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Coming Home to Myself: Kristin's Holistic Intimate Portrait Session | Appalachian Mountains, PA

I met Kristin the day she married her best friends Kelly & Bre. We rendezvoused at the hotel to capture getting ready details and I noticed Kristin right away. It was hard not to! Anytime I needed something she was right there to help me, laughing and smiling the whole time. She had this glowing presence right from the start.

After the ceremony, I just had to tell her what an incredible job she did as an officiant. She had all the guests fully present in the moment - laughing and crying the whole time. Of course it helped because Kelly and Bre are completely surrounded by people who love and support the heck out of them. But Kristin led us through this experience of union that really moved me. She has a selfless adoration for the people she loves that is so pure. I just had to say something.

Side note: The wedding venue was a converted barn, and there was this skylight in the center of the ceremony space. During the couple’s late afternoon ceremony the sun was shining in through the window directly onto Kristin’s face, while the brides remained in the shadow of the roof. To be honest, it truly was an unfortunate situation for photos, and of course in the moment all I could think was “How the heck am I going to expose for this?” But looking back now, it’s kind of funny because anybody who knows Kristin would probably describe her as a literal beam of light. So I think we all just accepted the fact that the sunlight on her face was just her aura glowing as she married her two friends in front of all their friends and family. Because Kristin is the kind of friend who won’t just be your bridesmaid, she’ll just get certified to marry you just to express her love and gratitude.

The very next day, I received an inquiry from Kristin for boudoir photos. I was so excited when she reached out, because I thought she was one of the kindest people I had ever met and I wanted to get to know her better! After our initial phone consult, I knew that a Holistic Intimate Portrait Session would be perfect for her.

It’s true what they say - sometimes the kindest people are the ones struggling the most. Kristin has been on a lifelong journey of finding acceptance and love for her body. She shared with me some very intimate details about her story that made me realize that her kindness is really an expression of her immense strength and courage. She’s taken the darkness in her life and turned it into pure light, and she’s so good at it, that you might never know.

When I asked what inspired her to book an intimate portrait session, she responded: “Really just to honor myself in a way I never have. I don’t want to feel like I’m a monster for having fat on my body. Even as I type that I’m not sure it’s possible, but the idea of freedom makes it seem so worth it. I feel like I’ve been in a cage within my lifetime, and I’m trying really hard to unlearn.” She told me that she wanted her photos to feel grounded, strong, and empowering.

Although Kristin goes to therapy and has worked as an OT for many years, having a Grounding Session with Des from Staying Rooted Co. was the extra push she needed to feel connected and present during her boudoir session. Des helped her take the work she’s done in therapy and the things she’s learned from her psych background, and apply it to herself in a holistic and intimate way. By using a combination of meditation, powerful questioning, and authentic connection, Des provided a supportive space for free-expression and self-exploration that helped Kristin prepare for her intimate time in front of the lens.

After her Grounding Session, Kristin wrote to me “This whole journey has been so good to me. And I haven’t had expectations, but just let it unfold. I’m trying to keep that mindset. I want to keep honoring myself with good company… I’m so happy I’ll have this time in my life, and this intention I have for myself, captured.”

One of the questions in the Intimate Portrait Questionnaire asks “What do you think is the most attractive part of your physical appearance?” Kristin’s response was this: “I love my hands. I like the idea that our hands provide so much for others and ourselves. I have an olive branch tattoo on my arm that is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done for myself. I got it for a similar reason— just thinking about our ability to seek personal peace and then use that power we find to extend it to others.”

Kristin’s Holistic Intimate Portrait Session truly was a transformative experience - for us all. She touched our hearts in such a special way. Although our experiences are uniquely our own, together they tell one human narrative. While Kristin’s healing journey is unlike any other, there’s a piece of her story that so many of us can relate to in our own way. Her unwavering courage and open heart inspire us to keep going. Keep giving. Keep loving. And keep striving for acceptance and peace within our hearts. I’ll never forget this intimate experience with Kristin. The magic that pours out of her gallery is the magic that dwells within her heart. She’s on a mission to reclaim her narrative, and I am simply the pen to help her write it. Thank you Kristin for opening our hearts and minds and for trusting me with the honorable task of capturing this monumental time in your life.

Scroll to the bottom to read Kristin’s kind words and reflection on her experience.

"I did a Holistic Intimate Portrait Session with Jill and Des. I’ve wanted to have a boudoir shoot for a few years and never felt I was clicking with photographers I was reaching out to. I met Jill as she was shooting my friend’s wedding and instantly knew I wanted her as my photographer. My consultation with her felt like having coffee with a friend. I remember sharing my ideas with her, and her being so excited about them.

I do a lot of inner work. I wasn’t sure that a holistic session would be fruitful, but wanted to give away control and let the experience happen to me. Des is also a magic of her own being. She also has the ability to meet you where you are, understand and empathize with what you’d like and encourage and empower you moving forward. It was powerful to have a coaching session with her and then proceed with my photo shoot and use all of these ideas and experiences as one.

I had my photoshoot at a waterfall, which Jill traveled separate days to find for me. A huge part of my doing this was wanting to feel as though my body is home - that I am my own safe space after a lifetime of hearing otherwise. Jill created an energy surrounding the space we were in and what we were doing that allowed me to explore in safety, grounding, and true inner light. She encouraged me, within to be me outwardly and she captured it. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me, and if I could have it my way, Jill would capture every important life happening I have moving forward.

Jill and Des are just these kindred beautiful creatives who want to connect, create, and make this world a little better than when they got here. They listened to my story and nodded their heads in empathy and used their gifts to not only help me feel seen and celebrate my beauty, but have a tangible outcome of it all. The culmination of who I am and the paths I crossed and where I want to go.

The most beautiful experience." -Kristin

Flowers provided by Kore

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