- Fun & Easy on the Wallet| Colorado | Candid Keepsakes Photography
When I was young, dumb and broke, I generally looked to indoor hobbies to keep entertained or, at least, just busy with my extra time. Nowadays, a lot has changed. I lost most of the dumb (mommy brain is a real phenomenon people) and a little of the broke. Unfortunately, all of the youth is getting smaller in my rear view mirror of life, but I can STILL see it. One thing that hasn’t changed is keeping things thrifty, fun and always photography friendly. To aid your cheap and fun quest, here are some ideas for the remaining summer weekends this year.
It’s a little bit of a drive in the wrong direction (away from our mountains) but, you must check out the Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan. The terrain is like nothing else you will see in your hikes on the west side. There are primarily white rock formations, hugged by colorful rings and sections of earth almost too odd to imagine. Purples, oranges, and pinks break up the landscape and make you feel like you stepped onto another planet as you explore deeper. It truly is a gem of a short hike to check out. The best part is that it is free and you choose how much or how little you explore.
Another unique spot to Colorado Springs is the Olympic Training Center. You get a chance to walk through their compound and check out the practice facilities for gymnastics, weightlifting, swimming and other events. After you’ve explored the grounds, you can end with the hall of fame tour. The tours are conducted by some of America’s finest athletes themselves, so it’s a fun experience with an awesome and unique perspective. The tour is about 30 minutes starting at multiple times each day throughout the summer.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center offers free admission on the second Saturday and third Friday of each month. It’s definitely a fun way to mix up the indoor and outdoor beauty in our lovely state. Check out their exhibition lineups online and be sure to visit on the next free admission day, Friday, August 17th.
A short drive north will give you the opportunity to get your hands on some beautiful and aromatic flowers. The Denver Botanical Gardens offers freebee days at their York Street and Chatfield Farms locations. The gardens are definitely a must see if you have a green thumb or haven’t had a chance to visit yet.
Car shows are always fun to browse. Colorado Springs has their 9th annual First Saturdays Car Show until October. Even if you are not a car fan, these can be a fun outing for the kids or even a date night stroll. You can take a step back in time and sit in the car your parents may have had in high school, or even find the dream car you’ve been looking for just by walking by. Almost all of the cars have a love story behind them and the owners are not shy about sharing.
These are just some fun ideas and picture worthy spots to check out before the summer comes to an end.
- Choosing Props for Your Photo Shoot| Colorado | Candid Keepsakes Photography
I’m not sure about you, but any time I’ve had a photo shoot on the horizon, I have frolicked around on Pinterest for theme and prop ideas to mimic (then off to Target, again). This can be a frustrating and dangerous (on the wallet) tactic if there is too much mix-and-matching without a set theme. If prepared improperly, the shoot can end up looking cheesy, jumbled, or it may not make sense at all. The purpose of using props is to help add interest and character to the photo; to make that picture “worth a thousand words.”
It’s important to make sure the placement of props is interesting. If you’re using a vanity mirror for capturing a subject dolling up and getting ready, catch that person’s reflection over their shoulder. In wedding photography, bouquets and bridesmaids go together like peanut butter and jelly. Make the focus different with positioning; like having the bridesmaids hold their flowers below their eyes as if they are smelling a truly transcendent aroma. Then, single out the bride by making the picture, like her wedding day, all about the bride by having hers be the only full face in the photo. Keep your ideas fun, fresh and feminine, but most of all, interesting and different.
Making your ever important prop selection unique to the story of the shoot can also be very important. Senior school photo shoots benefit from using the sports gear, uniform or instrument they play as a distinctive prop that helps portray their interests and personality with just a smile. On the flip side, with boudoir photography (rawr!), the themes are sometimes a blast from the past that shows styles going back to the 1940s. Often times, props are a must, but, be careful, they can turn into busy clutter easily. A bold statement piece, such as vintage furniture or antique jewelry, can set the tone to offer a delightful contrast to simply utilizing hair and makeup. Busy-bee pictures with oodles of props end up taking on a “trying too hard” look. Keeping it simple and clean showcases the desired theme, doesn’t focus too hard on the props, and keeps the subject the main focus, making them the superstar of the photo shoot.
Color is also a great way to add an interesting element to thematic shoots. Colorado tends to be a little brown and, well, blah in the cold season in between the winter wonderland-style snowfall. If your shoot falls on one of these sunny, so-so days, a splash of color can turn the shoot around. You can use the drab backdrop to draw your eyes to a sensory overload blast of color via scarves, blankets, or even a flag that holds importance (a little bit of bright red lipstick doesn’t hurt either, girls). Keep in mind that on top of color, try and score some props that have unique textures, interesting lines, or that have some of that good old fashioned WOW! factor. Using your own style on some interesting props will help you be successful in pulling off the picture perfect-perfect picture.
- More Summer Photography Fun| Colorado | Candid Keepsakes Photography
Summer can easily be translated to “outside” here in Colorado. Most of the year, Coloradan’s are happy to be outside in the fresh air, even when the snow hits. With around 300 days of sunshine a year, you just have to. With that kind of light opportunity, it’s a dream state for landscape and outdoor venue photography. Some fun ideas come to mind when celebrating all the sunshine with your picture taker in hand…
Head to the water! Colorado has some primo spots for scenic bodies of water. They serve as a great backdrop and some guaranteed fun in the sun whether you have a boat, kayak or a humble inner tube. Personally speaking, I am in love with Twin Lakes right outside of Buena Vista. There is a man-made forebay up the hill from this spot that is very beautiful, quiet and at the base of some of the highest peaks in Colorado. From here, you can see, or even hike, several 14ers, including the highest peak in Colorado, Mount Elbert. To say the least, it’s majestic. For other spots with great photo ops, you can check out trip advisor to make your own “water” bucket list with places like Blue Mesa, Dillon Reservoir, or even Hanging Lake. Come to Life Colorado has a full list of these and other great lakes to check out.
Can’t get away? Colorado Springs has parks. You know this. Why not go old school and have a picnic? They are underrated and a great photography opportunity. Bring your fur baby, your human or even just go solo and capture the action around you. It’s like going to Comic-Con and people watching, but the outdoorsy-mountain version without all the Star Trek costumes and lanyards.
If picnicking is too slow paced for your taste, try shooting an outdoor event. Local sports, concerts and parades have a bunch of interesting action angles and architecture you can capture. There are several rodeos still kicking this time of year, so the Norris-Penrose Event Center would be a fun spot for picture taking. Manitou Springs has some outdoor concerts into the month of August and downtown Colorado Springs has many parades still to come before summer is over. Check out the Peak Radar website for this and many more event ideas.
All in all, your collection of summer shots may be a little random from different fun-having adventures, but they most certainly will be memorable. You can put some of your favorite shots to good use and make your own post cards with ease, thanks to Mother Nature. Have any family and friends outside of the state or country? Send them your superstar post cards as a unique touch (and possible bragging rights) when catching up with friends and family who may have never seen Colorado in person.
Above all, don’t forget the sunblock when heading outside, and as always happy snapping.
- Choosing a Photography Location | Colorado | Candid Keepsakes Photography
I have been given the gift of family. It’s not too big or too small…juuuust right. Over the years, each of us collected our share of printed photos that occupy Tupperware containers in storage. In each of these disorganized piles of memories, there are very few with all of us together in one. Selfies did not exist during this time (chime in Sears’ photo department). Now the day has come for an official family picture that does not have a roll down background and matching sweater vests for all.
I am not sure how your family works, but I foresee two speed bumps…#1 getting everyone together on the same day and #2 picking a location that everyone is happy with. Number one is my problem, so we won’t talk about that. Location selection does have some workable solutions via the following tips…
Locations that have heart behind them tend to be a lasting memory for your pictures. Places that you and/or your family adore tend to bring the best camera ready faces and moods. If you don’t have any locations in mind or the meaning factor is not of significance, you can get some help finding spots through a few handy sites/apps. Check out Shot Hot Spot!
This site allows you to search your city and browse pictures of favorite hot spots for picture taking. Keep in mind that not all the photos are maintained and could be outdated. Be sure to research the spots outside of this website. It’s still a good place to start and get image ideas.
Really Good Photo Spots (phone app) is a more modern app that helps finding those photo back drops you are looking for. There is a free version, or a paid option to upgrade access.
When considering a spot, somewhere private or a place that has minimal traffic is ideal to lessen distraction. For example, if you want to do an urban shoot go downtown on a slow event weekend during the early morning or early dinner time to avoid crowds. Depending on the time of year, the best light time will need to be considered. Natural lighting and the perfect time of day are important. This symphony can be simply magic when done right. Check with your photographer on recommendations.
I’m not sure about you, but being in Colorado, I always have some weather back up in my car. This should be the case for your location, especially outdoors. Find a place that can provide shelter (hail hurts people and little hail welts don’t flatter in pictures) or make sure you have an umbrella to shade from the rain/sun. With the flooding we get at times, a kayak might not hurt to have on hand if you can manage. Even if you only have to wait five minutes for the elements to pass, that is enough time to wreck face and hair.
It never hurts to be prepared. If you have specific ideas of where you want to go, take a day and scout out the spots beforehand. You may even find something you like better just by looking around. Also you can get an idea of what to wear in keeping with the color schemes depending on the flora, fauna or even architecture that is surrounding.
Your photographer has also been to many different locations for other shoots, so if you need some ideas it never hurts to get their recommendation also!
As always, have fun and happy snapping!
- Dog Days of Summer | Colorado | Candid Keepsakes Photography
For much of my adult life, Jeff has been a gentleman of great importance. Not only is he one of the coolest wiener dogs I know, but he is also a loyal buddy that travels well and is always in the mood for the Beach Boys on the radio… Always! I am obsessed with taking his picture as our unofficial mascot for every new adventure. Ask anyone that follows me on Instagram-Jeff is famous among a small group with his social media status.
Being a smaller fur friend, Jeff is easier to sneak into places and be adored without the usual business manager zooming in on him for immediate removal. Dogs are a huge part of Colorado culture and some spots locally are stepping up to show love and support for our fur friends. From businesses to dedicated dog parks and doggie daycare, our fur babies are being treated more like the family member we think they are… And it’s about time!
I know, I know – dog parks can be a mixed reaction. If it is an off leash park, you really need to know that your paw-pal is ok with other dogs. That being said, some parks are better for some dogs. Rampart Dog Park is on the North East end of the city right behind Rampart High School, with some great panoramic views past the ballpark. It is tucked away in a tree bordered corner. It has a double gated entry and is one fenced area for all size dogs. If you are very confident in your dog’s behavior, this one might work for you.
Bear Creek Dog Park is a popular alternative that is on the South West part of town. This one is separated into small and large dog areas with double entry fences. It has benches, walking areas, drinking fountains and much more. This one is definitely our favorite because there tends to be less large dog altercations (mostly because little old Jeff has the heart of a Great Dane). Let’s just say Mr. Jeff tried to get romantic with a female lab and she made sure Jeff knew she wasn’t interested. We live and learn, sometimes the hard way.
After a fun day running around getting some sun and fresh air, take a break at the Pub Dog! This is a dog friendly eatery that has indoor and outdoor areas where you can eat with your fur-friend. Cerberus is a local brewery that also allows dogs outside on the patio for an additional option.
Jeff has given both places two paws up for fun and yummy food. No matter what your plans are for the 4th of July holiday, we hope it’s a ton of fun for you, your family and fur buddies. Don’t forget your camera, and happy snapping!
If you are interested in a fur baby mini session such as Jeff’s above, contact us today!