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!

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...


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 !!


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


Oh this Girl! Stunning Talent Headshots in Denver

Eeek! I absolutely love this young woman!

Young Actor Headshot by Denver photographer Jennifer Koskinen | Merritt Portrait Studio

We have known this gorgeous girl since she and my son shared a 4th grade classroom when we first moved to Denver. She captured our hearts from day one -- creative, funny, bright, grounded and a blast to be around. Her mom asked me to photograph her first round of talent headshots before I was doing a lot of portrait work -- I'll always be grateful that she trusted me before I trusted myself!

Not surprisingly, getting to photograph her actor / talent headshots again this time was a huge honor! Her unique brand of exotic beauty is completely captivating to me. And as beautiful as she is in these natural light photographs, she is this beautiful and even so much MORE as a human being. Smart, kind, witty -- make that hilarious -- and she possesses that kind of completely contagious laugh that makes me smile just to think about (seriously. I just smiled all by myself at my computer)..

For her portfolio of actor and commercial headshots, we wandered the streets and alleys of Cherry Creek North in Denver, exploring complementary textures and colors to use as environmental backdrops for her wardrobe and personal style. The goal with her headshot session was first to celebrate her bright, youthful look, and then also to show some of the diversity of her range by styling with a more intense look, as seen in the leather jacket shots (I mean, the intensity in her gaze in the photo above... right??).

Her wardrobe is a fantastic example of how to get a dynamic and interesting range of looks in your headshots, simply inspired by appropriate clothing choices.

Without changing hair or makeup, we were still able to capture a nice variety of looks. By switching up layers, necklines, textures, colors, and styles you can access different sides of your own personality for a good variety of choice when it comes to your final photos.

These kinds of model portfolio sessions really are so much fun -- for me, and judging by the feedback I hear, for my clients! I’m constantly learning on every shoot about new ways to draw things out of people to bring to their headshots and portrait photographs. It’s enormously satisfying -- and especially fulfilling when my clients are full of this much awesome personality.

I’m one lucky photographer!


You really can't pass up an opportunity for silly photos when you have old friends reuniting on a session like this... Especially when you find a fabulous purple wall in an alley! That's my son and assistant, after helping me with reflectors on this session. With our "work" completed, the moms got to sit back and watch these two kids relax and do what they do best... crack each other up. Have I mentioned how much I adore these kids?

I’m a Denver based child actor headshot photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in my clients’ photos by giving them a highly personalized photo session experience. I would love to chat with you about your headshot needs!

Meet Gabe | Urban Actor Headshots in Denver

This young man . . .

What can I say about this talented, intelligent, kind-hearted, young human? Well, I’ve known him, literally, since the day he was born. Since that day (well, actually since about 9 months before that day) he’s been the love of my life, my inspiration, my best buddy… oh yes, and my son!

And while my iPhone camera always holds some several THOUSAND photos of him (the majority of which are of him making ridiculous faces)... And despite the fact that he’s with me holding reflectors to help light my clients as my assistant on most of my photo sessions… Incredibly, we hardly ever take real headshots or portraits of HIM.

So we decided to change that this past weekend, and actually scheduled a sort of official session! Of course, the day we scheduled, it happened to be 18 degrees out (happens less often than you'd think in Denver). But our mission was not to be deterred, and so set out to capture at least a few headshots -- for as long as my fingers worked and his nose wasn't too red!

As it turns out, 18 degrees is REALLY cold, and so we didn’t last all that long (frozen photographer fingers and bright red cheeks in a portrait aren’t the best combination for portrait work), but we had a great time (he remarked how strange it was to be on the other side of the reflector/camera!), and we got a few great shots just wandering the streets within walking distance of our home (and, thankfully, of a warm and cozy coffee shop in which we stopped to warm up!)

It's honestly a bit surreal to edit photos of a face I know so well… but it sure feels wonderful to finally make the time and space to do it!

And on the off chance that it's not abundantly obvious... I love this kid with all my heart!

I’m a Denver based talent and actor headshot photographer specializing in bringing out connection, personality in my clients’ photos by giving them a highly personalized photo session experience. I would love to chat with you about your headshot and family portrait needs!