Teagan | Lory State Park Senior Photos

This high school senior session at Lory State Park in Fort Collins is summer in photo form. Sunflowers, SO much sunshine, tall grass, warm enough to wade in the water…I’m writing this while watching the snow fall outside my window, and very much wishing for those warm August evenings in the foothills!

Teagan wanted a location with water, so I knew Lory State Park is where we had to go. Located on the western edge of Horsetooth Reservoir, it’s has a bit more variety than the steep cliffs on the eastern side of the water. That said, there isn’t much shade until the sun dips behind the mountains, so you have to time this session just right to get maximum golden hour sunshine!

We started on the southern end of the park, near the Arthur’s Rock Trailhead. This trail is fairly busy with hikers and mountain bikers, so you do need to keep an eye out for people needing to get through.

There was still copious sunshine to be had, so we stayed on the south end of the park for the last few rays of sunshine.

Once the sun dipped behind the mountain, we moved to one of the coves on the reservoir. These coves are absolutely teeming with people on warm summer nights – big boats full of college kids, paddleboards, floaties, swimmers. Be prepared for crowds and a walk from the parking!

We got lucky and the majority of the boats had moved out onto the reservoir by the time we were ready for photos by the water. Thanks to a really wet spring and early summer, the water’s edge was pretty muddy, so we quickly moved to photos in the water.

Photography Permit

You must have a photography permit to take photos at Lory State Park. Permits are $30 and are good for an entire quarter (Jan 1-March 30, April 1-June 30, July 1-Sept 30, Oct 1-Dec 31). You can find more information on permits here.

The permit process doesn’t take long, but I would recommend getting in touch at least a week prior to the session to make sure there’s time to fill out the paperwork. My senior clients will be responsible for paying for the $30 permit, but I will handle the paperwork.

Park Pass

In addition to a photo permit, each vehicle needs a day pass. Day passes are $10 and can be purchased at the visitor center. More info here.


The visitor center has nice, indoor bathrooms, as well as a place to fill waterbottles. The rest of the bathrooms at the park are pit toilets.

Cell service can be very spotty, and I do not recommend using Apple Maps for location pins. Google Maps is a bit better, but can still send you wildly off course. I meet all my senior clients at the visitor center and have them follow me to where we’ll start.

Tips for your session

  • Bring mosquito spray. The bugs can be pretty intense, especially in the areas near the water.
  • Practice Leave No Trace and stay on trails. While sometimes it can look like we’re wildly off trail, it’s usually a trick of the camera, and I’ve put grass between myself and my subject.
  • Bring a waterbottle! It can be really dry, especially in the summer, and we won’t be near any water sources.
  • Plan to change in your vehicle or in a pit toilet. Most of my senior clients are fine with this, but I do like everyone to know what they’re getting into!
  • Bring a towel and grubby shoes for post-water walking. The water and water’s edge are mostly stinky mud. While it’s fine when you’re in the water, it can be a long trek back to the car if you only have nice shoes! You may want to bring water shoes and/or Chacos (strapped sandals) for standing in the water.


How long does a senior session take?

Senior sessions take approximately two hours. That gives us time for photos, as well as changing (and maybe a quick snack break). Plan on roughly 30 minutes per outfit.

What is the best time of year for a session at Lory State Park?

August might be my favorite month for photos at Lory, although a warm September day is also pretty fantastic. August is the season of late wildflowers, tall grasses and warm water.

How far ahead of time should I book my session?

I have very limited weekend dates in August, so I would recommend scheduling your session by the end of your junior year.

Can I bring props? How many outfits?

Props (basketball, jersey, helmet, instrument, etc) are all totally fine. You’re also welcome to bring a car, but let me know ahead of time so I can plan on a place to park for photos. Dogs are also welcome for photos, but must be leashed at all times.

When do we receive our photos?

You will receive your full gallery within 3 weeks of your session. Your gallery link can be shared with family and friends, for unlimited downloads.

More info and how to book

For more information on my senior sessions, including pricing, head to my senior session info page! I typically book senior sessions at the end of junior year.

To book your session, reach out using my contact page. Feel free to include your desired time frame in your initial message. Once we’ve set a date and time, I’ll send a contract and invoice for the deposit ($100) to hold your place in the schedule.

Questions? Feel free to reach out!

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