We had the good fortune of connecting with Ila Alagia Wist and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ila, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
The one thing about Butterfly Beauties Photography that people are unaware of is that %98 of the women on my websites or social media have never done this before. It was literally their first time! All of these women were nervous and shy, but all of my clients ended up loving their photos and some even cried after seeing how wonderful they turned out. They are not models – as most people think would be. So I want to share that Butterfly Beauties is for every woman!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My mother is my diamond. And 15 years ago, my diamond was stricken with a life threatening illness and she was very ill, but she is a person who is the definition of “radiant”; an absolutely beautiful woman, who had just turned 70 yrs. old, when she walks into a room – she literally lights it up, and with just one smile you are captivated. One day she came to me crying, and told me, “Ila, I feel so ugly.” She cried on my shoulder and it broke my heart. But I did not see an ugly woman, she was still gorgeous, and I wanted to prove it to her, so I said to her, “We are going to take photos of you and I will prove to you, that you are beautiful. While we got her ready with makeup and jewelry and picking out outfits and taking the pictures, she forgot she was even ill, she was having so much fun! When she saw her photos she cried tears of joy – which brought passion to my heart – to create “Butterfly Beauties Photography”; a place where ALL women can see themselves in a beautiful light in the form of the beautiful photos I take of them. My Motto is: “Each woman’s Beauty as Unique as her own Fingerprint.”: And I truly believe this. I am very excited to tell you that 98% of the women you see any of my social media, including Facebook, Instagram, or my website are NOT models. For nearly all of these women have never done this before, so you can too! The experience is tailored to you; to your personality, your style, your own unique beauty. I will add that do not use a template as most photographer do. They do this because it’s easier; instead, I prefer “the road less traveled”, It is more difficult, because I am working with someone who has no clue what to do, but I enjoy the challenge, and the variety and vast array of beauty we discover from your authentic beauty, your photos will be extraordinary, because you are! I also think I learn something form each woman I work with and I have discovered that even the most beautiful women have surprising stories about the difficulties in their life, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I also enjoy working with women who have suffered in some way, whether it is physical or emotional, and also women who have worked on self-improvement, in any manner and they want to see the fruits of their of their labor. Whatever the reason, it is my pleasure. Consider me to be a mirror, revealing your own unique beauty to you!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, funny you should ask! I actually have best friend that I rendezvous with once a year, and sometimes she comes to Arizona. Our mission is “Fun”! So this this what we do: We of course pick out a resort to stay at, and if she comes in the summer to Phoenix the rates are great at most any fancy resort. We usually chose The Montelucia on Lincoln and Tatum for a girls or guys staycay. The have a really fun pool and bar to lounge on. Plus we usually get a room with a beautiful view of Camelback Mountain. At night we sip Sangria and talk about life and enjoy the view. Then what’s more fun if you are a woman than being pampered, so we will get a spa treatment and the next day we will head out to Fashion Square mall in Scottsdale, and get our makeup done and then, since I am a photographer I will take pictures of her and of her and I together! Such fun! on her birthday, I took her to ifly, just off the 101 loop, it’s indoor skydiving, and we have videos of us flying around, hilarious and fun! There are a lot of fun places in Phoenix that are unusual, I have gone to some but not her – yet. Like “The Undertow”; a really cool hidden pirate ship bar underneath a coffee shop in the middle of Phoenix. You need reservations to this place and the drinks are strong, so make sure you have had something to eat first! I must include AZ88, as a very fun upbeat place to hang out, you get there, have one of the best martinis ever, and then the music happens, there is always beautiful creative art displayed, and all of the sudden everyone seems like they are dancing around laughing as the night goes on. And if you are up for more adventure take a road trip to Sedona, it’s a part of Arizona that looks a bit of the Grande Canyon with a happy atmosphere to enjoy. Plenty of fun to be had in the Valley Of the Sun; including getting a photoshoot by Butterfly Beauties Photography!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout goes to ALL the women I have ever photographed; in particular, I would like to thank Cheryl Dunn, who is fantastic photographer who actually hired me to photograph her to learn photography – without telling me! Cheryl’s photography is amazing! I would like to thank Julie Bergstein Romanenko, owner of “Just Jules Jewelry”, who offered me the cover shot of InDesign Magazine, which showcased her gorgeous jewelry. There is a gentle soul I know, Susan Mucculloch, owner of, (Susan Mcculloch Healing), who was one of my first clients, and through her I received many referrals. Sometimes I go to California for jobs – but also to visit my dear friend, Jules, a prominent lawyer in California, who allowed me to make her my Barbie doll, (a role that does not suit her), we tried all kinds of fun experimental photography over the years on those gorgeous beaches in California, she deserves a great big thank you! There’s a girl I met when I was 4 yrs. old, Liz Flowers Cunha, who is definitely one who inspired me, as she is one of the first people I ever photographed for profile photos, and I also received many referrals from her when her friends saw her pictures. Dana Angeline Caranci is a beautiful, brave, bright & kind entrepreneur, and also the owner& editor of “Life in Paradise Valley Magazine”, I would love to thank her for featuring my mother and I in her magazine. But most all my beautiful mother is my true inspiration – wanting her to see herself in a beautiful light in the midst of a painful illness really drove me toward this passion.