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…

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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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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In the future if you’d like to receive special offers straight to your phone before anybody else, feel free to sign to my newsletter, and get the mobile app:

 

 

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 :

 

What is “location scouting” | Gilroy Family Portrait Photographer

Location scouting in Gilroy.

Today, I’d like to chat a little about one very important part of photographer’s life. And that’s locations scouting. I think most people know what that is, but not many people, especially those not related to the photography business don’t realize how important this one part of photographer’s work is. For both,  client and photographer.

location scouting gilroy

You might think, the photographer is that person who comes to your session, clicks the shutter nine hundred times, go home and give you the pictures he/she has taken. And yes, that’s one part of the entire process. However there is a lot of “behind the scene” happening that you might not be aware of.

At the very beginning of my career I’ve driven hundred of miles around San Jose and the surrounding cities in search of interesting places. I didn’t want the regular play grounds, busy with people and unwanted distracting structures in the background. Instead of going to playdates with other moms and kids, I would take my kids for an “adventurous” hikes, and long drives in between, with a camera hung over one  my shoulder and a diaper bag over another.

Week by week, month by month, I’ve built quite the list. Hills, hiking trails, creeks, gardens, fields of flowers, beaches. Sometimes I get an email or Facebook message from friends or my clients with addresses and places “to check out”. I love when that happens.

Whenever a client mentions a place I’ve never been before, for their session, I don’t say YES or NO until I go there and see it myself. I personally don’t like shooting in places I don’t know anything about. Getting to know a location, by visiting it at least once before the session is a tremendous help. It allows me to think ahead about the session, and about how to use the location for interesting poses and angles.

I love taking my kids to new places. They are always my first models. They’ve grown so accustomed to going with me for “location scouting” and for their new adventurous trips. I often scroll through google maps looking for something interesting. Even more often I make notes of intersections next to something that caught my eye. My notes on my phone are full of those addresses. 🙂

These days, I’m scouting for new locations around Morgan Hill and Gilroy. We recently found a beautiful garden close to us.

I invite you to look through the gallery.

Maybe you’ll choose this place for your next session with me. Who knows… Or maybe, you’ll let me know about an interesting place you visited that would be great for a session. If you’d like, we can get together for my next locations scouting and make it a playdate.

Speaking of playdates. Feel free to stop by at our Portrait Playdate.

Portrait Playdate

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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 :

 

Magical Smash Cake Saratoga San Jose

Magical smash cake Saratoga San Jose

SMASH CAKE PHOTOGRAPHER, SARATOGA || SAN JOSE

Prior to this magical smash cake (well, it was magical for me) session we met twice. And I think, because of that experience I’m going to write a piece about the importance of being able to meet your photographer in non stressful environment before your session. But that can wait a few days 🙂

Also I feel like I should call all my session magical, because I feel like after each session I’m richer in something indescribable.

Anyway, during our first meeting little K. gave me a high five. And what I learned after that, she’s never high fived anybody else than her dad before. How cool is that?

The second time we met, it was for a location scouting, at the location covered with geese poo. Yeah. You guessed it right. We didn’t go with that location 😉

When we settled for what seemed to be the best location for what little K.’s mom envisioned, there was still a little of worries about the b-day girls itself. She’s very shy, and her favorite spot is her mom’s lap or her dad’s arms.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m always trying to ensure families that no matter what, we will get beautiful photographs, and the last thing I expect from the kids is to be perfectly perfect. That would be so totally boring. And so totally fake.

During this session, the shyness did not vanished from the b-day girl. While I was calmly moving around Little K. firmly holding on to her mom, the only sound around was the click of my camera. I loved how natural she was looking. She was intrigue with me, she was peeking curiously at my camera, but also she was very glad she can have her parents around, and that she can dive into their arms whenever she felt like.

The most funny part is, she made her mom and dad enjoy the cake with her. BTW, this cake was made by her parents, passionate bakers!

At the end, all covered in the chocolate frosting and water, we made the best use out of the beautiful setting sun.

Please enjoy some of my favorite shots from this session:

 

 

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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 :

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Family Portrait Photographer | The importance to be authentic during a photo session

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Family Portrait Photographer

FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER SAN JOSE

As a family portrait photographer, maybe not a strictly documentary one, but someone who wants to “catch” the real personality of the person in front of the camera, to those who ask: “what should we do during the session”, I always say: “be yourself”. But to be just that it’s good to engage in something that you or your family enjoy doing. The fake smiles are not what I aim for. I want to see your and your kids’ “authentic self”. However, I know how hard that is. And as Amy Cuddy says: “The wish to feel and be seen as “authentic” seems like a basic human need, and maybe that’s why the term “authentic self” is so popular these days. Actually, sometimes I feel it gets thrown around like confetti on New Year’s Eve.” What is your authentic self is probably something you have to answer to yourself. What is it that you need the photographer that you want hire for? I think the answer is more personal, but it’s important to know it before you start looking for a photographer for you and your family.

PORTRAITS AS INDIVIDUAL  AS YOU

One of the books I’m in the mid of reading is, by mentioned before, Amy Cuddy. She talks about what being present means, and how that can help us to overcome the biggest challenges while being our boldest selves, and while staying true to our authentic selves. I know, so many of my clients can totally relate to what she says about being so stressed in certain situation that we loose ourselves completely; we don’t know what to say, and how to act – we “simultaneously analyzing what we think others think of us, what we said a minute earlier, and what we think they will think of us after we leave, all while frantically trying to adjust what we’re saying and doing to create the impression we think they want to see.” After that we spent days and days rewinding that situation and beating ourselves for not doing this or not saying that, because we were paralyzed with fear, stress, judgmental thoughts.

Where do I go with this, you might ask. Well, I know how it feels to have a camera pointed at you, when you don’t have much of the experience with that. Not only you put yourself under the pressure to look your best, but also, for you think your whole family have to behave “properly”. You think, everybody needs to be happy, and smiling, and it a good mood, and ready to enjoy this time in front of the camera. Which in my opinion is not the point. Really. If you’re working with a photographer you’ve never met before, it adds another level of stress. She/he is a stranger to you and your family, and you want to make the best impression, while not really knowing what she or he might think about your ideas, or the way you or your kids (which is often the case!), act.

I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT! Really. I have two kids, two dogs, and husband who does whatever he wants (well, he gets his share of my thoughts about that later, but he doesn’t even care about that). Well, behaving is last thing I expect to see during my sessions. I see my clients as individuals who are all different, and who have their own personalities and style and ideas, and thoughts, and who not necessarily enjoy having to put the fake smiles on. In my opinion when I (and the parents) stop preaching, conducting, interrupting and start observing and being present in what’s happening during the session, the MAGIC HAPPENS.

I think, the best example of it all are children. They are present in any given moment to the fullest. They don’t care about judgment, and they don’t fear it.

All of that came to me while watching the sun setting. I asked my daughter to dance for me. And she did, here is her sunset dance.

For those 5 minutes she was totally present in her task. She heard her own music, and you could see how much she enjoyed the wind in her hair and on her face.

And while sometimes I don’t have the words to describe what I feel, the one thing is certain: when I hold a camera there is nothing else in the world – just me and my subject. There is no judgment, nothing else matters but the person (or the family) in front of the camera, and their story.

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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 :

 

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