Purple lingerie and hair with lavender flowers. Ethereal goddess portrait by Ella Sophie. Oakland CA

Ethereal Portraits: Obsessed with flowers & badass hair

❝That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.❞

Ethereal Portraits: Floral Badass Hair Styling Inspiration

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. This creative editorial photo shoot was one of those times. I’ve had these floral ethereal portraits in my head for a while. So when I saw an opportunity to work with bay area hairstylist Suzette and Dandelion Flowers in Alameda I decided this was it. This is the time for me to make these images.
But with all bigger production shoots, things tend to have a life of their own. Knowing how to work with the changes successfully defines a seasoned professional photographer. And, I have to give credit to my experience as a wedding photographer. Which is how I got the ability to handle unexpected changes. Knowing how to work with all different kinds of light, bodies, and moods is essential to being a good photographer. Especially a great portrait photographer who creates posed and candid photographs.

So, what went wrong?

What was the thing that didn’t go as planned you must be wondering? Well, first off we had a last minute model change. My original plan for this editorial photo shoot was to work with professional models. However, one got sick last minute, so I had to think of someone else who could take her place. Luckily I knew that Angie could pull this off. Since we’d worked together a few times for her boudoir photos I knew she had the right look for what I wanted to create. Speaking of boudoir photography. If you haven’t seen Angie’s outdoor boudoir photos at Point Reyes, check those out!
The second thing that didn’t go as planned came after the shoot. I wanted to get these images published. Aiming for a fashion, or beauty blog. One that focuses on green, eco-friendly, clean beauty products. But it has been a while since I’ve published anything not wedding related. So I reached out to some blogs that I thought would like these photos. But, I was shocked to find out that they all wanted me to pay them to publish the photos.

Paying for publishing?

No thanks. There are so many things wrong with the idea that the content creators (photographers, illustrators, writers) should be paying to have their work published. These blogs and magazines would not exist without the work of the creators / artists. If anyone should be getting paid it is the content creators.
Also, how can a Magazine claim to have any authenticity if their content is all advertising. Don’t we read magazine editorials for inspiration and information that isn’t an ad? The job of these magazine and bloggers is to be the curator of ideas and information. They develop a voice and a style that we learn to love and look forward to. But, that seems to no longer be the case. At least in the world of fashion and beauty. I hope that art and wedding industry blogs stay true to their roots. Curating great content for their editorials and making their money with transparent advertising

The looks:

There is a lot I wanted to say with this editorial series. Hair is such a big part of a woman’s identity. I wanted to show women who are bold. The hair styling is a symbol of each woman’s unique beauty, characteristics and strengths. Plus, throw in some color, painted eye brows, and glowing skin and it is pretty much a dream. An ethereal surreal goddess like dream. I was going to write more about each look. But instead of reading more, just look at these gorgeous ethereal portraits. All products used for the hair styling is clean eco friendly awesomeness.

Ethereal Portraits by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie, dyptich of Asian model and fig plant Portrait Photographers Ella Sophie, buzzed purple hair, edgy beauty. Alameda CA Dyptich photograph, body positive models for lingerie and hair styling. Edgy modern beauty Edgy punk inspired red braided mohawk with magical flowers by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie. Alameda CA

Dandelion Flower Shop in Alameda, unique greenery and florals. Photography by Ella Sophie

Purple buzzed hair styling inspiration. Model Belle Sophie. Photographer Ella Sophie

Goddess Portraits, feminist beauty photography by Ella Sophie. Alameda, Dandelion Flower Shop

Reds. Glamour photograph at Dandelion Flowers, Alameda CA. Photographers Ella Sophie Ethereal beauty portrait, gold brows and fishtail braid. Bay Area Photographer Ella Sophie Bay Area Portrait photographers Ella Sophie, ethereal portrait Dreamy Sensual portraiture by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie of Model Zoe West

Unique red flowers, Dandelion Flower Shop Alameda CA. Photographer Ella Sophie

Purple and lavender beauty inspiration. Alameda CA, photographers Ella Sophie

Purple and blue flower inpiration, Dandelion Flowers. By Ella Sophie

Confident Feminist Portraits by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie. Beauty diversity inspiration Body-positive plus size goddess portraits Green Lingerie Alameda Photographer Ella Sophie Dreamy Beauty Portraits by Oakland Photographer Ella Sophie. Alameda Flower Shop Dandelion Flowers Edgy beauty photography. Hair editorial inspiration. Red Hair, colored brows Soft dreamy portrait photographer Ella Sophie Oakland CA, purple flowers and hair


So, what is this shoot?

We always feel the need to put things in boxes. Is it art photography? Or a fashion photoshoot? Maybe it is boudoir photography or portraits?
I offer creative shoots like this for a number of things. One of them is for lookbooks, or editorial images. Usually for jewelry designers or California based fashion designers. I work with the designer to figure out exactly what their brand wants to say. And then we create images that reflect that. Sometimes those shoots come out like this series. Sometimes they look totally different. If your curious to see more, check out my lookbook photography portfolio.
But I’ve also worked with individual women to create images like these for them. I’ve toyed with the idea of calling these photoshoots goddess sessions. But that doesn’t feel quite right. Calling them magical portraits feels off too. Or ethereal portraiture? In any case, I haven’t come up with a clever name yet. I’m open to suggestions. And all this is to say; the reason why I shared the whole process of this shoot is because of the naming debacle.


Oakland Photographer: Ella Sophie
Alameda Hairstylist: Suzette McD
Location & Florist: Dandelion Flowers, Alameda.
Models: Zoe West, Angie Hilem, Belle Sophie

All Images © Ella Sophie
Ella Sophie is an artist and photographer living in Oakland California. She specializes in creating images that empower women. Through portraiture, boudoir photography and ethical fashion photography. Ella strives to change the perception that women have of themselves one photo at a time. When she isn’t working you can find her volunteering at the local animal shelter. Encouraging fellow entrepreneurs and artists. Or traveling and taking in the beautiful wilderness.

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All images © Ella Sophie | Commercial Photographer | Oakland, CA

ellasophiephoto@gmail.com | 510.844.4191