Acoma Street Photography: Blog en-us (C) Acoma Street Photography (Acoma Street Photography) Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:58:00 GMT Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:58:00 GMT Acoma Street Photography: Blog 120 80 Erin + Caleb Elopement When Erin reached out to me about photographing her and Caleb's Denver Courthouse wedding, I was very intrigued.  Erin wanted photos that captured the fun, playful nature of their relationship, while also demonstrating the deep love they share.  She shared images that she loved with me, as well as photographs of herself and Caleb through their relationship.  A couple of them caught my eye as I used the same pictures as inspiration for my 5 year anniversary photos with my husband.  I could tell that we were a match for style and was excited to be a part of their day:


After their ceremony was finished, we headed out to Civic Center Park for some quick photos amongst the columns:


To finish off their time together, I took them to a place I haven't seen many photographers use when scouring the Denver photo blogs.  I love this place for its whimsy and the strong architectural details of the area.  When we were discussing where to go for our shoot, Erin picked this place out of several locations as the one for her.  I loved seeing her face light up when we arrived and she saw the unique nature of our location:






]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography colorado colorado wedding photographer colorado wedding photography denver denver wedding photographer denver wedding photography elopement elopement photography offbeatbride wedding whimsy winter Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:44:01 GMT
Shooting for Success - Tips for Getting the Photos of Your Dreams! My one and only goal when I am taking portraits of people is to give them images of themselves and their loved ones that they will treasure for years to come.  I want you to look back at the pictures I took of you a year from now, a decade from now, a lifetime from now, and feel happy to have that time in your life captured for eternity.  Although I've been a photographer for a relatively short time, I have certainly learned key things that will ensure that you walk away from the experience with photos that you will treasure always.

It wouldn't be right not to have a little fun with this, so I'm going to set each tip to a song lyric!


1) ASK ME - I WON'T SAY "NO" - HOW COULD I? (The Smiths - Ask)

Are you desperately unsure what to wear for the shoot?  Ask me, I will happily give advice.  Is there a place you think would be spectacular for the shoot?  Tell me about it so we can brainstorm ideal spots for the place!  Do you absolutely have to have a picture of you in a certain pose or with a certain person?  Please, please let me know so I can make sure that we get it!  

No matter the idea or suggestion, I want to accommodate you!  I have a variety of photography experiences under my belt.  I can guide you on everything from location to timing to outfits.  Carli wanted to know if her dog Stanley could be part of their family shoot.  I was happy to have him there even if animals can be somewhat unpredictable.  What followed was a series of amazing photos with a dog whose face cracked me up at every turn.


I can't tell you how much I want you to infuse your personality into any shoot I do with you.  Every single person has something unique and special about them.  Whether it is a book you adore more than anything, a song you're obsessed with, or a defining moment you and your partner have shared; don't be afraid to make it a feature of your shoot.  I often tell my engagement clients to have a drink before they come and have their pictures taken.  It loosens them up to be free in their shoot and interact with each other in a more natural way.

Bottom line - do you, be you, embrace you.  I certainly will!  Scott wanted to take pictures with his welding helmet on during some of his and Elise's engagement photos.  I think that was totally awesome and am thrilled with how it turned out!



















I want you to be as upfront with me as you possibly can be.  Set me up for success!  If you know your child gets super grumpy at 3pm, then golden hour light be damned.  If you know that you would be more comfortable taking photos at your home than traipsing off to the woods or the city, I'd really like to know that.  I never want to force something for a photo.  Inevitably, the result is disappointment and a feeling of discomfort that is palpable in the photo.  I may have met you prior to our shoot.  You may be a friend or a prior client.  I do not pretend to know everything about you and your situation.  For example, if you know there is beef between two family members, please don't let me try and pose them together in a photo.  It will result in disaster and is completely avoidable.  I do not have a photo to share for this tip.  Well, maybe I do, but you don't want to see them and I don't want to share them.  Moving swiftly along...


Ok, so this isn't how to have a successful photo shoot, but I really need to say this somewhere.  Every photographer needs clients to have a business.  No matter where we are in the process of building that business.  Photography is my passion and I love every single moment of it.  Whenever I see that you have used a picture of mine for a holiday card, a profile picture, as decoration in your home, and anywhere else, I am absolutely overjoyed.  That being said, if you do not give me a photo credit on social media, it is kind of bothersome.  It is my work out there for all the world to see.  If you love it, please tell others how it came to happen.  I know that sounds petty, but it is hugely important to me that my work is recognized.  It could mean the difference between me being a fully fledged photographer one day or hanging up my camera and sticking with the day job.

On that point, I cannot stress the importance of high quality images enough.  Please, please, please do not take a Facebook image and have it printed.  Facebook compresses the images so badly that the quality is very low.  When you have them printed from the internet, they will not look anything like the high res images I have taken.  I would rather send you the high quality files than see a terrible version of a beautiful photo out there in the world.  

(The lovely Jen McLellan is always amazing at this.  Thank you for being the fabulous social media icon that you are.)


I love Pinterest.  I do.  I really do.  I love seeing all the pretty things, and becoming inspired by the endless creative ideas being realized out there in the world.  That being said, Pinterest is not real.  Pinterest is Fool's Gold set up to make you look back at major milestones in your life and hating them for not featuring perfectly coordinated chevron details.  Here's a secret, about 90% or more of the photos of weddings you see on Pinterest are not real weddings.  They are styled shoots that are immaculately curated by a team of event designers, shot by professional photographer in only perfect conditions, with models as the "bride" and "groom".  Don't be taken in by it.  Pinterest will fade away into a blip in years to come.  What will not fade away is a picture that shows true emotion between two people.  Love, when captured by a camera, can be infinitely timeless.  Don't stress the details so much that you lose track of why you are there.  Whatever you do will be beautiful and will be made more so by being present in the moment with one another!

Hey, take us home Colbie Caillat


]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography colorado Thu, 15 Jan 2015 00:37:23 GMT
Evolet's First Year I first met Alie and Kyle at a wedding; Alie's Mom's wedding to be precise.  She was about 6 months pregnant, and looked amazing in her bright pink dress.  Her and Kyle immediately struck me as incredibly cheerful, positive, and sweet individuals.  I was so thrilled when they asked me to take Alie's maternity pictures.  We met in City Park on a beautiful fall day to capture some images of her before the arrival of their daughter.

After spending this time with them, I was thrilled to learn that they wanted me to document the first year of their daughter's life.  From newborns to her first year, we had a blast trying out all sorts of shoots as Evolet grew!



Three Months:


Six Months:


Nine Months:


One Year:



We returned to City Park for their final shoot of Evolet's first year!  It was amazing to see her walking around, showing her dimples when she smiled, truly being a little hybrid of her two fantastic parents.  I am going to miss seeing this face every three months.  I look forward to meeting her future siblings, and watching her parents get married in the years to come!  Wishing you nothing but love and happiness, little Miss Evolet!




]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography baby colorado denver fall family newborn Sat, 03 Jan 2015 18:46:08 GMT
Lexi Seniors Lexi is a wonderful young woman with the hope of attending CU Boulder after her graduation next year.  I have had the pleasure of knowing Lexi since she was a freshman in high school.  Her mother, Sandra, and I worked together at KIPP Colorado Schools; my first job after arriving in Denver.  Lexi and I met up in the Santa Fe Art District to take advantage of the eclectic street art, architecture, and personality in the area.  I am very happy to share some images from her shoot and to wish her all the luck in the world with college and beyond!




]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography Santa fe art district colorado denver senior portraits seniors Sun, 07 Dec 2014 16:15:00 GMT
Pierce Family Tasha and I met a few years ago through work.  I run a nonprofit here in Denver, and Tasha was the marketing whiz at one of our business partners.  As soon as I met Tasha, I felt right at home with her.  She is a warm, caring person who makes the people around her feel very special.  I was honored when Tasha asked me to photograph her family following Thanksgiving!  Although the swarms of folks around Garden of Gods down in Colorado Springs made it hard to get into the park, the views were phenomenal and worth the effort.  Please enjoy a few from their session!





]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography colorado colorado springs fall family garden of the gods Fri, 05 Dec 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Franks Family! Carli and her family met up with me the morning after Thanksgiving for some family portraits.   When our original location was scrapped due to unexpected closure, we ended up at one of my favorite locations for shoots in Littleton.  The 12 person family, plus Stanley the Bulldog, and I traipsed off into the woods to see what we could find.  Let me tell you, this group couldn't have been more impeccably coordinated if I had planned it myself.  Look for this family under the textbook definition of stylish!




]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos Photography bulldog colorado fall family littleton Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Lena + Joel Wed  

Joel and Lena's wedding took place in late October at Grant Humphreys Mansion in Denver.  It was a stunning late Fall day, with leaves dropping in swirling clouds, filling the clear, blue skies with magic.  The day couldn't have turned out more perfectly.  Lena was calm, happy, and ready to go.  More than one of us mentioned that she was the most relaxed bride they'd seen.

Joel and Lena's siblings married them on the steps of Grant-Humphreys.  There was laughter, lightness, and the unmistakable joy of watching two people joining their lives with absolute clarity.

After portraits were complete, the party truly got underway!  Boy, can these guys dance!  Their family and friends put on one of the best shows I've seen at a wedding.  Complete with a young man in a Luchador mask!  I can't express how glad I am to have been a part of such a wonderful couple's big day.  I see great things and a world of happiness in their future.







]]> (Acoma Street Photography) acoma street photography colorado denver fall grant-humphrey's mansion wedding Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:05:44 GMT
Amanda Maternity When I met Amanda last year, we had a blast taking boudoir photos for her at the Jet Hotel.  When you are photographing someone for boudoir, you have to get comfortable with each other pretty quickly.  Amanda is one witty, funny, and comfortable person to be around.  I instantly liked her and was excited to be her photographer.  Those images turned out wonderfully!  

A couple months after the boudoir shoot, Amanda became pregnant with her second child (I'm not saying that boudoir pics help boost fertility, but I don't think it hurts ;) ).  I had the joy of visiting her at her house and photographing her and her son during the last months of her pregnancy.  

Amanda is already an amazing Mom to Ryland.  He is funny, sweet, and is very excited to be a big brother.  Can't wait to meet their new addition later this month!
















]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Tue, 18 Jun 2013 14:01:34 GMT
Father's Day Competition

The entries are in and here are the three finalists for the Father's Day Mini-Session!

1)  Shanna

"My father was my everything. He taught me so much, even when I didn’t want to learn (like the one summer he made me fill in a blank multiplication table every day, or the next summer, when I had a daily long division problem). His ridiculous shirts, bolo ties, and toucan hats (as well as the rest of his antics) made me realize how important it is to live life to the fullest every day, because you never know what might happen. I even wrote my college essay on him…and got into every school that I applied to. I credit his influence on that, as well as on all the various successes I've have in my life. It's not every man that will take up ice skating to support his daughter who wants to learn it. He's been gone for 14 years now, but his presence and influence with be with me....always."

2) Amy

"This was taken on my husband's first Father's Day. My son was on oxygen after a 110 day stay in the NICU. He came off oxygen one month before his 1 year birthday. He's kicking ass now and taking names. Love my big boy Griffin!"

3) Jen

"Daddy bliss! This photo was taken soon after my husband, Chris, had the incredible experience of catching his baby boy. He was the first person to ever hold our son and I joke that he has never set him down. Chris' devotion and attentiveness to our son is inspiring. Watching my love become a father has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I love my boys!"


Who would you like to win ASP's mini-session? free polls 
]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Mon, 17 Jun 2013 13:10:18 GMT
The bond There are so many moments during photo shoots that stay in my mind.  Whether it is an expression or a shared look, there is something that sticks.  Most often, it is because I'm witnessing something pure and genuine.  Sometimes, it stirs a memory for me.  At a recent boudoir shoot, I had one of these experiences.  Kim brought her son with her to our boudoir shoot, and amidst the PVC, floggers, stilettos, and silk, this special image was captured:

Kim and her son were so perfect in this moment.  So exactly as mother and child should be.  It was beautiful to see and an honor to capture.  Kim nursing her child and completely content.  This is why I do what I do.  

I am the youngest of three girls.  Born to a powerful force of a mother, I was educated in the strength that women possess from an early age.   I learned from my sisters, I was formed by my mother, and I was exposed to women blazing the trail.  I believe in women.  I believe in their ability to affect change.  I believe in their compassion and their support.  I would not be where I am or who I am without this foundation.

My mother, for all intents and purposes, was a single parent for much of my life.  She has worked in a variety of non-profit roles throughout her career.  Most of these positions were related to infant and women's public health.  As a result, she has a plethora of knowledge about health and caring for infants.  Needless to say, this has made her a huge advocate for breastfeeding whenever possible.  One of my favorite pictures of my childhood is included here - my sisters emulating my mother as she breastfed me.  

Continue to be great teachers to those around you.  Continue to love and nurture your own and others.  Continue to capture these moments that will live with your children, family, and friends throughout the years.  

If you are interested in a nursing/infant mini-session, please get in touch.  I am offering a mini-session for $75 with a DVD of select images when you book before June ends.  

]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:58:03 GMT
Dance! So, let me preface this entire post with the fact that I'm not a dancer, but a dance admirer.  I'm an avid SYTYCD watcher, I love everything about the way people move their bodies through dance, I love the elegance and the precision and the passion of it all.  Besides some ballet classes before the age of ten, my dancing has been limited to bars, the privacy of my own home, and weddings :) When it comes to photography, the way a person carries themselves and the positioning of their body are what can take a picture from mediocre to amazing!












These two shoots were an opportunity to stretch myself as a photographer by working with two individuals who understand how to contort themselves into visually appealing shapes in two very disparate environments.  Their flexibility and expressiveness allowed me to try out new techniques, new angles, and learn from them.  Thank you to Jessie and Erin for their time and beautiful energy!




I am working towards an entire series dedicated to dance and motion.  If you know of anyone who is a dancer who may be interested in participating, please have them contact me!  Onwards and upwards!



]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Tue, 12 Mar 2013 14:36:21 GMT
Kaylee + Paul = Married Kaylee contacted me early last week about her wedding.  Little did I know, that she and her fiance had only two days to put together an intimate and meaningful ceremony in Denver.  When I arrived at Central Presbyterian Church in Denver, I was greeted with a big hug by a stunning Kaylee.  Her vintage style and warmth won me over instantly.

Paul, her fiance, is in the army and based in Colorado Springs and will be deployed this Wednesday to Afghanistan.  Kaylee and Paul have an ease about them as a couple that draws you in and makes you feel as though you've known them forever.  I was thrilled to be a witness to their special ceremony.

After the ceremony, we wandered down to Civic Center Park to snap a few photos of this gorgeous pair.  Paul was saluted and approached by many on our way there.  It is a testament to Paul's humility that he handled the attention so well.















Here's to Kaylee and Paul.  I'm glad you found your "perfect" and wish you many years of joy and happiness together.  My thoughts will be with you both through Paul's deployment.


]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Mon, 04 Feb 2013 16:16:33 GMT
Shannon's Winter Family Session I met Shannon and Aidan out at Carson Nature Center on a very cold day in December.  Bundled up against the chill, we adventured out into the woods to take some beautiful pictures of this mother and son.  Shannon is someone I have had the opportunity to get to know through Acoma Street Photography and mutual connections.  Each time we get together, I enjoy her calming spirit and encouraging attitude.  

Aidan is such an awesome kid!  He has so much energy and kept me in stitches with his funny faces and athletic exploration of the woods!















It was so wonderful to see Shannon and her son together.  There is so much love and fun and silliness there and it made the whole session a true joy!

]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Fri, 18 Jan 2013 15:38:36 GMT
Stephanie + Jose = Married Stephanie and Jose contacted me about their wedding earlier this year.  Stephanie is a former KIPP student who I had the pleasure of spending time while I worked there.  She is smart, friendly, capable, and sweet and it was an honor to photograph her wedding.  I met her and Jose and could tell that they adore each other.  

They were married in late November at the Event Center at Church Ranch!  What a beautiful venue!  

Luckily, we had a little warm sun left before night fell and the wedding began:

The room was filled with friends and family who were clearly so happy for this wonderful, young couple. Stay tuned for their second ceremony and reception which will be taking place in May!

I love how in their own world Stephanie and Jose were when they danced:



]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Acoma Acoma Street Acoma Street Photography Grace Castellanos wedding Thu, 20 Dec 2012 14:38:42 GMT
Honoring Newtown, CT - the Olivia Act Watching the news unfold last Friday felt like a flashback to my childhood in England.  In 1996, a gunman in Dunblane, Scotland, opened fire in an elementary school killing 16 children and one adult before killing himself.  The devastation that community, and our country as a whole, experienced was immeasurable.  Newtown, CT just experienced a tragedy that cannot be understood, cannot be willed away, and will echo in their hearts for years to come.  I want to do a small part to try and pay my respects to those lost and to bring some goodness into the world in the light of such misery:

The Olivia Act, named after one of the children killed in Newtown, Ct., was started by a photographer who wishes to be anonymous. Olivia’s family had family pictures taken a short time before she was killed. Those pictures are precious and now priceless to them. Upon hearing this, this photographer was moved to give away a 30 minute family photo shoot and has challenged other photographers to do the same. We go about our daily lives and sometimes we don’t take the time or have the resources to have family photos taken.

I will be taking email nominations until mid-January. If you know a family who could use some precious photographs, but does not have the funds, I would love to hear their story. Send me their info, along with yours, and why you think they deserve it, and a family will be chosen at by mid-January. I will need their name, email and phone number. Please SHARE this status so your friends and family will know too! Can't wait to gift a family with these memories that can't be replaced or taken away.


]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Wed, 19 Dec 2012 14:18:20 GMT
Sideri Family The Sideri Family and I spent a little time together out at Standley Lake Park last month.  With all the stunning fall colors, this was a colorful, fun shoot!  Their daughter, Evelyn, is an adorable little girl and her smile just melts you.  

Enjoy a few from their session!

Fuzzy pumpkins are a huge hit at this age, good to know!
















You could really feel the love in this family:









]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Wed, 21 Nov 2012 17:28:45 GMT
Hernandez Family I first met Katrina and her family when their daughter, Kendall, was just a couple of weeks old.  Kendall was the sweetest newborn and I had such a great time photographing the newest addition to this beautiful family!

Fast-forward 11 months, and this little family is growing up!  It was amazing to see the transformation from newborn to little girl.  This family is as gorgeous as ever.  I so enjoyed my time with Katrina, Danny, Logan, and Kendall!















Wishing the Hernandez Family a happy Holiday season with their loved ones and a fantastic year ahead!














]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Wed, 21 Nov 2012 14:59:38 GMT
Kelli + Patrick = Married On October 27, I had the privilege of watching Kelli Harrington marry Patrick Winham in a beautiful ceremony at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, Georgia.  This wedding was special for so many reasons.  Kelli is the little sister of one of my closest friends, and during the past 9+ years I have known her, she has become so special to me as well.  Patrick is a wonderful man who understands, loves, and cares for Kelli.  They are a great match and I am sure that years of happiness are in their future.

Kelli and Patrick's bridal party was absolutely hilarious and kept me in stitches most of the day!















The reception was so much fun, with special dances by the Harrington women and Patrick and his mom:















Congratulations to Kelli and Patrick on their marriage!  Enjoy your journey together and thank you for including me in your very special day!








]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Tue, 20 Nov 2012 17:01:39 GMT
Parham Family I was delighted to be asked to photograph the Parham family this past weekend!  Max was one of the first newborn shoots for me and his long lashes and beautiful smile were incredibly memorable.  It was great to see his transformation into an adorable little boy, running, smiling, playing, and loving life!  Enjoy a few photos from their family shoot:

Max has two cousins, Emma and Addy, such gorgeous little girls.  We had fun trying to capture the cousins altogether for the family Christmas card!  Looking forward to this Christmas card in the mail!



]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Sun, 11 Nov 2012 19:46:46 GMT
Megan and Greg - Married Megan and Greg were married in a beautiful, intimate setting in Estes Park.  Meaningful vows were exchanged by the pair on a stunning, Autumn day.  Here are just some of the highlights:

Megan and Greg, I wish you a lifetime of happiness and joy together as you start life as man and wife :)

]]> (Acoma Street Photography) Sat, 20 Oct 2012 15:41:08 GMT