Oakland is a diverse city; boudoir photography should be as well. When I searched "boudoir photos" in Google Images, out of the first 300 images, only 5 showed black women, and 2 of those were photographed in a way that lightened their skin. On Pinterest I had a similar experience. So I've set out to photograph the beauty of underrepresented women.
As a boudoir photographer, I work with women from all different walks of life. They all have one thing in common, and that is being uniquely beautiful. Each woman has her own strengths, fears, 'flaws,' and best features. But the industry is so fixated on showing just one thing: the blonde-bombshell-Victoria-Secret body type, as I like to call it.
I reached out to the model Cami through Model Mayhem. When asked about her experience with this shoot, she said: "I was really excited to work with Ella. I typically shoot with male photographers, but jumped at the chance to work with a woman. I don't mean to perpetuate sexism in any way, but I find that women just know how to photograph women better than men. I knew we were going to get something special, but I was astounded at how well the shoot turned out. My face has never looked so relaxed, and I've never felt so feminine. The shoot has reinforced my desire to model (I'm new-ish and have considered quitting), and is helping build my confidence."
For this photo shoot, I got in touch with Ashley, from Ash+OAK to create a flower dreamcatcher, and I asked her to create something as unique as every woman and to use reds. Red symbolizes strength and confidence, and it is a super sexy color. She included local wild flowers, bold reds, moss, and sticks into the design of the dreamcatcher and the bouquet.
When I discovered Pavé, I knew I wanted to include their jewelry in my work. They focus on creating pieces that are inspired by nature and use conflict-free and fair trade diamonds and gemstones, as well as recycled materials. Their craftsmanship is as awesome as their business practices. So they were the perfect fit for this boudoir shoot.
Words and photos by Ella Sophie
I’m Ella Sophie, I’m a visual artist, and my medium of choice is photography. I photograph weddings, portraits, editorial art and boudoir — because I'm a bit of a workaholic and love it all! Originally located in the Hudson Valley and NYC, I'm now based out of Oakland, California. I studied commercial art and then followed that with a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I’ve been in both solo and group exhibitions and have had my images in fashion, art, and bridal publications throughout the US. I take a fine art approach to my work, so my image delivery is tactile with prints that can be touched, turned, and cherished. I offer a full range of professional fine art print products because I believe your memories are print-worthy. I'm an advocate for finding your unique voice, and I believe every wedding should be totally different from the next because no two people are exactly the same. I also love adventure and to travel, and I am happy to take assignments just about anywhere in the world. And last but not least, at heart I'll always be a punk rock kid and a feminist!