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Estes Park Photography Tips

Estes Park Photography Tips

See the Light

It’s all about timing. When the sun is lower in the sky (sunrise and sunset), the light is warm and gentle on your subject. Mid-day light is brighter and will lend a harsher feeling to your images. Don’t photograph into the sun. Take your pictures of what the sun is illuminating. If you do shoot into the sun, put a person or object in the frame to create “rim light” around the object. This is the beautiful rim of light created by the sun.

Frame of Mind

Great photographs generally have one main subject which fills most of the picture. Before you take a shot, zoom in so that a lake, pine tree, or herd of elk fills most of the frame. Experiment with putting your subject off to one side rather than the center. Get low and shoot high or find a vantage point and shoot down.

Find Your Focus

Experiment with depth of field. Usually, you will want the entire scene to be in sharp focus, but try a larger aperture (f/4 or f/5.6) to force the background out of focus. Use a large aperture, focus on a single wildflower, and the crisp flower will “pop” against a blurry background.

Weather the Storm

Some of the best landscape photographs are taken as a storm approaches or breaks up. Ominous clouds draping over the mountains make incredible shots. Be safe, though; don’t be on high ridge lines when thunderstorms are imminent, and return to your car when lightning is present. 

July and August bring monsoon storms that produce dramatic afternoon skies. In winter, snow helps bring out the character of the trees and mountains.


A point-and-shoot or a phone camera allows you to concentrate on being creative. Just point, say “smile,” and click! With most phone cameras you can increase photo quality by touching the screen to focus on your subject. Today’s phones have so many new photography features; take some time to play and get used to them.

Local Galleries & Guides

To purchase fine art prints and displays of Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado by photographer James Frank, stop by Aspen and Evergreen Gallery. More of his photographs are available at

Learn about the behaviors and beauty of Rocky Mountain wildlife through the photos by Dawn Wilson Photography. See her work at the Old Gallery in Allenspark, in Aspen and Evergreen Gallery in Estes Park, or online. Take a guided tour to learn how to capture that perfect wildlife shot. Timed-entry reservations into Rocky are included.

Book a tour with Rock Light Photo Tours to capture the majesty of Rocky Mtn Natl Park. Local pro photographer Colin D. Young specializes in teaching photographers how to capture the Milky Way at 12,000ft, with half-day to multi-day tours customized with as much or little hiking as you prefer. 917-902-3063,

Visit the Images of RMNP gallery in downtown Estes Park to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Visit this beautiful gallery with the large photographic prints and gorgeous photo books that transport you into the mountains.


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