Angie Hilem, Empowered woman with flower crown, headdress, dessert dunes. Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie
Boudoir Editorial

Beyond Boudoir, Capturing your feminine power

Beyond Boudoir, a photo experience.

I’m excited to share the images from this recent beyond boudoir photo adventure. Angie had such a great experience that she offered to write a guest post about the photoshoot. So the following words are from the beautiful Angie herself.

Guest Post by Angie, about her photoshoot experience.

I’ve hired numerous photographers for professional headshots. As a business owner, it’s really important that I represent myself well. No experience has ever made me as happy, confident, or proud as the work that my adventure with Ella created.

I always felt terrible for never gifting my husband with a boudoir book on our wedding day. So when I had the opportunity to finally do a boudoir shoot with a friendor (friend+vendor) I was ecstatic! My makeup and hair was so glam, so pin-up, that I felt even more beautiful than I did on my actual wedding day, even though I’m about 25 pounds heavier and 4 years older.

Oddly, he didn’t like it. Objectively, the imagery and photos were flawless depictions of a beautiful woman in handmade lingerie. The issue? They didn’t look “like me.”

Details of the day

Last week, I embarked on an adventure not knowing how badly I needed it. Ella drove us out to Point Reyes, and the time that’s usually devoted to professional hair and makeup prior to a shoot was spent hiking in boots and carrying a tote. Inside my bag was a few different pieces of clothing, booties, and some makeup for touchups. I never touched my face up, though.

As we drove further away from the city, the everyday vibe of busy life and tall buildings faded. Things became greener, more spread apart. My breathing changed. It was refreshing to finally get to Abbot’s Lagoon and start our gorgeous hike.

The day was warmer than expected and by the time we got to the spot Ella had in mind, I had no problem putting on my body suit. Before leaving SF, I applied my everyday makeup. The same amount and types of products I’d wear to meet up with a friend for lunch. My hair? Tied in a topknot unclipped prior to settling in the sand. The wind did its thing and my hair had a life of its own in the best way.

Sliding into the suit and getting out of my clothes felt like leaving behind the things that bind me. With her guidance, I was able to easily switch poses and feel incredibly comfortable throughout the entire experience. My favorite part was when I was sitting in the sand, bouquet in hand, and Ella instructed me to look left or right and then, “Be defiant.”

“Be Defiant”

Immediately, I sat taller, my face shifted, also. No one’s ever told me to do that. If you haven’t met me, let me tell you – I’m bold. When there’s something I believe in, I’m loud. But I also uptalk and say sorry too much and do all of those other ridiculous things that women are conditioned to do or say since we were very small girls. I’m almost 6 feet tall, but it seems like the world is out to make me feel small.

In that moment, when told to “be defiant,” I knew that this was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. The unique difference of Ella’s work is that she brings out the things we typically hide. So many times, we’re told to tone it down. With Ella, out in nature, I was able to just be me. Naturally. Nothing superfluous in my hair or on my face or in the style of my clothes.

I didn’t have to wear things that society tells me makes a woman sexy. To be honest, I hardly wear lingerie. It’s not something that I enjoy. There aren’t many times in my life, especially in front of the camera, that I’m not hating myself or fretting about my appearance. If it’s not my appearance, then I’m worried about how viewers may be perceiving me. But I have to keep getting them for my website, blogs, and social media presence.

During this adventure, I trusted Ella to capture the essence of who I am. I didn’t overthink at all. Being outside, feet in the sand, the sea-mist of the nearby ocean hitting my face – I was able to be free.

Female experience and background

When I first started working in tech, at predominately male startups, I very much downplayed my style. I didn’t feel comfortable being femme. Whenever I shoot with other photographers, I want very much to feel pretty. With this experience, I didn’t think about any of that. Hiking is one of my favorite things, and we hiked to get to the location. Living in the center of San Francisco, I miss the outdoors. Escaping the tall buildings, busses and traffic in itself was a relief. For most of that day, it was just me and Ella and the water and plants.

To be completely honest, I was having a hard time. After moving to San Francisco from Philadelphia last year, it was difficult to start things up in my business again. With every new client or milestone, it still felt like I was starting all over. A few weeks ago, I was bedridden after oral surgery and feeling very down. I wasn’t able to walk like normal without getting winded because of my time in bed. That did a number on me.

The fact that I was able to walk and breathe and enjoy the beauty of the Bay Area was a huge part of the process. My guard was immediately down and maybe it’s because I had to use my body to get to the photo shoot location, or maybe it’s because no one else was around, but this was completely different from any other photoshoot.

Celebrate yourself

It’s hard to celebrate oneself. Even with the boudoir photos I took with another photographer, I did it with my husband as the motivation. Why should we wait for an excuse to do something for someone else? Why can’t we do something we want, just for ourselves? Let’s be honest – boudoir isn’t just for our partners. Boudoir is a  way to  catalogue  our essence – who we are in this particular moment. And that’s exactly what this experience with Ella did for me. It was beyond boudoir. We explored the outdoors but also my inner nature –I unveiled all of the things I’m told to cover up. I exposed all of my truth and Ella  helped me make space for it, hold onto it, and honor it. As a bonus, I have these amazing pictures to remind me of this day.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Point Reyes, Overcast landscape, hiking adventure photography by Ella Sophie    Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie, empowering women in nature, dessert dunes, Angie in black bodysuit

Natural beauty, feminist defiant woman. Model at Point Reyes by Photographer Ella Sophie

Dessert dunes inspired floral bouquet. Floral art by Ash+Oak photographer Ella Sophie

Confident natural woman in black bodysuit with flower crown, fine art Photographer Ella Sophie

Natural beauty portrait, defiant confident woman. beyond boudoir Oakland Photographers Ella Sophie

Point Reyes, Abbots lagoon trail overcast day. Moody landscape by Photographer Ella Sophie

Beyond Boudoir portraits to embrace your feminine power, by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie, Point Reyes California

Feminist beauty portrait photography by San Francisco Photographer Ella Sophie of Angie Hilem in dessert dunes

Beyond Boudoir defiant beauty portraiture by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie of Angie Hilem at Point Reyes

Abbots Lagoon hiking trail on overcast day by Ella Sophie, Oakland Photographers

Empowered feminist portraiture by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie. Woman in black, with mirror and flowers

Force of Nature, wet natural beauty portrait of empowered badass woman. Raining at beach. Ella Sophie

Running topless to the ocean, facing your fears, embracing yourself. Feeling Free. Photographer Ella Sophie Oakland  

 

Vendors

Ashley from Ash+Oak florals designed and created the stunning headpiece and bouquet.
PS. Angie isn’t just a beautiful growing and badass woman, she is also a social media strategist and business guru. You can find out more about her business at the Heighten Social Website.

Want to learn more about scheduling a beyond boudoir photo experience with me?
Check out my website Ella Sophie send me an email or leave a comment below!
Oakland CA boudoir photographer

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7 Comment

  1. Ella, it sounds like you gave Angie an amazing experience and the photos to go with it. This is what boudoir should be!
    Angie, wonderful words. I’d glad to hear you had such an empowering experience.

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