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Embracing Vulnerability: My First Experience with Intimate Portraits in My Mid-40s

CW: This post talks about self acceptance and weight.
A couple of weeks ago, I did something that I never thought that I would do and that was get intimate portraits taken.
In early September, Nicole, owner of Lilac and Fern Photography, an intimate portrait photographer that I follow and love, was taking applications for becoming an ambassador for her studio. I jumped on the chance and threw my hat into the ring. I knew that I needed to do this and have this experience. And right now is the perfect time.
The pandemic, an autoimmune condition, chronic illness, and now large fibroids have not been kind to my body. I’m at my heaviest weight ever because of all these things and I was at odds with myself. I have been struggling with that for a long time and I knew that I couldn’t stay in this cycle forever. Not only does it not do me any good but it also means that I’m not being kind to myself. And I’m not doing things anymore because I’m too busy hiding away.
I’m doing the exact opposite of Living Radiantly.
That needed to stop and I saw this as a way to help me along my journey to acceptance and recovery. My hope is that by sharing my experience it can help someone else in their journey. And encourage them to get portraits done because it’s been such an amazing experience.

Preparing For The Session

Prepping for a session takes longer than packing a bag. You need to start prepping for the session, I honestly would say two weeks in advance.
Those two weeks you need to make sure you are staying hydrated and taking great care of your skin. Skincare routine is essential! You need to keep your face hydrated and clean.
My first session as an ambassador was going to be an outdoor shoot and that meant I had to have some extra items that you wouldn’t need for a studio shoot.
One of those items is water shoes because we were going to be in the river. I found these on Amazon and love them. They are a fun color, not expensive, and holy wow are they comfortable! They kept my feet sturdy walking over slippery river rock and my feet were fully protected.
I also needed:
  • Beach towels and a blanket
  • Bags for wet clothes and shoes
  • Extra thongs
Then I also brought along some water, snacks, and my makeup. And off I went to head to the river and also meet some other ambassadors.
Colorado Fall 2023

The Experience

This is the part where I thought I would be telling you how anxious I was and feeling very out of my element, but the exact opposite happened instead.
Because I was there with other women that helped ease my anxiety a lot. I also know that Nicole is super supportive and helpful with posing and getting the right shot. I was more anxious about other folks on the trail than I was getting the photos taken.
Normally the trails are empty on a Monday but during our shoot they were a little busier. Because of course they were. But I felt totally comfortable.
And truthfully, I didn’t think about my body once. I wasn’t concerned with how I looked or how “large” I was. I just hung out and did my thing.
It was extremely freeing and very powerful. I didn’t even realize it until I came home and thought, oh my gosh, how wonderful it was not to be concerned about my body. For 4 glorious hours I didn’t think about my body once. That was so powerful.
We took shots on land and then we crossed the river and took shots in the water and on a sand dune.
I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was. Colorado was showing off big time, the weather was just perfection. And we had those wonderful Colorado blue skies. Just seeing the mountains and being outside in nature felt so right and perfect for me. Nature is my happy place and boy did this make me realize how much I need to start getting back outside again.

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Image of me on a sand dune in the river

Journey To Self Acceptance

This first experience was beyond what I could have expected or imagined.

Not only are the images beautiful but this is something that will live in my memories forever.

If you are struggling with body image and self-acceptance, I highly encourage you to consider doing something like this.

It’s scary and it’s vulnerable, but oh is it worth it.

This is my first step into accepting the NOW and being OK with the present.

And getting back to Living Radiantly again.


I will be doing more posts about this experience such as:

  • Prepping for a shoot
  • Finding the right photographer
  • What to pack for a shoot
  • Finding plus size lingerie


Keep an eye out for those upcoming posts!



Andrea is a holistic nutritionist living in Colorado with her husband and their pittie. She helps fellow midlife women nourish themselves and create their Radiant Life.

Our Radiant Life
Hi! I'm Andrea

I’m a holistic nutritionist, Star Wars fan, and doggie mom living in Colorado.

I eat chocolate on the regular, love a good matcha latte, and am a hard core Enneagram #5.

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