Amanda & Austin | Winter Couples Photos at Lily Lake in Estes Park, CO
As a Colorado photographer, I know of so many beautiful locations in the mountains that make for stunning photoshoot locations. I've shot at Lily Lake once before but it was a few years ago. I knew I had to go back! I was so thankful when Amanda & Austin reached out saying they'd love to take couples photos at the lake.
Like most mountain towns, Estes Park gets lots of snow and stays cold from probably October through March. There are tons of beautiful spots in Estes, especially with the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park being about a 15-minute drive from the center of town. However, Lily Lake is something else. It's gorgeous literally every time of year, but in the winter, it's truly magical. The entire lake freezes over so thick you can walk on it. Seriously! Just be sure to check depending on what time of year you go. Safety first, especially when frozen lakes are involved.
Amanda & Austin were so lovely to photograph. They had been married for almost 7 years. (Their anniversary is in April, so it was kind of an early anniversary shoot!) They told me the last time they had professional photos was during their wedding! I felt so fortunate to be the one to gift them photos.
We met at the lake around 4:00 and started walking the very snowy and slightly icy path around the lake. I let them know we'd walk out to the furthest spot I wanted to shoot at, then work our way back to the parking lot, stopping to take photos along the way. That's typically how I structure photoshoots that require some hiking in the mountains. That way, you get the bulk of the work done in the beginning and can take breaks along the way back! (Plus, with starting at 4:00, I wanted to avoid as much harsh mid-day sunlight as possible.)
These two were so cute the whole time, constantly giggling and talking to each other which made for perfect, candid images that captured their personality & unique relationship. We went through a couple of different prompts and poses and they totally make it their own. At one point along the trail, I asked if Austin could give Amanda a little dip (I needed an epic shot with the snow, dusted mountains looming in the background). They were so excited, letting me know they had done a dip at their wedding for a ceremony-exit-kiss photo. I hardly had to give any instruction and they executed the perfect dip!
As we neared the parking lot, I asked if they'd be comfortable taking the last photos walking out on the frozen lake. There was a little hesitation, but Austin assured his wife that the ice was at least 6 inches thick and he'd go out first to test it. (Ah, the chivalry!) We ended up getting some STUNNING photos of them walking on the white, completely frozen lake. The sun decided to give us some awesome haze and sun flares that just added to the magic of these wintery couples' photos.