Session Details for EJ Dilley Photography + Location Ideas for Vail & Summit

Styling  Here is a Pinterest Board (family)  with outfit ideas too!  This is my client closet if you see anything interesting let me know. Please feel free to layout outfits and text them to me, I am happy to help!  Although it is probably easiest to hop on a call to discuss styling and location.   The thing I think is useful though are the color palettes.  I always recommend just finding a color palette of say 3-5 colors and then letting everyone make an outfit based on those colors.  That way things look casual, natural, and still go together.  I would try to avoid being overly matchy.  Fabrics that will let the light through them, that are long and light-that will pick up in the wind can be SO PRETTY.  That doesn’t have to be a dress, it could be a scarf, duster, or long cardigan over jeans.   Here are some tips for your session, from how to match your group outfits to make-up, hairspray, and so on!

Style  I do mostly authentic candid posing and I will do at least one posed with everyone looking at the camera.  I want you all to just BE TOGETHER.  Try to be present and do things you would normally do.  Whether that is running and jumping, or snuggling and playing with hair…try to tap into whatever it is that makes you- you!  I will give you guidance as needed, but at times if everything is going well I might just observe.  Let the kids lead the way, we want them to be happy.  If they want to jump off rocks (safely) I am fine with that, if they want to pick flowers, all good.  It’s so important that they are having a good time.  If they aren’t having a good time we can let them roam and do other groupings until they come back.  Or maybe they want to snuggle for the whole session and you can’t put them down, that is okay too!  If we just go with whatever happens, your images will be packed with meaning and you will be so happy with your photos.
Time  The best time to photograph to have your images look like everything shown in my portfolio is sunset.  I always recommend starting about 1 hour prior to sunset.  Plan on spending about an hour together. We will use a few spots at the top and aim to get really great pictures from those areas.  Sunrise is another great time for photographs.  We would start right at sunrise.  If it is a cloudy day, your images will be gorgeous.  See the second set of images in the first Eagle location.  Those were photographed at noon on a cloudy day.  If we have to move your session to an earlier time due to thunderstorms, we can still make magic! If you are worried about bedtime for kiddos and want an earlier session time, I would recommend using a beautiful treelined river location due to the harsh Colorado sunlight.
Bring  Layers to add variety and warmth.  Grab some blankets that will go with your outfits to lay on or snuggle in.  If we are in a water location, bring some towels and a change of clothes if you want to get wet at the end of the session.
What to expect after the session!  I will send you a sneak peek within two weeks of the session.  Full galleries will be posted within 5-7 weeks.
Location, Location, Location!  Here are some location ideas to ponder, please let me know which of these stands out to you!  I tried to give you an idea of how far things are from Vail.  Feel free to use Google Maps to find travel times.  Also, I apologize for all the images to scroll through, I tried to really show the potential of each location with various photographs. 

Park Location in Edwards  This is super fun with little ones because there are a lot of features to play on… Rocks, boulders, ponds, aspen trees, large tree-covered walkways, bridges, small mountain views, and the Eagle River.  I love to splash in the water at the end of a session.  Super easy to get to.  Late sunset, but lots of trees if we need to start earlier.  I use this location less in recent years because they have implemented a permit fee, which was $50 last I checked, this may have changed.
Campground outside of Eagle…  and there is water there!  40 minutes (20 minutes of bumpy dirt road) outside of Eagle.  The first set of photos was captured in the fall and the second set in early summer.  I would say this location is about 1 hour from Vail.
The same area captured in early summer.
This location is about 45 minutes from Vail.
Eagle 10-minute climb up a bumpy dirt forest road in Eagle… Also, the same location.
Brush Creek Pavilion, Eagle… this square and the two it’s sandwiched by on the grid.  The parking spot is literally right there at this spot. Super easy to get to.  This is one of the only places we can take photographs in the Eagle area after December 1st due to wildlife closures. Eagle #2 This spot requires a little 5-minute hike. Easy to get to.
Avon This spot requires a 5-minute hike to the top of a hill.  If you want aspen trees, we will have a bit longer of a hike probably closer to 15-20 minutes total, but we would break it up with photos.
This exact spot shown below is better for a cloudy evening.  I would recommend the aspen hike on a sunny day.
This is a spot right in Beaver Creek, it’s great in the winter and summer.  This spot is recommended for probably 2 hours prior to sunset.  If you are staying at Beaver Creek without a car, there are lots of nice spots we can walk to from the village. 
These images were captured around the Vail Pass area.
Vail Pass is 20 minutes outside of Vail.  Some of these images were captured a little higher, requiring 10 additional minutes on a well-maintained dirt road.

Top of Gondola in Vail. The gondola requires an additional fee of gondola tickets for the family.  
They are no longer offering late-night gondola travel, so this would be great for a cloudy afternoon.
This location is great for parents who are worried about late sunsets and want an earlier timeline.  The river areas are usually shaded by trees and can be beautiful backdrops.
This area is also great for those who do not have transportation, they are within walking distance of Vail Village and Lionshead Village.
East Vail Lots of pretty aspens here and a nice river area.  This area does require a few hundred yards of hiking from the parking lot. This spot does require a drive from Vail, it is less than 10 minutes of driving. The area is shown here mid summer.
This is the same area shown in September during peak aspen time.
This is a similar area shown in January during peak winter season. 
Copper/ Leadville This is a great spot, pretty easy to access.  There is a short hike to get down to the lake, even with kids I would say it’s less than 5 minutes of walking.
However, we may want to hike around, up to 100 yards or so back into the evergreens. I would say this spot is about a 5-10 minute drive from Copper Mountain, and about 35 minutes from Vail or Breckenridge. 
Lake Dillon This location is super easy to access, it is very convenient to Dillon and Silverthorne.  There are no trees here, so I would recommend using this spot on a cloudy day or combine it with a tree lined area for the first portion of the session. 
Lake Dillon #2  Super easy access, the parking lot is right next to where these images were taken. The area is flat and has few obstacles.  This spot is super convenient to Frisco and Breckenridge, probably a 10 minute drive from either town.
This is a true mountaintop location, it is pretty chilly here at sunset.  The drive is a gnarly steep forest road.  We will drive at least 20 minutes away from town for the mountaintop images.  The first images are only about a 10 minute drive.  If you are up for the adventure it is a beautiful location.

    This is the area that takes longer to get to and the road is a little steeper after the above pictured location.      

Loveland Pass, see this image and the one next to it on the IG grid.  This is a true mountaintop location, it is pretty chilly here at sunset.  From Keystone, this location is about 20 minutes drive.
Dillon… this place is often full of tourists these days, but there is a similar spot nearby that is also beautiful and much less busy.  If you are looking to get married here you will need to reserve a permit. I can help with that too!
Dillon #2 Also in Dillon, but much less busy.



Dirt Road Adventure Outside of Vail This requires some extra expenses and time, but it is worth it!  40-60 minute drive on a VERY bumpy, slow going dirt road out of Vail, then a 15-minute hike. Major adventure.  Probably one of the most GORGEOUS locations.  If you want to skip the hike there is a Ranch at the parking lot that will issue a permit for a fee of $150 to shoot on their property.  This first set was taken at the ranch.

This set of images shows a location that requires a hike.



This is about 1.5 hours from Vail.  This area offers river views, canyon views, and a hot spring.  The spring is offend filled with local people, I must give fair warning that sometimes people bathe nude in this area.  I find the hot spring is less busy at sunrise.

Elopement and Family Photographer, headshot image of EJ Dilley


Intimacy and adventure is what I am all about. I absolutely love families who are just fun, who are real and let it fly.  I want to see you!  They don’t mind if they get their dress dirty. They may be down for a short hike and are not afraid of getting in the water at the end of your session, you are my people. They don’t mind if things don’t go perfectly and that is just perfect. 

The best parts of life are the parts that surprise us, and the best photos are usually the ones we didn’t know were coming.