{Hank: Palmer High School Senior} Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

I don’t even have words for this kid! Hank. Oh my gosh…I was literally the most exhausted after his shoot, BUT in the best way possible!!! Hank is one of those souls/personalities that just oozes energy & positivity…so much so, that you can’t help but join in on his enthusiasm!!! I smiled the entire time I took his pics…we had so much fun laughing & meshing ideas together!!!

We met at classic Garden of the Gods to capture his nature loving spirit & ended at Colorado College Campus to capture his distinct business way of thinking in a little more formal wear. He rocked his ENTIRE shoot!!!

{Kasey: Liberty High School Senior} Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

Who loves sunflowers, black-eyed susans, whatever you want to call them? I’m not so good with the names of flowers, but I do know I love them…especially open fields of them!!! So does Kasey…so it couldn’t have been more perfect when we stumbled upon this open field of them at Bear Creek Regional Park last summer. It was stunning & with the mountains in the background…SWOON!

Kasey was so much fun to work with…all smiles, bubbly, happy. I just adored this girl from head to toe!!! We had so much fun together exploring Old Colorado City & soaking up the happiness of the wildflowers and beauty all around us.

I really do love my photoshoots with clients…now if I could just skip the editing part.;)

Take a peek at Kasey’s full session below…

{Kloe: Palmer Ridge High School Senior} Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

2 things that are completely frustrating me: 1.) I have absolutely no control over the fact that it’s snowing on May 20th right now!!! 2.) I thought I was getting better at being organized & could keep up with blogging. Apparently I CAN’T!!!

Moving on…despite the yucky & depressing white stuff outside my window right now, I decided to pretend it’s warm and bring ya’ll back to last August…when I was actually sweating while shooting this adorable Senior!!! Meet cute Kloe!!! She is one of the most down to earth & genuine Seniors I have had the privilege of photographing all year. She’s definitely a tom-boy & I love that about her. She knows what she likes & what she doesn’t. She is so photogenic & I absolutely LOVE those freckles of hers. Truly a natural beauty. I know Kloe was a bit uncomfortable with showing her braces (which I totally get…that was my daughter for 1.5 years) & I’m sure Kloe is rocking a brace-free smile by now, but I told her…I loved her smile anyway, because it was true. When she smiled her eyes smiled too…they danced & sparkled.

One of my favorite things about her session was that she trusted me when I suggested this location. It was an old worn down gas station in Castle Rock that was abandoned but still accessible at the time. I discovered it with my daughter & made her my guinea pig before offering it up to clients. Boy am I happy that I got to shoo there a few times before they tore it down. YEP! Sadly…I went back as it was requested again & it was GONE. I wanted to cry!!! =(

We also shot in downtown Castle Rock because they have several areas that have that Urban Vibe we were going for…& they worked perfectly with Kloe’s outfits.

Personal Side Note: You know how I always have those “Courtney stories for you”…well this is one of those times.;) I was mid-session shooting Kloe when my flip-flop broke. Like COMPLETELY broke. Not fixable AT ALL. Luckily for me, Kloe had decided to bring ALL her shoes to her session so that I could give her my styling opinion, so she lended me a backup pair which I wore to shoot the remainder of her session. UNFORTUNATLEY for me, they were a size: 7…I wear a size 9. LOL!!! Needless to say I ended with a few new blisters. Ha!

P.S. This is NOT my first shoe story while shooting!!! I’m telling you guys…I could write a book on the things that happen to me while shooting. Ha-ha-ha!

DIY Wood Shutters--{Spring, 2019}

I am still working out the glitches of creating content links within my own blog, so bare with me.=)


These were another Pinterest Inspiration…but mostly inspired by Joanna Gaines (my BFF) of course. ;) There are a lot of different variations & styles for wood shutters, my favorite is the board & batten. Clean, simple, fresh & luckily for me, EASY. Once I decided on that style, I asked Jori his opinion on how hard he thought they would be for ME to build, not him. He replied, “Not too bad.” So off to Home Depot I went. I purchased wood picket fencing (yep, you heard me right)…this is a tried & true little secret of ours at the Ernst Home…not only does it get the job done, but it’s LOADS cheaper than other types of wood. The only thing you have to be careful of is shrinking. We also bought it for our huge masterbed headboard that Jori built & now that it’s been a few years, I am noticing big gaps between the slats (I’ll explain more on that later). I found my favorite stain by Minwax: Dark Walnut…it is the perfect in between color…not too dark, not too light & goes with EVERYTHING. I knew I wanted it to match the address number sign I had previously made (see above) and also wanted it to have that pop of warm color against the grey & white exterior paint.

I can’t really give you step by step instructions since I made them nearly 2 1/2 years ago, but I can tell you I first counted the windows I wanted to do & doubled that number (1 set per side of each window). I eventually like to do them on the back of the house, but that’s for another day.;) Based on the board & batten style, I knew I would need 3 pickets on each side of the window, then measure your window & decide how long & wide you need each one. Then the fun part, getting to use the Chop Saw. Yep I forced Jori to teach me how to use it; despite the fact that he thought I would lose all my digits; I still have ALL 10 fingers thank you very much!;) Here’s a picture to prove it. =)

Once you have all your board cuts, then use a nail gun & attach them together…don’t forget to measure the width of all 3 pickets so you know how long to cut the two boards for across the top & bottom (the piece that looks like they’re holding the other boards together (but they’re really not)). Finally, stain (it only took me 20ish minutes to stain all of them…my favorite part). If you don’t want dark walnut hands for greeting at church, don’t forget to wear gloves. LOL!!! I NEVER wear gloves & am starting to be known as the DIY girl. Ha!;) Last, but not least, beg hubby to buy cement screws (if you are screwing through Stucco like we were) and hang them. I don’t mess with the details too often (Jori is my numbers man) besides that; they would be seriously crooked if I hung them. Ha-ha-ha!!! Here’s another picture of me staining them.

Notice the difference in wardrobe from first picture to last. Shorts to winter coat. Would you believe me if I told you these pictures were taken 48 hours apart? Fickle Colorado Weather. This was Spring of 2016. Insert Eye-roll Emoji. If you want more details, here is the link I followed (well sorta) from Pinterest: https://www.hometalk.com/8749883/how-to-build-board-and-batten-shutters?email=&cancel=

If you are looking for a great way to add curb-appeal, this is it. Easy & Fun & a big WOW statement in my opinion!!! =)

{The Lewis Family} Colorado Springs Lifestyle Family Photographer

I was thrilled when I dropped down into the Springs from Monument to see the sun & blue skies on my way to this photoshoot. I’m telling you it’s two different worlds & often I struggle to know what the weather pattern holds for me as I travel here & there for my sessions. Each season bringing different challenges. Ha! I’m always up for a good challenge & God is always good to be faithful for what I need.

I adore this gorgeous little family & look forward to seeing them every year. Monique is perfectly stunning in every way & always does an outstanding job dressing her crew accordingly. I told her on Saturday that she totally inspires me with her CrossFit posts…she’s in killer shape & super strong for such a tiny little frame. She’s 100% in love with those sweet boys in her life & I love watching her love on them. There is such a real & genuine connection in every frame. Not much could make me much happier on this day…the Cherry Blossoms were in full SPRING (see what I did there?!);) and the sun was out. I love my job & I can’t wait for busy season. BRING IT ON!!!

{Hayden's 1yr. Lifestyle Session} Colorado Springs Child Photographer

Oh my goodness…I walked away with such a high on this day!!! For starters, it was an absolutely gorgeous day…73 degrees, partly sunny, partly cloudy & no wind. A Christmas Miracle for Spring in Colorado in my opinion .;) I had the honor of photographing sweet little Hayden 1 yr. ago when he was just days old at a Lifestyle Newborn In-Home Session & I have said it before, but I just feel so thankful & blessed when my clients choose to include me at their child’s 1yr. celebrations…whether that means capturing their son or duaghter’s milestone with a lifestyle session or capturing them devouring cake at a party. I love it all!!! Hayden was FULL of smiles, toothy grins & was 100% obsessed with balls; in particular, basket balls. To no surprise however; since his Ma-Ma is an AFA Women’s Basketball Coach!!! How cool is that? I guess Hayden tags along to the practices & games quite a bit…where no doubt all the players ooh & aah over him. What a doll. He’s genuinely one of the happiest 1yr. olds I have had the pleasure of photographing. Then again I say that a lot, so I must just have Happy & Awesome clients!!! YES!!!! =) Working with Blake & Erin at their first outdoor lifestyle session with me was a breeze…they were so easy-going, full of everyday conversation & followed my ques of crazy connection so well. I look forward to many more sessions capturing their beautiful little family.

{Sarah & Tony} Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer

I wrote this amazing long, thoughtful blog post & then it got erased!!! Ugh…it’s a Wednesday that feels more like a Monday around here.

I took Sarah’s High School Senior Portraits just 2 short years ago & now she’s engaged to be married!!! Oh my, time does move quickly. When Sarah contacted me about engagement photos, she noted 2 things: 1.) she wanted a rural session & a barn if possible and 2.) a sunrise session. I immediately began scouring for a new location that would include Spring Cherry Blossoms & indeed a rustic charming Barn. I knew we were just a tad bit early for blossoms in the Springs, but maybe not Pueblo. So I contacted my friend, Hosanna, who lives down south & she had all kinds of fabulous connections for us…a beautiful park filled with Cherry Blossoms & an entire Farm including: turkeys, cows, sheep, goats, horses, ponies & indeed a charming & rustic white barn. I was sooo excited, I could hardly wait to tell Sarah!!! Now…about the SUNRISE part. I am NOT a morning person, but I’ve always offered sunrise & sunset sessions, I’ve just had never had anyone take me up on the Sunrise offer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to do one, I’ve just never had anyone ask to do one before, so to my surprise I was in for quite a treat. Setting my alarm for 4:45am. Eeek! That wasn’t fun, but nothing a little Starbucks couldn’t fix on the drive down.;) The only disappointing part to this day was that after all the planning, driving, waking up early, there was NO sunrise. It was a cool, and by cool, I really mean freezing, cloudy Spring day!!! So, I guess I’ll have to add it back on my bucketlist. ;) It’s ok because Sarah & Tony didn’t mind one bit. They were just happy to be there & capturing their love. We had a blast (freezing our butts off & laughing at all the crazy animals & the slight “stench” in the Pueblo air.;)

P.S. The order of these images is all out of wack…I apologize in advance, but my blog is giving me issues.

{Lauren & Walker's Maternity Session} Colorado Springs Lifestyle Maternity Photographer

So…I’m taking on a new tactic for blogging…staying current! LOL!!! Or at least I’m trying. I was over 50 sessions behind from 2018, so instead of getting further behind by trying to catch up, I have decided to blog right after I take my sessions.

Meet Lauren & Walker…they are expecting their first baby girl mid June & I couldn’t be more happy & excited for them!!! They are awesome people & will no doubt be incredible parents. =) I have had the privilege of taking their engagement photos, capture their wedding day & now document that cute baby bump!!!

As hopeful as I was for Spring Cherry Blossoms, we were about a month too early here in Colorado Springs. So we settled for Phelan Gardens…where they met ALL of our needs & then some. They have the most amazing helpful & kind staff…gorgeous flowers, plants, trees & did I mention it feels like SUMMER in there? I LOVED that last Tuesday night when we met for pictures. I was able to ditch my jacket which I haven’t done while shooting in what seems like FOREVER.

One of my favorite things about working with Lauren & Walker is they are easy & chill & we always have so much fun together!!! Even if I ramble and don’t make sense…they get me & I love that! Thanks guys for your grace. =) I loved getting to reminisce while chatting with Lauren about all of the new experiences of your first pregnancy, from morning sickness to feeling baby move, to your milk coming in & growing ginormous boobs. Ha!!!!

While I was photographing solo shots of Lauren with her baby bump, I told her how beautiful she looks & how she has that “pregnancy glow” to which she laughed & replied, “no, my sister just put on really great highlight.” LOL!!! To which I replied, “better than sweat from the puking stage.” Ha-ha!!! No matter what the “glowy” reason, Lauren looks absolutely stunning with her growing Baby Bump!!!

After a quick outfit change, we drove over to Palmer Park to capture the Colorado front range with some pines, yuccas & sandstone. Although we didn’t catch a sunset that evening because the clouds/wind blew in…we still laughed our way through some of my favorite shots from their session. The highlight for me was capturing Walker help his expecting wife walk back up the trail towards the car…I just love how they are hand in hand. And of course, true to Courtney-Style, I had to throw in an impromptu que…spin her, dance, kiss. I love catching people off-guard (but mostly towards the end of a session…when everyone is comfortable with me & how I operate). They produce the best, most REAL pics in my opinion.

Enjoy a glimpse into our beautiful & heart-felt Maternity Session together. If you are expecting & or know someone that is, it’s not too late to book a Lifestyle Maternity Session with me. =) I just love those baby bumps!

{Noah: Pine Creek High School Senior}--Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

Oh Noah!!! You were such a stud & also a gentleman during your Senior session…I really adored working with you & your mom. Not only did we stumble upon some great locations during your session, but I’m pretty sure you mastered the “smolder” too! Ha! Your mom & I had you overthinking it a few times…so sorry for ALL OF THE DIRECTION. LOL!!! You were a good sport & I was obsessed with the outfit choices you came up with. Nice work!!!

Sometimes I think there is a misconception of shooting males vs. females. That males are boring & don’t like having their photos taken. Although this may be true in some instances…this was most certainly NOT the case with Noah…he was anything but the stereotypical “male” during his photoshoot. Loved every minute of this session. Take a peek & you’ll quickly see WHY. Noah knows how to “work” the camera.;)

ANNOUNCING SPRING Mini-Sessions are BACK!!!--{Colorado Springs Spring Mini-Session Specials 2019}

Spring Mini-Sessions 2019.jpg

Happy 1st Day of Spring ya’ll!!! So excited & happy to announce SPRING MINI-SESSIONS are back by popular demand!!! They were a huge blooming (pun intended) success last year. This year I am hopeful for the same, if not better. =) Check out all of the details below & if you’re interested, don’t delay…these will go FAST! Sign up for your date/time (see below) by e-mailing me at CourtneyKae@msn.com to reserve your spot. The full amount will be due upon booking. I accept: check & or major credit card (over the phone). (719)271-6594. There are no exchanges & refunds will only be issue if your spot is filled. I only offer a handful of Mini-specials each year, so get yours while you can! Super excited about these…can’t wait to see you all!!! =)


*What's Included: 15 minutes with 8 high resolution edited images on a digital download with a print release for $125 (tax included). 

*Where: Nancy Lewis Park—2615 N Logan Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80907

*When: Saturday, April 27th, 2019 & Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Time Slots for Saturday, April 27th:









Time Slots for Saturday, May 4th:








{John: Doherty High School Senior}--Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

Yes, I photograph guy Seniors too!!! Meet John…I had the honor of taking his two older sister’s Senior Pictures in previous years & loved that I got to make it a family ordeal. =) John was soooooo much fun to work with!!! I can’t emphasize that enough. He was totally up for ANYTHING & I love when my clients trust me during posing, locations, ideas, etc. John was totally getting into it by the end of his session & his comfortability level shows in his photos. I just LOVE how they turned out. After this session’s sneak-peek was posted…ALL of his guy buddies contacted me over the summer. LOL!!! Guess they all wanted to look as studly as John.;) Take a peek at his Urban Senior Session…

{Maddison: Air Academy High School Senior}--Colorado Springs High School Senior Photographer

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks mainly due to not having home internet for a while (ugh…talk about a pain in my tushy)!!! So, I’m back at it on this LONG (Daylight Savings) MONDAY!!! So sleepy, but trying to get caught up & wanted to post a few of my favorite Senior sessions from last summer. This was Maddison…gorgeous & shy (at first) with the most amazing hair EVER!!! We had so much fun connecting on so many different levels. We started in downtown Colorado Springs for some urban spots & ended at the Nature & Discover Center so we could get in shots of that amazing stone bridge where she daringly dipped her toes in the ice cold water. Eeeeek! Braver than I.;) Obsessed with so many images from her session. Take a peek at our summer morning together…

{The Paulson Famliy} Colorado Springs Lifestyle Family Photographer

Sometimes I wonder how people hear about me? I usually ask if they are new clients, but I forgot to ask this family & I remember mid-session thinking…”they are used to traditional/in the box photography.” Ha! Well…boy were they up for a surprise & challenge working with me. On the flip-side, I too, was challenged, but in a good way. It’s not everyday I work with families full of teenagers. Typically I have younger families (which I love because I get to grow with them.;)) So, needless to say, since they were majority of teen boys; they were less than thrilled to be there. LOL!!! I may have tortured them with my crazy/left-brained ideas. Truthfully, I was just doing ME. Even though there was resistance, I kept on smiling, laughing (mostly nervously laughing) & did my thing like I would with any other session. I don’t leave people hanging…I give direction with a general sense of what I’m looking for & then I let everyone loose…to “do you.” I learned quickly that movement is key in working with older kids. Yes, it may require a stretch of the imagination on their end & maybe more repetition than I like on my end…but all in all…we ended up with gorgeous lifestyle family photos. PLUS…sunset & check out stunning MAMA bear. It also helped to have 1 little sweet angel baby to put the focus on. Yay!!! Take a peek at a session that really stretched me mentally…

{The Frith Family} Colorado Springs Lifestyle Family Photographer

Sooooo behind on editing ya’ll…please bare with me. Trying to play catch up & at least highlight my favorite sessions from 2018. (Which is really hard to do because I have a lot). THIS family brings me so much JOY! They always show up with a positive attitude & smiles on their faces. Rebecca is an amazing mom who would do ANYTHING for her kids. I love hearing of their latest trips, sporting events, dance competitions & everyday life when I meet up with them annually. There is always ADVENTURE to be had & these guys are all about it. I love planning each session with Rebecca in advance to see what creative location or idea we can come up with next. She is all about Lifestyle…which I love because not everyone fully appreciates or understands it completely.;) Last late Summer we met up at Garden of the Gods & I chose a different part of the park I’ve never shot at before & I absolutely fell in love with it. It brought new perspective, a good challenge with lighting & it made me sweat up a storm as I recall.;) LOL!!! Here’s a peek at their fabulous session…

Small Intimate Wedding--Colorado Springs Intimate Wedding Photographer

So, I get asked all of the time, “do you photograph weddings?” The answer is…yes, but a small, handful of intimate, outdoor weddings—usually by referral or family friend only.

This wedding for Sally & Bill was just that. It was held inside the Patty Jewett Golf Course Community Center. We of course took advantage of the amazing backdrop from this location outside on a warm summer evening. It was simply gorgeous. I can’t tell you what joy it brings me to capture two people in love on their wedding day (or engagement day for that matter). Pure, simple & sweet. Enjoy a peek at the Bride & Groom after they said, “I do.”

{Kendall: Palmer Ridge High School Senior} Colorado Springs/Monument Senior Photographer

Kendall had me at hello. =) No, seriously though...loved working with this girl. She has a heart of gold. She is genuine, nurturing, and has the most amazing contagious smile you've ever seen. I adored her mom & sister who tagged along. We had gorgeous weather, fun new inspiring locations & all around the most amazing time. I always tell my Seniors, you make me feel YOUNG AGAIN, but it's soooo true! I just connect with this age group. And as my own daughter gets older & will be attending Palmer Ridge herself next year as a Freshman (whoah...just had a freak out moment as I typed that!!!) it just gets more real & more relatable for me. Kendall was such a joy to work with, if I can even call it "work." I love my job & I love my clients. She texted me pics of her outfits in advance which always helps me determine backdrops, especially for the urban portion of the session, but sometimes with rural too. The weather on this spring morning was unbelievable as were the smiles & laughter. My favorite sets of Kendall are definitely in the simple blue dress as they highlighted her eyes. Cannot wait to hear which college you choose to study nursing at...you will be amazing at it. Best of luck during your Senior year. Go get'em girl!!! Take a peek...

{The Winters Family} Colorado Springs Lifestyle Family Photographer

When I found out the Winters Family was being re-located to Hawaii I felt 2 immediate emotions: sad & jealous.;) Sad because they were leaving me (some of my favorite clients) & Jealous because—DUH—Hawaii. LOL!!! They did however; promise to hit me up when visiting back to the mainland. It has been fun for me to follow along on their island adventures via Instagram though. EVERY SINGLE DAY LOOKS LIKE VACATION. So lucky! What a great place to live & raise those beautiful daughters of theirs. Before they left Colorado they requested one last family session showcasing what we are most known for…our beautiful mountains along with the Garden of the Gods. How could I say no?!;) So we met on a warm, somewhat overcast late spring/early summer evening on Mesa Rd. I had a wonderful time capturing this family just as they are…loving, sweet, genuine. Take a peek…

{Lucas James}--Lifestyle Newborn--In Home Session--Colorado Springs Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Technically these guys live in Denver (yes, I travel for an additional small fee), but when you take their engagement photos, wedding photos & first child’s newborn photos…of course you are willing to go ANYWHERE to capture their second child’s newborn photos. To say I love this family would be an understatement; they are AMAZING & I feel like I’ve known them forever. =)

When I arrived for Luca’s newborn photos…it was a gorgeous warm summer morning & everything just felt at ease. =) I adore In-Home sessions because they are so unique to each family. Check out a few more favorites from their session…

{The Smith Family} Colorado Springs Family Lifestyle Photographer

Spring is always unpredictable in Colorado, but I’m thankful for patient & understanding clients, like the Smith Family, who had to reschedule 3 times before we got it right. Third time’s a charm.;) These guys are amazing & have been coming to see me for a long time (since their oldest, Kendyl, was a newborn). It’s so fun to watch my return families change & grow.

I like to keep things fresh since I have annual return clients, so we try to choose new locations that are suiting for the season as well as the stage/age of their kids. Colorado College Campus is always a great spot because I love the architecture there…the fabulous arches, the steps, the wood doors on Shove Memorial Chapel as well as the detailed lights that line the sidewalks.

I love the colors that Julie chose…not only did they coordinate well with this location, but they were perfect for Spring. Take a peek at their urban session…

{The Bowsher Family} Colorado Springs Family Lifestyle Photographer

“What should I bring to our session?” is one of the most common questions I get asked & the real answer is…an open mind, a smile & trust. Giving me free reign during a session is like letting my creative Free Spirit SOAR!!! I love when someone e-mails me & says…we trust you because we know you are going to give us a beautiful outcome no matter what. Thank you! That means the world to me. I don’t want you to show up stressed out, crabby & short-tempered with your kids. Leave it to me to produce the authentic smiles, the real emotion, the connection you should have as a family. We will play games, ask questions, explore, etc. So show up with a good attitude, a smile, and trust me to do my job because I love it & that’s what I get paid to do. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Why am I talking about that before posting about this particular session? Because I remember the rapport I had almost immediately with this new, young family. They were worried about their little doll-face not smiling & having boogery-boogers because she had just woke up from a nap & was recovering from a cold still lingering. As moms, we’ve all been there. I totally understand, but I also have worked with kids for 10 years now, not to mention my own & TONS of nieces/nephews…I know it takes time to warm up, wake up & even if you don’t get THE PERECT SMILE…I promise, you will still LOVE your pictures! You know why? Because you will always look back & remember that your little doll-face was recovering from a cold & gave us funny & adorable expressions. You will remember how little she was, you’ll ooh & aah over her curls & round, pink cheeks. You’ll remember what a lovely Spring Day it was & nothing else will matter.

I absolutely ADORED this family & I really, really, really hope they come back & see me this Spring because I would die to squeeze this munckin’’s face again. Take a peek at our session together…it’ll forever be a Spring Favorite. =)