Although lifestyles in Denver have changed irrevocably since it was inhabited by the First Americans, there has never been a better time to be a lifestyle photographer in Denver. Major brands and clients who need lifestyle photographs are usually, although not always, trying to reach the “average middle-class consumer.” Denver, along with its greater metropolitan area, is replete with this demographic. As one of the sunniest cities in the country, averaging around 300 days of sun per year, the “Mile-High City” has found a balance between urban vigor and natural refuge. Home to a large population of white-collar workers, Denver is an ideal marketplace for lifestyle photographers and brands alike to ply their trade and market their wares.
At Wonderful Machine, we define lifestyle photography as photography that depicts an idealized, aspirational version of real life. These images usually show happy, attractive people in nice clothes doing fun things in beautiful places. Often these shoots require coordination of professional models, hair and make-up, props, wardrobe, and various locations. Although these are staged photoshoots they manage to look authentic and natural. Lifestyle photographs are intended to promote a product or service but can be used editorially as well. Each Denver lifestyle photographer in this listicle has demonstrated their ability to navigate the aesthetic and logistical complexities of this genre and develop their trademark aesthetic.
Denver lifestyle photographer Julia Vandenoever’s images cast day-to-day activities in a harmonious light, depicting the simple joys and pastimes of an “average” person. She is unique among her peers for her ability to capture the lifestyles of pet owners and animals. Julia’s shutter always seems to close just in time for an animal to show their personality. She has an eye for capturing the tender moments shared by an animal and their human. Her images cast her subjects in the “clean” and “desirable” light that advertising clients tend to look for. Julia achieves this effect through more than just the manipulation of light. She studied art history at Smith College and has worked with reputable publications like Outside Magazine and Backpacker. Her eye for placing products into the flow of daily life has made her one of Denver’s premier lifestyle photographers.
Brendan Davis specializes in capturing images of active lifestyles. His portfolio imparts a tender radiance to his subjects. Often working during the golden hour of the day, Brendan’s images are saturated with a glowing warmth that touches both optimism and nostalgia. His careful and purposeful use of bokeh produces depth and space within the images, while also highlighting the most salient qualities of the subject. Intense color contrasts create images that feel sharp and dynamic yet maintain warmth and intimacy. Bustling streets, athletic vigor, and tranquil moments by the lake are all rendered with a warmth that speaks of a deep connection to his surroundings. Based in Boulder, Colorado, his experiences on the road, from soaring peaks to sprawling deserts, resonate in his portfolio. Coupled with a background in Integrated Marketing Communications, Brendan narrates compelling stories, as seen in his partnerships with renowned brands like Patagonia and Rolling Stone.
Denver-based lifestyle photographer Jason Innes documents the leisurely and lighthearted side of an active lifestyle. Snowy mountainsides, yoga mat meditation, and luminous beach retreats are a few of the staples in his lexicon. He uses bright naturalistic and artificial lighting elements to craft sharp images of people enjoying themselves in the midst of their daily lives. His meticulous attention to detail, combined with genuine enthusiasm, translates to visuals rich in authenticity. Jason’s lifestyle portfolio evinces a range of techniques and styles that will interest a diverse range of clients’ possible needs. His portfolio demonstrates versatility and resonates with a broad spectrum of client needs. With esteemed partnerships ranging from Proctor & Gamble to Toyota, Jason solidifies his position in the Denver photography landscape.
Willie Petersen’s lifestyle portfolio captures the vintage nostalgia of simple life in America. Whether in the country or the suburbs, Willie’s images are intimate portraits of simple moments. They exude homely warmth and intimacy. He utilizes warm vintage tones and soft glowing artificial light that, at times, verges on sepia tones. Petersen’s balance of light and setting has continued to earn him contracts with major clients. Born in Wyoming, Petersen is an award-winning photographer who has also worked as an art director in New York City.
Kris Cheng is an alumnus of the prestigious Stanford d.school (design school). He has worked with some of the most prestigious commercial clients in the world — Google, Nike, Apple, and Facebook to name a few. Kris is able to craft visually striking images that tell a meaningful story. Visual storytelling is the specialty that clients hire him for. His precise and complex photographic and editing techniques produce lifestyle photographs that are unique to every subject and situation. Sharp edges and crips details put his subjects in the realistic space of their life and world. Both in the studio and outdoors, he produces images with a tone and dynamic range that tells a compelling story. Kris’s approach is informed by global experiences and a decade-spanning career.
Ryan Dearth crafts compelling lifestyle photographs by combining the nuances of narrative with rich visual detail. His experiences from global travel as a child in a military family and academic pursuits in physics inform his images. His work captures moments of warmth, nostalgia, and forward-facing optimism. Technical intricacies and emotional depth frame scenes of respite or serenity but also resonate with the character of his subjects. He is capable of capturing both intimate portraits and vast landscapes. Ryan’s approach to lifestyle photography is motivated by the desire to produce powerful images that tell a story authentically.
Amanda Villarosa’s lifestyle photography speaks to the everyday moments imbued with warmth and authenticity. She has cultivated an eye for rich colors, subtle detail, and serene moments which she frames in elegantly composed images. Her work is characterized by crisp lighting, saturated hues, and a wide tonal range. Utilizing diverse lighting techniques and styles. Her images convey realistic or “true” experiences and their subjects. Her images resonate because they are not highly stylized or processed. She introduces a refined aesthetic and principles of inclusivity to every shoot she works. Among lifestyle photographers Denver boasts, Amanda is a rising star of genuine, emotion-driven artistry.
The Denver lifestyle photographers highlighted in this article have all proven their industry merit. Each of them uniquely recreates day-to-day life in an evocative photographic form, creating scenes and manipulating light to produce images of an ideal life.