Colorado Gives Day 2017

Colorado Gives Day is Colorado’s local version of Giving Tuesday. Each year on the Tuesday following Giving Tuesday, Coloradoans can donate to local non-profits while maximizing their giving power through a $1 Incentive Fund. The incentive fund is split between all participating non-profits, based on the percentage of donations they receive. This year, they’ve introduced, Kids for Colorado Gives, a website just for kids so they can donate to their favorite causes. Colorado Gives Day is December 5th this year, which is tomorrow!

A couple years ago, I wrote my first blog for Colorado Gives Day and I thought it was important to update it. This time I’m sharing where I donate throughout the year. It can be hard to find the resources to donate money or even time. I’ve built this into my personal budget and my business structure because I know giving is so important. Non-profits need money, but they also need other forms of support, like time, services, and resources. Below are three local organizations I support, that need your help as well.

Opera Colorado

Opera Colorado is Denver’s biggest opera company. Each season, they produce three operas, two at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and one at a smaller theater. They strive to present new works, and bring up and coming artists to the state.

I give to Opera Colorado by donating a portion of my services to the company. My donation is through their new Corporate Sponsorship Program. They have so many ways for you to support, from Young Artist Sponsorship to one time donations. You can donate to Opera Colorado through Colorado Gives Day here.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care and advocates for the same across the country. They have clinics, online service, and events throughout the year. While Planned Parenthood is an international organization, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains focuses on the needs of people in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

For the past two years, I have been donating monthly to Planned Parenthood. They also have many volunteer opportunities for local events like Denver Pride Fest. You can donate to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains through Colorado Gives Day here.

Presenting Denver

Presenting Denver serves as Denver’s dance community. Their goal is to create a way to bring dancers and dance lovers together through performances, support, and resources. They are also co-presenting a dance festival, in partnership with the Newman Center. The first Presenting Denver Dance Festival will be this summer, on June 23rd and 24th.

Like Opera Colorado, I donate my services to Presenting Denver in the form of dance, event, and headshot photography. I also give my time by serving on their Dance Festival Committee. They even have an Amazon Smile account so you can support them through your regular Amazon purchases. You can donate to Presenting Denver here.

Happy Giving Colorado


Total Solar Eclipse | Denver Photography

August 21st, 2017 had been saved in my calendar for two years. My partner loves space and watches astronomical events closely so when we realized that a total solar eclipse would be within a couple hours of us, we knew we had to be there. We tried looking for hotels and airbnb’s near Casper, but they were either sold out or out of our price range. Then we found a campsite, in the path of totality and even closer than Casper. It was perfect, but I was a bit worried. We had never been camping together and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. We’ve been through far more stressful experiences together, so I knew we could handle it, even if I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world.

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Camping turned out to be lots of fun. There were so many other people there who were excited to see the eclipse! Our camp was in an old rodeo arena and within walking distance of the Oregon Trail ruts. The ruts are where over time, the wagons carved a path in the rock as they traveled across Wyoming. It was incredible to see stone so clearly altered by humans, hundreds of years ago. And yes, there were lots of jokes about dying of dysentery!

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Even though our campsite was in the path of totality, we wanted to get even closer. We drove to a spot where we would be on the line of perfect totality. That means we would get an extra few seconds with the black hole in the sky. We were also near a bunch of cows, which I was really excited about. I wanted to see how animals reacted to the eclipse. The farm was very large and they were probably scared off by all the people, so I couldn’t really see them but I did hear them mooing!

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I was intent on experiencing the eclipse unencumbered but my partner wanted to photograph the event so I set up a camera and left him to it. I had another camera on a tripod taking video of the cows and the 360 degree sunset. You can watch the whole video below, just excuse the shakiness from when I picked it up to get a glimpse of the eclipse itself.

There is no way to describing the sight of a total solar eclipse, that would do it justice. I had seen so many photos and videos and heard from people who had seen them before and I was completely unprepared. And being near the path of totality, but not in it, is not even close.

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The “diamond ring” shot

As it got closer to 100%, it started getting darker around us, but not quite like the sun was setting. The sky looked hazy, and the sun was still visible, high in the sky. Then the sunset in all directions started to appear and we could hear the cows mooing and crickets chirping. But when it got to 100% totality, I immediately started crying. It was the most incredible sight. We had about two and half minutes of totality, but I don’t think any amount of time would have been enough. As the sun came out from behind the moon, I was able to see the “diamond ring” effect and my partner was able to capture it! I then raced over to the nearest white car to see the “shadow bands,” the snake like shadows from the edge of the sun shining through the moon’s mountains and valleys. And just like that, it was over and we had to head home.

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A composite showing the sun’s corona

The trip home was not quite as easy as the way there. It took us 8 hours to get home. It would have taken 2-3 hours normally. Eventually, we made it back to Colorado and stopped in Fort Collins for some much needed tacos. We already have plans for the next one to go through the U.S., seven years from now!

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Wanna meet me and chat? Send me an email at

How to Fill Your Wall With Art for Free

I love being surrounded by art. I love visiting art museums or seeing public art while I’m walking through a city. As a Colorado dance and portrait photographer, it’s important to have art around my work-space, so I made sure I was fully immersed in art and never without inspiration.

My office space is covered from floor to ceiling with art I’ve collected for the past 6+ years. My laptop is covered in stickers. My camera bag is covered in pins. I even have a hat that is covered in pins and jingles as I walk.

Below, I’ll walk you through the steps to make your own inspiration wall. It’s super simple and it won’t cost you a penny!

How to make your own Inspiration Wall

What you’ll need:

  • Blue painters tape
  • Command strips
  • A measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Ample floor space for planning
  • A tall, sturdy chair or ladder
  • A large collection of posters, postcards, photos, prints, and small objects.


This step will definitely take the most time. Like I said, I’ve been collecting art for over 6 years, and I only started this wall a year ago. I also didn’t spend a single cent on any of it. (I do however spend money at art events and on other art pieces throughout my home, that I fell in love with.)

I get a lot of it from art shows and First Fridays. There are always business cards and postcards sitting out from the artists, and I grab all my favorites. Some of the pieces are my own work and some of them are from print trades with other artists. I also put up a lot of personal photos from my childhood or from my Instax camera. I got the posters for free from college events and guest lectures. I’ve ripped off the front of greeting cards and torn pages out of magazines for my art wall. Inspiration is everywhere!

My wall doesn’t have a lot of 3D art on it which is a shame, but don’t be afraid to incorporate all dimensions. You can include framed work or hanging objects, like dried flowers or records. This gives the wall a lot more texture and interest.


Once you have a sizable collection of art, you can start planning your wall. First you’ll want to measure your overall space. Then, if you are working around a piece of furniture (like my desk in this case), you’ll need to measure that. Make sure your measurements include where the furniture is, relative to the edges of your space. Also, don’t forget about outlets and other things you’ll have to work around.

Next you’re going to recreate that space on your floor. You can work in sections if you don’t have enough floor space. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to fill the whole space. This is an ever-evolving project.

Once you have the space you’ll need to fill laid out on the floor, you can start filling it with art! This is definitely the hardest part but also the most fun. It’s like a giant puzzle without a reference picture. Feel free to trim things to size, so everything fits. I tried to keep about half an inch of space between each piece, to keep things consistent. You’ll want to make sure you mix small and large pieces, as well as 2D and 3D work. You don’t want a cluster of giant posters on one side and a bunch of tiny prints on the other. If you want, you can center everything around one prominent piece in the middle.

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Now you’re ready to start hanging everything up!

Before you start, take a photo of your layout so you can reference it later. Starting with the center, take once section at a time, and flip all the pieces over. Next, put tape on the back of each piece. For the bigger posters, I used command strip in each corner. For the smaller, lighter works, put a painters tape roll in each corner. For the really small pieces, I just used one piece of painters tape. If you’re hanging 3D work, use nails and string or wire.

Now put them on the wall, starting with the center and working your way out in sections. Use a chair or ladder to reach higher up the wall. You can refer back to the photo you took earlier, if you need to.

Once you’re done, step back and bask in the glory of your art-filled wall! You did it! Give yourself a high five and a bowl of ice cream. You totally deserve it.

Wanna meet me and chat sometime? Send me an email at

Denver Art Show Recap | Denver Photographer

Two weeks ago, I showcased my art at the Denver RAW Art Show. It was phenomenal! The line to get in was around the block, the whole venue was packed all night, there were outstanding shows and performances the whole time, and everyone was having a blast.

I had a big wall and a table to display all my work. I had big prints and little trinkets for sale as well as a giveaway for a free photography session going on. I reached out to the winner of the giveaway last week and I cannot wait to show you all the memories we’re going to capture.

I also got to meet a bunch of other incredible artists so hopefully, some fun collaborations will be coming soon!

These awesome photos of me and my booth were taken by the RAW Photographers, Steven Pedraza and Sam Nguyen.






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Denver Art Show | Denver RAW Artists

Guess what guys! I’m going to be in an art show! I’m super excited since this is my first show and it’s an incredibly fun one. There’s going to be fashion shows and performances and drinks and dancing and a ton of awesome art. I have some really exciting stuff planned for the show and some gorgeous dance prints for sale (plus a special giveaway).

Please come and support me. I would love to see you there! The event is Thursday, March 24th at 7pm at City Hall in Denver. Get your tickets here: and find out more about the show here:

The price goes up after March 17th so be sure to buy your tickets before then! Use the link above to support me directly.

Jamie Kraus-RAW-Denver presents SIGNATURE

2015 Year in Review | Colorado Photographer

This was my first full year in business and what an experience it’s been! I started my Dance by Design project, where I collaborate with other local artists for an urban dance/fashion photoshoot. I continued working with Opera Colorado, and I started photographing yogis on location.

I also committed to photographing people and pets in a documentary style. I love capturing real-life moments through photographic storytelling and I am so lucky to have been invited into people’s lives to photograph their moments, big and small.

I can’t wait for next year’s adventures!


Let’s chat! Contact me and tell me your story.

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Colorado Gives Day | Where to Donate

Today is Colorado Gives Day, a day of charitable giving throughout our wonderful state. I’ve put together a list of my favorite homegrown non-profit organizations and programs. Whatever you are passionate about, there is a local non-profit that could use your help.

Arts and Culture – Presenting Denver

Art and culture is an important part or any community and Presenting Denver is working to enhance Denver’s connection to dance. Presenting Denver’s mission is to support the art of dance though increased public exposure and the appreciation of movement as an innovative art form by linking education, accessibility and the performance of dance. Presenting Denver’s programs and services enhance the lives of Colorado residents by increasing the accessibility of dance.  You can become a donor or volunteer for Presenting Denver to help support their efforts for years to come.

Health – Colorado LARC Program

The Colorado LARC Program provides access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) for young women. This program has significantly reduced unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and teen birth rates, which saves the state taxpayer money and provides brighter futures for Colorado’s teens. LARCs are some of the most effective methods of contraception and there is no room for user error.

Here’s what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said about unintended pregnancy:

  • Unintended pregnancies result in approximately 10,000 abortions in Colorado each year.
  • Children born from unplanned pregnancies face a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, child abuse and lower educational attainment.
  • Women with unplanned pregnancies are at greater risk for poor health later in life, including increased likelihood of depression, physical abuse, diabetes and obesity. (

The program is currently fighting for public funding and you can help by writing to your legislature and encouraging them to continue funding the IUD program. Additionally, you can make an private donation to support the program.

Human Services – The Boulder Shelter

Studies have shown that the cost of housing the homeless pays for itself. The Housing First approach reduces the cost of emergency service and other public services by providing free, permanent housing to the homeless. When the chronically homeless are housed, they are better able to treat their mental illnesses and substance abuse, get and keep jobs, and be reunited with their families. This all leads to more productive, happier people and, in turn, boosts the economy.

The Boulder Shelter has a Housing First Program that targets the chronically homeless in Boulder County. The program provides permanent housing, with on-going intensive case management. You can donate to the Boulder Shelter here and specify, in the comments section, that you’d like it to go to the Housing First program.


Animals – Denver Dumb Friends League

Did you know that homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1? Thousands of animals are found on the street, rescued from abusers, or turned in by owners who can no longer care for them. The Denver Dumb Friends League has one of the highest placement rates in the country and serves dogs, cats, and horses throughout the state of Colorado. You can donate, volunteer, or adopt to support the Denver Dumb Friends League. Plus they often have deals on adoption fees if you’re looking for your own furry friend.

Environment – Rocky Mountain Conservancy

We are so lucky to live in a state with a stunning National Park in it. People come from all over the country to see the Rockies and they are protected and preserved in our own backyard. Rocky Mountain Conservancy is an organization that supports projects in Rocky Mountain National Park such as building trails, maintaining historic structures, and creating wheelchair accessible trails. Supporting Rocky Mountain Conservancy helps to keep Rocky Mountain National Park beautiful and available for generations to come. You can donate or become a member of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy to support Colorado’s National Park.

Happy Giving Colorado!