Family Portrait Sessions – Magic in the Moment

father kissing daughter

Family Portrait Sessions

I believe that there is magic in every moment.

When I opened MAJECK, I knew that I didn’t want to just make a ton of money but to really learn about and celebrate the people I work with. Pictures are my most treasured possession – mostly because of my childhood. I wanted that magic to be captured in family portraits.

Pictures are Important

My oldest sister died when I was ten. It was sudden. It was tragic in that there was no warning at all. She contracted a parasite volunteering in a Turkish children’s hospital and died of a massive heart attack at just 26. She was 16 when I was born and then college and marriage kept her from being a daily presence in my life. As such, I have one distinctive, clear visual memory of her. I also have just one photo of her – my grandmother’s copy of her graduation portrait. Things like this shape your outlook of the world, or at least it shaped mine.

I’ve made sure my whole adult life to get into pictures at least once a year and to print them and display them. Sure, it is a digital age and selfies are Queen (slay, okay?) but those prints – they are tangible. I have also made sure to do giveaways ever since I opened to capture family portraits even for those who might not otherwise be able to afford the luxury. It is becoming a bit of a tradition to do this at the beginning of the year for me.

Last Year’s Family Portraits – the Winners

Last year’s giveaway winner was the D Family. It was amazing to get to have their session be my first for 2020 because it put everything in perspective! Their beautiful little girl with her red hair was the focal point of the family. Watching how Mom, Dad and sisters all worked to support this cutie, to keep her comfortable and happy during their family portraits was incredibly touching. A year later I can still hear the way they spoke to her and how each family member took on a role. Protector, comforter, Friend, Hair Stylist…

It was magical. And they now have family portraits on their property to remember these moments and their girls at these stages.

I am so excited to do it again!

This Year – Family Portrait – the Giveaway

As 2021 begins it is time to give away another Family Portrait session. As I travel between San Antonio, Deland (FL) and Colorado quite often the giveaway is open to people in any of these locations!

First Place – A Capture Magic Family Portrait session with a gallery of 30 images and 15 downloads.
Second Place – 25% off of a Capture Magic Session!

Plus! One entry who chooses to book a session by 1/31 will be selected to win a 16×12 canvas from their session.

Step One – Entry

To enter, fill out the entry form with a story about your family that may be posted to Social Media along with a picture. Tell me how long it has been since you had portraits, about how you met or anything that you feel like sharing.

Due Date – January 10th

Step Two – On January 11th I will post all entries in an album on my Facebook Page and voting will start. Be sure to like/follow the page so that you can participate in voting!

Step Three – Share your entry and vote!

Step Four – The Entry with the most reactions will win – Giveaway ends on January 18th and the winner will be announced at 8pm MST.

*All sessions must be used by 12/31/21 and are subject to scheduling with MAJECK.

Mary Elizabeth is a photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado who travels wherever the story takes her. In 2020, her work was featured in Brides of Houston and multiple digital magazines.

2020 Review – Weddings, Elopements and More!

On January 1st hindsight will indeed be 2020… Let’s Review!

This year has presented challenges for individuals, families, couples and businesses. Nobody has gone unaffected, and yet as I review it, I can’t help but be thankful for the experiences it has left me with. I have realized just how resilient I am and how blessed I have been to work with some of the most amazing people in Colorado, Texas and Florida!

So, I thought I’d share the highlight reel of MAJECK’s 2020. I hope you look over these images and stories and smile. Maybe, they will help you count those blessings when you review 2020 through your lens!

January

Ah yes… I think of January 2020 much the same way I think of turning 14 – my life was fresh and beautiful and full of possibilities. My first session of the year just sealed this moment. I had the honor of working with a family who had won my end of year giveaway for a Free Photoshoot. I’m doing it a bit different this year, but I’m doing it again because it was LIFE GIVING for me.

Anyways, I met the D Family and their beautiful little girl Teagan. She is a warrior dealing with a rare disease – MLD. Watching the tenderness and love of her sisters warmed my heart – even with the snow on the ground. Her parents are all brave faces and love for their beautiful red headed baby girl. It was the perfect start to 2020.

Family Collage
A collage I made just for the family!

February

Wedding season officially began for MAJECK in October and took us around Colorado and to Jamaica! I had always dreamed of traveling internationally with MAJECK and Jamaica made that dream come true! We headed to Montego Bay and the Royalton Blue Waters Resort for a beachside wedding of the coolest couple. It was non stop laughter until the moment they said I do!


This was also MAJECK’s first videography gig for 2020… We ended up doing 4 across the year.

March

We started March in Estes Park with a maternity session and an image from that session garnered me a spot in the top 10% of Shoot and Share’s annual photo contest… I placed 2442 out of 27748 spots. (All of my Maternity entries placed in the top 65%).woman standing in the mountains pregnant in chicaboo gown

 

 

 

 

father and son sitting in the mountains together
I was really glad I had not worn my Birkenstocks to this Colorado session!

Then, I was surprised with a Father and Son duo who at the start of the session decided to RUN UP a mountain to get some awesome shots! They chose to have pictures done to celebrate the son’s birthday every year which I thought is a great tradition!

April

Little Girl with Father's hands holding chick April came along with a slew of wedding cancellations and reschedules. A few couples also decided to reimagine their perfect day. Everyone was staying at home Little Girl with baby chickin Colorado and I’m not one to sit still. So, I signed up for classes to expand my craft. We also bought chickens. The results were magical.

Even better than the results of the classes was the time I spent with my family. Everything was put on hold during 2020’s Stay At Home and as a result I got mid morning snuggles, afternoon walks and so many baking sessions with my kids. Life was hard and filled with concerns, but so so good.

May

In May the country started opening back up, but with rules in Colorado. This led to some interesting options for wedding clients and family sessions. I started wearing a mask to every session. More importantly, family portraits had creative starts. For instance, this was a half dozen images put to one picture as no more than ten people could be together and photographed at the same time at Roxborough State Park.

June

Weddings and Family sessions started to ramp up starting in June of 2020. It felt so good to be really back at work again, capturing love stories. COVID created a larger group of couples who decided to elope and while May had begun the elopement onslaught – June cemented it.

Garden of the Gods June Elopement

Garden of the Gods is such a great spot for elopements – you can read more about one here! But, my favorite session of the month was feeding baby calves after a surprise proposal! It was epic and so much fun!

July

Nothing can be more 2020 for a photographer than having a wedding rescheduled three times and then happen during a Hurricane! That is exactly what we did in July in Texas. I got to follow an incredible couple from “Will you Marry Me” to “I Do” and it was so beautiful. I kept reminding the bride that the hurricane would pass and we would get the most beautiful sunset. That is exactly what happened!

It was only AFTER we got the sunset picture that I found out they were standing in a fire ant pile!

Bride and Groom at sunset in texas wedding venue Hidden Oaks

August

Another dream that came true in 2020 was the opening of MAJECK Photography’s studio! This gave me a dedicated space to go and work (away

studio lifestyle portrait session in Colorado Springs
Just hanging out in the lifestyle room’s crib!

from #momlife) and both studio lighting and lifestyle portrait space. Prior to August all of my studio work was done with me carrying props and outfits back and forth. Lifestyle portraits inside were tough because most studios aren’t set up for them. Creating this space that is welcoming to couples, families, professionals and kiddos (yes there is a toy bin) really encompasses all of the things I love about working with each of my clients.

September

I tell families starting in July – schedule those Christmas pictures! WHY? Because beginning in September I have a whirlwind of new and returning clients trying to capture the best weather and sunsets for their upcoming holiday cards. There are only 52 weekends in a year and the least likely time for it to snow or rain in Colorado is September. This family scheduled their session early in the summer and I have loved watching their little girl grow!

She’s the type that takes a bit of warming up and then you get the sweetest smiles!

October

Wedding Portraits at Boulder Wedding VenueDo you want to know the most popular month for a wedding or elopement in Colorado? October. I’m not making it up – October typically has the option of snow without too cold of temperatures and all of the beautiful fall leaves! In 25 days we did a total of SEVEN weddings and elopements with beautiful moments and details captured.

I, like Anne of Green Gables, am “so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

November

After months of things feeling almost normal (except for that mask I’ve been sporting since May) our state started to shut down again. I may not look like it Portrait of grandfather and little girl in Floridabut I’m actually a pretty anxious person. At the end of September there was so much going on with our family back in Florida that we decided we would go home for the Thanksgiving holidays. As we drove to the airport, I actually was having a panic attack trying to decide if it was the right thing to do. Is this safe? Should I visit my inlaws and parents (all senior citizens)? My father-in-law is in his late eighties. I don’t know how many more hugs we have waiting for us from him and so we got on the plane. I took my youngest and insisted on capturing pictures of them together. He’s too old to give her pony rides, like he did for my two older kids, but he still adores her. We will cherish these pictures for a long time.

December

My birthday month! If there is a month I like better than October – it is December! I’m like Elf’s slightly less neurotic sister – I’m already planning 2021 Christmas minis – and this is my time. For the first time since opening MAJECK I took a chunk of time off. Capturing other’s moments brings me so much joy but 2020 taught me that I need to step back and hold on to my moments as well. And so for my birthday and Christmas, I did just that. I went out and captured the beauty of Colorado without any expectations. The best part was bringing my family along for the ride.

Colorado ELopement location

As I review this year, considering all of the ups and downs I can’t feel anything but thankful. I’m thankful for each of the unique experiences, for being welcomed into so many joy filled moments and for waking up each day feeling fulfilled by this business and the people I serve. As I type this, I can’t help but think of my favorite Christmas movie – White Christmas – there is a song that Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sing… Counting my blessings – that’s exactly what I’m doing tonight. Thank you for being one of them.

~ Mary Elizabeth and the MAJECK Team

Mary Elizabeth is a traveling photographer specializing in capturing the stories that make up your life with a vibrant, true-to-life color and emphasis on joy! To inquire about upcoming availability reach out via email!

Colorado Elopement Planning

Eloping in Colorao with the sunset

When I was a girl, I fell in love with Braveheart… Not the movie but the secret, middle of the night elopement. The simplicity and beauty of vowing to love one another without the fan fare spoke to my heart. Maybe someday I will be able to capture a beautiful elopement in the Highlands of Scotland. I am blessed that as a Colorado Springs local I can capture couples who choose Colorado elopement every day.

It doesn’t matter if you have always dreamed of a quiet wedding with just your love or if COVID-19 caused you to consider it now. With beautiful scenery, easy to access spots, no residency requirement and the option not to have a minister – a Colorado elopement should definitely be on your radar! If you want a beautiful moment with little to no stress read my suggestions for a perfect Colorado Elopement.

Find a Photographer/Videographer

Why do I start with this for a Colorado Elopement? Hiring the right local professional photographer (and videographer if you want one) is a huge stress relief because we know our community. I help my couples by planning the perfect elopement day. Flowers, dessert, a picnic, a hike? I’ve got you on these points and more!

But finding the right photographer for your Colorado elopement is also about finding someone you are comfortable with. With self-solemnizing a choice in Colorado, I am often the only other person witness to your vows. It is important to me that we are a good fit because of this.

Pick a Location

Your Photographer will be able to help you with this. Couples start by telling me what views are important to them and from there they decide how far we want to go, how busy they want the spot to be and what area of the state we want to be in. For instance, there are red rocks all over Colorado – although Garden of the Gods is definitely the most popular spot. It also can often be the busiest. From your backyard to the great outdoors… I’m here to help create your perfect Colorado elopement. This link will take you to a few fun spots for engagements that eloping is also allowed!

red rocks behind bride and groom
Saying your vows along the trails at Roxborough State Park may be perfect for your Colorado Elopement.

Details

Choosing to Elope does not mean that you are choosing to ignore all of the details that couples love to add into their wedding day. Those details often show off a couple’s personality and are the pieces that brides leave their wedding loving the most. For me, the details of my wedding were the most exciting part to plan. Some details that couples have previously added are:

  • vow books
  • colorful rugs to stand on
  • floral pieces
  • rings
  • fun shoes
  • gifts to exchange
  • something old (this could be it’s own blog post it is so extensive)
orange and white flowers with brides shoes and vow book
Details of your wedding day deserved to be captured!

Pick a Date

If you have some flexibility in choosing dates, I suggest a non holiday mid-week. Why? Colorado is beautiful and your elopement day will potentially have witnesses hike in or out. This is less likely on a weekday. It is also less likely for a sunrise hike. While you really need to be a morning person – sunrise is a chance to typically have space completely to yourselves.

Sunrise and Sunset are both beautiful in Colorado with colorful skies and cooler temperatures than the heat of the day. The light is also better for portraits. Again, consult with your photographer because summer and fall both bring park closures for special events. Locals to the area are most likely to know about these and guide you to a date that is meaningful and works with your location!

While on the topic of seasons… Colorado looks very different from March to July to October. We go from brown and dead, to beautiful and green and then to oranges, reds and golds across our landscape. Eloping in any of these seasons is beautiful, but your time of day and location may vary. Our high country is often closed from October to May for trailheads. Not to mention, unless you are experienced – hiking in winter conditions in the mountains is not the safest idea (especially in a wedding gown). September and October both are gorgeous, with cooler temperatures and tons of color. If you are hoping for summer, I suggest early to mid June, but be prepared for the rain storms that often move through!

Enjoy a sweet treat with your love as part of your elopement day!

Final Thoughts

There is still a belief that eloping is running off and getting married. In reality a Colorado elopement is a great way to have a honeymoon along with an intimate vow exchange in an epic location at a fraction of the cost of a full wedding in your hometown. Brides are still able to have their full day of getting ready, preparing for the vows and even walking towards their love. There can still be cake and a first dance, too. Most importantly, you at the end of a Colorado Elopement you will still be married to the one that you love.

Marriage Licenses for those coming from out of state are harder to get right now. Currently the Chaffee County Clerk & Recorder will allow out of state licenses. Another option is to order the license ahead of time and have it mailed to your photographer (or officiant). You can also reach out via this link and set up your appointment to pick up your license in El Paso County!

If you want help planning your Colorado elopement – Contact me today!

Celebrate Motherhood with Portrait Sessions

This Mother’s Day a Mommy and Me Portrait Session is the perfect way to celebrate Motherhood.

Even before I took portraits professionally, I took a lot of pictures of my children. I also insisted on having portrait sessions at least once a year. I put the images into albums and frames as well as storing them digitally so that they can be something that my children look back on long after I’m gone. But mostly, I do it for me and encourage moms everywhere to do the same. Read on for some reasons why a Motherhood Session is the perfect way to celebrate motherhood this year.

Each stage of motherhood is unique and worth memorializing.

Motherhood sessions aren’t just for mommy’s with cute squishy babies. Every stage of motherhood presents a unique sets of gifts and challenges. When I ask my mother which stage she has loved the most she hasn’t been able to tell me. Maybe she is just sparing my feelings or maybe she really can’t decide. Either way, the gifts she has appreciated the most are the moments where I have surprised her with portraits so that she can have new images of us. And it is a gift for me too, because I want to remember my mom with grandkids as a person who guided me through difficult parenting moments. After all, this will pass.

adult mother and daughter portrait
Thanks to the beautiful Suzanne Marie for capturing this portrait of my mother and I.

MAJECK Motherhood Sessions present an opportunity to slow down.

When I do a Mommy & Me session, it is done with the intention of truly understanding what is special and unique about your personal journey as a mother. No two sessions are alike because each of us are different. Every session comes with the encouragement to slow down and enjoy the time with your children. These are designed so that you can read the story, count their toes and take a deep breath. Allowing mom to cherish this moment in her journey of motherhood.

mother and children reading a story

Motherhood Sessions take the Stress Out of Portrait Sessions

We have all had the session where our little ones won’t hold still or we stained our shirt in the process of chugging coffee on our way. My custom designed motherhood sessions remove those stresses as the gowns are provided and I encourage kids to play and interact with their mommy. These are not posed portraits, but emotive ones. The goal is to capture the moments and details that you will one day miss. You can view a session here.

a mother holding her son during a motherhood portrait session

Motherhood Sessions make the Perfect Gift

Most moms are the person behind the camera. I have dozens of pictures each year of my children and their father, but very few that include me. Moms are so busy mothering and trying to capture and remember these moments that we often forget to jump in. So, as you consider what gift you can provide to the special moms in your life, consider a Motherhood Session.

But don’t take my word for it… This was shared by a recent Mommy & Me Session…

“The boys had so much fun and when they saw their pictures they asked to go back and do more! This was a great experience and a memorable experience I will get to keep forever.”

Contact Me Today to Schedule your Mommy & Me session  or to purchase one as a gift! What better way to celebrate motherhood!

mother holding infant daughter

Documenting Moments in the times of Corona

documenting our family baking girls in the kitchen

March has been a long month and it looks like April may get longer. I’m sitting here in lounge pants (because who needs to be fancy when you can’t leave your house except for a random walk) and missing documenting all of the moments in my client’s love stories during these strange times. I first fell in love with photography as I would pour over old images my parents had saved from my grandparents and great grandparents. These images documented moments in time. They brought me back to a time in history and made it real. I wanted to do that for people.

Photographers are Non-Essential but Pictures are…

Right now, photographers and so many other businesses are not operating because we are considered “non-essential”. While I understand the social responsibility portion of this… I’m thinking about my grandchildren and yours too. Someday, there will be questions… “Did you live through that?” “What was it like to stay home for a full month?” I want to be able to grab a photo book that documents these moments thanks to Corona and share it with them. Much like pictures from the dust bowl tell a story to you and I today.

Taking pictures brings a reality to a situation, a gravity to it. During these times, I can’t be going out capturing your families on your porches or documenting birthdays. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture these strange times. You are absolutely capable of documenting moments within your family and I want you to! Why? Because these may be important some day.

documenting moments as we look at our plants

Documenting Moments

But Mary Elizabeth… I have a cell phone camera not a real camera. How am I supposed to get any beautiful images with that? You would be surprised at how many gorgeous images have been captured and moments documented with just a cell phone camera. For an easy guide to do this you can go here!

What I’m really concerned with is you making sure that at the end of this time in our lives we have documented what this looks like for our families and ourselves. Afterall, we are spending a lot of time at home… We might as well be creative!

little girl climbs on dome
My sweet girl learned how to climb on our dome in the backyard during this time.

Where to Start

Perhaps you are like me and you crave routine. So even in these days of Stay-at-Home orders, you need to get up and do things in an orderly way. I feel you. You could also be like my husband who sees this as an excellent reason to sleep in even later. His introvert self might be enjoying this all a little too much. No matter what your style is… You start with what matters most.

For me, that means I’m taking a lot of pictures of my family. I take my camera with me on our daily walk – that thirty minutes of fresh air as we walk around our neighborhood is my favorite time of day right now. What shocked me is that my husband will most of the time join us, along with our dogs. This time has become something special and a moment where we get to bond.

I’m also capturing the growth of my garden. We have gardened every year, albeit a little half-assed. This year it seems more important and the whole family is getting in on the care of our seedlings. Watching them sprout up is definitely fulfilling. I also see this as a year where my children could really become more aware of what it takes to create food. I want to document these moments for my family because this is a time of change.

Documenting Growth

It really doesn’t matter what you start with – from board games to cooking to cleaning up the yard – this is your story. You get to choose how to tell it.

Tips to Get you Going

A few things you should pay attention to as you grow and create more images…

– Light – You need light from some source to create a balanced photo. In a dark room, you could capture your child or dog looking out of the window. By coming to the side you can view their features, from behind you create a silhouette. In broad day light you may blow out your picture, most newer camera phones will allow you to adjust your aperture – pop it up higher and you will be able to adjust how much light is in your image.

– Composition – Photographers are taught to pay attention to the rule of thirds. Your eyes will begin at the left of the image and naturally move to the right. When you compose your image, have the big piece the “pop” be towards the right side.

– Frames – Pay attention to what is in your frame. Things that are unimportant can also be potentially distracting. Try to stand in such a way that the only things in your images are the things that you want to see when you look at it later.

– Tell a story – Throughout my career and when I am capturing my family I want my images to tell a story. What were we doing? How did we feel? I already know that when I look back on these weeks (I’m praying it’s not going to be months) that I will smile fondly at the walks. It only took a global pandemic for our family to walk together – something I’ve been asking for us to do for YEARS.

documenting a father and daughter walking together with dogs

Mary Elizabeth Fabian is a photographer and storyteller based in Colorado who travels the world capturing moments. She is also a featured sponsor of Global Learn Day – through which she mentors teens to improve their photography skills. She believes that every moment carries a bit of magic with it and loves to capture that for others.

Right now, she is quarantined in her home, watching countless cooking shows, drinking gallons of coffee and capturing the simple joys of family life. If you are interested in a photography mentorship, feel free to email! You can follow her 366 in 2020 posts on her family instagram account @3.times.blessed and see how she captures daily life.

Lifestyle Newborn Pictures

Prepping for your Lifestyle Newborn Picture Session

You just had your sweet baby and now you are ready for those adorable lifestyle newborn pictures that commemorate this moment for your family. If you have chosen the “in-home” option, you are likely worried about what you need to be doing to prepare. This is a regular question of my clients and to support them, I’ve prepared this handy guide on Prepping for your Lifestyle Newborn Portraits! So snuggle that baby and enjoy this quick read!

newborn session in studio

Do I clean my house for lifestyle pictures?

Please don’t scrub your entire house! I want you to be relaxed and that is so not necessary. Snuggle that baby and enjoy all of the sweetness of his or her new life. When I arrive we will move through your home and probably come up with one or two locations that will create the best images using natural light. I do bring flash, but prefer to use it as a last resort. Normally, big windows provide plenty of light and help create a closer atmosphere for your family.

When I pick the spot I will look around to see what will be in the portraits. More than anything, I will look at light and then see if there are areas of clutter that may distract from your family’s pictures. You should know that anything I move or ask to move, I will help replace.

family cuddling during newborn lifestyle portraits

Warm the House Up ahead of your Lifestyle Newborn Pictures!

Babies do best with these lifestyle newborn picture sessions if the house is made a bit warmer (76 was my kids sweet spot) ahead of time. I may be wrapping baby or even letting him or her be in just a diaper so the temperature should be comfortable for that. I also suggest that baby be fed about twenty minutes before I arrive so that he or she is nice and sleepy. Baby snuggles are so sweet and full tummies lead to cuddly babies more willing to be moved around.

It’s about YOUR Connection

Lifestyle sessions are focused on the connection between family and baby. Typical poses will include full family portraits, portraits of your family interacting with each other, mom with baby, dad with baby and baby by itself. The baby by itself pictures are often a mix of hands and feet along with cute faces because I want to capture how tiny your little one is right now. (Trust me, they grow fast!)

lifestyle newborn session in home

As far as what to wear… I suggest wearing clothing that you are comfortable in that is free of labels. Some moms like to get their hair and makeup done and be in dresses. Others have leggings and sweaters on. They are ALL beautiful because it’s less about what you wear and more about this moment in time. I do offer client wardrobe options to help out. My biggest tip is to wear clothing that isn’t “busy” and won’t be obvious to the decade twenty years from now. Other than that, I say, anything goes!

 

All MAJECK clients gain access to the client closet for maternity and newborn sessions. This often helps moms as I own several gowns that are flattering just after baby. Wraps are provided by MAJECK as well for baby – but parents are welcome to provide their own!  My mom closet can be seen here

Learn about other newborn portrait options by clicking here!

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!