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Christina Stallard Photography | Mountain Engagement Session

Hey, sweet friends! My name is Christina, and I’m a wedding photographer based in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. I grew up around Cincinnati, Ohio and Seattle, Washington, so while I haven’t always lived where I do now, southeastern Kentucky is where I’ve put down my roots and call home. Being a photographer is such a special, humbling career because I’m not just taking pretty pictures: I’m a storyteller getting to document life and love.

When this couple booked me to photograph their wedding, we immediately started planning out their engagement session. As the bride-to-be and I discussed ideas for the session, I suggested they pick a location that would feel personal to them as a couple. We can take pretty pictures anywhere, but we’d be able to take truly moving photos someplace meaningful to them. 

I remember the bride hesitating as she thought, “Well, we could go to the place he proposed, but I don’t know… it’s kind of a far drive.” She went on to tell me about their engagement story: how he took her up to the top of the mountain on a beautiful cliff and asked her to be his wife. The mountains hold a special place in my heart, so I knew we had to do it. I wasn’t worried about a little ATV ride!

We were graced with the prettiest fall evening as we loaded the ATV with a few essentials and made our way up the mountain, weaving around tree roots and chunks of rock in the dirt. If you’ve never journeyed up a mountain trail in the cool of the evening with the wind whipping past your face and the earthy scent of forest and soil all around you, you should. Each curve of the trail brings you closer and closer to the top of the mountain, the sun shining just a little bit more heavily through the tops of the trees until you're finally at the top.

It was beautiful seeing how this couple lit up when they returned to the place they were engaged. I want to photograph raw emotion and real moments, so seeing how they interacted in the place they promised their love to each other gave me butterflies as their photographer. It’s difficult not to be moved by love like that, and even more difficult not to be moved while surrounded by such beauty.

I always feel so blessed and excited when a client is ready to go on an adventure, to put in the little bit extra effort to make their pictures truly special. I think it speaks to their love for each other: it’s worth the extra work, the attention to detail. And that’s the sort of love I want to capture.

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