Actor and Professional Headshots: Urban vs Natural Light Studio

I offer two options for my actor and professional headshot clients: 1) natural light in urban location or 2) natural light studio.

Either way, I have spent my photography career learning to master natural light and am confident that how I use light will be flattering and natural in either location. The differences in the location types boil down to A) what is behind you and B) the experience you desire while on your photoshoot.

I thought I’d do a quick post sharing some examples of what is possible in the studio vs on location, along with a few words on the pros and cons of each.


Sessions shot outdoors are a bit more improvisational than in the studio, as both you and I will be responding to the immediate conditions of that day, weather, light and location. People tell me often that they to appreciate the “depth” they see in my outdoor photos, which serves to push the focus to the connection they can feel in my subjects’ eyes. I always start in an area which is slightly removed from crowds, so you’ll feel comfortable, yet alive with the vibrance of the city. There’s a fun energy created on these sessions which is reflected in the style of the photos, and I believe reacting in the urban environment leads to part of the very "natural" expressions we get out there. These sessions are always vibrant and fresh.


Urban Street Session BENEFITS:

vibrant, energetic, colorful, depth in backgrounds

eye-catching, memorable, unique


Urban Street Session CHALLENGES:

weather can be an issue (mostly wind, but can also add element of fresh, natural movement)

must pack wardrobe to carry (rolling suitcase is best)


My natural light studio is a shared co-op space, so does require advanced booking. In here, the light is consistent and beautiful. It is quiet and a controlled setting, which for some people can be preferable. I have a few different seamless backdrop options, so you won’t be getting the stiff, traditional yearbook background! These sessions are modern, comfortable and consistently beautiful.


Natural Light Studio BENEFITS:

controlled, predictable, quiet

neutral, professional look

easy to change and keep wardrobe at studio

Natural Light Studio CHALLENGES:

shared studio space can be harder to book

not as much depth in photos (if that's important to you)


IN SUMMARY... Either way you go, even if you're not comfortable with the idea of getting in front of the camera, my promise to you is that you'll end up having a great experience!


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!