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Locations for Family Portraits in the Denver Metro Area

Family Portrait Locations in the Denver Metro Area 

 

I get these questions a lot! Where are my favorite places to take photos of families? What looks best? What is the most Colorado? Is there somewhere that is close to my home? Is there a great place in the area that Grandma can go to?  Etc. There are so many answers to all of those questions so I have decided to compile a list of places that I love working at and why. Hopefully this helps answer some questions that you may be having. Check them out! And, as always, if you have any questions about anything, just let me know!

 

White Ranch Park

o   White Ranch Park is located in Golden, CO and is home to mountain bikers and trail runners. If you love the open space feel with tall grasses and some mountain views behind you, this is the perfect spot. This location is only available in the summer or fall as the gate closes during the winter and spring in order to preserve the trails. Because it is a ways out of town, generally trails aren’t super packed and parking has yet to be an issue. There is a free parking lot right next to the trailhead which makes it easy for outfit changes or quick trips back to the car.  Due to the nature of it being mostly open space, this location and lighting is at its best right as the sun comes up or as the sun goes down. White Ranch Park is a part of the Jefferson County Open Spaces system and permits are required for every photography session. Jeffco Open Spaces offers a yearly permit, which I purchase at the beginning of every year so there is no need to apply for a particular day. If you would like to learn more about the Jeffco Open Spaces and/or different types of permits >> Jeffco Open Spaces Photography Permit.

✔️ Spotty/no cell service

✔️ Free parking lot

White Ranch Park Family Session

Photo taken in September in the afternoon

 

White Ranch Park Family Session

Photo taken in September at sunset

White Ranch Park West

Photo taken in October at sunset

 

Washington Park

o   Located in south central Denver, Wash Park offers it all. Two lovely lakes, one complete with a quaint boathouse, endless greenery, and well-kept flowers keep this park on the top of my list. Parking is free and relatively easy on the side streets nestled in a charming neighborhood. Because of the Wash Park area’s curb appeal, it makes this park popular, especially during the summer, but an early morning or late afternoon session often can beat the heat and the crowd. Wash Park is a part of Denver Parks and Rec and they do require a permit for groups of 5 people or more. Often, it takes about two weeks to apply and get approved for the permit. I take care of all permits and paperwork related to the session, but if you would like to learn more about Denver Parks and Recreation or the permit process >> Denver Parks and Rec Photography Permit.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Bathrooms or porta potties year round

✔️ Street parking

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Cheesman Park

o   Similar to Wash Park with abundant greenery & floral goodness, Cheesman Park also offers a photo-worthy pavilion, frequently the backdrop to weddings and celebrations. Positioned in central Denver, this park’s proximity to neighborhoods can provide for a more urban feel as well. It also gets busy, but I’m always willing to brave the crowds to get the shot. Cheesman Park is one of my go – to spots at any time of the year and is stunning during the winter with lots of snowy trees. Parking is similar to Wash Park and often times it’s easier to park in a nearby neighborhood and walk over. Cheesman Park is a part of Denver Parks and Rec and they do require a permit for groups of 5 people or more. Often, it takes about two weeks to apply and get approved for the permit. I take care of all permits and paperwork related to the session, but if you would like to learn more about Denver Parks and Recreation or the permit process >> Denver Parks and Rec Photography Permit.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Porta Potties year round

✔️ Street parking

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Belmar Park

o   Maybe one my favorite location on this list is Belmar Park. When it comes to getting bang for your buck (or time) Belmar Park’s diversity has it all. From an endearing covered bridge, to endless greenery, it’s a prime location in the fall when the aspens are showing off their best colors. Built on the former estate of May Bonfils-Stanton, pieces of history are still intact, bringing an authentic and vintage feel to pictures. If neither of these backdrops sound like you, there are plenty of opens spaces to capture all the views Colorado has to offer. Located in West Denver, Belmar Park is less frequented than Wash Park or Cheesman Park, but some of the backdrop can be blocked with smog & pollution, so views are not always guaranteed. There is an abundance of parking and it is always free. As of October 2021, no photography permit is required for family sessions at Belmar Park. For it to stay that way, we all need to do our best to keep our parks clean and practice LNT (leave no trace). For more info about Belmar Park >> Belmar Park Information.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Bathrooms or porta potties year round

✔️ Free parking lot

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Genesee Park

o   A small trek up 1-70, and right off the Chief Hosa exit is Genesee Park where we can capture those full-blown mountain views. Plenty of pine trees and just the right amount of parking ensure that this park isn’t too crowded, except maybe on the occasional weekend. Parking the in area is free and shouldn’t be an issue when we are there.  As one of my favorite spots in the area, I have two choice spots that rarely ever fail me when it comes to getting the best scenery. The park is another year round favorite and is a magical place in the winter and the summer. The elevation gain from Denver shouldn’t be taken lightly, however, as it is consistently cooler in this area than it is in the city. Genesee Park is a part of Denver Mountain Parks, which is a smaller branch of Denver Parks and Recreation and they do require a permit for groups of 5 people or more. Often, it takes about two weeks to apply and get approved for the permit. I take care of all permits and paperwork related to the session, but if you would like to learn more about Denver Parks and Recreation or the permit process >> Denver Parks and Rec Photography Permit.

✔️ Spotty/no cell service

✔️ Bathrooms (or porta potties) year round

✔️ Free parking lot/Street parking

 

Mount Falcon East

o   Mount Falcon East earns a spot on this list for many reasons (one of them being that it’s much better than its friend Mount Falcon West, but just one girl’s opinion). It isn’t as crowded as it’s westerly twin, and provides plenty of open space with sweeping views to the foothills. If scenery is your thing, this is your spot. Without too many foreground details, the pictures I have captured here celebrate the people in them with a peak of the famous Red Rocks behind. Mount Falcon East has a pond, however, it’s not always open due to trail restoration. The parking lot (free) isn’t far from our photo locations and is an easy spot for quick outfit changes.  Mt Falcon East (and West)  is a part of the Jefferson County Open Spaces system and permits are required for every photography session. Jeffco Open Spaces offers a yearly permit, which I purchase at the beginning of every year so there is no need to apply for a particular day. If you would like to learn more about the Jeffco Open Spaces and/or different types of permits >> Jeffco Open Spaces Photography Permit.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Free parking lot

 

Roxborough State Park

o   Rounding out the list is a Colorado classic, sprinkled with the infamous red rocks that create a breathtaking backdrop. Roxborough Park is large and can be busy, but luckily its size work in its favor, as it’s simple to avoid the crowds. I have yet to find a spot in this park that is ugly 😂, so we can find a location that suits you and your family’s style. Parking is more limited and the area can be prone to rattlesnakes, but hey, what’s life without a little adventure? (Mostly kidding here, but I will do everything I can to keep you safe). Roxborough is another 24/7, 365 beauty and if I lived closer, I would go there everyday. Some of the paths are paved, making part of the park ADA accessible, which is perfect for those with family members that aren’t necessarily able-bodied. There is also an entrance fee (as of October 2021 it is $11) unless you have a State Parks Pass. State Parks all work a little bit differently with their permitting but all of them do require a permit. I have had some quick success with applying for a permit, that being said, a 5 – 10 day turn around is more of the norm for this location. The permits are issued on a quarterly basis so if I already have it, then we can schedule your session right away. If you have questions or want more information on Roxborough State Park and their permitting >> Roxborough State Park Photography Permit.

✔️ Spotty/no cell service

✔️ Bathrooms or porta potties year round

✔️ Free parking lot

✔️ ADA Accessible

✔️ Entrance Fee

 

Santa Fe Art District

o   If you are looking for more of an urban feel, this is your spot! Contemporary meets classic as far as architecture, style, and art goes. There is a little bit of everything in this area and is great for those families who are looking for some creativity. I prefer working in the Santa Fe Art District over RiNo any day – same vibe though RiNo is a bit more industrial and there is wayyyyy more traffic over there too. There is plenty of street parking available, some of which is free, some of which is metered. This area is great at any time of year but it is particularly lovely during the holidays with the lights and (hopefully) snow. There are no permits for photographing in public spaces but we will have to be mindful of being on private property. Most businesses are fine with you being on their property is you just ask :). That being said, it is rare that they would allow you indoors to take photos, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. To learn more about the area >> Santa Fe Art District Information.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Bathrooms available inside local business

✔️ Street Parking

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Bear Creek Greenbelt

o   If you can time it correctly, the Bear Creek Greenbelt is my absolute favorite location for those fall colors! The combo of tall grass with a small open space feel and the foothills in the background, the huge trees, and the creek make for the perfect fall trifecta! This area is beautiful at any time of year, let me be clear but it is particularly vibrant during the fall. The greenbelt is located in the middle of Lakewood on the west side of Denver and is fairly central to a lot of things making it an easy place to get to. Bear Creek Greenbelt, not to be confused with Bear Creek Lake Park (a distant neighbor), is located in the burbs and has plenty of space to move around it and lots of parking, all of which is free. As of October 2021, there is currently no permit required for photographing family sessions. If you would like to learn more about the area or the greenbelt, you know what to do >> Bear Creek Greenbelt.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Street Parking

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Cherry Creek State Park

o   Cherry Creek State Park (CCSP)  is another favorite for family portraits due to its central location and landscape varieties. Beachy vibes, open spaces, lots of trees, shrubbery, and some city view scapes make this a fun place to go if you are looking for a lot of variety without moving around to different locations. While I am partial to the area in the fall as the colors are vibrant and beautiful, it a a perfect year round spot and is always very accessible. CCSP, along with all Colorado State Parks, does require a permit. There permits are issued quarterly and are generally very quick and easy to obtain (2-3 days). To learn more about Cherry Creek State Park, additional fees and permits >> Cherry Creek State Park Photography Permit.

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Bathrooms or porta potties year round

✔️ Free parking lot

✔️ ADA Accessible

✔️ Entrance Fee

 

Windy Saddle Point/Lookout Mountain

o   Located in Golden,

✔️ Spotty/no cell service

✔️ Bathrooms (or porta potties) year round depending on location

✔️ Free parking lot

 

Westlands Park

o   Westlands Park is located in Greenwood Village,

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Free parking lot

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Highlands Ranch Mansion

o   The Highlands Ranch Mansion is one of a kind!

✔️ Cell service

✔️ Free parking lot

✔️ ADA Accessible

 

Family sessions are all about bringing out the personality and style of your family and capturing some sweet moments of life, the years you want to freeze. And we’re incredibly lucky that Colorado offers some of the picturesque backdrops I have seen, and this list doesn’t even begin to capture them all. But as some of my favorites to frequent even without the lens, my familiarity with the areas will help us capture a great shot, cut some of your stress, and have a great time.