Every month or so, my boudy friends and I challenge each other to get creative and eventually we will have a website dedicated to our projects, but for now we are hosting them here until 2018! The theme for our most recent challenge was “manties” or male underwear used as panties! I realized very quickly that if I was going to purchase these, I couldn’t just buy ONE pair, no, I had to buy a pack of 6 so if anyone wants to wear these for their shoot, lemme know! Last night, we finally revealed our images to each other and it was so cool to see how each of us created art from the same outfit. It’s so important to stay creative when “being creative” is your job, so these challenges help fuel the fun! It’s interesting because we each have our “thing”…for example, I am a classic overachiever. The goal was to shoot the manties once, but I had to wait for them to get their shoots done and I was bored, so I shot both Kiana AND Raissa in similar, but slightly different styled shoots. Paige kept hers clean and minimalist, with a bit of a cheeky bit at the end, and Steph opted for self-portraits and rocked the shit out of the manties in an intimate lifestyle session! Check out below, for each photographer and how they interpreted the challenge:
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.
Mr. D came to the studio ready to kill his session. I mean, can you believe this guy has an eight-year old?? Look at that bod! There’s no waaaaay, he’s had a kid….no possible way. And 31?? I doubt it. He looks so good for his age.
Do we realize how fucking ridiculous that sounds? I have yet to see this shit on a post of a man. While surviving any birthday and the ability to have children are milestones not awarded to many, I don’t think the intent of people commenting these things are thinking of that perspective. I am in far too many photographer groups/facebook groups/and social communities where this bullshit chatter is the norm…in regards to women. Whenever a photo of a woman who fits the stereotypical societal standards of beauty is posted, there is a caption and comments that applaud her for “looking so good after having babies” and “This woman just gave birth and she looks sooooo good”…..ummmm….I am not saying don’t appreciate the women who fall into the societal standard of beauty nor am I saying don’t celebrate the ability of women to have children….I am saying we need to stop saying shit like this and reducing women to their capacity to have children AND maintain a svelte figure. We can appreciate beauty without saying shit like “CAN YOU BELIEVE SHE HAS 3 CHILDREN??? OMG I WOULD DIE TO LOOK LIKE THAT!” It just continues to perpetuate the fallacy that women need to get back to a pre-baby body (which, fyi, is technically impossible unless you are willing to shove your baby back up your hoo ha) Same thing with the age thing….”SHE LOOKS SO AAAAMAZING FOR 65″….MAYBE SHE DOES LOOK AMAZING, BUT IT’S NOT DESPITE HER NUMBER OF YEARS ON THIS PLANET!! When we say things like this, it continues to remind women that they have to uphold a certain look or aesthetic despite having children, getting older, etc. Can we just stop please? Next time you are viewing and appreciating a woman’s beauty, try to refrain from using phrases like that. Next time you are having a chat with your friends, avoid saying things like “Omigod, you look so good for just having a baby” or “You age beautifully” and while people may look beautiful and “so good” you don’t need to tack on the reason why you are SURPRISED they look so good…it’s a shitty thing to do and I assume you are a good human. So, after this ranty post, I urge you to listen to the conversations around you, online and in person, compliment people for their qualities, both physical and not, be mindful of the chatter you are contributing to…oh and enjoy some photos of Mr. D who delightfully shared his life and time with me so I COULD write this ranty post.
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”)
Nicole and I did it again! This time we were inspired by Rihanna’s HARD video with it’s green/yellow tones and bad ass military vibe. While we didn’t get as many outfits as we had wanted, I still like to think we made magic. For me, this was a challenging shoot because of the editing more than the shooting process. I had to desaturate a lot and play with color toning that I usually try to avoid. I got frustrated, but then I had fun learning and trying to match the lighting styles of the video. Once we played out the military outfit, we decided to grab some shots of Nicole with our faux police attire as she is trying to decide what she should be for Halloween….she’s just going to go to 2 different parties.
Here’s our inspiration:
Every now and then you meet the people that are just….your people, you know? Well, little did I know when I went to a Boudoir Retreat in San Fransisco that I would meet 2 of my kindred spirits. I have already introduced you to Paige, so today I will be sharing the other bad ass babe with you, but I want to start with our initial in person meeting because it’s super cute. So, I had arrived to Denise Birdsong’s Modern Love studio for my photoshoot the same day that Stephanie and Paige were also having their sessions done, so I had quickly met Paige while she was in makeup and Stephanie was just wrapping up her session when she walked past me in the waiting area. All I heard was “Omigodiloveyourposingguidehiiiiiiiiii” and with a little hand wave she disappeared. We joke that her fangirling over me was one of the funniest moments we shared together and I know I will definitely never forget it. Throughout the weekend, however, Stephanie, Paige and I just bonded with each other. We had similar sense of humour, we vibed with each others’ energy, and we managed to get our poor male model to wear nothing but a hand towel (#handtowelheroes). We were so sad when the weekend came to an end and as soon as we got home we started making plans for our next meet up and before you know it, August was here and we all met at Stephanie’s house for a few days. We had such an incredible time hanging out, drinking wine, photographing models and then photographing each other (oh! and they took me to Target, yay!) We laughed until our tums hurt, we cried about our life experiences and we helped build each other up. This is what I love about #communityovercompetition in photography. When you find your people, hang onto them and hold them tight because entrepreneurship is lonely as fuck and you will need some trustworthy peeps in your corner when you need to have a bit of a breakdown. So, for Stephanie’s shoot we decided to channel more of a retro vibe and styling, thanks to Dessa Marie Artistry, and while we started in her studio, I wasn’t about to leave her gorgeous character home without shooting in it, so we pulled together a few amazing looks for there as well. So, without further adieu, here is Miss Stephanie in all her beauty, glory, and magnificance. I love her sooooo much.
“I had the privilege of meeting Teri at a workshop and was instantly attracted to her fizzy fuzzy bubbly personality. I’ve followed her work and each and every time, I have found myself impressed if not in total awe. Her work is incredibly sexy and raw. She was so much fun to be with that I could see her models not even spending a moment in their heads. By the close of the workshop we had made plans to collaborate further.
It is quite the faux pas as a boudoir photographer to have not put yourself in your clients shoes. Just like my own clients, my fears and my insecurities about my body run deep. My session with Teri wasn’t about fear or insecurity. It felt an awful lot like Teri herself, fizzy fuzzy and bubbly.
When I hold the finished product in my hand,I literally can’t even :)
I look at these photos and I can hardly believe it is me!
I was there, I remember getting all dolled up, I remember posing but what I don’t remember is any concern about my body. Not a fear about how I looked or most importantly, as a photographer; not a worry about the actual photograph. There wasn’t any time to worry about my body because I was already having too much fun. Teri’s energy and direction easily overrode my insecurities.
Now I get to look at images of myself and see sexy and raw. It isn’t just something reserved for someone else. That feeling, that experience and the pride is now mine as well. And I can’t stop staring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dayum, Teri.
This fun fashion shoot came about as the result of my $3.99 cowboy shirt find from Value Village. Inspired by my love for Ellen Von Unwerth I wanted to approach it with a playful, but still sexy vibe. I invited my muse Chloe in to come play for a bit and we created fire. Enjoy!
- 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