Seductive Fashion Boudoir photography by Heather Elizabeth Blog

Let’s talk about the importance of being selfish.

photo by: Rachael Ferris

 

We have been conditioned our whole lives how dirty of a word that “selfish” is.

Being selfish has always been frowned upon. If you choose selfishness over giving your energy to others, then you are a bad person. If you concern your needs above other people’s, you are a jerk. Selfish was a bad term. To seek things that make you happy just for the sake of you being happy, was something of shame rather than to be celebrated.

I am here to tell you that is complete bullshit.

This is something that I am so grateful that I figured out by the time I hit my thirties.  For most of my life, I felt like I was living on my tippy toes to please everyone. Which is all fine and dandy in balance? But there was no balance. It was them over me. Always.

I was working out to be thin to please others. 
I was dressing a certain way to fit into whatever crowd I was going to be around that night. 
I was shooting photographs in a way that I thought would be popular. 
I was giving up all of my art in efforts to socialize and make people like me. 
Dating as a way to see if I was lovable, even if I wasn’t even particularly into the guy. 
If a man I was dating wanted to see me, I felt like I had to drop everything to not hurt his feelings. 
I said “yes” to a lot out outings with friends that I really had no interest in and they were just guilting me. 
I didn’t protect my heart from destructive relationships because I wanted to help them. 

Does that sound familiar to any of you? I am sure it strikes a chord with someone out there.

At first, you don’t realize that this is going to have terrible effects on you. You think that all this good karma is just going to come back to you in waves.  You love making people feel good! You love being agreeable! You don’t need to do your daily moisturizer and reading at night! Because you know what your friends really want to talk to you about their boy troubles and you have to be there FOR EVERY FREAKING ONE.  Or you have no time for creating art anymore because you don’t want to get involved in something just in case your damn boyfriend calls.  Then one day you wake up and realize you are completely and utterly drained and even though you are doing these things for people…. you have nothing to show. Or those people don’t do the same things for you.  

Now you are bitter.

Now you are angry.

And you have dry skin.

When I got to this point I didn’t realize the cause. I was just angry. I started drinking heavily. Posting a ridiculous amount of selfies hoping to get SOMETHING back in my direction. Tell me I’m pretty and lovable, damn it. This feeling didn’t stop me from doing nice things for people and continuing to deplete myself. This just made me angry the second I did something kind. I would buy concert tickets for someone and be bitter before we showed up together that they didn’t even appreciate it. Anger filled up my being. How could I do so much for everyone else in my life but they just didn’t value me at all? Why are people so awful? Or why am I so awful? The thoughts gathered in my head.

There was so much anger in my heart it clouded everything. I accused people of terrible things. Threw insults at those I loved because I felt like they weren’t being as kind as I was to them. I assumed the worst.

I became controlling and terribly selfish.

It was a terrible life choice that I realized my self-hatred was consuming my soul. I was literally ruining my life because I didn’t give a crap about myself. I figured everyone in the world was terrible, or that I was unlovable. Either way, it made me angry. And this anger was fucking my life up in a way that I would need a novel to describe.  It involved a lot of alcohol, a lot of hissy fits, and lots of bruises.  While I now was aware of the mess that I was and wanted to be better, I had no way of stopping myself.

It’s one thing to say “ok I won’t act like that anymore”. But then it just sits there inside your heart still. You just covered up your fucked up cake with pretty icing.

This is when I learned that sometimes, just sometimes, I needed to be a little selfish.

At my rock bottom, I took a crazy leap and dedicated time every day to do something that will benefit no one else in the world but me.  Every day I started painting and drawing. Whatever came to mind that I wanted to create, I created. It doesn’t matter if it was a realistic oil painting or a ridiculous fan art of Jake the Dog. It was for me. I started reading again. Something that literally no one else can have any benefit from but myself.  Many of my books recommended journaling daily about my joys, which led to my daily journaling.

I put these times before my e-mails. Before answering phone calls from friends. I quit dating 100% because painting Catwoman seemed like a better use of my night. Something that included nothing but me.  Up to two hours a day, I would sometimes journal about my ideas and goals. Three hours a day playing guitar because it was just something I always wanted to do.

While I was still working on my business and keeping up with my friendships, there was actually time that didn’t revolve around them.

I noticed something changed. I stopped being so damn angry. 

There wasn’t really the need to control my social situations anymore. I started to appreciate my loved ones more. Thinking the best was my go-to rather than reacting to something I blew out of proportion. I could have a few drinks with friends and just get a buzz and not feel that drive to cover up the mess that was my soul. Mostly I started caring about people without the expectation of getting anything back.

I lost expectations because while I loved people, I didn’t need them to take care of me. I didn’t need them anymore to pamper me and make me feel like the most special girl in their whole world. That’s because I started to take care of me. I started to give a damn about the things that made me happy. I started saying NO if I was too tired. I started saying NO if I didn’t feel comfortable about a situation. I said NO to things that I knew would get in the way of my own plans. I worked on compromise more.  I stopped being so terrified of people’s intentions of using me. I stopped worrying if people were annoyed by me.

All of these things I was changing my behavior just because I was taking care of myself was growing my self-esteem.  I didn’t feel the need to post a ridiculous amount of selfies on the internet with no intention other than for someone to please for the love of God tell me that I am good enough. I started asking about people’s days more because I wasn’t being dragged down by the pressure to impress them with how awesome I am, which is what would take up most of my conversations.  I started giving my loved ones more space because I realized how great personal care time was. I started moisturizing nightly and using face masks. I started cooking delicious things for my body. Makeup didn’t seem as necessary because I literally started to think I was prettier.

All by being just a little bit selfish.

I loved myself more because I put energy into myself. Anything you put energy into, you value. When you value yourself more, you love yourself more. And loving yourself truly does change every aspect of your life. It changes the relationships with your family. Your friends. Your lovers. It changes how you take care of your body to live a happier, healthier life. It makes sex a lot better because you aren’t worried about every little damn thing when you should just be in the damn moment instead of thinking of your flaws.

 

It’s about balance.

Telling you that you should just become a selfish person isn’t my goal. But what I am trying to tell you is that you matter. That all the kindness that you are showing everyone else is such a great gift that you need to share with yourself as well. So that way when you decide who to give your energy to, it’s from a truly selfless place.  You deserve the love that you are giving to everyone else.

Trust me. Being selfish sometimes is how I became a better person for everyone that loves me.

 

Love yourselves and each other xo

 

Heather

It was a fun night out with girlfriends. Drinks were had. Fun was made. But she also wanted to hurry home to show off her special outfit under her dress. 

Life gets crazy with the kids. Jobs. House cleaning. She knew he loved and desired her even in her messy hair and sweats. But for tonight the kids were away with the sitter. She was feeling the drinks kick in as her taxi dropped her off. Finally, she would have him all to herself. Feeling sexy. Feeling glamorous. Feeling excited to have a night together where they just got to re-explore each other’s bodies. 

Couples boudoir is the most intimate thing I have ever photographed.

Love and passion is an incredible thing to watch. How two lovers interact with each other. Being a couples boudoir photographer is something that I don’t think I can describe in words. Being able to document these two lovers in this moment and the physical connection they have. The soft kisses. Carresses. Being a silent observer to this connection.

All of our connections are so unique to who our partner is. Each one of these sessions all tell such a unique story.

I am capturing the most sensitive moment between two people. And that, darlings, is an honor.

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“In a society profiting from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

 

LADIES!!! Are you ready to unleash your inner bombshell? In celebration of my new website, I am giving away one FREE BOUDOIR SESSION to one lucky lady.  So what are the rules you ask?

1 : You MUST follow me on my Instagram @heatherelizabethboudoir 

2 : Post your sexy selfie! This is about what makes YOU feel sexy. Swimsuit, sexy lingerie, whatever! Boudoir is about self-love and empowerment. Post as little or as much as you want boldly and unapologetically. Then write in your post why you want a boudoir session and what it would do for you.

3 : Tag #REBELwomancontest

4 : Tag 3 ladies that you think would want to enter the contest on my IG post.

good luck, babes!

Some of us are born with that confidence.  It’s rare but sometimes there are those select few of us that never struggle with embracing our own inner and outer beauty. That are comfortable in their skin.

If you are like me, you are not one of those women. I spent most of my school years being called names because of my height. A height that was a head taller than everyone else my age so naturally, I was “bigger”. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I really started to embrace my height. I started to really embrace the curves of my own body no matter if I had an extra bit of weight on it. Sure, I could lose some weight. Sure it would be nice if I didn’t feel like a giant compared to my female friends because of my 5’11” height.  Now I look in the mirror and am able to be ok with who I am looking at. Whether I am dolled up, or just brushing my teeth in the morning with a messy bun on my head in an oversized t-shirt.

I know that I am not alone in this journey of self-love. Knowing Alanna for so many years, I have been able to watch her journey from a close seat.  She has this incredible laugh that I cannot help but be filled with joy when we tell each other stupid jokes.

So imagine my happiness when Alanna received her boudoir photographs and said she finally saw herself in the way everyone else saw her. She saw a beautiful, bohemian, adventurous woman who’s  spirit was finally visible because she was comfortable in her own skin. She loved her own smile.  She saw the same woman we all saw and it gave me such a feeling of satisfaction I don’t think any words I could say can really convey that.  As her journey to finding herself and her self-love evolved, not only did she start loving who she saw in the mirror, but she was loving who she was becoming as well. We all go through periods of evolution. Her evolution was taking her to a destination that she was always meant to be – becoming a confident, free-spirited woman with a passionate love of life.  This boudoir photography session was so authentically her. Hair and makeup to reflect her day to day look, throwing on some Free People bohemian pieces that reflect her style, and that’s all that was needed.

Self-love is truly what makes or breaks us. 

Through this journey, she has become a woman that could confidently change the entire direction of her life. Alanna has made a career as a talented hair and makeup artist. Hair and make-up were working well for her, but it wasn’t speaking to her soul. She knew deep inside it wasn’t what made her get up in the morning with excitement for life. That’s why last month she got in her car with her dog and drove from California to Alaska to start a new job teaching outdoor adventures to travelers.  Leaving the Bay Area to live minimalistic in the mountains so that she could really get the know herself as a person. She followed her heart which I know took so much courage, which came from a place of self-love that told her she deserved to follow such a dream.

To be a part of her journey means the world to me. To watch her grow from an 18 year old straight out of high school unsure of what direction to go, into this amazing woman comfortable in her own skin and proud of her journey. She put her insecurities aside, embraced her sexuality and beauty, and let me create art.  The ability to document her evolution, well what a damn gift that is. 


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We are bombarded daily with imagery of sexy women. Different outfits. Makeup. Hair. Fake lashes. 6 inch heels.  Thigh highs. Airbrushing. Corsets.

So when it comes to booking your intimate boudoir session… you clearly should go for what the lingerie store tells you to do, correct?

Wrong-o!

What makes you feel sexy, beautiful woman reading this? Do you feel fabulous in those thigh highs? Then wear them. Do you feel awkward and uncomfortable in them – lose them. Heels don’t make the woman – the woman makes the heels.

The point of boudoir and glamour photography is to document the best version of ourselves.  So when picking up outfits for your boudoir photography session, remember to pick up pieces that make you feel sexiest in your skin. Forget the ideas that Maxim are giving you. Look in your closet. What do you love wearing? What makes you feel sexy to slip yourself into?

There are no rules when it comes to loving ourselves. There are no rules in what to wear to make yourself feel sexy.

Boots or heels.
Fake lashes or natural.
Perfect pin-up hair or messy loose curls.
Smokey eye or nude.
Lush red lipstick or nothing more than lip balm.

You are the creator of your own identity. Whether boudoir is something you are considering for your lover, or just for yourself. Remember that this is a representation of who you are. This is the best possible version of yourself. Remember, that by letting your inner self truly shine, we will truly be able to explore the phenomenon that everyone keeps talking about – self love.  And when  you love yourself unapologetically, you give other people in your life permission to do the same.

Never apologize. Never let the world tell you how to be sexy. 


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Engagement sessions aren’t for everyone. That’s why when J came to me to exchange her engagement session for an intimate San Francisco boudoir session as a gift to her soon to be husband I happily obliged.  I still got to hang out with my beautiful bride before her wedding day. Chit chat about everything from makeup, to how painful squats are, to big wedding plans.

It was the ultimate girl time! Playing dress up and taking pretty photos. I am sure J’s husband was ecstatic when he opened these up the morning of their wedding day.

J sent me over this wonderful little blurb about her experience. It warms my heart each time one of my beautiful babe clients refers to me as a friend.  Heart explosions!

Instead of an engagement session, I chose to surprise my fiancé with boudoir shots as a groom’s gift.  I was very nervous, at first, and was sure that I would hate most of the photos. When Heather arrived at the studio, however, she was so comforting, as usual; she really made me feel at ease. We breezed through multiple outfit changes and backgrounds, and before I knew it, I had forgotten about my nerves. It was like hanging out with a friend! The biggest surprise, though, was when I received the photos. I am my worst critic, but I really loved how she made me look in the photos.  I love them all and so does my husband!

Thank you so much darling for letting me share some of your sexy photos! Notice those killer heels? They are actually her wedding heels. What a sexy little detail.

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Let me tell you my favorite thing about Nikki during her San Francisco Boudoir session.

Her amazing confidence. It’s something that is so rare to see. She would speak about how she is a ‘big girl” but was more happy with her body now than she ever has been. Before her marriage she was smaller, she explained. Always dieting and worrying about fitting into a perfect size. Telling herself one day she would have the body to have some sexy photos taken.

It took her until 30, but she finally looked in the mirror and said “I am good enough now.”

The strength that takes is inspiring. We are not to be stuffed into a box called beauty. We are not something to fill up that box. Our sexiness oozes out of our spirit, not the size of our waists. There was no fear in her eyes. Just a blaring, loud confidence that inspired me in my own journey of self love.

So we met at this beautiful, vintage hotel room in San Francisco. With a talented make-up and hair artist, simple and sexy attire, and my camera, I am so happy to help Nikki celebrate her love of herself. She is a plus size babe who isn’t afraid to call herself just that. And it helps that she is absolutely fantastic in front of the camera.

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Boudoir photography is one of the greatest gifts I can give someone.

I believe that out happiness truly starts from how we feel about ourselves. Through boudoir photography we can truly see ourselves through the world’s eyes. We can see the beauty that other people see! Through our own eyes we pick ourselves a part – it’s like a whole other world.

I was so lucky to be able to give the gift of boudoir to my beautiful friend, Stacey. Through the last few years I have had my highs and lows, and Stacey was always there for me. Constantly pushing me to look at things in a positive light. So when Stacey came to me and asked for a boudoir shoot to celebrate all of her progress from working out, I was so excited. For her Walnut Creek Boudoir session, we brought in Danika to do some sultry hair and make-up to make this a full on fashion bombshell shoot!

Delivering these photos to her and seeing her reaction was so priceless. She saw the fruits of her labor! All the squats. All the lunges. The jumping jacks. Moving that coffee table every morning for her at-home work outs had paid off and she could finally see documentation of that. Also, it made a pretty nice secret gift to her husband as well. Double benefits!

 

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I have known Nicole since the 5th grade. Time flies and through all the changes in our lives we have always stayed connected in some way.

So to flash forward to us both being 30, her getting married and me being a professional photographer, all the pieces fell into place for me to document the best gift for her husband to be. And not only a gift to him, but after she saw the images her feeling of self confidence for when she would be trading in her sexy garments for a beautiful white wedding gown to walk down the aisle to her husband.

She was so kind to let me share these three images with you. The makeup and hair was stellar thanks for my beautiful blonde bombshell Ariel Darling.


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