Miss J submitted an amazing story to become a Glambassador and after I had the girls in my studio, there may have been some tears as she shared her past with us. This beautiful, brave, strong girl had a story so much like myself and I knew I had made the right decision in asking her to go through this experience. I am going to let her share her story with you because, well, she tells it much better than I ever could.
I remember sitting in the desks at school, and feeling my wide thighs leak over the sides of the chair. I remember being hunched over, grasping my belly into my hands, so mad at myself for being this way. Comparing myself to other girls was something I did every day, and every day I always came up short. I always wondered what I did wrong, why me… why did I have to be overweight. Why not her, or her? I was called fat and lazy and ugly so many times that those words didn’t even register after a while. I remember hating myself.
Throughout the years, I was bullied by everyone, but perhaps in a less direct, more subtle and more painful way. I would hear hollow statements from condescending sympathizers like, “oh, it’s what is on the inside that counts” or “but your face is so pretty” or “maybe if you lost like twenty pounds…” At the time, these comments made me angry, but I directed it towards myself, not others.
I hated being naked. I played sports and was quite active, which meant I had to change in front of others. I remember strategically planning my underwear and bra, to show as little as possible, arriving early to change, and being ashamed if anyone saw my belly. By now, there were bright red stretch marks everywhere. I avoided mirrors and especially pictures. I was good in sports, often considered one of the best defensemen on my Ringette team. I would have moments of excitement and pride, when I was able to stop goals or clear the zone. But that feeling never left. Sometimes I forgot about it, sure enough though, it would rear it’s ugly voice, reminding me that I am not good enough. Too fat. Too big. Too gross. Disgusting.
Years later, my body issues exploded into something far more complicated than I could have imagined. Infertility. Married, and ready to start a family, again, I was left wondering why me… why did this happen to me? I was (and am) so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband, who stood beside me, and we walked along my journey of infertility together. Still, my hatred for my body only grew, and never would I think I would be involved in boudoir. I did not like being naked. I hated being in a bathing suit. I did not own one piece of lingerie. It did not change for me until I became a Mom of four children in need of a safe and loving home. My daughter looked up to me, and I never wanted to make her feel like I felt. Over the course of a year, and with the help of surgery, I lost over one hundred pounds. Although this helped me keep up with my kids, I still had the ugly voice in my head, telling me I was not good enough. With a lot of work and support, I began to value myself.
I hear these amazing rewards from my children, when they talk about sticking up for heavier children who are bullied, or seeing a picture of me from before my weight loss, telling me I was just as beautiful as I am now, or that I am the same great Mom I always have been. They probably have no idea how much that means to me.
So when I found myself e-mailing Teri, telling her why I want to be a Glambassador, I honestly never thought that I would be considered. When she chose me though, I knew I was ready. The night before my shoot, I bought my first piece of lingerie. When I arrived, I was predictably nervous and worried. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to pose properly, or that my face would look awkward. Sometimes it is so amazing to be wrong.
Teri was incredibly warm and welcoming. She explained the poses so well, and was patient when I was struggling to get in the right pose. Teri also said that not every picture will turn out great, but I will not see any unless they are. That really helped me let loose and go for it. It wasn’t long into the shoot when I was fully naked, lying on a bed, having photographs taken, and feeling completely comfortable. More than comfortable, I felt empowered, happy, and worthy.
The following week, I went into her studio again to have my reveal session. Of course I was nervous, not knowing how the pictures would turn out. During my slideshow, two things happened. I could not believe the muscles in my body, and how I looked from a different point of view. I had never seen myself from these perspectives, it was incredible. The second thing that happened, was I noticed my stretch marks. I noticed their white, wiggly lines trace my belly, arms, and breasts. For the first time in my life, these lines were celebrated.
I did not feel ashamed. I loved myself more that day. I continue the battle that most women face, to love themselves and feel worthy. Teri definitely contributed to my self-worth in a fun, creative, and powerful way.
Perhaps the best part, after I went through with Teri which photos were keepers, I got to share them with some of my close friends and my partner. It only gave me more reassurance and confidence to see their reactions, affirmations, and amazement. And just like that, the conversation changed from, “you have a pretty face” to “wow, you are beautiful” to “I am beautiful.” That last leap was in part because of Teri, and her remarkable ability to take women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and insecurities and make them feel beautiful.
Miss J opened up big time for her session and she exuded such…confidence and strength in her photos, and it wasn’t because of her body, but rather because of the self work that she has done over the past few years to truly start to love herself for WHO she is rather than WHAT she looks like.
A crazy part of being a creative entrepreneur is that you need an outlet and the opportunity to try things you have never done before in an effort to keep you alive and passionate for the work you create for your clients. It’s helpful to have an amazing team available when you need to get an idea out of your head and onto paper, film, computer, and this particular project was no different. I told Nicole, my fab makeup artist, to come to the studio because I had 3 ideas to play through and it was completely different for both of us from the makeup to the styling to the posing….definitely not my traditional boudoir. That being said, it turned out exactly the way I saw it in my head when I purchased a pair of nude panty hose. I am now inspired to try this same concept with multiple colors in the future, so it may be an ongoing adventure! In any case, here are the results of Look #1 (which cost me approximately $8 for the entire “outfit”)
This babe. Oh, this babe. I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Erin a few years ago in New York when I was visiting my colleague and buddy Lindsay Rae Photography. Erin owns Erin Marie Artistry and is the extreme talent behind the hair & makeup that is done in Lindsay’s studio and while she is amazing at that, she is also a gorgeous model, but MORE importantly, she is a beautiful soul. Every time we meet up, we have an amazing time together. Here are the gorgeous images we got while in Boca Grande at the Florida Curves 2017 workshop.
Miss Paige came up before, when I had done my post on Taco-ternity and my ode to my tum, but our session together was something special. Paige and I had first met in San Fran and immediately clicked. This woman has the most beautiful heart and soul and cares for everyone beyond measure. She may seem all heart, but this babe is also full of sass. Paige is a fierce model as well as an awesome photographer and sometimes I don’t think she understands just how phenomenal she is once the camera is turned on her, but she comes to life when she talks about her clients and the women she helps overcome body image issues, in a similar fashion to me. She embraces her curves, she openly accepts her *gasp* double chin, and she works hard to help women reach the same level of acceptance with their bodies. What better way, though, than having your own photo shoot done to showcase your love for your bod in all it’s beauty? Also, funny story, while we were so excited to do the water shoots, I don’t think Paige was expecting to get waterboarded….I accidentally pressed too hard on the hose and almost drowned the poor girl! Anyhow, read about her experience being on the other side of the camera below:
As a boudoir photographer, myself, I’ve been fangirl stalking Teri for a while now, probably close to a year or so! When I got to meet her and work with her in San Francisco this Spring for Denise Birdsong’s Stripped Down Retreat I was giddy. When we hit it off as friends, though I was ecstatic!
It’s rare as a photographer to find other photographers that you can just chat with openly about ideas, about experiences, about being a plus size babe that wants to help empower other plus size babes. No crazy competition, no insane jealousy or cattiness. Don’t believe me? Step into one of the more dramatic Facebook groups geared toward photographers. Unless you’re a big, well-known name- it’s easy to feel lost or like your value is less-than those around you. Teri has more creativity and talent in her little finger than most dream of having their entire lives. But never once has she made me feel less-than. Instead, she’s inspired me to go the extra mile, be the extra support to my friends and clients, to give the extra compliments to strangers, and to just be an all-around better version of me. She’s an overwhelming force of empowerment and positivity that effects everyone in her path!
Teri, myself and our amazing friend Stephanie Wells (The Girlfriend Experience Boudoir) got pretty close over our weekend in San Francisco. While there, we planned a trip for Teri and I to visit with Stephanie in Pittsburgh over the summer where we would photograph a couple of model clients and take turns photographing each other.
I’ve been photographed by other boudoir photographers. Each experience is completely different than the last. Being a very plus size woman, a size 24, and knowing that Teri specialized in posing and photographing plus size bodies- I was beyond excited to be photographed by her! I was actually less nervous to be photographed by her than I was to photograph my two photographer friends that I look up to so much. Teri has this way of talking to you about your body in a way that makes you feel completely at ease.
Girl had me nekkid in less than 10 minutes! Let me tell you, getting nekkid was NOT on my list of things to do in Pittsburgh!
To say I was a little nervous about seeing some of the images (especially the nude ones or ones without a fully supportive bra) would be the understatement of the year. I’ve always thought I carried myself with a decent amount of confidence. But, when I found myself naked and vulnerable in front of Teri’s camera, I actually found that I had been hiding all of (what I considered) my flaws and insecurities behind cleverly placed crops and specifically-fitted wardrobe. I had accepted my body, but had never really embraced it up until then.
I had accepted that my boobs weren’t sitting perky like they did before I had experienced 2 full pregnancies and lost 3 others. I had accepted that I have a fat belly and extra skin, I had accepted that my body is dimpled and scarred in places that I don’t want it to be. All of those things I could cover up and carry on with my life and pretend like they don’t exist and be confident in the appearance I was presenting to the world. But on that day- I embraced those things that I usually try to hide. And you know what? It was beautiful.
I felt free.
Teri sent the images over and there were tears. Over and over. I had never seen those parts of my body in all their naked glory and felt anything but disgust and hate. Is that me? That is me! All of the little pieces that I’ve picked at for 28 years were laid out in front of me, and you know what? I didn’t hate them. I actually loved them. Those are some of my favorite images I’ve ever seen of myself because they’re me, they’re real. My perfect imperfections and all.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay Teri for the gift she gave to me that day, but I know I’m glad that fate had us cross paths and become friends.
Do you want to feel free? Are you ready to stop using size, shape or any body excuse and embrace where you are right now in this one life you are given? If so, send me a message and let’s sit down for a chat to see if we are a good fit for each other!
Miss B came to visit me while she was visiting Winnipeg and this magenta-haired maven flew into my studio with outfits just as saucy as she. Her session was to be part therapy and part fun for her due to a bunch of life changes that had been happening and we wanted to revive the sassy babe I knew she was. Miss B has quite the life story and while it is hers to share, all I can say is I was impressed to be in the same room as someone with such strong conviction, fight, and ability to try to do the right thing no matter how difficult it may seem. She fights for others with a fiery passion and I wanted that same fire to come through in her images. Take a look below at this gorgeous woman (who is now back home in Vancouver):
“This was exactly what I needed at the time I needed it. Teri and Nicole were great at making me feel secure and very sexy! I left feeling exhausted and exhilarated at the same time!
Teri’s direction was outstanding from beginning to end. Make up, hair, outfits, poses and the “big reveal” were so bang on!! Thank you for a fabulous experience! I want to do it all again next year!!
If you go to Teri, there is nothing to be afraid of! This comes from a woman who has only been naked in front of three people as an adult!
Miss B left with a pep in her step and I cannot wait to see this exuberant beauty again! She totally rocked her session and even gave in to some of her fears to show off parts of herself very few people have had the privilege to see. I consider it an honor, Miss B.
Are you ready to celebrate your own ferocity and magic? If so, hit the contact button up at the top and shoot me an email!! We only have a few sessions left this year, but am starting to book up for 2018!!
I have been hesitant to post this session with the epic Taylor Oakes, not because of the nudity, but rather because it is something outside of my comfort zone…but not so much that I didn’t shoot it. For this project, I had been wanting to use a projector to project something onto my model, but when Taylor and I got together, we decided to play erotic videos while she moved fluidly, experiencing her body. It confused me that I was so hesitant to post these images because I am usually quite unapologetic, but I had the ol’ thoughts of “What if it offends people?” “What if it is too much?” “What will people think?” etc. but then I realized that THAT is what art is!! It’s meant to illicit FEELINGS, good or bad, positive or negative, questioning and uncomfortable. It’s meant to move people to think and talk, so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what people think or if it is “too much” for them, what matters is that we created something that I think is awesome and makes me proud as an artist (and happy to know Taylor because she is awesome!) and something that pushed me out of the comfort zone of traditional boudoir.
The videos are extremely tasteful and beautiful, but still get the bad rap of “porn” because it involves sex and sexuality which people tend to think is meant to stay behind closed doors. So, that brings me here: IF YOU DO NOT LIKE NUDITY OR BODIES OR ANY OF THE LIKE, PLEASE REMOVE YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY FROM MY WEBSITE BECAUSE YOU ARE ABOUT TO GET AN EYE-FUL! IF YOU LIKE THE ABOVE, THEN PLEASE CONTINUE AND ENJOY THE ART THAT WE CREATED!
I mean, I guess if I am going to Hell, I may as well be first in line….
It has been quite difficult keeping this a secret, but finally I can release it!! YAY! I am super excited to introduce a new type of limited session with Teri Hofford Photography! We are talking about the Imperial Goddess Sessions. These sessions are designed to get you connected more deeply and almost spiritually to your inner Goddess and femininity. I have partnered with the stellar Lady Lorelei to provide you an amazing, soul quenching session. These sessions start with you getting your henna done in the studio or at your home, then 3 days later coming in for your Imperial Goddess Session, where you will be getting in touch with your gorgeous self. Your session includes one outfit & nudes as well as 1 beautiful 8×10 fine art print, matted to 11X14. These sessions are limited to 1 per month, so if you are interested, get in touch to book yours! Check out the images below to see the experience and to learn more about the pricing and all that good stuff, head over here!
Ready to book your Imperial Goddess Session? Hit me up with an email!!
- body image
- curvy boudoir
- Fine Art Nudes
- Get Messy
- guest post
- Imperial Goddess Session
- Inspiration Session
- International boudoir photography
- male boudoir
- Not Yo Mama's Headshots
- Picture Me Perfect
- RAW session
- Vendors We Love