Sunrise Couple's Portraits in the Colorado Mountains | Kayla + David

sunrise colorado mountain couples session

Kayla {of Kayle Illies Photography} + I got together for a swap portrait session while they were traveling through Colorado. We hiked about 40 minutes to the back of a gorgeous mountain reservoir and made it to our spot just in time to see the sun illuminate the tops of the pine trees {read: gorgeous morning sunlight!}. Read more about Kayla + her family below, and also be sure to check out the amazing photos she took when I stepped in front of the lens...!

colorado sunrise portraits in the mountains
sunrise colorado mountain portraits

Their Story

David and I met at a mutual friends get together one night while we were both attending the same college. I know a lot of people don't truly believe in love at first sight, but I do because I've lived it. When I walked into the room that night and [saw] him sitting across the table, something just clicked inside of my mind. Something told me that this was the man for me, that this would be the man that I would marry. 

On July 4th, that same year, no more than three months from when we started dating, David asked me to marry him. It's a sweet and funny story actually! David, knowing that I'm a complete horse lover, went riding with me down at my parents' ranch. He had a sweet, romantic scene planned in his head where he would take me to a tree that overlooked the entire ranch and ask me to marry him there at sunset. What he didn't account for was falling off my horse and me being stubborn-headed making him go home. So, sitting on my parents couch, in our pj's no less, he comes out into the living room, hands me his phone to show me a photo of the ring he had in his pocket, played me a song on his guitar and sang to me, then he asked me to marry him. I was SO shocked that I couldn't speak, and he had to ask me if that was a yes or a no. Of course it was a yes and here we are 7 INCREDIBLE years later!

couples portraits in colorado mountains
sunrise anniversary portrait session

Why did you choose this portrait session?

Having our Anniversary photos done before my husband deployed was so very very important to me and I am forever thankful to Emily for teaming up with me and helping us make that possible! She's one of the kindest, sweetest, most caring people I've met, and I'd recommend her to anyone! Plus being able to combine my love of traveling and one of my favorite places (Colorado) really made it that much more special to me. I will FOREVER cherish these photos and I know that they'll help get me through this deployment!

sunwashed sunrise portraits in the mountains
dancing in the  mountains, sunrise colorado portraits
close up of couple in mountains
couple and dogs portraits colorado mountains

"We're at our happiest when..."

...we get to do our favorite things together, like:

  • Cuddling on the couch while watching movies together.
  • Playing with our two pups or taking them to the beach.
  • Going out to eat at our favorite BBQ restaurant in Oceanside and going out to see a new movie.
  • Traveling.
  • Riding motorcycles together.
  • Grabbing drinks with friends and spending time with family.
  • Playing board games.
family portraits with dogs in mountains
couple and dogs portraits in colorado mountains

What challenges have you had to face as a couple? How do you two face challenges together? 

The hardest time in our marriage was when David came to me one day and told me that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. We were already four and a half years into our marriage, already had a brand new house built for us out in the country not far from my family, and I was finally becoming the established senior photographer in the small town we lived near. It was a very hard year for me that year. Simply because I was terrified out of my mind at all of the thoughts that kept creeping into my head about what could happen to him. None-the-less, I chose to support him in his dreams just as he's supported me in every single one of mine.

So here we are now, living in Southern California, living the life of a military couple now! No it's not easy, but to be all honest, I'm very thankful David did become a Marine. It's helped our relationship grow even stronger, it's helped me grow already so much as a person, has forced me to get out of my comfort zone to chase even harder after my dreams of being a wedding and engagement photographer, and has given me new possibilities in my life + business that I didn't think would ever be possible! It's also made it possible for us to travel more often and to see places that I had only dreamed of seeing someday! I am forever thankful to him for all of that.

The challenge we face now is our first deployment together and being a part from each other for several months. It's not going to be easy but we're each doing our best to make it easier on each other and I know that this deployment will make our marriage even stronger yet. I'm very thankful to have made so many military spouse and wedding vendor friends since we moved here two years ago that I know I can rely on if I need to! Emily being one of them!!!! 

couples portraits with dogs in mountains

What are your spirit animals?

Kayla's: Mine would definitely be the horse! Horses have always been a huge part of my life since I was a little girl and my grandpa introduced me to them. I've been riding since I was five years old and they're so calming to my soul. They've always been there for me throughout my entire life when I needed time to think or someone to talk to and somehow they understand what I'm going through and they inspire me greatly!

David's: I'd have to say a bulldog or a lion. Simply because he's always so loyal and caring to me, his family, his friends, and to his career. Also because he's a great leader, stubborn at times, but he does whatever he has to or finds a way to make it work.

kayla illies portrait by keeping composure photography
photographer in the mountains
portrait of a photographer

Take a peek at the images that Kayla {with Kayla Illies Photography} captured when we switched roles and I hopped in front of the camera with my main squeeze and our puppy!

Are you just passing through the Colorado Rockies? Or perhaps you've planned a vacation here already? Sneak in an extra experience during your time in the mountains and let's set up a portrait session together! There are so many reasons to celebrate: anniversaries, engagements {+ surprise proposals!}, family reunions, vow renewals, elopements... you name it, and we can capture it! Let's have some adventures together!

Say Hello!