Adventures of Colorado Kate: Telluride Adventure Retreat

First and foremost you should know I don't take the most Instagramable photos with me in them.  I always look forced and awkward.  Trust me, you will see the proof below and it's undeniable.  So I try and keep my focus on the main star, planet earth, or my friends, or kids, or brides and grooms.  They are the ones who deserve all the attention.

About a year ago Yogi Magee (Natalie Magee)'s signature Telluride Yoga retreat was up for sale.  I dragged Jaime and Jenn and said we needed to go.  It included hiking, paddle boarding, yoga and the mountains, pretty much all of our favorite things.  It was hard for them to tell me, no, but man a year to wait wasn't going to be easy.  In the last year, my photography business was fortunate enough to really pick up and keep me quite busy.  In fact, by the time the trip finally came around I found myself living, breathing, eating and overall obsessed with photography, reading articles, books, doing workshops, mentoring, editing and shooting.  I couldn't get enough, but I also couldn't relax and truth be told I was on the fast track to burn out.

I have never been to Telluride.  I've heard it's absolutely gorgeous but the 6-hour car ride has always shoved the trip to the back of my list, but a car ride with my adventure friends seemed like a good idea.  We headed up and laughed, sung, almost died as I tried to pass cars, it was everything you wanted in a car trip.  We took a detour to the Black Canyon of Gunnison, and Jenn had a heart attack at the $20 we spent to get into the park, earning her the new name of Mavis.  But in the end, Mavis felt it earned her $20.  We drove around the park and I was so happy about the detour.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves below.

 Jaime, not afraid of heights jumping on the cliff.

Jaime, not afraid of heights jumping on the cliff.

 Jenn, being very afraid of heights, sensibly on the ground.

Jenn, being very afraid of heights, sensibly on the ground.

 I love that I can tell Jaime, "Hey, go sit by that ledge."  Never a hesitation.

I love that I can tell Jaime, "Hey, go sit by that ledge."  Never a hesitation.

 Jaime, trying her best to be Instagramable with these amazing bushes.  Best bushes ever.  Glorious bushes. 

Jaime, trying her best to be Instagramable with these amazing bushes.  Best bushes ever.  Glorious bushes. 

 Black Canyon Painted Wall  

Black Canyon Painted Wall  

As we rolled into Telluride it was in a cloud of smoke, and not like in a Cheech and Chong way.  The San Juans were closed due to wildfire and the smoke was heavy.  It always makes me so sad, but I also know it's apart of the cycle, as long as that cycle isn't due to some dumb human.

Day 2

The next day I got up at sunrise (5am) to take some sunrise photos.  I was exhausted but the best light is that gorgeous blue and golden hour and I couldn't resist.  The smoke had cleared and I was not disappointed.


We got ready, grabbed our yoga mats and rode the gondolla for some mountain top yoga.  It was rustic, and there were rocks under our mats, but we were on such a gorgeous mountain I barely noticed.

 Ladies of the retreat getting in line for the gondola.

Ladies of the retreat getting in line for the gondola.

 I don't commute anymore, but at this point, if it doesn't look like this, count me out!

I don't commute anymore, but at this point, if it doesn't look like this, count me out!

 Here's the part where I'm glad I just take pictures and you can't see that I can barely lift my leg this high.  Yea...

Here's the part where I'm glad I just take pictures and you can't see that I can barely lift my leg this high.  Yea...


From here it was alpine paddle board.  We decided against it for many different reasons, falling in, it was more than we wanted to spend and we just strangely weren't up for it.  It was nice to be able to change directions and not feel bad about not joining the others.  I really liked that about Natalie's retreat.  She has so many options you can do if you want!  We decided we wanted to hike Bridal Veil Falls, but the road was closed so we ended up joining others on the lake.

 My gorgeous  Hippie Momma Bag .  Seriously, check her stuff out.  This bag has been such a life saver this summer!!

My gorgeous Hippie Momma Bag.  Seriously, check her stuff out.  This bag has been such a life saver this summer!!

 The other's braver than us, out there paddling!

The other's braver than us, out there paddling!

So this is the point where all hell broke loose for me personally.  Suddenly my camera wasn't working.  I panicked.  As a photographer, not having my camera is like missing my hand.  I had a wedding coming up in 8 days and I needed my two cameras and like an idiot, I didn't pack my others.  I was mentally in total meltdown mode, and it was at this point that I realized how wound up I was.  People were trying to talk to me and I could barely even think let alone have a conversation my head was spinning faster than it ever had before.  I think Jaime honed in on my quiet private meltdown and she suggested we head back to the condo where I could get a camera rented in time for the wedding and get things patched up.

Once I did this, (huge thank you to Mike's Camera!) I had to let go.  I had to not think about photography, I had to just let go and know it was going to be okay.  I had to just be.  This was so eye-opening to me as to where I was mentally.  I'm glad that my camera broke, truthfully I couldn't enjoy my trip as much as I did because I would have still underneath it felt like I was working.

 So from here on, please enjoy my beautifully edited Galaxy Note8 pictures.

The road to Bridal Veil Falls opened up and in the heat of the day Jenn, Jaime and I headed up.  Bridal Veil Falls in Colorado's tallest free-falling waterfall.  It reminded me so much of Iceland.

 Don't drink from this lake, it is full of toxic awfulness from the left over mines.  Toxic can be gorgeous tho.

Don't drink from this lake, it is full of toxic awfulness from the left over mines.  Toxic can be gorgeous tho.

 Instagram perfect.

Instagram perfect.

 Jenn ALWAYS looks good.

Jenn ALWAYS looks good.

 Sigh.....oh Kate....just stop.

Sigh.....oh Kate....just stop.

The day ended with more mountain-top yoga and for some bike rides.  I found the condo's hot tub and called it a day.  It was a good day.

Day 3

Day 3 was the Via Ferrata for Jaime and I.  Jenn, being afraid of heights opted out and had a day to herself.  Via Ferrata in Italian means, "The Iron Way."  Basically, this adventure is two miles across and a 500 feet fall to your death along a narrow ledge of a mountain.  I was a little hesitant at first, but after yesterday's camera failure I decided to not think about the what ifs, what if it goes wrong, what if I fall, what if I die?  I decided to not think about it and just put one foot in front of another.  I thought that I would be clipped into the mountain most of the time, but I found there was only wire about half the time.  

There gets to a point where you are so high up it doesn't even feel real and we reached that point quickly.  Chris from San Juan Outdoor Adventures was kind, calm and led 4 of us along the cliff.  Right before the main event, which is where we are on only iron rods I kicked a small pebble off the cliff and watched it was still falling....oh, it's still going....damn we are up high.  This was the only moment of fear I had was the actualization of what I was doing, but I pushed the what-ifs out, and just concentrated on the now.

The trip was awesome and it pushed me to do things so far out of my comfort zone but I was able to accomplish two feats I was proud of.  I finished and I never said, "I can't."  I just did.  Here are our photos:

 About to make bad life choices.

About to make bad life choices.

 We are pretty enthusiaic about the potential for death.

We are pretty enthusiaic about the potential for death.

 Natalie Magee, laughs at violent weather and violent cliff drops.

Natalie Magee, laughs at violent weather and violent cliff drops.

 All you can do is laugh, and hold on with a white knuckle grip.

All you can do is laugh, and hold on with a white knuckle grip.

 Hey, that's me!  With the pink back pack on doing the main event.

Hey, that's me!  With the pink back pack on doing the main event.

 Just Natalie, doing yoga moves on a cliff, naturally. 

Just Natalie, doing yoga moves on a cliff, naturally. 

 The monkey bars.

The monkey bars.

 Our awesome mountain guide Chris.  Shout out to his constant calm demeanor.  

Our awesome mountain guide Chris.  Shout out to his constant calm demeanor.  

After such an adrenaline rush I really enjoyed our sunset deck top yoga session on the other side of Telluride.

 Oh hey, totally sitting here un-instagramable and being awkward.  I think this was the point Jenn said, "I really don't know how you can be so bad in front of the camera."

Oh hey, totally sitting here un-instagramable and being awkward.  I think this was the point Jenn said, "I really don't know how you can be so bad in front of the camera."

 Jenn, all zen.

Jenn, all zen.

 Good night Telluride, it was a good day.

Good night Telluride, it was a good day.


Day 4

So this was the morning I realized I really did love my family and I missed them terribly.  Jenn and Jaime were also feeling the same way.  The rain had rolled in (and although the weather wasn't adventure perfect, it was perfectly what our fire ridden mountains needed).  The next day was father's day and Jaime, Jenn and I decided that maybe we would high tail it back a day early but not before enjoying some coffee on the deck, with the misty rain falling and just enjoying that fresh mountain fall.  Also, we had to squeeze one more adventure in.  Natalie guided us to a secret hike.  It wasn't easy to get to, it involved crossing a river on a soaking wet log and crossing the rushing snowmelt to get there but it was worth every single minute and thus concluded a perfect adventure retreat, full of friends, strong women, adventure, pushing us out of our comfort zone and getting in some serious and amazing girl time.

If you get a chance to attend this retreat, I HIGHLY recommend it!


Fort Collins Wedding Photos-Lindsey + Devin-Colorado Wedding Photographer

I always thought twins would be a blast to have.  That was until my best friend had them and I knew that I was given only what I could handle which is one baby at a time.  The reason I tell you this is because I had the absolute privilege to capture and document Lindsey and Devin's Fort Collins elopement style wedding.  Lindsey and Devin are both twins (obviously not twins which each other).  What are the odds of that?  (God bless their parents)

Lindsey and Devin were married in front of 20 of their closest family and friends at Primrose Studio in Fort Collins on the most beautiful sunny summer day right by the lake against the mountains.  I am such a sucker for lakes!!  I may or may not have even gotten in the lake to get the good shots, but really I may have just wanted to cool off a little and be in the lake.  The ceremony was officiated by Devin's brother and the thing I noticed the most was how much love they were surrounded by.   Everyone was absolutely glowing watching them make the lifelong commitment to each other.

Afterward, we headed to downtown Fort Collins and they met over 100 guests at The Kitchen.  It was a gorgeous reception and I was amazed at what an amazing job The Kitchen did.  Every detail was thought out and well orchestrated.  It was a perfect day, and I cannot thank Lindsey and Devin enough for letting me be apart of their amazing day.

Photography:  Colorado Kate Photography
Second Shooter:  Heather Cline of Anderloch Photography
Venue:  Primrose Studio
Bridal HMUA: Jessie Wagner
Flowers:  Lace and Lillie's Flowers
Reception:  The Kitchen


A Denver City Park Engagement Session with Sam and Bryn

I spend the majority of my sessions capturing my couples in love in the mountains.  It’s what I do -- it’s what I love. However, there is still so much more to Colorado than just her lovely mountains.  There are the serene Eastern Plains, the breathtaking Western Slope, and of course, her heart: the City of Denver. When Bryn and Sam decided to have their engagement photos done at City Park, I was really excited for a little bit of city love.

Sam and Bryn are your typical Colorado couple, and you will find them climbing and exploring the mountains.  Sam has well over forty 14ers under his belt (I’m crazy impressed with this). You can’t help but instantly love this couple.  They make you laugh, and they are very in love and are just completely comfortable and goofy around each other. I couldn’t help but smile and be excited for them in this new chapter of the life they are starting.  They have many photos in the mountains and were looking for something just a wee bit different.

We headed over to City Park.  I love this park because you get to see the Denver skyline, the mountains with a beautiful lake, and it’s all in the backyard of the Museum of Nature and Science.  The backdrop is absolutely iconic. The weather was perfect, the lighting was gorgeous, and these two were on fire. They danced, played tag, had some wine, and had a sunset picnic.  Their chemistry was just undeniable, and you could see when they looked at each other the rest of the world faded away. This was not my typical session, but I loved every single minute of it!  I cannot wait to capture their wedding this winter, but for now, enjoy their summer engagement session.

Bryn and Sam-5.jpg
Bryn and Sam Insta-16.jpg
Bryn and Sam Insta-14.jpg
Bryn and Sam Insta-13.jpg
Bryn and Sam Insta-15.jpg
Bryn and Sam-18.jpg

Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs: Videographers, Basecamp Visual

I have a confession.  I didn’t have a videographer for my wedding.  Almost 10 years ago it wasn’t what it is today.  When I started looking for a videographer for my clients I almost fell out of my chair when I saw all the amazing talent out there.  One of the companies that stood out for me was Basecamp Visual ran by David and Shanna McCann.  Their videos were jaw-dropping movies, that told a story in a way you absolutely felt like you were right there, and I was completely blown away.  I had to meet this incredibly talented couple.

We met for coffee with their boys and the thing I loved about both of them was how happy, enthusiastic and go with the flow they were.  They were so nice, and the kind of people you instantly want to be friends with for life.  When we met, they were in the middle of selling their beautiful charming home in favor of a 1978 Airstream affectionately named May, to adventure in with the plan of settling down on some land and live that beautiful small-town living.  Their commitment to adventure really impressed me.  When my kids were that young, anything like this seemed impossible.

David and Shanna are in love with the art of storytelling.  Shanna’s background is in writing and David’s in cinematography.  They feel so lucky that they get to get to know a couple and tell their stories.  Shanna gushed, “There are so many good stories to tell.  People have so many amazing stories and we love telling it in a unique and beautiful way.  We feel absolutely honored to be a part of their story.”

They love the couple who finds the outdoor venue and let go of all tradition and do something that is so sentimental and true to who the couple is.  They love when they can go with a couple on a trail and figure out why it has so much meaning to them. They emphasize that they also love tradition as well as long as it speaks to the couple, it all makes for a great story to share.

I asked them if there was anything they would want potential couples to know and they said there is a common misconception, that they should be filming the whole time, but the truth is, the camera isn’t constantly running.  To tell a story in a 3-5 minute film, they are giving the best shots to tell the best story.  They may not include every single moment, but they are collecting the most impactful moments, the letters, or vows, they want to capture the most important to the couple.

David and Shanna were kind enough to share their video of a wedding in the Pacific Northwest in a treehouse.  Enjoy their amazing talent and do not forget to hire them.  I wish they were doing this when I got married, I would not even hesitate to hire them for my big day. 

PNM Treehouse Wedding

 David, Shanna, the boys and May. Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual

David, Shanna, the boys and May.
Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual

 David McCann Photo credit: Basecamp Visual

David McCann
Photo credit: Basecamp Visual

 Shanna McCann Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual

Shanna McCann
Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual

 The McCann Family Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual

The McCann Family
Photo Credit: Basecamp Visual




Adventures of Colorado Kate: Mount Evans with Love

The other day I went to a funeral and the husband gave the most loving and moving eulogy.  It made me think about what would Jace say about me and it made me laugh.  The first thing that you should know is I come up with epic fail dates.  I really excel at them.  I will drag him  to the sidewalk chalk festival and it's a crowd and it's a cluster, and it's hot and by the end everyone is angry.  So I think about what he would say, "UGH....Kate would drag me around and it was always so awful."  Hey I tried, and he knows that.

Lately, life has run me down and not because of anything bad happening, just not having a break from the hustle of life.   And so for the holiday weekend my kids went off to the country with grandma, and Jace and I had a break.  So I decided we would have an adventure day.  We started kayaking in the morning and ended up on top of Colorado's #14 tallest 14er.  A 14er is any mountain that is 14,000 feet or taller than sea level.  

I've hiked 4 of these and they are brutal.  Although the trails themselves aren't that hard (it should be noted  I've done the "easier" ones, but others I haven't been on are real brutal), the thin air makes everything so difficult.  Usually, towards the top, I have to keep breaking to get air into my lungs.  My friend, Natalie Magee of Yogi Magee Expeditions, had suggested we do a photography workshop at sunset on the top of the mountain.  I thought that was a great idea until we ran into permit issues.  We are currently looking for a new location.  However, it made me realize it would be a great way to introduce Jace to a 14er.  So on our adventure day we headed up to Mount Evans.  

The road to Mount Evans is America's highest road.  It is only open in the summer, and this year it opened Memorial Day weekend.  Depending on the weather, it will close approximately Labor Day.  I'm not going to lie, it's a little dicey for my tastes.  It's narrow and unforgiving at points.  But if you aren't driving, the outlooks are simply breathtaking.  Careful not to fall off the road, we made it to the top.  At this point, we were in hurricane-force winds.  This is the point Jace gives me the look.  The look that says, "Seriously, why are we doing this?  What have you gotten us into?"  With an annoyed sigh, he said, "UGH.  Are we going to the top????"  Ummmm....yes.

We got our winter gear on, hiking boots, leashed up our dog Lucy, and headed for the short hike to the summit.   The wind was fierce and the trail was solid ice.  I'm not going to lie, Jace was annoyed and I knew we were on our way to having another epic fail date under our belt.  We saw a mountain goat on our short hike up, which helped combat against this being a solid loss.   The thing about the summit is that you just simply will not see views of Colorado like that anywhere else.  When we got to the top, Jace couldn't even believe it and then my hope may have come to fruition and he saw my love of 14ers.  Of the 4 other 14ers I've done, I think Mount Evans has the prettiest view.  You can see the Front Range, Pikes Peak, the valley by Fairplay, the Collegiate mountains, the view just goes on and on.  As the sun set, the mountain ranges just lit up and we were so lucky to see the show.

We got back in the car, this time Jace in the driver seat and headed down.  I asked him if he liked it and he said, "Yes that was really cool!"  I shrieked.  Yes!  This would not be an epic fail date and hopefully, a love of 14ers was born so I can drag him to more places around the world. 

 Jace had to walk Lucy because the strong winds and ice combined with my klutziness was a recipe for disaster.  

Jace had to walk Lucy because the strong winds and ice combined with my klutziness was a recipe for disaster.  

 Although I am a professional photographer, I am a horrible at selfies.  It is what it is.

Although I am a professional photographer, I am a horrible at selfies.  It is what it is.

 Thanks lady from Austin.

Thanks lady from Austin.

 I love Jace.  I told him to sit on that ledge, forgetting he had a fear of heights.  I'm starting to understand more why we have epic fail dates.

I love Jace.  I told him to sit on that ledge, forgetting he had a fear of heights.  I'm starting to understand more why we have epic fail dates.

 This is the shadow Mount Evans was casting and it was so cool to see.

This is the shadow Mount Evans was casting and it was so cool to see.

 I will call this the road to heaven, because Jace drove a little too fast up it, while I was screaming, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!"  I'm super calm and cool like that.

I will call this the road to heaven, because Jace drove a little too fast up it, while I was screaming, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!"  I'm super calm and cool like that.

Colorado Foggy Mountain Engagement with Paul and Hilary

Being a natural light outdoor Colorado wedding and engagement photographer I am 100% at the mercy of Colorado weather.  So this means being able to go with the flow and be super flexible.  Colorado weather isn't even really predictable until 3 days out and even then, you just really don't know.  You need to embrace what is given to you and see the magic that is meant to be. 

For Paul and Hilary's engagement session the weather was not looking like it was going to cooperate.  Rain on and off for most of the day and lightning thunderstorms in the afternoon.  I'm okay with some rain, but lightning storms in the mountains is an absolute no.  We watched the weather as the thunderstorms were starting at 3pm, then 5pm, maybe 8pm.  Because this was the only day that it was going to work for our schedules we decided to take the gamble and head up to Mount Falcon and take a chance.  If we heard thunder we would close up shop and hope to do our photo shoot another time.

Hilary and Paul were amazing.   They came looking like models out of magazines.  I was so in love with Hilary's gorgeous flowy dresses.  Their sense of style was outstanding.  I wish I could take credit for this style but that was all of them.  As always, I was thrilled they brought their pup Axel too and Paul's mom was there to assist with Axel which I always love and appreciate!  

We shot for about 2 hours, and there was no rain, no thunder, no lighting, just gorgeous moody fog that produced magic that I couldn't have predicted.  Sometimes you think you know what you want, and then you get handed exactly what you need.  I'm so glad the weather wasn't Colorado typical sun and bright.  It put the spotlight on Paul and Hilary's love that shines much brighter than the sun.  Congratulations to Paul and Hilary!  I am wishing you a lifetime of happiness.


A Colorado Mountain Engagement Session with John, Kelsey and the Pups!

Fact, I never get tired of shooting madly in love couples in the Colorado mountains.  Ever.  I could do it every day and be the happiest girl in the world.  I met Kelsey and John up at Mount Falcon with their amazing pups.  I am so thrilled to be shooting their wedding this fall!  And their love for each other did not disappoint and left me wanting more.

I was so happy that John and Kelsey chose to include their gorgeous pups in their engagement photo shoot.  They are so much part of the family.  I'm still reeling in grief of having to say goodbye to our Charlie girl, I find it so important to include the pets.  If I could, I would even include the cats too, but since they are on their own schedule and pretty unpredictable, it's a little harder.   Kelsey and John rescued both of their pups from very early ages and have spent hours of time and love pouring into Guinness and Bailey.  Their hard work has paid off and these pups are amazing dogs!

When capturing John and Kelsey I could not help but smile and think about how they remind me so much of Jace andme.  All the playful banter, the ease and comfort they are with each other, it makes me so giddy to see them so happy together and you know they are going to have a solid future together.  Plus they treat their dogs like kids and I love that.  Dogs really are kids that never move away, aren't they?

 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.
 Engagement photos up at Mount Falcon in the Colorado Mountains.

Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks, and Recs: Lettering for Your Invites and wedding signs

Here is the truth.  My handwriting wasn't earning me any "A's" in school but I have a real love affair with beautiful handwriting.  My mom had gorgeous writing, and I always knew when any card came from her, it was always carefully written out.  A friend of mine had shared a letting workshop that AE Lettering Co was hosting at Legends Coffee.  I checked out Alyssa's, the owner's, Instagram and was super impressed with her work.  I signed up for her workshop and headed down to the coffee shop.

First of all, can we talk about this cute coffee shop, Legends Coffee located in the Southland Shopping Center?  It is the cutest, with beautiful reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs and gorgeous windows letting in all the light in.  It's a family fun workshop and Tabitha the owner is so friendly and inviting.  If I wasn't in Arvada, I would be here all the time.  Denver South photographers, this is the coffee shop to bring your clients!!  Alyssa greeted us at the door and Tabitha crafted a coffee of our choice.  I had a delicious dirty chai and it was amazing!

The workshop was about 2 hours and Alyssa had a packet of worksheets.  (My 7-year-old daughter couldn't believe I had handwriting sheets too.)  Alyssa explained to us the different markers, the papers, and the different strokes and we were on our way.  Alyssa's packet's also included detailed instructions so we could go home and practice, great resources for continuing our education and a gorgeous professional pen.

If you are a do it yourself girl, grab your bridesmaids, sign up for her workshop and learn to letter from Alyssa!!  She has more workshops coming up.  Follow her on her Facebook page for more upcoming events.  However, if you craft like me, (example below), leave it to the professionals!  Contact AE Lettering for your invites, your beautiful wooden signs, or your mirror signs for your wedding. You will not regret this decision!

 We will put this in the category of, "Well I tried."  

We will put this in the category of, "Well I tried."  

 Seriously the cutest coffee shop ever.

Seriously the cutest coffee shop ever.

 Tabitha, Ledgends Coffee owner.  You will immidately feel like you are right at home!

Tabitha, Ledgends Coffee owner.  You will immidately feel like you are right at home!

 The beautiful packet Alyssa provides each student, with paper, professional pens and instructions.

The beautiful packet Alyssa provides each student, with paper, professional pens and instructions.



Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs: Manofatto-Homemade Gifts Made with Love

Getting people gifts stresses me out.  What do get a person you care about?  What's the one thing they want?  Then I go to the store and suddenly my cart is full of things and I have to narrow it down to one.  What's a girl to do?

Introducing the answer to your conundrum, Manofatto!  Manofatto, which is slang in Italian for "handmade", are beautiful handmade wooden boxes constructed by Craig and then stuffed with amazing goodness by his wife Katelyn.  These carefully curated boxes are filled with a theme in mind, but Katelyn can also customize any box.  Almost all of her hand picked items are local items or made in America.

When I arrived to Katelyn's home to photograph some of her gorgeous boxes I was taken back by how warm and friendly she was.  It felt like going to hang out with my best friend.  Katelyn told me that although she has about 45 boxes on her website, none of them are premade.  She wants to make sure that they are perfect for each and every person.  Ah, yes, each of these boxes really is manofatto!

As I mentioned above, her husband is a skilled woodsman who makes the boxes.  But this company keeps it all in the family.  Her mom comes over and helps stain all the boxes and her sister is the talent behind all the gorgeous hand-calligraphy notes.  I love so much that this company keeps it in their tight-knit family.  When you get your box, you will feel like you have received a gift full of love and family, which is exactly what you are receiving.

I was able to photograph some gift boxes that were going out to bridesmaids, groomsmen, honeymooners and wedding. Also, don't forget mother's day is coming up, this would be an amazing gift for your mom!

 Photographer welcome gift for clients - Colorado Kate Photography

Boulder Colorado Mountain Engagement Session with Maureen and Peter

Meet my gorgeous couple Maureen and Peter.  They have recently relocated to Colorado from Connecticut and are quickly settling into the laid-back Colorado lifestyle.  What a great addition to Colorado these two are!  Since they are still fairly new, we headed up through Boulder into the mountains and up to Lost Gulch for that gorgeous mountain outlook.  We were not disappointed with this location and Colorado was showing off with a gorgeous sunset.  (Hooray for sunset season!!!)  I just loved these two!  They were so full of love.  I'm excited to show you their photos!

I love watching people take in all of Colorado, even on a crowded day where everyone is perched trying to get good seats for the Colorado sunset.  One thing I love our about state is how friendly people are.  Several times people offered to move so we could get in an epic spot.  Peter and Maureen were so sweet and so in love, I'm not even sure they noticed the crowds and scenery.  I love watching couples exchange laughs and glances and watching how they are just so comfortable with each other.  I absolutely love my job, I always leave my session so happy and filled with so much hope for the future.  I cannot believe I get to do this for a living.

Maureen and Peter wanted to know if they could bring their dog, Murphy.  UM....heck yes you can!  Meet Murphy, the adventure dog.  This dog was ready for a good hike, good run and lots of love and snuggles.  Murphy was such a sweet dog and I was more than happy he joined the engagement session.  There just needs to be more dogs all around us!  

If you've just become engaged (congratulations!) and need a wedding photographer, or engagement photographer, I would love to help you out!  Contact me, and let's get some coffee and see what I can do to help you out!


Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs: Hair and Makeup for Your Hiking Elopement

We've all seen those gorgeous brides who have hiked up the Rocky Mountains or other places, for their elopement and their hair and makeup looks impeccable.  How is that possible???  Let me introduce you to the answer, Megan Swensen of Estes Park Bridal Company.  I was fortunate enough to meet her at our stylized Denver Clock Tower shoot which you may have seen on my previous blog.  Megan worked on the bride's hair and makeup and I was so impressed with her work I had to share her with you!

Megan has been working on hair and make up for over 7 years and has been exclusively doing brides for the last 3 years.  She told me, "It's like painting a canvas, and each and every bride is different and it is so interesting and exciting."   Since she is located in Estes Park, which is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park so she is a great person to contact.  She doesn't even flinch when thinking about a 3 am makeup & hair appointment for your sunrise session.  She truly loves what she does, and it shows in her craft.  Megan was kind enough to give me some tips and tricks to share with you for your mountain hiking engagement or elopement.

Tips and Tricks for your Hair and Make-Up

  1. Use airbrush makeup!  The liquid-based silicone is so bendable, it creates a         customizable tone that looks more natural and applies lightly.
  2. Keep makeup light and natural.  Too much can tend to look a little out of place in the beauty of the mountains.
  3. Use waterproof mascara.  There will be tears, a little bit of sweat and you don't want any black coming down your face.
  4. Braids are perfect for hiking and keeping your hair set while hiking and gorgeous against anything the elements may throw your way. 
  5. Half-up up hair fairs really well hiking.
  6. Have your stylist do pin curls, then let them down when you arrive at your place of elopement.
  7. (Kate's tip:  Hire Megan!!)
  8. Most importantly, make sure you stay true to what is you!!
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Coming Soon! Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs

Planning a wedding is like nothing else I've ever done.  There were so many things and details to think about and the question is where do you start?  Wedding Wire and The Knot are great starting points, but how do you know you know they are reliable since so much of it is paid advertisement?

That's why I thought I would start a new blog series, Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs.  This gives you insights into Colorado's best venues, vendors, unique ideas, giving you some tips on your wedding day.  I've already got a line up of some really amazing and talented people to ensure you have the BEST wedding day possible.  These are a collection of amazing talented people that have really impressed me with their work.  None of them have paid me for these features, that's just not how I roll.  As a Colorado native, I have insight on some great places you may not even know about, tips for having a good adventure in the mountains, and I have connections with some great people that will help you make your day exactly how you imagined it being.

Wedding season is upon us, and for my 2019 couples, I want to help you make this day perfectly about what fits you two as a couple.  Don't forget this day is about YOUR love and what makes you so in love with one another and celebrating this happiness for the rest of your life.  If you have any questions, or I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me!!  I am happy to help come up with ideas or even do a little bit of light research for you if I don't already have the answer.  Let's work together to make your day perfect!


Colorado Kate


Boulder Mountain Romantic Snow Engagement Session-Lindsey & Devin

Lindsey and Devin are one of those couples who are just delightful when you meet them.  They are a total go with the flow and don't stress about everything type.  (I need to take in more of this energy!)  We scheduled their engagement photos to be take up in Boulder, up in the gorgeous Colorado mountains over Spring Break.  It had been snowing off and on all week so that morning I warned them the spot we chose may be muddy & icy, did they want to possibly reschedule?  No, they didn't.  I love this because some of the most epic  engagement sessions are created in the least perfect conditions.

As our time came around it started snowing pretty good.  Spring time in Colorado, sunny in the morning, huge gorgeous flakes by the evening.  I offered again to reschedule, but they didn't want to and I was so excited.  Shooting in active snow was a goal of mine this season.  As we arrived in Boulder, I realized our original spot was not going to work out as the outlook would be gone so we changed plans and went up to NCAR.  If you haven't been up there you should go.  The NCAR building was built by I.M. Pei, and they have so many trails all around!  I have yet to go up there and not see a heard of deer.  I knew someone who lived in the foothills and called deer big rats, but I still get so excited seeing them!

As we did a little exploring, and capturing love under a blanket of snow I got to know Lindsey and Devin a little better.  She's a nurse and he's a teacher.  They have been together for a while and are now getting married this summer up in Fort Collins (which will be my first wedding of the season and after this session I could not be more excited for it!).  I loved how comfortable they are around each other and how effortless they were.  They had a real softness about them.  I loved their sense of adventure in the snow.  My favorite fun fact about Lindsey and Devin is that they are both twins.  How cool is that?  

I hope you enjoy their photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!!


Engagement at Echo Lake-Sarah & Randy

Sarah and Randy decided on Echo Lake near Mount Evans for the backdrop of their engagement session.  It was just perfect.  The snow, frozen lake and rolling mountain hills were just breathtaking.  But really we could have done it at a landfill and it would have been perfect because this couple is so in love.  And I love that although they live out in Eastern Colorado, they still wanted to head to the mountains for their pictures.  They just glowed around each other and what I loved most about watching them was their constant laughter with each other.  They have to be one of the happiest couples I've ever shot and so madly in love.

Sarah found me on the Amy & Jordan Colorado page, which is interesting because Amy and Jordan's style is light and airy, but that's not really my style.  I suppose my soul is too dark for that style.  (I kid).  I spoke with Sarah and I instantly loved her.  She just so enthusiastic, friendly, and warm.  After speaking with Sarah it's like getting a good hug from your best friend.   She's also an incredible photographer.  You should check out her Instagram page.  You won't be disappointed!!  I was absolutely honored she had picked me to be her photographer!

Sarah and Randy are absolutely made for each other.  They are just so at ease with one another.  They are just sweet and caring people and the kind of people you want to be friends with forever.  I am absolutely thrilled and counting down the days to Sarah and Randy's wedding.  I know it will be filled with love, tons of laughter and dogs.  (But more on that later!!) I'll leave you with this fun fact about their relationship.  Randy's brother is married to Sarah's sister.  How is fun that?

 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.

Love in the Denver Clock Tower-Sammie & Devon

How many of you have seen the movie National Lampoons European Vacation?  I have, many times, and that is because that movie was exactly what it was like going on vacation with my Dad.  In the movie, they get stuck on a rotary for hours passing Big Ben and Parliament.  Each time they pass it, the dad says, "Hey kids, Big Ben, Parliament!"  This is basically what my Dad did every time we passed the Denver Clock Tower, "Hey kids, there's the D&F Tower.  That used to be Denver's tallest building."  Every. Single. Time. (Fun fact the tower is 20 floors, the current tallest building in Denver is 40 floors) So when the opportunity to shoot inside the tower came about, I did not hesitate to jump in.  This shoot was a bucket list location and I was thrilled my first experience seeing it would also be doing my favorite thing, shooting love!! The Denver Clock Tower is an intimate space that would be perfect for an elopement, anniversary session, vow renewal or proposal.

Although Sammie and Devon were models for us, they were also a real-life couple and you could tell they were madly in love.  I loved how he watched her get her hair and makeup done and they would smile and laugh.  Her face would just light up when she saw him.  I'm not really sure Devon even looked away from her unless we asked him to look somewhere else.  I could not believe all the talented vendors at this event.  Every single one of them blew me out of the water.  I have all of their information listed below with links to their websites if you wanted to get in contact with them.  And trust me when I tell you, you absolutely should!

This event and venue were absolutely one of a kind.  A huge shout out to Ashley Carara of Ashley Nichole Studios, LLC who organized, coordinated and poured her heart and soul into this.  Thank you to our models who did anything we asked them to!  I feel very lucky to be apart of this.  I hope you enjoy the photos and the insight into the elusive Denver Clock Tower as much as I loved absolutely being there!



Venue:                                          Denver Clock Tower Events
Organizer:                                    Ashley Carara
Coordination:                               Mathew Events and Weddings
Invites:                                          All That Glitters Invitations
Bridal Gowns:                              Bella Bridesmaids
Make Up and Hair (Bride):          Estates Park Bridal Co.
Make Up and Hair:                     Deb Icenogle Hair & Make Up
Flowers:                                      Inspired Designs
Gift Box:                                      Monofatto
Decor Rentals:                            A Love Tale
Rentals:                                       Butler Rents
Cake:                                          Sweet Inspirations Bakery


Bride:                                          Sammie Stiles
Groom:                                       Devan Ganze
Bridesmaids:                              Chelsea Manning, Melanie Graham, Joceyln Weir
Flower Girl:                                 Autumn Gallegos
Ring Bearer:                               John Graham
Couple:                                       Becca & Ben Pettis                             


Arizona Love-Hippie Momma Bags

As a solid Colorado girl, I love me some mountains.  Give me ALLLLLL the mountains!  I love the pines, the tundra, the thin air and the constant adrenaline rush that there may be a snake that may get me.  I would never, could never leave Colorado....I mean forever.  After spending a little time in Arizona, I have changed my tune so maybe I could move to Arizona for a few months out of the year....and Iceland but that's another story.

I love the desert.  I love the gorgeous cactus sprinkled all over, I love the dry heat.  My Grandma Ellis once said that her oven is dry heat but she doesn't want to spend any time in it either.  The oven didn't have a beautiful gorgeous saguaro in it or she may have changed her tune and she may have crawled in. (Joke)  While I was there I was able to go on a little adventure and hike at Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale for a sunrise hike.  I realized even though it's the desert, I was still able to try and hike to touch the sky and this made me feel at home.

And you know what else is beautiful in Arizona?  The women.  For real.  They NEVER age, even with all that sun.  I've known Cortney for 15 years and I'm pretty sure she looks younger since moving back from Colorado.  She's a stunning momma of 4, an entrepreneur and a bad ass skateboarder.  Her friend Laura is a natural born model.  Chick is cool as hell and her ability to style people and spaces is an amazing talent.  I'm excited to go back and have her style me as she offered to do.  On top of that, you will not find two more supportive women. 

Cortney owns and designs Hippie Momma Bags.  You guys, you have to check out her website.  They are the most unique, beautiful bags design and made by Cortney.  I'm now the proud owner of 4...and counting!  They are made with material from women in Guatemala and these women hand dye the yarn and then weave it to sell and are able to support their families because of this.  I love this so much!

This fall we did a photo shoot for her.  You can find a link to my blog here.  We have decided this now needs to be a thing every 6 months or so.  It's so much fun to watch Laura and Courtney style and rock these beautiful bags.  I know I tend to be a photographer of love, but I love these bags so much and these two women, so I think it's basically the same.  So now check out my photos, check out her bags and have yourself a wonderful day!!

 Beautiful Cortney owner of Hippie Momma Bags showing a black hippie chick bag in the Arizona desert
 Beautiful Cortney owner of Hippie Momma Bags showing a black hippie chick bag in the Arizona desert a black and white photo
 Beautiful Cortney owner of Hippie Momma Bags showing a gorgeous fringe bag in the Arizona desert
 Four gorgeous fringe bags from Hippie Momma Bags laying in the Arizona desert
 Lauren causally sitting in Arizona Desert with a gorgeous grey fringe bag
 Cortney rocking the black hippie chick fringe bag in the Arizona desert



Amanda & Ty

When I first talked to Amanda, she told me that she and Ty were the outdoor type.  That they became engaged on a hike up in the mountains.  They sounded exactly like my kind of people.  We decided to go to St. Mary's Glacier for their engagement photos as they were looking for some snow in the setting.  I kept an eye on the weather and it looked like snow was in the forecast for our chosen day.  They didn't even flinch.  (YES!!!!!!!!!!)  When they got out I just started laughing, for the love of god they looked like professional models.  I have the BEST clients! 

When I first got there it was a bluebird day but you could see the weather creeping in over the mountains. I wondered how our session would end. We started out exploring the forest and quickly started post-holing through the snow.   In a few sections I ended up waist deep. They were never deterred, and just smiled and laughed.  I loved how very sweet and concerned Ty was for Amanda.  As we jumped over a creek I heard him sweetly say to Amanda, "Watch out little one."  It was said with so much care and so much love that my heart absolutely melted. 

As our session ended the snow started to fall and by the time we got to our car it was coming down pretty good.  This session was perfectly timed.  I am so thrilled to be capturing their upcoming wedding this December.  It is sure to be just as dreamy as their engagement session was.  I hope you enjoy Amanda and Ty's engagement photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

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Andrea, Ryan & Atlas

Although I had never met Andrea, I had heard all about her from my friend Gaby.  She told me of the amazing, smart and positive person Andrea was her in life.  She sounded like my kind of person!  As a gift to Andrea Gaby asked me to take maternity photos for her and Ryan.

When I arrived Andrea was exactly all of that.  But there was something that Gaby had not told me.  Andrea was the most radiant gorgeous mama I have ever seen.  Her smile just lit up the room.  As soon as we met I knew that this session was going to be photographers gold!

I met her husband Ryan, who was in the middle of a home renovation project, and he renovates like my husband does, with his own two hands.  His skills were seriously impressive.  Ryan and Andrea along with their dog Atlas took me up to Mount Sanitas for some photos.  You know you might be in Boulder, when the gorgeous pregnant mama makes it up the mountain way easier than you do!!

Congratulations to Ryan and Andrea and Atlas to your soon to be new addition.  You guys are going to be amazing parents and I can't wait to see what is in hold for you!


Sarah & Shawn

I freaking love my job. LOVE IT! I love capturing true love.  I feel so happy by capturing it.  When you photograph couples who are just so in tune with each other, when they fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle, when you see them have inside jokes, and their faces just light up when they look at each other and you see that sparkle in their eye when they look into each other's eyes.  You can't help but be happy and be filled with happiness and just have a little bit more positive and hopeful outlook on life.

Everything I just said above is exactly how it all played out when I captured Sarah & Shawn's engagement session in the mountains above Boulder.  These two were so sweet together, and so easy to capture their love as it just shined through.  I loved how they just laughed together and were so sweet on each other.  

Sarah and Shawn live up in the mountains, Shawn told me how he used to race his motorcycle through the Colorado mountains, Sarah didn't have to tell me she was a mountain girl.  She hiked around the rocks in heels easier than I did in my hiking around in my hiking boots.  When I shot them there you could tell that they were in their element and in love.

I hope you enjoy their photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.  I cannot wait for their mountain wedding this summer.


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Erin and Ryan

I met Erin a few years ago at the restaurant that shall not be named.  Erin was just this beautiful, kind and gentle girl.  The kind of girl you would want to be friends with forever.  She always has a smile on her face and she is always so positive.  You can't help but smile when you are around her.  When she and Ryan asked me to be their photographer for their upcoming wedding I literately jumped in the air and said, "Heck YEA!"  (Heck may or may not have been a different word.)

Erin, Ryan and I drove up to Staunton State Park the day after a snowstorm, which provided us with a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground and trees. As is common in Colorado after a snowstorm, the sun was out shinning creating a magical Colorado forest for us, with the occasional gust of wind.  Just enough to make it unique.

We had fun doing a little bit of hiking and exploring the park.  Afterwards Erin and Ryan both expressed that they had fun and Erin said, "I couldn't be nervous.  If I got nervous I just kissed Ryan and didn't notice anything else."  I thought about that for awhile.  That's the kind of love you should have.  When things are going weird around you, just concentrate on your love and everything will be okay.

I'm so thrilled to have the absolute honor and privilege to shoot Erin and Ryan's wedding this summer.  Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy, coming soon to a mountaintop near you!

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