If you’ve never visited the Centennial State, you might not realize that Colorado is a remarkable melting pot of cultures, landscapes, and creative communities. Sure, it’s got the sweeping romantic vistas of the Rocky Mountains, endlessly rolling plains, and country living. It’s also got thriving, evolving urban centers, places where talented people are pushing boundaries and doing exciting creative work.
Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in Denver, which plays home to a — perhaps surprising — number of top-tier fashion photographers. Our list of the 11 best Denver fashion photographers proves you don’t need to be in Los Angeles to capture the edge, aesthetic, and fierceness that is raw photography talent.
Rebecca Grant was born and raised in Brooklyn. She then went to photography school in Rochester, but we’re glad she’s finally found her way home to Denver. Grant’s work spans the full gamut of fashion photography, from glamour to high fashion and editorial. Whatever the purpose in shooting, her execution is spot on.
Her beauty photography is effortlessly lit, with just the right amount of post-processing to give the work that glossy, make-up-ad-worthy look. Her work for fashion brands keeps the clothing front and center, and her images are subdued and chic. Minimal color palettes are employed except in the cases where she’s shooting a high-fashion or lifestyle set, usually outdoors — in which case, she goes bright and bold to create eye-catching moments, the kind of thing you simply can’t scroll past.
2. Kirstin Anne
What immediately stands out about Kirstin Anne’s studio work is that it’s brighter than average, and there’s a boldness there — if something’s wrong with the shot (or with the hair, makeup, and styling), it’s all the more obvious. When it goes well, the results are obvious: makeup pops, skin shines, and models glow.
Anne’s lifestyle and editorial work is just as strong, wherein models are pictured in “real-life” scenes as opposed to against blank backdrops. In these, the images consistently capture the perfect mood, whether it’s dreamy and bohemian or edgy and grungy.
Catarino Moreno believes there’s “a fashion for every story,” a deceptively telling creative philosophy that reminds us of what fashion at its best can be: a raw expression of individuality and the personality of the person who wears it. Most of Moreno’s fashion photography is for print magazines, and we can see how it would look beautiful in print, with its adventurousness and creativity.
Whether it’s for an ad, lookbook, or magazine spread, Caroline Miller is always looking for an opportunity to add that one creative extra piece to a given image, lending that perfect je ne sais quoi, an indefinable quality that grips the viewer. As she puts it: “The crazier the idea the better.” You can see it in the boldness of her creative choices and the unconventional — sometimes almost confrontational — expressiveness of her models.
It’s also worth noting that Miller is herself a skilled stylist, which isn’t something every photographer can boast — it means she can produce top-tier work with one less support person, as well as lend her own creative eye to other photographers’ projects.
Evens Leandre is an editorial fashion and beauty photographer with a military background that informs how he operates as a professional photographer. Traveling the globe has given him a broad perspective, but he’s also learned self-discipline, respect to commitment, and the value of a strong work ethic.
If you’ve ever done business with a primadonna creative in the fashion industry — and many of us have — then you’ll be pleased to learn that Leandre is not that guy. You can see his collaborative approach in his editorial work. He listens to what the publication’s vision for a given project is, provides his own creative insights, and executes on a shoot that’s both completely appropriate for the project at hand and also uniquely his own.
6. Joe Friend
Joe Friend is a fashion and advertising photographer based in Denver. His work has appeared in publications like Vanity Fair to Glamour Magazine, Nylon Guys to GQ — the list goes on. A self-described “humble, hungry, and unapologetically [himself]” talent, Friend’s film photography is elegant, stylish, and sexy. It also demonstrates a solid grasp of photography fundamentals like composition and color correction.
Blake Jackson is a self-taught Denver-based photographer known for his “surreal fashion captures [and] moody portraiture,” as well as his epic concert stills (he’s photographed artists such as Chance the Rapper, Bassnectar, and Rae Sremmurd — to name a few). His work is gritty and cinematic, drawing on inspiration from film stills.
These are images with a distinctly film-like quality, often capturing a vintage look and feel in Jackson’s more deliberately artistic work. Jackson is versatile, though — when a commercial shoot calls for simply crisp, clear, and straightforward work, his attention to detail doesn’t waver.
It’s impossible to discuss Denver fashion photographers without mentioning Alexander Ablola, the owner and mastermind behind retail space and communal hub, Mars in Scorpio, which exists as “a synthesis of music, movies, philosophy, art, and fashion (of course).” Through Mars in Scorpio, Ablola aims to “create emotional connections with customers through provocative products, design, and lifestyle content.”
One look at his avant-garde fashion photography, and these passions of Ablola’s become clear. It’s nothing if not provocative, and it’s clear that Ablola strives to push boundaries with his art — not only of what fashion photography can be, but also his own ideas and skills.
A self-described “commercial photographer specializing in fashion, apparel, accessories, portraiture, and food/beverage,” John S. Miller is a true Denver talent. Miller’s work has been published everywhere from Westword to Mile High Sports Magazine, and his roster of clients range from Pure Barre to Nifty Genius to Venetia Vodka and beyond.
Drawing inspiration from his upbringing as the son of a salon owner and computer engineer, Miller’s brilliant work lies at the intersection of style and precision, and his impressive portfolio bursts with clarity, crispness, and color.
10. Alec Tremaine
It’s Alec Tremaine’s multi-faceted background that powers his stunning portfolio of fashion, commercial, advertising, and model photography. His past life in marketing, mixed with his own modeling experience (he was formerly signed with Wilhemina and Elite Miami), lends itself perfectly to telling stories and capturing emotion with his camera.
It’s evident in looking through his photographs that Tremaine’s work is polished yet raw, evocative yet simple. He’s quickly learned from his years of posing in front of the camera, now using his knowledge to create masterpieces from behind the shutter.
11. Emerald Boes
A self-described “conceptual photographer specializing in dark art and fashion,” Emerald Boes holds a BFA in Fine Arts & Photography and is the mastermind behind HORRID Magazine. One of Denver’s rising stars, Boes works primarily in portraiture and draws inspiration from “psychology, nightmares, and the subconscious mind” — intriguing themes that transfer flawlessly to her unique take on fashion.