January 10, 2015   •   Filed in Engagements, Winter

Downtown Denver Engagement Photos | Larimer Square & Union Station

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really love living in Denver because we'll be having a typical snowy cold winter but then the sun will pop out and melt a week's worth of snow in one afternoon. That's just the kind of day we were having when I met up with Noe and Chelsea for their engagement photos this week. We started off at the University Club where they are getting married in March. After capturing a lovely photo with the state capital in the background we made our way through downtown Denver (totally used the free 16th Street Mall ride!) and ended up on the other side where Union Station and Larimer Square are located. I really love to time it so that we hit Larimer Square and all of it's beautiful string lights when sunset hits. If you get there in time you can get a beautiful blue sky in the photos. We not only lucked out with incredibly warm weather for January, but we were also blessed with an incredible pink and purple sunset too. So the colorful sky paired with those lovely lights make such a gorgeous and unique backdrop. It's one of my favorite places to photograph in downtown Denver.
A couple wearing blue and white are photographed outside their wedding venue the University Club in downtown Denver, Colorado.
A happy couple laughs together with the glass skyscraper buildings of Denver as their backdrop at the University Club in Denver, Colorado.
A cute engaged couple are photographed between 16th and Sherman St. with the Colorado State Capital building with the gold dome in the background.
A winter engagement photoshoot outside of Union Station in Denver, Colorado.
A sweet romantic photo of an engaged couple kissing on the streets of LoDo in downtown Denver, Colorado.
A nice urban engagement photo utilizing a reflection in the Lodo neighborhood of Downtown Denver, Colorado.
A romantic sunset engagement photo outside of the ACME lofts in the LoDo Neighborhood of Denver, Colorado.
The color really was like that at sunset! It was gorgeous!
A beautiful engagement portrait taken on the streets of downtown Denver at sunset with purple and pink skies and golden light illuminating everything.
An engagement photo at sunset with the string lights of Larimer Square in downtown Denver, Colorado.
This one is so sweet:)
A young man kisses his fiance on her cheek underneath the gorgeous string lights of Larimer Square at sunset during their engagement session.
This one might be my favorite.
A lovely engagement photo from Larimer Square in Denver Colorado taken under the string lights at sunset.
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January 7, 2015   •   Filed in Families

Denver Family Photographer | Boettcher Conservatory Denver Botanic Gardens

D
ang, the weather sure has been chilly lately. I don't want to complain, but today I spent about 15 minutes trying to get the thick layer of ice off of my windshield. (It was totally so I could go buy coffee which I was dumb enough to let myself run out of and desperately felt I needed to start the day. I am fully aware that this is what people refer to as "first world problems" so I'll shut up about that now.)  
 
Being an on-location photographer in Colorado is usually easy since we generally have great weather and gorgeous locations. But every so often in the dead of winter photographing outside is just not an option. In situations like that I really love to use the indoor glass Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at Denver Botanic Gardens. This is where I met up with Scott & Tiff's extended family right after Christmas. They wanted to get updated family photos created with the matriarch of their family. And the conservatory is a beautiful place to be, especially in the winter time. It's full of huge luscious green plants not native to Colorado and they provide such a nice bright green background for pictures. I think we created some beautiful family portraits for them and you would never even know it was during winter.  
 
A family with three teenage boys are photographed inside of the Orchid House at Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado.
A family wearing shades of blue and black are photographed inside the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at Denver Botanic Gardens
Family Portraits inside the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Family Portraits inside the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Family Portraits inside the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at Denver Botanic Gardens.
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December 30, 2014   •   Filed in Denver Weddings, Mountain Weddings, Engagements, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Families, Babies, Portraits, Seniors

Happy New Years! | 2014 Colorado Wedding Photographer Pictorial Year in Review

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t has been a pretty exciting year for me and my family. My youngest brother (I was 13 when he was born to our big Catholic family) graduated high school and decided to move down to Denver to live with me. My husband started a new job working with his family at their law office, and we surprisingly found our dream home and moved in just a couple of months ago. I am not kidding when I say that I looked at the home search results almost every single day for the past few years for a home that would work for our specific needs. Denver's real estate market has been booming like crazy and I feel incredibly lucky that we were able to get this house. One of the most exciting parts of the new home for me is that I will now have a dedicated client meeting space. I've worked as a photographer in the Denver area for coming up on 10 years now and as much as I love to check out new coffee shops and restaurants when I meet with clients I've wished for a space I could call my own on more than one occasion:) There is some work that needs to be done but I'm looking forward to creating a unique space where I can host better meetings with my clients in 2015.  
 
Although it's fun to think about the surprises that will be in store every time the New Year comes around I have to admit that it always makes me a little bit sad too. I'm definitely one of those people that wishes I could come live my life on this earth 2 or maybe even 3 times. But since that's not possible I just have to live this one I have as best I can. And I just want to thank all of my awesome new clients and repeat clients from this past year for supporting me and allowing me into your world to create beautiful photographic art for you. I hope I get to see you again in 2015!  
Happy New Year!  
xoxo  
April  
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photos
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and senior photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
And it's very hard to pick just one favorite, but if I absolutely had to I think this one just might be it for 2014:)
Photo collage of local Colorado and Denver Photographer wedding and family photo
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December 26, 2014   •   Filed in Denver Weddings, Mountain Weddings

How to hire a wedding photographer | The top 5 Questions you should ask

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f you are reading this article, chances are that you're a bride (or groom!) on the hunt for a great wedding photographer. The search itself is daunting enough but what about when you've narrowed it down to your favorites and you're not sure how best to compare them? There are a ton of articles on the internet with ideas about what kinds of questions you should be asking your photographer. Many of them have some good starting questions to ask like "Are you the photographer who will actually be photographing us on our wedding day?" But, most of these articles don't really explain what you should be looking for once your shortlist of photographers have each answered all of the basics to your satisfaction. Below are some other questions that can help you figure out if a photographer is a good match for you.
Questions Tips and Advice article for brides hiring a wedding photographer
1.) Ask if you can see some FULL weddings.  
Listen, anyone halfway decent with a camera can come up with enough pretty shots to fill a website. A website portfolio has been carefully curated and is designed to reel you in with the best of the best photos. It's not always a good place to show off an entire wedding for a number of reasons. One reason being that it'd be incredibly boring to pore over photograph after photograph of other another couple's family formals. Still, skimming through a few full weddings from a photographer will give you a better idea of what the true coverage of your wedding will be like. Your wedding will not be all "highlight shots"! Go beyond the highlights and ask for a more complete picture of the overall quality of their work. Which leads me to the next question you should ask your photographer...  
 
2.) How do they handle reception lighting?  
Ask if you can see photos from your venue or from a similar venue if they've never photographed there before. Good photographs are the result of good light. You'll want to find out what your photographer's photos look like once that pretty sunset light has vanished. There's only 1 golden hour on a wedding day (assuming you won't be using the one at daybreak) and you need a photographer who can produce good photos for you no matter the lighting circumstance. Not every wedding venue has huge windows with gorgeous natural light pouring in. What about the dark cave-like venues or reception halls with strange lighting? While you may love what your photographer can create under beautiful perfect lighting conditions there's a good chance that your wedding day will have moments when the natural light is not ideal. Make sure your photographer can supplement their own lighting in those situations.  
 
I've included some photos below to help illustrate my point.  
In this shot, the background is darker than the couple which helps to put the focus on them. But notice how you can still see the ambient light from the chandeliers and wall which keeps the room from turning into an ugly black hole. Your photographer should be able to get a nice balance of light on their subject while keeping the feel of the room intact.  
 
 
Advice and questions to ask your wedding photographer Evergreen Lake House Wedding Reception Photography
Some reception rooms have little to no natural light. And some, like this modern dark brick filled warehouse style reception space (Mile High Station in Denver, CO) suck up what little light is available. If your photographer bills themself as a "natural light photographer" and you plan to use a space like this make sure you do your due diligence and find out if they are able to use their own lighting.
Questions to ask your wedding photographer.  Advice and Tips for hiring a wedding photographer Mile High Station Denver Colorado Reception First Dance Photo
A space like this could easily be photographed with the background turning into a black hole where no detail can be seen. Here I balanced the off-camera flash to light the dancing subjects with the ambient light of the unique chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Notice that you can still faintly see the faces of the guests in the background.
Questions to ask a wedding photographer, tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer. Mile High Station Denver Colorado Wedding Reception Photography
What makes your reception space unique? You'll want to see it in the photos. Here the off-camera flash is yet again balanced with the warm ambient light from the rest of the room.
Questions to ask a wedding photographer, tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.Beautiful reception lighting at a Colorado Wedding
Not being afraid to join the crowd is the only way to get photos like this.
Questions to ask a wedding photographer, tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer. Fun Wedding Reception Dance Photo from Catmount Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Getting that light off to one side creates a more dynamic look with a more crisp and contrasted feel to the images.
Questions to ask a wedding photographer, tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.Colorado Wedding Reception Photography
Some venues (like Chatfield Botanic Gardens) have an incredibly limited amount of light due to mostly taking place outdoors where there is nothing to bounce light off of. If much of your wedding reception will take place at night outside it's even more important to find a photographer who can work in that kind of environment. Here the light was placed far to the left which lent a more dramatic feel to the photo.
How to hire a wedding photographer.  Questions to ask a wedding photographer. Dramatic outdoor reception light at Chatfield Botanic Gardens in Colorado.
And here the light was placed completely behind the bride and groom which is how we got that lovely rim light highlighting them as they danced their first dance as a married couple.
How to hire a wedding photographer.  Questions to ask a wedding photographer. Pretty rim light first dance photo at Steamboat Springs Colorado Wedding Reception.
Not all reception lighting is for portraits or photos of people. Here I used off camera flash to get the sign lit while keeping the sky and moon exposed properly. Without using my own light, it would have been impossible to show what the sign said while also keeping the sky and moon exposed correctly.
Tips for hiring a wedding photographer.  How to hire a wedding photographer, and questions to ask.
One more technique I like to use at a reception on occasion is the long exposure. Chatfield Botanic Gardens lends itself incredibly well for this kind of photo. Here I only used the light that was coming off of the barn, tree, and patio lights. A normal short exposure would not allow enough light without adding my own flash. So to get away with not using flash I exposed the photo for many seconds. That's why the people start to look like ghosts since they are moving around while the photo is being created.
Tips for hiring a wedding photographer.  How to hire a wedding photographer, and questions to ask.
3.) Ask them what their approach is to planning the timeline on a wedding day.  
Unless you are taking a chance on a newbie, your photographer has probably been to quite a few weddings and has a really good idea of what the flow of your wedding day will be like and the various pitfalls you may face. Even if you have a wedding planner helping you create a timeline you should always check with your photographer to make sure that the allotted time for your photos will work. Professional photographers find a way to work within your unique constraints, and it is especially helpful when you share your vision for the wedding day upfront. You may find yourself being impressed by your photographer when they raise some imaginative solutions to potential timeline problems you hadn't even thought of. A good photographer will help make sure your day goes smoothly as planned.  
 
Your photographer will make sure you easily get from the getting ready part of the day....  
Tips for hiring a wedding photographer.  How to hire a wedding photographer, and questions to ask.
To this!
Tips for hiring a wedding photographer.  How to hire a wedding photographer, and questions to ask.
And they'll help you make sure you leave enough time for these.
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
So that you can move on to your guests and the meaningful moments that will happen throughout your reception.
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
Moments like this.
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
And I like to think that a good wedding photographer is basically a time ninja who can miraculously make sure you squeeze in those romantic photos like this.
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
4.) What can I expect for the post-processing?  
Post-processing is a huge part of the puzzle when it comes to wedding photography. If you've ever wondered why wedding photographers cost so much darn money the answer can generally be summed up in one word: editing. The work from your wedding day doesn't end for your photographer at the end of your reception. After the party's over it's time for them to work their magic. And you need to be sure that you are fond of their particular magic. If you love clean and classic photos without a lot of faux-film Instagram-style processing it doesn't make any sense to hire a photographer whose portfolio includes a lot of faded yellow skies does it? It's not just about making sure you dig their style though. Some photographers only deliver a proof version of your photos. Some fully retouch the photos that they put on your sneak peek and some fully retouch X amount of your photos. And if you are buying the digital files be sure to ask what size they will be. Some photographers sell digital files that can be printed at any size and others choose to sell digital files for photos to be printed 8x10" and smaller. It's a good idea to ask specifics about how much they'll be retouching your images. Ask if you can see some before-and-after pictures. If they are delivering proofs ask what that means to them. As much as we love to create beautiful artistic edits for our clients, the truth is that there are thousands of raw shots to sort through after a full wedding day and it's just not possible to do majestically artistic editing for every single picture taken and delivered. Every photographer picks and chooses the right photos to spend the most time on to make those special ones really shine. So be sure to do your homework and find out what your photographer plans to do for your images after the wedding is over.  
 
Below is an example of what my clients can expect to see for their proof photos and what their photos would look like with the full retouching done.  
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
5.) Do you click?  
This last one isn't a question to ask your wedding photographer, but a question to ask yourself after you've met or chatted on the phone. It may seem obvious, but it's important that your photographer is someone that you would enjoy spending a fair amount of time with. After all, they will be with you for the majority of your wedding day. You may even spend a few hours with them before the wedding at your engagement or bridal photo session too. Sometimes you'll even meet again when you order an album to look at the swatches that are available to you. Even if you love the work they do, if their personality rubs you the wrong way it's going to be hard to look past it and enjoy your beautiful photos after the wedding.  
 
There you have it. After photographing weddings for nearly 10 years and as a former bride myself these are my top 5 tips for hiring a wedding photographer. I hope they come in handy for your search to find the perfect photographer for your big day!  
 
That's me below! I'd love to opportunity to see if we would click:) Call me at 720-771-7314 or email me at april@apriloharephotography.com
Helpful tips and advice for hiring a wedding photographer.  Five questions to ask a wedding photographer before you hire them.
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