Ewa Samples

I’m Ewa (Eva), and I’m San Jose Cupertino Family, Maternity Portrait Photographer and Videographer. In the past I’ve photographed from Concord and San Francisco to Morgan Hill and many places in between. Majority of my sessions are done in San Jose, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Stanford, Sunnyvale, and Los Gatos.As much as I love working with natural light I also can create beautiful images in my portable studio. I love to create, and limiting myself to one source of light or one style of photographing families is not the way to express myself. I don't limit myself to sunset (so called golden hour) sessions. I shot at any given time.4 years ago I pursued a project called 365 Self-Potrait Project in which I took one self-portrait a day for a year. From a project which was supposed to be about me it had turned into something that was about mothers and motherhood. I called it “Portrait of a Mother” which was featured on Bon Bon Break. Since that project I try to embrace every opportunity I get to be on the picture with my family. I know how hard it is for many mothers out there to do the same, and my mission is to change it…

San Jose Photo Walk with behind the scenes of taking my portrait of a stranger number 4

It’s Monday. And Monday means sharing my adventures with the 52-week challenge. This time I took the photo in front of my two friends with whom I did San Jose photo walk last Thursday. I have included an album from our photo walk at the end of this post. We had really great time. Walking and talking and just enjoying the nice weather and each other’s company.

During the photo walk, Les (who came from NEW YORK!!!), one of the participants kept pushing me to take the photo for my 52 project. And the whole time I was walking and snapping pictures of buildings and people, I was also trying to spot a “friendly” face.

And with this in mind, I picked Stephanie and Kyle.  (I hope I spelled your name correctly, guys)

san jose photo walk street photography ewa samples photography-19

 

Because I had my photo snapping buddies with me while taking this photo, I got some behind the scenes as well.

I did the same for Hailey from Archer Inspired, so head over to her blog and read about her stranger! She’s got a funny story to tell you!

Last Thursday reminded me of the old days when taking photos was not related to any pressure from the outside world. It reminded me of days when I used to pack my kids and got to San Francisco for a day-long stroll and pictures snapping. I loved it then and I was loving it last Thursday!

We will be definitely doing more of those! I have already got some requests for more kids friendly locations for photo walks as well as some organized here in Morgan Hill. So, I’m working on it. In meantime, if you gusy have any recommendations for kids friendly photo walks, let me know!

For now, I’m planning to add Downtown San Jose to my location recommendations for future family sessions.

 

My partners in crime in this 52-week challenge are:

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

Feel free to follow along!!!

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Learn about portrait photography during photo walk

Join us this Thursday, January 26th for a photo walk with local, and not only, portrait photographers. We’ll be talking about portrait photography & street photography & and any photography related topics or just chit-chat. No pressure. We will probably grab some coffee or tea and just enjoy the non rainy day in a great company.

This will be a great opportunity to get together & network & connect. We will be meeting Downtown San Jose at around 9:30 am. From there, well, there is no plan where we will be heading.

portrait photography photo walk san jose ewa samples photography

 

Shoot me an email if you’re interested: ewasamples(at)gmail.com

and if you’d like to hear about my upcoming FREE events sign up for the newsletter:

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52 week challenge. Photographing strangers. Stranger no. 3

52-week challenge. Photographing strangers. Stranger no. 3

 

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”  

– Jordan Belfort

Sooooo, before I start describing my last week of hunting for a stranger willing to be a part of my 52-week challenge, let me ask you something:

Have you ever consciously suffocated your goals or ideas because they meant you had to get out of your comfort zone? Not once but many many times. It meant you had to try something totally new. Even in times when you felt like “new” is the last thing you want to do. You’d rather stay safe in your pj’s, eat cookie dough ice cream straight from the box. Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. 

Because this is exactly what I was trying to do the whole week last week: I was looking for excuses.

Photographing strangers was the last thing I wanted to do. Period.

 

First of all, it was raining almost all week. The people out there looked like they don’t want to be bothered. Running from one destination to another, as fast as they could, like they were made out of sugar, and the rain could dissolve them.

I was also behind my schedule to finish a book I’d been reading. So, I wanted to stay home and just catch up with it. Next thing, probably more consciously then subconsciously, I would forget to take my DSLR with me, every single time I went out. Righ…

So fast forward to Saturday…

I was at a point where I admitted to myself, “I won’t do it this week”. I was ready to skip it, hoping the next week will be easier. But you know how it goes, right? If you skip something, then skipping it again, and again gets only easier. While sticking to your original plan gets only harder.

Late afternoon we went to grab something to eat. We stopped at “Pieology” in Morgan Hill. I was just watching the people working there while ordering our pizzas. And I thought how great of a picture it would be if I could make one of them stand next to the oven working with the pizza’s inside. All of the employees were so nice and they bravely suffered through my husband’s not funny jokes (sorry, hon!). And I felt nothing but encouraged to just give the project a try. One more time. I knew it’s then or never.

I waited until there were no people in line and went to ask. I had only my old phone with me. A phone that takes crappy pictures. A phone that has landed in a toilet twice, and in a creek once. A phone that had been declared dead more than 3 times. Its camera app doesn’t work, so I take pictures through a 3rd party app. I was not happy with the photo, but I was so proud of myself I did it anyway.

Stranger no.3 is a nameless employee of Pielogy in Morgan Hill. While I was preaching about getting to know your neighbors in my last post about this 52 week challenge of photographing strangers, this time around I was too preoccupied with my own fears and insecurities, and I simply forgot to ask.

Thank you so much, my nameless stranger for helping me to get the shot I envisioned, and to helping me getting one step closer to my goal of photographing 52 strangers in one year!!! 

Photographing strangers

 

My partners in crime in this 52-week challenge are:

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

 

Feel free to follow along!!!

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52 week challenge – photographing strangers

Portrait of a stranger 52 week challenge with Ewa Samples Photography

I went pretty easy on myself this past week. Well, it didn’t feel like it was any easier than the past week, anyway. My first stranger, Rockie, was literally a stranger. I’ve never met her before. I’ve never seen her face before anywhere.

This week’s stranger(s) are my neighbors, really. But we were never introduce. We passed by each other almost every day, waving our heads “hi”, or saying “good morning” on the way to take our kids to school.

This 52 week challenge makes me think about relationships we have with people. Or is it me? I’m shy and nervous when it comes to approaching people I don’t know, but WHAT AM I SO AFRAID OFF, really?

Thanks to this project I can finally put a name to those two faces I see almost every day. It’s not a lot but at the same time, it is. Right?

How many people in your life have nameless faces? Because, being honest with you, my life is filled with them. Mom’s from my daughter’s school. Neighbors. People in a library (where I spend about 10 hours a week). It’s crazy. I just smile to them, and get back to my phone or computer, instead of asking about how they are doing…

It’s only funny how I approach this project. While during my regular sessions I can’t stop taking pictures of people. With this project I shoot once and run. When I’m on my computer looking at the photo(!), I regret not taking more pictures. I just don’t have the guts to stay there for any longer that’s required to take one picture.

I hope, the further I go with this project the more pictures I’ll be able to take of people.

In this photo:

” Michael and Junior”

52 week challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My partners in crime in this 52 week challenge are:

Ania Gajda from Ania Gajda Photography

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

Feel free to follow along!!!

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If you’d like to receive special offers straight to your email, feel free to sign to my newsletter.

 

Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project

Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project with Ewa Samples Photography – STRANGER no 1. 

Many, many years ago, I have done a 365 project (one photograph a day for a year), with self portraits. It was an awesome journey. Since that project, each year, I though about doing something similar, but couldn’t find an idea that interesting and challenging enough. The self portrait project was VERY challenging for my super self-conscious person. I wasn’t comfortable with it. Sometimes I had push myself very hard to finish it. And I did. And it was a life changing experience.

So, this year I asked around and found several friends interested in joining similar project. We agreed on a 52 Challenge that will require from us to take one picture a week of a stranger.

Each week we will be blogging about it, and sharing the photos we took.

A short story behind the photograph I took last week:

My Strange’s no.1 name is Rockie. I met her in Morgan Hill public library. She was putting make up in the ladies bathroom because she didn’t have the time to do it before she hurried out the house. Well, I know this pain way too good. After a small talk, we wished each other Happy New Year and I left. It was Friday. I felt, I’m running out of time with this project. However I felt scared and intimidated. Because how do you do it? How do you approach a stranger and ask if he/she is ok to be photographed. 

So I stormed back to the bathroom and explained her what I want to do and for what purposes. It felt so intimidating. But she said YES with a big smile on her face. And I was so relieved. 

So here she is, smiling kindly for me, sitting in Morgan Hill Public Library lobby. 

Thank you so much Rockie. YOU ROCK!!!

Portrait of a stranger 52 Photography Project

My partners in crime are:

Ania Gajda from Ania Gajda Photography

Maryam Salassi from Hi and Hello Photography – Maryam is doing different 52, feel free to follow her journey.

Hailey Williams from Archer Inspired

Feel free to follow along!!!

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If you’d like to receive special offers straight to your email, feel free to sign to my newsletter.

Exploring Morgan Hill

Exploring Morgan Hill with Ewa Samples Photography.

Since we moved out from San Jose I have not had the chance, or actually put any serious effort into exploring Morgan Hill, our new home. I’ve meant to go here and there. I made several mental notes to visit particular places which I’ve noticed because I’ve driven by them many times. However there are always new books to be read, and thousand of photos to be looked through and edit for my clients. (Remember it’s Christmas Cards Season… 😉 ) – and life gets crazy for photographers. There are new projects to be planned, and there are days to just feel like you don’t want to do anything else but stuff your face with ice cream. You know how that goes. And there are days when you go out to location scout and you don’t take your camera with you. For unknown to yourself reasons.

exploring morgan hill with ewa samples

Let me tell you, Morgan Hill is totally different from San Jose, Cupertino, Palo Alto, or any other city located in Silicon Valley. There is so many gorgeous places to shoot at just minutes from me. And I’m not talking about kids park with nice green grass, and some trees in the background. I’m talking about lush green fields, Natural Preserves, and creeks. It’s hard to believe I haven’t done anything about it. One place is like… well, outside the window. The other (which I haven’t visited yet), is 5 minuets of WALKING from where we live.

Morgan Hill is simply beautiful. It is my kind of place, being honest with you. With so many fields, farms, vineyards, orchards, and gorgeous natural preserves, it’s my heaven. Especially the part when it says “farms”. I dream about having one, someday. With horses, and chickens, and dozens of dogs, or/and pigs. Oh yeah!

Now I just feel like I’m on the mission to convince all my old and new clients who in most part come from San Jose, Palo Alto and Redwood City area, to start coming to Morgan Hill for their sessions with me.

This series, “Exploring Morgan Hill” is a part of this mission 🙂 Maybe if I show you all how gorgeous this place is, you’ll not hesitate a minute to drive the extra 20 minutes for your session with me.

And who knows, you might fall in love with it just like I did.

This album below contains two days and two locations. One is the one in front of our window, and the other is Coyote Creek Lake. Enjoy. And let me know if you have any favorite locations around Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

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Why you shouldn’t skip Maternity Portraits Session

Doing Maternity Portraits Session might not seem like the best idea when you don’t feel like doing anything else but munch on pickles and chocolate…

However… I’ve spoke and worked with so many mamas, sad and disappointed, because of this one decision. Especially new mamas. The changes that happen in a woman’s body during her pregnancy are not always the most pleasurable. Lets admit that. Every woman is different and each of us goes through and experience pregnancy differently.

maternity portraits

However… These changes, later in woman’s life will be the most precious discussion starters with the little ones. I’ve experienced that first handed.

I used to have few of my pregnancy pictures showcased on our walls. My kids would talk about them all the time. The dissuasions they were having were simply priceless.

It’s also so wonderful to be able to look back at those days. To look back through beautiful photographs of your growing family. Pregnancy is a big part in this process, and you really shouldn’t skip documenting it.

Find the right photographer. There is plenty of fish in the sea these days. You can find someone whose style you truly like and with whom you’d like to work on documenting those precious fleeting moments. Don’t pick your husband. PLEASE! Don’t say, you can do your own documenting because it’s really not the same.

Treat yourself to something special, because you deserve it. Within a few months your life will turn upside down, and you think you feel tired now… Wait… Just wait till the lil one gets here. You think, you don’t look (and feel) beautiful enough while being pregnant… Wait… Just wait till you barely have the time to get in the shower ONCE A WEEK.

Because of the different experiences in how we go through our pregnancies, I would highly recommend not to wait till the very end to create your maternity portraits. I know, that often women are advised to wait till their last 2 months to do the session because of the very big belly and dramatic look it helps to create.

However, if you see your belly growing enough for being noticeable pregnant, go for it right then…  If your pregnancy is especially difficult and uncomfortable do it as soon as you can, too. Especially if you’re on the edge of not being sure about the whole thing. In my case, the last two months of my both pregnancies I wanted nothing but pickles washed down with Sprite, fuzzy warm socks on my feet and a good tv show. I looked nothing like this gorgeous mama I worked with two months ago, but I was lucky enough to have a photographer friend who took some wonderful images of my pregnant self, and I cherish those pictures to these days.

Now off I go to finish working on this gorgeous family’s newborn video, and a new post from their newborn session. And it’s all just precious!!!

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Halloween Portrait Play Date

The last play date we had – The Halloween Portrait Play Date in Saratoga – was a great success. I’m so happy I’d decided to do it. I’ve connected with so many great families who haven’t worked with me before.

Thank you so much to all who even despite the rain came to have some pre-Halloween fun with me.

Halloween Portrait Play Date

I decided to organize the Halloween Portrait Play Date because so often, too often, I see parents sharing photographs of their kids having fun in their Halloween costumes, but what’s always missing are the parents. Even if the parents wear costumes during Halloween, the pictures of the whole family I keep seeing are quick snapshots of before or after trick-or-treating.

I know how important and fun for kids is Halloween. They get so excited. They wish they could wear their costumes day after day for weeks. At least my kids do that (or wish to do that). Why not to make it a fun halloween session without being stressed about everything (like most parents do when it comes to professional sessions).

All that stress is going away during the play date. It’s fun, relaxed, and quick 😉

During the Halloween Play Date nobody expected anybody to look fabulous and the kids could play, run and scream, and pretend they are pirates and fairies… And during all off that all the participants had their family portraits done! This is how our Halloween Portrait Play Date looked like and felt like. Fun and relaxed with no pressure on anybody.

This was also a great introduction for many of the families who attended to get the feeling how working with me looks. And I hope they all had fun.

See you at our next portrait play date. However as soon as the photography craziness stops after the Christmas I’ll get back to organizing them again. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter and/or to the events on Facebook.

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Golden Hour Maternity Session San Jose

Before we started this session, I was able to spent a wonderful time watching deer. Deer everywhere. And as the sun was setting down, lower and lower, I was getting happier and happier. Weird right? But I’ll explain.

That probably wasn’t the feeling my clients had. Considering they were driving from Redwood City in the very worst traffic hours. They were simply running late. The sun was getting pretty low, and we were on the phone once, and then twice.

Wouldn’t you be getting anxious if you were in their shoes? Now, as everybody in photography business know, golden hour is the time when the sun is super easy to work with. Also, with that light, you can create beautiful warm pictures everybody loves so much, without much effort 😉 The thing with me is, that I rarely care about it. Probably too little.

Normally, I schedule my sessions with enough time for being late… Ups… now that I said it out loud, I hope you guys won’t start coming later and later to my sessions… then we will be in trouble. 😉

So, don’t stress if you’re running late to a session with me. Probably you still have plenty of time. It’s a little different if you’re a participant in my mini-sessions; If you 15 minutes late, then you’re probably 20 minutes too late.

I’m normally done with my sessions before the sunset really starts, so even if I try to stretch the time to get the golden hour light, the kids, well, parents mostly, are ready to go home and put the kids to their well deserve nigh-nigh, while they can enjoy even more deserved glass of wine.

golden hour maternity session san jose ewa samples photography-21

This time, not only I was able to do the entire session during the golden hour, but I also had the time to shoot a short movie. That makes me super happy, as sometimes my sessions get so crazy busy and fast, that I don’t have the time to switch from pictures to movie mode…  During this session, I felt like the time stopped for us. I was loving it!!!

Enjoy the movie, guys, and the photographs.

 

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San Jose Portrait Mini-Session and the most gorgeous light!

This San Jose Portrait Mini-Session had the most gorgeous light!

but that’s not enough. That is never enough.

The light is quite a big part of a successful session. However, if the people I work with come with the open and relaxed attitude that moves the light to a second place. Also, I would highly recommend for everybody to find a photographer you like and like to work with and stick with her (or him). Because the more comfortable you get during the session the more wonderful photographs you’ll be able to create. On both sides, as a photographer and as a client 🙂

Since I started my business, C. and her family has been with me. Every single year we would meet during our sessions and chat about photography, and our kids. Every single time, we meet, I’m like “look at your Little Ones, they are getting so big”, and she responds: “look at yours! I’ve watched them grow through all the pictures on FB”. I always get crazy over her hair: “OMG, your hair is just amazing”, and she is, “well, look at your daughter hair, JUST WOW”. And we go on and on the entire session 😉

San Jose Portrait Mini-Session

C. is alway full of praises about my older daughter’s hair, however, look at what she has herself!!! It’s just breathtaking. She comes to the session in a bun, and I always say, “please let the hair down!!!” From each session with her I come home with bunch of new shots I immediately add to my portfolio, and to the folder with pictures to use on my new business cards.

Our last session, could be probably done in 10 minutes, but we spent most of the time chatting about photography while the kids played. She finally got to meet my Little Ones in person, and the kids immediately made friends. This was the cutest thing ever.

Can wait for our next session in a month or so… 🙂

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Fall Mini-Session Stanford San Jose

Fall Mini-Session Stanford San Jose

Fall is the one of the most busy seasons for photographers. This is the time when most people are waking up from the state of not thinking about professional sessions, and are switching to the alarm mode and are frantically seeking for the photographer who would do their family photos for Christmas cards.

The more you wait with looking and booking your photographer, the less likely you’ll get the spot or the photographer you want. As of today I’m booking October sessions already, and I’m highly recommending you should be looking into booking your session TODAY!

Fall Mini-Session Stanford San Jose California

This year I’ll be offering Fall mini-sessions during one weekend in November. I know, I know. November is far away. However, if you take care of it today, you’ll be done and will be able to relax. Also, only in few weeks during November this place is so beautiful that the whole wait is seriously worth it! 

The spots for Fall Minis are almost full. Grab you spot while it still available.

Fall Mini-Session Stanford San Jose

Share the offer with a friend (or two) and get additional credit toward this offer. Sign up today:

 

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Portrait Playdate with San Jose Family Portrait Photographer – Event

You are invited to join Portrait Playdate with San Jose Family Portrait | Maternity | Breastfeeding | Headshot photographer, Ewa Samples. The even is happening in Saratoga, California in a very quiet park. The park has playground structures, a creek and a meadow. Plenty of room for relaxed socializing and pictures taking. 🙂

portrait playdate with San Jose Family Portrait Photographer

Stop by Wildwood Park in Saratoga on Thursday, September 8th and enjoy mommy and me time in great company. During this playdate moms will have a chance to socialize. Kids will play and entertain themselves (and us). We will tire them out, so they will be definitely ready for a long and well deserved nap.

What’s most important, we will CREATE WONDERFUL MEMORIES for all the participants to cherish forever. 

 portrait playdate with San Jose Family Portrait Photographer

In very relaxed and laid back atmosphere moms won’t even realize they are having a professional session done.

Portrait Playdate with Ewa Samples Photography is a perfect way to socialize, relax, make new friends, and maybe business connections while having a professional portraits done.

To join the playdate, please RSVP to the Facebook event, so I know how many people are coming. While you there, sign up for Ewa Samples Events to be notified about upcoming playdates and other fun events. To get the feel about the portrait playdate watch a sneak-peek from our last event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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if you’d like to chat about your session, feel free to email me: ewasamples(at)gmail.com  also, to stay on top of all kinds of specials as well as photography tips subscribe to my newsletter :