Sneak Peek for Ashlie!

I had a fantastic time shooting this cute family! We found a location that created the perfect backdrop for their session. Ashlie, I can't wait for you to come in and see the rest of your images, they turned out great! In the meantime, here is a little sneak peek of what we got. 

Keep your passion alive.

So I create a lot of images!  I started making photos a long time ago when everything was all film and dark room.  I loved the way images would appear like magic just by agitating them in the dark room bath.  This led me to create shows, art photography was all I cared about.  I traveled through Europe capturing street scenes and cityscapes.

Colosseum at Night

Colosseum at Night

Turkish Doorway

Turkish Doorway

I Created abstract photography by shooting on slide film and putting it through a silver halide bath.


Then I started to photograph people on the street.

Sifting Rice in Vietnam

Sifting Rice in Vietnam

Eventually I decided to make photography my career and started photographing weddings, family photos, and events.  It is a special privilege to be your own boss and work in the medium you want to.   I still make an effort to keep in touch with my art photography roots.  Living in Fort Collins gives me a chance to flex that muscle from time to time.  It has been important for my professional and mental health to keep being creative and always be thinking of new ways to capture compelling images.


Waking up with a little, little bird coffee

Are engagement Sessions Worth it?

YES, Engagement Sessions are worth it.  Cool, easy blog see you next time.

O.K. I will expand a bit.


1. As a photography the engagement session is a pretty important part of the wedding photography.  I get to know my couple better, we have a good time and I learn what you like and don't like. "So, you like spontaneous images the best, I will remember that.  Oh you do not know what to do in front of the camera and would like some direction.  O.K. good to know."   

2. You now know what to expect.  After the engagement session my couples are confident they have made the right choice in wedding photographer.  That confidence comes out in their wedding photos also because you relax when you trust the person behind the camera.

3. Engagement sessions are a chance to create images of the things you love together.  It could be your dog

Good Boy!

Good Boy!

Maybe you love to hike in the winter on an ice lake.

Lake Lilly on a relitivly warm day

Lake Lilly on a relitivly warm day

Or maybe you just really love Starbucks coffee

Hope you like the free advertising you need it.

Hope you like the free advertising you need it.

I always love to do engagement sessions.  A bonding experience that builds confidence and we end up with great images of you as a couple before life kicks into high gear.  What's not to like. 

Happy Engagement Session

Happy Engagement Session

Get those details.

That time of the year!

Well, I'm headed out to WPPI again this year.  WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) is the annual gathering of professional photographers from around the world.  They gather in Las Vegas and talk with each other, compare notes, go to seminars on lighting, posing, social media.  There is also an expo where you can buy cool new camera stuff!  Such as the tiny light cube I bought and then used to back light this guest gift at a Windsong Wedding.


I also turned a wine glass upside down, used the base to showcase these wedding rings and used the cube light to fill in light from below.. I love that little light!


So what is on the hit list for this year?  I am checking on the Profoto B1 remote flash.  I have two flashes for off camera work such as below.  But the Profoto will give me......POWER!  I can over power the sun with it!


Ultimately I love going to WPPI, it fires me up for the rest of the year.  I come back wanting to try new techniques, use new equipment and give event client their money's worth when they hire me. 

Let me know what fires YOU up!


Vendor Highlight "Armstong Hotel"

I recently had a chance to sit down with Kelley Black at the Armstrong Hotel and talk about some of their recent changes to the hotel.

Sarah & Matt

Sarah & Matt

 Fort those of you who do not know the Armstrong Hotel is in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins and a stones throw away from Craig Vollmer Photography! 

The Armstrong has a long history (opened in 1923) has a 1920's style and is considered the coolest hotel in Fort Collins by distinguishing photographers.  Seriously this place is wonderful for it's backdrops alone, inside and out. 

IMG_9998 2.jpg


Each of their 45 rooms and suites are unique!  Yes you can find a room that fits you, your style and makes your photographer happy too. 


Gilletts Lounge is in the basement serving some of the town's best cocktails, weekly jazz and if you are staying at the hotel you can stay for that extra drink and then just walk up to your room.  I know it sound like I am gushing but and if you have picked up on that it's because I AM!  I love this place and I feel like not enough brides know it is around to board family members, have rehearsal dinner or event a small reception. 


If you need any further info just contact the Armstrong and sleep in style.


4 Reasons you Need Family Photography Now!

1.  Babies turn into Adults.

"When you have children you will never have longer days or shorter years"  is the truest quote I have ever heard once I had my own children.  Spend a whole day with a grumpy 4 year old and time stands still.  Then look at a photo of that child when they turned 1 year old and wonder how it all went by so fast. 

2. Family Portraits are for your Children.

Yes, it is great to enjoy images of your children growing up but when your children get get older they will want to see YOU when you were younger.  

Goldfish are just like a family member.

Goldfish are just like a family member.

3. Great Family Wall Art, Helps Keep Your Sanity.

On the days when nothing seems to be going right, you have taken 2 steps forward and 4 steps back.  Collapsing on the couch and seeing your family on the wall will let you know what you are working for is all worth while.

4. Grandparents will love you!

Hey you just knocked out your Christmas shopping for YOUR parents, who are hard to buy for anyway.  Grandparents will love an album of the session or wall art of their grandchildren and now you are DONE early!


Of course Photography is my business so I have an interest in promoting family photography.  That being said I have have seen so much joy and satisfaction with family photography sessions I encourage you to book a session soon, be it with Craig Vollmer Photography or someone else. 

Great family photography is an investment that gives back and lasts longer than any other investment!

Picking your Photographer!

How to Pick your Wedding Photographer


Picking your photographer can be a bit overwhelming.  There are certainly a lot of great photographers out there and their prices can fluctuate from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars.  I am going to break down some of the most important things to be on the lookout for.

Most photographers are going to document your day in a natural, photo-journalistic way, and that is great news for those of you who do not want your parents' wedding photography.  But when most wedding photography is capturing those candid moments, how do you tell the difference? What should you be looking for in their portfolio?

There are a few different ways that photographers will create the story of your day.  These different ways they can use their skills are worth paying attention to, in order to find the photographer that is the best fit for you.

LIGHTING:  How you use light is 80% of what makes a good or poor image.  A great and simple way to understand light is to hold your hand up, palm toward the window.  Slowly turn your hand away from the window.  As your hand moves away from the light, the quality of light changes from even and clear until your hand gets to about ninety degrees, when you have dramatic shadows. Then, if you keep going, of course, you have nothing but shadow. 

Some photographers live in that light and airy light while others will move toward a moody and dramatic feel.  This is the job a photographer does all day, figuring out where the light is coming from, and how to use it to create an airy, dramatic, soft, or moody image.  How light is captured creates completely different moods.  These images were taken just a few seconds apart and we move from hip and cool to romantic and dreamy.

When you are looking at a photographer's portfolio, get a feel for the mood the light gives off. Is it edgy and dramatic or light and ethereal?

Some photographers only use natural light which is another way of saying "available light".  I have seen some amazing "natural light" photographers BUT always ask what they will do on a rainy day or in a reception hall with no windows and dim lighting.

If you ask to check out a photographer's reception images and they are all blurry, that is a bad sign.  If the images are well-lit from front and back, it means the photographer can create images even when there is little or no light available.  

COMPOSITION:   Composition is framing your main subject to create a more focused image which draws your eye naturally to the main point of interest.  O.K., so that is the definition but we can just say, "is it an interesting image?" In the image below, I used the carriage that brought the bride to the ceremony to frame the couple, and the flower petals lead the eye toward the couple as they give their vows.

When you are reviewing a photographer's portfolio, you must ask if the images are all from the same perspective, meaning, the same viewpoint.  Does the photographer create something interesting?  Are there moments that tell a story by themselves, while adding to the story of the whole wedding day? The image below is such an example.


POSING:  Almost everyone would like to have candid, real images that capture the emotion of the moment.  We all have that image that takes us back to a time so real that we can place ourselves there the second we see the image.  Most photographers got into photography to capture these images.  I love to get these images, but a well rounded wedding photographer will create great group and family images as well. 

Creating a timeline and shot list for a wedding day should be 60% of what a wedding photographer does.  I know all my percentages add up to more than 100% and a really good wedding photographer puts at least 140% into a day!

Ask your potential photographer about their process for group/family photos.  I create a photography timeline with every couple AND I ask for a shot list so we do not miss any images.  Of course we may add groups on the fly, but it is worth it to create a list outside of the busy wedding day. 

Make sure your wedding photographer is organized and ready to direct people (in a nice way) during family photo time.  I have photographed a lot of weddings and I have never heard anyone say, "boy, I wish the group photos lasted longer."  This time can be chaotic and your photographer must be ready to move everything along.

But, you should all be having a good time too!

TO SUM UP:  O.K. That is a lot of information and I am sure there are more questions, but this is a good starting point. Overall, you should like your photographer and their images while keeping an eye out for how professional and organized they are. 

I got into wedding photography because I love the excitement and fun of creating images with couples on one of the coolest days of their life.  At the same time, I have heard enough "bad wedding photographer" stories to want to help you find an organized professional for your big day. 

Oh and I also learned that if you have someone take a photo of you with your wedding couple, they might just pick you up and throw you around! 

Good luck and happy wedding planning!