manager at my photo Studio, although this is just one of his many gifts as a wonderful human and dad.

It probably goes without saying, but the opportunity to photograph these wonderful parents and their adorable daughter was delicious food for my soul. As I hope you can tell from these photos, we had a great time together in the vibrant city blocks that surround the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Like, a REALLY great time! I adore watching family dynamics -- and just love how these three are together. Beautiful, supportive, fun-loving, grounded... and up for anything!

For this series, I asked the daughter to come up with poses -- her poses were a BLAST, and her parents were SO AWESOME to play along! And when you have that fun a family, you gotta grab some jump shots, right?

Urban family sessions are full of life and whimsy to begin with, and winter light invites new ways of seeing in the city. Long shadows and beautiful light… a portrait photographer’s dream! Clients are often amazed by the places I photograph them, but having worked in so many different situations now, I’m confident that you really don’t need much to be able to create great photos in any location. Great light, texture, depth and color are everywhere in the city, and knowing how to use these elements intentionally in the background (or foreground) is something that comes with lots of experimentation and experience. I’m getting there!

The real work on any portrait session -- whether with one person or a family -- is creating a safe and supportive space, emotionally, in which people are able to relax and forget everything moving around them.

Often -- and these guys were no exception -- this process of setting clients at ease sure feels more like play than work. In this case, a LOT more like play… LOVE you guys!!

I’m a Denver based family portrait photographer specializing in creating relaxed, natural 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!

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!

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.