Surprise Proposal – how to WOW your love

surprise proposal at red rocks

Are you planning a Surprise Proposal in Colorado?

I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Locals and visitors alike love the vistas and beauty that Colorado has to offer. There are so many beautiful locations to surprise the love of your life with a proposal. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to photograph many couples as they move to the next chapter of their live together. For that reason, I thought I would help proposal planners everywhere with a few tips to pull off your “surprise proposal”.

garden of the gods she said yes

Location, Location, Location…

Pick a location that is meaningful. Does she love nature? Is he a huge fan of the zoo? Colorado has many fantastic locations – too many to count. A few of my favorite engagement spots are available here. There really isn’t a bad location, only the perfect one for you. When you choose a location you may also want to consider proximity to parking, number of people who are going to be around and ability to spot your photographer while still remaining inconspicuous.

surprise proposal in snow storm in Colorado

Reach out to your photographer at least two weeks ahead of time. Remember that to book you need a date and at least a rough location of where you will be proposing. I help my clients figure the when out quite often. For instance, an engagement at Garden of the Gods is very different than an engagement on the top of a ski lift. The process is much smoother if we start chatting sooner rather than later.

Come up with a believable reason to go to your epic location at the time you want to propose! For instance… If you are vacationing and want to visit Garden of the Gods – then maybe suggest that driving or hiking in the park is beautiful and then you can arrive at High Points to watch sunset. The more “normal” your reason is for heading to your spot, the less you will add to your nerves. The added bonus is the less nervous you are the less likely anyone will realize something is up!

surprise proposal at red rocks
His girlfriend was so excited she almost knocked the ring out of his hand!

To Consider…

Consider your partner and how he or she would like to be photographed. Take the time to suggest a spa day if clean nails could be important.  If she doesn’t love being photographed sweaty – maybe consider a spot or idea that would not include sweats and pony tails. I want my clients to LOVE their images. If your loved one hates what they are wearing, that could pose an issue. So, plan your day around your style.

The Day of…

Make sure that you arrive on time. If you are planning sunset, there is a timestamp on that. I’m always prepared with a flash for sunset engagements and there have been moments that beautiful sunsets are missed when clients don’t arrive on time. This will again just add to your nerves. So, make sure you plan your day so that arriving on time happens.

Denver Pary surprise proposal at the duck pond

Here’s the final tip… The big one..

Take a moment to soak this all in. Don’t sweat the small stuff like running a few minutes behind. If you have chosen a professional, you will be in good hands and have ready signal. Your moment will be captured and held onto forever.

Mary Elizabeth travels the world focused on capturing love stories. To book her for your Colorado Surprise Proposal shoot her an email!

10 Colorado Engagement Session Ideas

couple in love in the mountains of colorado

It’s time to pick a spot for your Colorado Engagement Session!

The only problem now is… Where should you go? Honestly, anywhere in Colorado is incredible and you really can’t go wrong. That being said, there are considerations to be made. Do you want to pay for a permit because often this is a pass through cost. How far do you want to drive? Are you comfortable with the snow? How about altitude? Celebrate your Colorado engagement with the vibrant beauty the state has to offer!

I’ve compiled a list of  my top ten Colorado Engagement Session spots. These are chosen for ease of access, beauty, and variety. They are speckled from Colorado Springs north to Denver and West to Estes Park and Breckenridge. Therefore, there is a little something for everyone!

Palmer Park

Engagement in the Mountains in Colorado Springs

Locals to Colorado Springs, like me, are likely familiar with Palmer Park. Dog parks, playgrounds, ball fields and more! I love this location because engagement sessions work somewhere within the park all day long. It is great for hectic schedules! From sunrise to sunset we can find a quiet spot and capture the magic of your love story. I often suggest this location for couples who want both fields and mountains but have a time crunch.

Garden of the Gods

Colorado engagement spot at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a destination for people around the world. From families to couples coming to get engaged and those wanting engagement or elopement pictures, this park has something for everyone. There is no lack of raw beauty and has one client told me “You don’t get views like these in Pennsylvania.” Because the park can get busy, it is best to book your session on a weekday or at sunrise.

Red Rock Open Space

Cheyenne Canon

couple kissing during session in Cheyenne Canon

Cheyenne Canon is beautiful year round and provides so many different options! In the summer, it is lush and green. During the fall you can access all the beauty of autumn and in winter and spring you can find a winter wonderland. Adding to that, driving from the base of the park to the top provides beautiful views and an “in the mountains” feel. There are few places in Colorado Springs as beautiful as the Canon.

Winter in Cheyenne Canon

Monument Valley Park

engagement portraits at monument valley park

Spring and Summer at Monument Valley Park near downtown Colorado Springs is an experience you don’t want to miss! If you aren’t interested in hikes and would rather some arranged beauty not to far from home… This is your spot! With not one, but two flower gardens that you can walk through and a pond, you have the beauty of nature in a refined way. There is almost a “southern” feeling to the space.

Pikes Peak Urban Arts District

Maybe parks aren’t your thing at all. I’ve got an option that might make you smile! Perhaps, you prefer a more urban feel to your session. Look no further than the Pikes Peak Urban Arts District. With street art that constantly changes, brick buildings and a city feel – this is the antithesis of the “mountain engagement” session that Colorado is known for!

Colorado Engagement Portraits at the Pikes Peak Urban arts district

Castlewood Canyon State Park

If you really love the great outdoors but don’t want to drive two plus hours into the mountains this is a great option! Castlewood Canyon State Park lies between Colorado Springs and Denver and is rich with history and beauty. With an abandoned and destroyed homestead, a canyon and a waterfall, there isn’t much you can’t love about this spot. In the summer, I have not found more beautiful sunsets than the ones I see here. Then, in the fall, the colors of the leaves are like a sunset themselves. Because a permit of $40 is required for this location, I like to make sure that couples who select it are going to enjoy a full session with me.

Couple standing in front of homestead at Castlewood Canyon State Park

Matthew Winters Park

If you are close to Denver Metro area and want a bit of an “outdoorsy” feel without trekking deep into the mountains, Matthew Winters Park is a Jefferson County location that packs a beautiful punch. While there is a $25 permit fee associated with portraits at this spot, it is definitely worth it. I love the stream and easy walk from the car. That’s why it’s one of my preferred Denver Metro locations!

Jefferson County engagement location

Rocky Mountain National Park

portraits along a stream in rocky mountain national park

This is actually my favorite place in the world. Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer is a green playground for wildlife and tourists alike. With mountains, fields, streams and meadows there is a view for everyone. But, I do charge an additional fee to do sessions at the park. However, if what you want is a beautiful spot with epic views, this is should be a contender!

Sapphire Point & Lake Dillon

couple playing in snow at Breckenridge engagement portrait spot

This is another location where the views can’t be beat. Because of winter weather and the likelihood of getting stranded I suggest you plan an overnight trip to Breckenridge or the surrounding area. I love how the mountains surround the reservoir and there are multiple spots with different views. Winter weather can cause problems but summer and fall trips to the area are equally beautiful. Your Colorado engagement session will not leave you cold with this spot! I do charge additional fees for this location, which can be discussed at booking.

The reality is, in Colorado you can find a ditch on the side of the road that is gorgeous. I still pinch myself that I am lucky enough to live with all of this beauty surrounding me. If you have questions about other locations – of which there are many – feel free to contact me using the form above!

Non Mountain Destination Engagement sessions are included in my wedding packages. To learn more, click here!
Mary Elizabeth is a Colorado based, adventure loving storyteller and photographer. With a goal to capture the emotion that moves between individuals in her work, she and her camera can be found hiking, playing with her kids and drinking lots of coffee when she isn’t working with incredible clients!

Historic Pinecrest – Rustic Colorado Wedding Venue

cover image

The first time I met Jennifer was over coffee for an initial consultation. She was excitedly planning her wedding at the Historic Pinecrest, a rustic Colorado event venue. I was struck by just how sweet she was and her smile really brightened up the kind of dark Starbucks. We talked about how important getting portraits of her day was, the fact that she had a rather large family that she wanted to capture and her love story with Jordan, the groom. After an epic mini engagement session filled with laughter and splashing… their big day arrived!

There are a LOT of venues in Colorado. I sometimes tell clients that I can be booked for an entire season and not visit the same venue twice, which was true for 2019. The Pinecrest Wedding and Event Center in Palmer Lake is a rustic spot with mountains in the background, lots of light in the reception hall and a pretty little chapel.  It screams Colorado without being a huge haul into the mountains, which is nice for families who have medical concerns or considerations such as altitude sickness to plan around. Parking was also convenient!

Pinecrest First Look

Behind the chapel, there is a beautiful grove of trees which provided plenty of cover from guests for the First Look. Jennifer and Jordan chose to do this in a fairly short period of time and it provided us with an opportunity for couple’s portraits as well! In the fall, there are leaves everywhere but it was a beautiful spot for all of the pictures from before the ceremony! The best part was that no one was concerned that Jennifer would be see by guests since the getting ready rooms were so convenient to it!

The ceremony and reception space at the Historic Pinecrest feature raised lodge like ceilings and lots of pine and light! the windows on both sides of the chapel aren’t quite enough for natural light in most cases because of the trees blocking light, but they are still gorgeous. The reception hall has a ton of natural light and is bright and beautiful. My favorite part was the stage right in the center where bride and groom can sit and be seen by everyone! If reception images are important to you, this is awesome!

Jennifer and Jordan’s day was filled with family, laughter and moments for memories. While I was with them for a short time that day, I look forward to following their love story for years to come! To view more images from Jennifer and Jordan’s wedding  click here!

family-portrait-at-pinecrest-rustic-colorado-wedding-venue
Family Portrait in front of the chapel

MAJECK Photography is a full service wedding photographer focused on following the love story and capturing the details of every client’s day in a way that will bring a smile to their face and a memory back to focus for years to come. We would love to hear from you about your upcoming wedding event – just contact us below!

 

Its A Boy

You may remember Corinne & Jeremy from a few months ago… (read about their session here) Corinne reached out last month and asked if I would help them with their gender reveal. Of course, I said yes, but I wanted to be responsible with the way in which we did a reveal. I suggested a color overlay but they really wanted the surprise in the moment.

Having never done confetti, smoke bombs, paint, chalk I wanted to be sure that we were following city and county requirements for safety and taking care of mother nature. Confetti specifically can be a huge mess and wildlife who consume it can become ill. Smoke bombs are considered a fire hazard and only allowed on private property where I live. So, I searched for a public park, with lots of fallen leaves and we decided on a “safe for nature” color cannon. I had never worked with these before and brought my husband along to shoot off the cannon so that I could capture the moment.

We started off with some fun family portraits (because why not) and then it was time for the main event. The first cannon didn’t really explode the way it was supposed to… It misfired a bit, but they were able to see and after some editing magic so are the rest of you!

It’s a BOY!

But my favorite picture was when they double confirmed with the envelope from the ultrasound. This family is so happy about their precious baby boy. Congratulations on your tie breaker!

It is important to me that reveals be environmentally responsible as well as emotional and exciting for families. I help with location planning and what methods will come the closest to “leaving no trace”. If you would like to schedule me for your reveal – message me today!

Destination Married

bride-and-groom-at-garden-of-the-gods-high-points

Chantelle & Zach – 10.05.2019

Chantelle, a native of South Africa, met her husband Zach online in college. After a few years, he proposed and she said “Yes!” Their wedding would be a

bridal party having some fun

destination event for her family no matter where they held it and so they chose a Colorado Wedding.

From renting a house so that everyone could have a blast for the weekend to Manitou Springs, to ordering in Chipotle for their reception… It was obvious that this wedding was more about their love for each other and their small family than anything else.

 

I was most impressed with Chantelle’s wedding day “special items”. Her grandmother gave her the charm bracelet years before and was no longer with her. So, it was important for her to wear it that day. Then, her other grandmother provided

Details of her wedding day.

her with a hanky used at her wedding. Combining those two special items with a bouquet that included a single flower from her native country, I was able to create a symbolic image for her of some of her most special details.

In Colorado, anyone can perform a ceremony and in this case, Zach’s mentor was the officiant. It was obvious that he was a bit of a jokester and there were more than enough “first kiss” opportunities! Family portraits and a big “group” photo were important elements of their shot list – which Chantelle was very thorough with. I encourage brides to provide me with a shot list

The whole group, pup included!

because and my questionnaire includes requesting one… Why? because you know who is important on your wedding day and I want to capture them!

At the end of our short time together, we hopped in the car and drove to Garden of the Gods for some couple’s portraits. These images gave them their Colorado splendor and a few minutes away from their families so that they could quietly celebrate their “I Do”.

A quiet moment away.

To see the full sneak of Chantelle & Zach’s big day click here!

Intimate weddings in Colorado are one of my favorite things to capture for couples. I even help with floral and planning services if needed! This helps budget conscious brides have beautiful images, a “friend” on the ground to help with details and peace of mind moving into their wedding day.

I’d love to help you with yours!

Vintage Floral Cake Smash

floral-first-birthday-vintage

Enjoy the moment kid, this is the only time your parents are handing you an entire cake and letting you go to town! I tell pretty much every little person that when we hand them their cake during a Cake Smash Session.

My kiddos did not have these and man I regret it! I may need another baby just to do one of my own. Or maybe on their 16th birthdays instead of their first? Anyways…

Portraits for first birthday cake smashLittle Miss V’s mom reached out to me a few months ahead of her first birthday wanting to book a session for her first birthday. My birthday sessions include portraits or “before” as well as lots of fun shots of little ones going to town on their special cake. I suggest to families if they want images back prior to first birthdays to schedule their smash at least 7 days before the big O-N-E.

Parents provide the cake and a rough idea of a theme. I then create some “MAJECK” and use backdrops or props to achieve the look they are going for. 2020 cake smash pricing will range from $100 to $200 depending on number of balloons, props and how intricate a design a parent wants. I also offer the cutest milk bath set up to help little ones clean up.

floral_cake_smash_session
the cake smash!

With V’s smash, the concept was clean and floral with a bit of a vintage vibe. Mom brought two outfits and a variety of headbands to wear along with the vase from V’s room. The rest was me! It was perfect and V definitely dug into her cake (unlike some kiddos).

My only complaint? Every single picture was perfect! See the smash here!

Want to book your little one’s cake smash? Reach out and let’s get you scheduled!

Fall Mini Wardrobes

It seems like Fall is that perfect season in Colorado for family portraits. August and September have been very busy for me and October is not slowing down. I actually recently had my own family portraits done as well (I’ve got to be in some of them!).

A common question from my clients is “What should we wear?”. Pinterest has tons of inspiration and I have a board that I steadily build onto for clients to reference.

But I thought it might be helpful to take you through wardrobe choices from a photographer’s point of view…

Colors/Patterns

Navy, Burgundy and White – add in plaid and an abstract floral for some fun!

For my home and business I have a color palette that I like to keep with. Colors that you find as you move throughout your home are always a good inspiration point (unless you are about to completely remodel in brand new colors). These are typically colors you are visually drawn to and will use time and again. Unless you are only going to print Black & White versions of your images this is something you may want to take into consideration.

Navy, Pale Blue, Pink & White – note the gold accessories and floral bow

For my family, I choose navy as a starting point more than any other color. In the spring it can be lightened up and in the fall it can be darkened with accents. Other colors that work the same way are black, brown, grey and cream. Once you have your base color, pick 2-3 other colors or patterns to coordinate with. More than 3 and you start getting too busy for your images and it can get distracting. Don’t do more than 2 patterns and try not to choose two busy patterns (flowers and polka dots). Instead, flowers and stripes, or plaid and solids that tie into the plaid.

 

Finally, consider your session location and any potential theme. Will there be props provided by the photographer that you will need to coordinate with? For instance, if a gold chair is going to be provided, you may want to avoid mustard or gold in case they aren’t exact matches.

Movement and Theme

Ask yourself what look you are trying to achieve with your family portraits. My fall minis are all outside

Both girls had flow so when dad danced, you could see the movement.

with wide open spaces. These are spots that you can move in and for women/girls especially I suggest finding dresses with some flowiness or movement to them! Slits in long dresses are also fun and visually interesting!

What does that mean and why should you think about it? Dress movement can add visual interest to your images. Twirling, swishing a dress and having skirts draped around you all keep the eye moving around an image. It means little things that might make you self-conscious are less likely to be noticed by you and your image will be a bit more artistic. It also allows your images to be less stiff and posed in their overall feel. Hats, scarves, sweaters and more are all great options as well. Cardigans and kimonos can give incredible movement even if you are wearing jeans and a tshirt! These can give your hands something to do and let you play a bit!

The slit in this dress allowed for mom to have a flowing effect as she ran across the field.

Be Careful

There are a few things I suggest that families be aware of when picking outfits. Especially with minis, if you are worried about these things we lose precious time and editing out/fixing these issues is an additional cost later on.

  • Bra Straps – there are a lot of gorgeous dresses out there that bra straps regularly pop out of. When picking options for women, test out the bra you want to wear with it.
  • Length – every once in a while someone orders a dress and it is way shorter than expected and you can see their discomfort. If it looks cute with leggings or stockings, go that route. Otherwise, message your photographer. I keep a stock of gowns and dresses that are meant to flatter multiple body types.
  • light shines through cream dresses – prepare accordingly
  • Logos – I don’t have a problem with these but if you are going to be annoyed seeing “x company” across a polo you might want to have the guys wear a different one.
  • Shoes – High Heels are gorgeous, they make my calves look awesome. However, when doing outdoor photos, you may be comfortable in dirt with heels.

One last tip… Wearing form fitting dresses is often gorgeous. If you are going to do this give your body a chance to breathe for 8-12 hours ahead of time. Tight underwear and pants can leave lines even after they are off.

At the end of the day, all I care about is capturing the connection that moves within your family. Wear what you are comfortable and come to your session ready for fun!

 

 

 

If you are interested in booking a session and creating “MAJECK” with Mary Elizabeth – you can contact her here!

Anniversary Fun

man and woman standing at Garden of the Gods

Eliza and Marco flew into Colorado to celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary. They wanted pictures to document the beauty of the area and of course, as a lover of the state, I was able to suggest a few spots for some great pictures!

They love to dance and throughout the session you could see just how much Marco loved Eliza. These pictures were important to her and I loved the work to get beautiful images of this vacation for them!

couple running down a pathHowever, it was more than a bit of a rainy day. This summer, Colorado has been rough with weather. Almost every evening a storm would roll in and I feel a bit like a weather woman now! No joke, there is a radar app on my phone! That didn’t stop us as we stopped at three different parts of the park to take in the view and get incredible portraits that continue to tell their love story. As the sky couple sitting on an overhangbegan to open up I gave them two options – we could end or we could drive to a second location and continue the shoot with some dramatics spots and the storm looming towards us. They chose the second option and I am so glad that they did! All of this to show you that when you book with MAJECK, you are choosing a professional who understands her community and can get you great images in the sun or rain!

 Message me today to book your Colorado adventure session!couple together couple laughing

Breckenridge at Sunrise

couple embracing at sunrise

I love my job. I seriously love waking up every day, meeting new people and creating art to go on people’s walls. Even better, there is travel involved! Adventure is everywhere if you just look and that what I did with Nicole and Ryan.

Teaching her how to skip rocks

I posted on a military page that I was looking for a couple willing to wake up and do a sunrise session with me in Breckenridge and these two awesome newlyweds drove over 2 hours before the sun to do just that. For an hour we hiked around Sawmill Reservoir, skipped rocks and laughed so very hard. It turns off they had run off and gotten married but had no pictures and Ryan’s mom wanted them. This was perfection!

 

When couples reach out to me for their elopement and engagement portraits and have visions in mind, I work very hard to bring those visions to life. Sunrise isn’t easy on everyone – but when you can do it – it is so worth it. The sun glows on everything and begins to fill the earth up with warmth – it’s kind of like how love makes you feel. Out of body. Etheral. Just incredible.

Of course, not all of our images were specifically lifestyle – although my style is to let every session naturally move through the paces and create it’s own story. I am here for elopements and couples sessions to tell your love story through photography. I’ll pose when needed but I much prefer to do a combination of prompts and observing your interaction. Love is beautiful. I don’t need to force anything.

intimate moments captured

As I have moved through 2019, I have discovered just how much I love working with couples planning their elopements. In 2020, I will be offering a new line of elopement packages for those adventurous couples wanting a photographer to capture their moment and breathtaking natural backdrops. If that is you – message me for my 2019 prices!

To see the full album, including some crazy antics, click here!

Alicia & Eva

How soon after you met “The One” did you know?

My parents met on February 13th and were married on May 29th of the same year. Next May, that will be 50 years. Mom says she knew the moment she met my Dad that she would marry him and spend their lives together. My husband and I took a lot longer – we didn’t go on our first date until 6.5 years into a friendship. From that first moment though, we knew.

I recently was invited to capture an elopement between these two beautiful people. Watching their giddiness and excitement as they “ran away” to Garden of the Gods and got married was beautiful. They had taken the time to plan the little details (the rings and bouquet were out of this world). Their closest friends were around them (and incredibly supportive). Alicia had even brought out a violinist to perform before and during the wedding.

Every single moment of the wedding was joy filled, just like every bride hopes their day will be. Alicia and Eva “ran away” to get married because everyone said wait. After three months, they knew. After five minutes, I could see their love for each other. I’ve gone to a lot of weddings but the pure emotions that moved between these two touched my heart.

It was magic.

If you are planning your Colorado Springs/Garden of the Gods Elopement – contact me! I would love to hear from you and help you plan the perfect day in my favorite part of the city!