Impossible Beauty | Sophia

When I was a child I would sneak into my grandparents closet and peruse our family photo albums for what seemed like hours. I loved looking at photographs and was really quite intrigued by the process of it all. The capturing of a moment, developing of the film, and then to finally hold this piece of printed paper was amazing to me. I believe that I knew from a quite a young age I either wanted to be a ballerina or a photographer. Needless to say, I was not blessed with a ballerina’s body or parents that could afford the numerous amounts of dance lessons it would take. As I became a young lady, I think I began doubting my creative abilities and  feeling like “being a photographer/artist” wasn’t an important job. I wasn’t saving lives or making a profound difference to improve society by taking photos. I made several decisions that always put photography on the back burner, never pursing it more than a “hobby job” because becoming a nurse was practical and nurturing others, it was obviously the better choice.  It took me years to make this creative venture my “day job” and a few years after that to discover my niche and passion within this creative industry. I chose to specialize in women’s portraiture (beauty/glam/boudoir) because I feel so incredibly passionate that each woman should have a chance to feel amazing and realize her inner beauty deep within.

I came to know Sophia through a mutual friend/(client). Sophia and I spoke often of connecting for a portrait session of her own, unfortunately around the time that we had set a date Sophia was hospitalized for several weeks. As a child Sophia was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, this is a life debilitating disease that affects the lungs and several other organs. Although Sophia has always been into fitness, she made the decision to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to her health and committed to a fitness competition. For most people, this would be a challenge but imagine training to become in the best shape of your life with limited lung function?

Sometime later we reconnected for her session, we spent several hours emailing and chatting about ideas for her session. I was so inspired by Sophia’s story, her strength to be a fighter and her determination to survive what some say is impossible. “My dear Sophia, what a pleasure to spend a few hours with you and capture your inner (and outer) beauty. You are one of the most genuine people I have had the pleasure to meet and work with. So many prayers and hugs for you each day as you overcome odds and be an uplifting soul for others.” -S.K.

So one of the sets we did that Sophia loved was this “Superman” inspiration.

Sophia’s tattoo says “just breathe”, incredibly meaningful. Another tattoo, “soul sister” is a remembrance tattoo for her dear friends who also have cystic fibrosis.

I am always so proud and grateful for all of my clients, women that trust me and believe in my talent. Sophia’s session was ridiculously amazing and afterwards she sent me the sweetest note on instagram :

“One of my favorite parts of my weekend was defiantly this incredible boudoir shoot. The amazing@stephanie_karen did such an amazing job, you are wonderful love. I can’t wait to see all the others and I can’t wait for our next shoot together. What a beautiful studio to work in as well I had so much fun working with you. Makeup by the beautiful@angiered13woman you are a little bit of something. I have never liked getting my makeup done I have never had good luck with it but I will say this was not the case this time. OMG!! I was in love with my makeup you are seriously amazing at what you do. Can’t wait to work with you soon!! Love you both lot’s!! Thank you again!”#boudoirshoot #somuchfun #cantwaitfornexttime #lovelyladies #happy #blessed #tattoos #makeup #fun

Please stay tuned for Part II of Sophia’s session!!

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Make Up Artist : Angie Miller Make up

Stephanie Karen Beauty specializes in Luxury Beauty and Fine Boudoir Portraiture in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you’d like to book a session, please email for more information.

L~ F~: