Nature Photography

Pumpkin Stock Images Bundle || San Jose Photographer


Fall is here. OCTOBER is here. And everything pumpkin is here. As a business owner, I know how important the visual part for the online presence is for many solopreneurs and bloggers. I also know what a pain in the butt it is to research the right images for promotions, specials, gift cards, blog posts, etc.

With that in mind, I have created a package of 32 high-resolution digital images of all sorts of pumpkiness… plus a flower or two.

Pumpkin Stock Images Bundle

(click on the image to get to the shop)

Pumpkin Stock Images _ Ewa Samples Photography

These can be used for marketing any October specials, events, used in blog posts, and many other forms.

They will go well with any Fall post for Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.

Great for greeting and “thank you” cards for clients, friends, and family.

Pumpkin-up October’s digital and/or printed flyers. Decorate your website with oh-so-orangeness…

The sky is the limit…

Meantime, feel free to sing up for my upcoming events, specials, or freebies throuh my email list. Some of them do not go public and I can assure you, they are awesome. Just like my subscribers. 🙂 


When is it too late to book your Fall Photo Session?

Each year, I get families at the end of October or even in November frantically trying to book a fall photo session. (I know almost every photographer experiences that during the Fall season).

So this whole week what I’ve been doing with my blog posts is to remind you to schedule your Fall session TODAY! Don’t wait till November! PLEASE! Often October is the last call to do so! If not booking, start your researching TODAY!

I don’t have to be your photographer. I’m not writing this post (or any of the previous ones) to convince you to buy my services, although I wouldn’t mind that (wink, wink). I write it to let you know that to research a good photographer takes time. To find the one that matches your style, and budget takes effort.

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Waiting until the very last moment is not the best decision. What you might find are photographers who might not be the best fit for you and your family.

When you leave it until later, you might have to miss the opportunity to update your family portraits all together, or you will have to go with a photographer who has some spots available but is not who you would really want to work with (because the one you would want to work with is totally booked already).

Too late for Fall Photo Session?

Fall photo sessions are very popular because many people like to have current images of their family for Holiday Cards. However, I always say: why wait? Do it in May. Hell, do it in April when everything is blooming and use those images for your cards. Nobody’s going to care. Actually, your card will stand out with family portraits done on the beach or in blooming orchards…

Don’t want to frantically look for a new photographer each year? Well, grab this gift from me, and stay tuned for all my minis, specials, and other fun family session ideas I share with my subscribers. 


Hiking with kids in 13 easy steps. Morgan Hill & San Jose Family Photographer

I love hiking with kids. My kids, especially. I say “my kids, especially”, because with my kids I am not afraid of pushing their limits. If you’re one of those parents who like to challenge your kids, well, let’s get together for a hike 😂😋

hiking with kids, Morgan Hill family photographer, ewa samples photography

Most people have something they are very passionate about.

  • Something they keep doing even when the kids come along, and this particular activity gets pretty challenging.
  • Something they continue doing when the kids grow up and leave the house.
  • Something they want to continue doing as long as they are able to.
  • Something they wish to teach their kids to enjoy as much as they do.

I have photography, crocheting, music AND hiking. 

I EDIT PICTURES when I’m feeling blue. It works like a prozac. Like a happy pill. 

I CROCHET to get to a magic world of meditation. Sometimes it feels if I crocheted fast enough I would turn Vic McQueen. 

I listen to MUSIC when there’s a particular kind of buzz in my head. I connect with my kids through music. We sing. We dance like nobody is watching. 

Once my husband said, it is hard to talk while you HIKE. And my respond was: EXACTLY! That’s why I love hikes. 

I took my kids hiking before they could pronounce the word “hike”. We started from such places as Almaden Quicksilver County Park and Stevens Creek County Park (more great locations in the free pdf provided at the end of the post).

The hikes were not hard. Slow walks half a mile one way and half a mile back. Most of the time with many breaks for snacks and TONS, and TONS of pictures. Because in reality I was just location scouting for my sessions.

On some occasions somebody else was hired as a lama:

Old picture pulled out from my very old blog called “Mom Photographer”


So, first of all, the hike, stunning and beautiful, is not hard. If you’re afraid of sweating, well, that’s a different story. Haha. We take it easy. However I know my kids’ strengths. I know how much I can push them before it’s just too much.

Hiking with kids is tricky but it shouldn’t stop anybody from trying. Kids are curious. Kids are strong. Kids will follow you if you lead them the right way.

Make if fun and adventurous.

Take plenty of breaks.

Slice the entire hike into smaller chunks / destinations. 

IT CAN’T BE BORING for them. It CAN’T BE TOO HARD. Especially in the beginning.

For example, during our first hike  in Pinnacles we learned that after the Bear Gulch Cave (our destination) there is a Bear Gulch Reservoir. We didn’t go there on our first trip. Knowing how great my girls did on the first hike, I decided to push them a little more and take them to the Reservoir during our second hike.

And I wasn’t mistaken assuming they will LOVE IT! They did!

They couldn’t wait for our next hike, which we did, of course. During this hike we did close to 6 miles and there were moments where they were loosing the joy of it. Every turn we made they would ask if we’re “almost there“. And we were almost there, of course, for the entire last 2 miles. Haha!

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories. Even Better lets explore Pinnacles National Park together!

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!

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Discovering Pinnacles National Park. San Jose Family Photographer

I have to tell you that this Summer, as a family, we did a lot of “1st time”s together. Like our road trip to Colorado. 1st time swimming in the deep end of the pool with no vests on. Cooking the whole meal without adult’s help. Visiting Pinnacles National Park.  The list can go on, and on, but for right now, I’ll focus on the trip to Pinnacles.

Seriously, I had no idea this place is so close, and SO BEAUTIFUL. With each trip we’ve been discovering more and more of its beauty. And we will be back during different seasons, that’s for sure. This time of the year the park gets HOT. Our hikes are early in the morning or close to sunset.


family trip to Pinnacles National Park, Ewa Samples Photography

So far we’ve been there 3 times. (and getting close to 4). All visits within one week.

The first time we went up there was 9pm to watch starts and planets through telescopes set up for their Star Party.

We came back the next day for a hike. The hike took us to the Bear Gulch Cave, and the kids loved it. Pictures below shows a little of the whole story. On that day, the girls returned their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their Junior Ranger Badges. During the entire hike they mostly talked about getting the badges, and they were excited for doing many of the activities included in the workbook. They finished some of the activities on the trail, as well as later, after we sat to have a picnic.

And after all I got to drink an iced coffee served in a beer glass. Because why not.

Second time we visited Pinnacles National Park was 2 days ago. I’ll be writing about that adventure in another post. It was just me and the girls and late afternoon sun heading to a sunset. Such an amazing hike. We made it past the Bear Gulch Cave and went higher to the Reservoir and to then back. I have to admit it was a hell of a hike but we all made it just fine. Ready for a hike number 3!

Also, I have the feeling that this is not (and never has been) the “bummer summer” our soon-to-be 2nd grader imagined.

Read more about my mission to make her Summer not so bummer:

  1. Mud Run
  2. It’s fun to be bored

How is your summer break going?

If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories. Even Better lets explore Pinnacles National Park together!

Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!


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Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

Before I go into any further details of our Midpines Family Camping Trip (second camping trip this year), I have to admit, the further away from tourists, the better. Period. You want to know why… Take this for example…

In this one hour of sitting in the Yosemite Falls traffic I had witnessed so much of human nastiness, I was shocked.

I’m not antisocial, I just like to enjoy my space and my peace when I want it, and Yosemite Falls are the last place to get it. Well, probably if you go there in December you’ll get it. But you’ll also freeze your butt off.

I know you can get it in Yosemite. Long time ago, I had visited this place with friends and we even went skinny dipping in a freezing cold lake with not a soul around. There are places out there that you can get some privacy and enjoy the beauty of this place in peace.

Our camping trailer is one of these that needs to be set up first before we can use it, and by “set up” I mean “a lot of arguing about what to put where and why, and even more whispered cursing, everybody around you hear, anyway”. This kind of setting up where at some point you comfortably sit at a safe distance and just watch while the other half work in peace. We were the ones that arrive to a camping site at 11pm and spent an hour or so making all kinds of noises, and shushing each other. Fun stuff. 😉

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The camp site was super kid friendly. We woke up to a view of a playground, which we didn’t see the night before.

Our girls just loved it. They made all kinds of friends and cried a river when it came to packing and leaving because of the new friendships they’d made.

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mariposa california

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After we got dirty and muddy first thing in the morning, we headed to Mariposa to meet with grandparents, and from there take a short road trip to Yosemite Falls. We walked around a little the “downtown”, which seemed very cute and interesting. I wish we had more time to spend there and to visit all the old style buildings and antique stores.

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visiting mariposa california

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This place was empty and peaceful compared to Yosemite! But we had other things planned, so we couldn’t really stay any longer than we already did.

At the end we also witnessed some police work, 3 cars pulled up to a museum we were at to a call to someone locking themselves out. Looked like busy day in Mariposa. 🙂

Living for a while in Fresno, well, seeing three sheriff’s department cars pulling to the parking I was expecting something totally different.

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On the way to Yosemite Falls we even spotted the famous Mystery Spot sticker. I think, it’s pretty funny. Those are all over the Bay Area, and now I saw one in Yosemite!

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The scenery along the way was amazing. At this time of the year, the hills bloom with orange poppies, and along the road there are beautiful purple trees. If we were not following the grandparents I would definitely had requested more stops to enjoy them, as well as to try shove my kids into them somehow. 🙂

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yosemite falls

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yosemite falls

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Also, right now the water flows there like crazy. You can spot a waterfall almost on every mountain. The mountains glow in the sun with the reflecting water that flows down. Kids were also excited to see the snow. It was high on the mountains, so they didn’t get to touch it.

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The route to get to Yosemite Falls is very scenic. Well worth the drive, and the car sickness. Although I would think twice about the Yosemite Falls itself. The place is more crowded then Campbell’s Farmers Market on Saturday. We had spent more then an hour in traffic and we got nowhere close to the parking spots. It is something worth doing once in your life, but in my opinion after that there is no point of coming back

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Seeing waterfall for the first time:

Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

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I would recommend to take as many pictures as you can during your first visit there, and from there run as fast and as far as you can.

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Midpines Yosemite Falls Family Camping Trip

This is exactly what we did. As soon as we were able, we came back to our camping site, and spent the rest of the day hanging out there.

The next morning, we had roasted marshmallows smothered in chocolate pudding for breakfast. You’ve never tried it? Well, you don’t know what you’re missing. 😉

camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

I added an extra twist of roosting the marshmallows with grapes. Delicious.

camping at yosemite falls

and some randomness:

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camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

camping at yosemite

For all interested, we camped at Yosemite West / Mariposa KOA – great place for families with kids, and very close to Mariposa downtown. Both the camp and the town seems very friendly and helpful.

Husband accidentally locked us out of the camping trailer by loosing the key, and the people that run this place were really helpful. They seemed very concerned about us and helped us made all the necessary calls to get some people to our camp site to open our trailer. Luckily, after more then half of the day, we found the darn keys. We found them where they were left in the first place.

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We’re already planning our next trip. Probably somewhere close to Redding. Will see.

Have a wonderful week!!! And feel free to share your family adventures with me. I’d love to hear them.

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Spring Mini-Session San Jose Cupertino

Spring Mini-Session in San Jose and Cupertino area sounds very intriquing. I’m already making a list of places I want to go to, and shoot like RIGHT NOW! Well, maybe not right now, as it’s raining. But tomorrow!!! Definitely! Already charging my batteries…

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There is so much beautiful things blooming, the world is so green… Gosh, I’ve been locked in my garage studio for way too long. I have emerged very recently to notice how the world around my has changed… And now I’m going crazy. I’ve already scheduled to sessions for this week, and I want more!!!

I could not resist of some “mommy and me” pictures. The kids grow so fast, and their attitude towards being hugged, giving hugs and being in front of the camera changes a lot. It’s getting harder and harder to get the real emotions from them. They used to not even notice the camera, these days, I can see their behavior changing as soon as I point the camera at them. It’s cute, but it’s different. So, I jump in front of the camera with them every chance I get. Because someday, that also might change…

I encourage you to do the same! Those years fly by so fast, and you don’t want to miss them. And at some point of your life photographs will be the only things to remind you and your Little Ones of the beautiful past you shared.

Click here for more details on Spring Minis

So, I’m thinking, short and sweet. With flowers, bubbles, and fabric tents… Simply shot me an email if you’re interested. Even better sign up to my newsletter to never miss any special offers from me.
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if you’d like to chat about your session, feel free to email to ewasamples(at)  also, to stay on top of all kinds of specials as well as photography tips subscribe to my newsletter :

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February Family Camping, Porterville

I left for the camping trip not really in a mood for much more then to throw my own computer into a wall, and then do the same thing with my phone, and after that a few more things could follow. The technology is good, but sometimes I can’t deal with it, especially in moments when all the gadgets stop working, AT THE SAME TIME.

Anyway, we left, and we got to the camping ground in Porterville, around 3am. In the deep darkness we set up the trailer and went to sleep. Got very cold that night, but we survived, well, barely.

Got up to the sound of singing birds and people taking. It was 7am. When I opened one side of our “bed” I couldn’t believe my eyes. The view was spectacular, especially after not really knowing at 3am how the surrounding looks like.

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We all got up and went to get breakfast and do some basic shopping for food and other supplies we didn’t have and couldn’t get through without, like a heater. Yeah, that’s right. We didn’t have one.

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For the whole two days I did not hear once about adults or kids being bored. We explored, got stuck in mud and danced in fields of mustard flowers. However the most funny thing was, while being in a place that’s a “dream come true” to a photographer, I was not able to incorporate or make my kids interested in doing much in those fields.

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The mud and mountains made out of rocks was something they couldn’t stop playing with. Flowers were out of question. They were ok for one quick picture, and then it was “mission mud”. “mission get dirty”, “mission fall down”, “mission climb up”, etc. All my tricks to make them cooperate failed, and I simply let it go after a while. There was a small heart ache while doing so, but sometimes it’s just better to let it go. I can feel, there will be more mustard fields in my future, and for those moments I’ll be prepared better.

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I think, I never before had photographed a kettle so many times in one day. I took tens and tens of pictures of this darn thing. It was looking so pretty. And the light was so playful on it. It was like a magnet to my eyes, and to my camera. I won’t post all of them here, but just a few.

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We also attended a field trial, and I was able to take some great photographs for their community. I think that was pretty neat.

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Our dinner was pretty simple, yet delicious!

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Yeah, you got me, I like mustard!

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The kids’ and mine fist roasted marshmallow

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February Family Camping, Porterville

February Family Camping, Porterville

February Family Camping in Porterville

February Family Camping in Porterville

During this trip the kids, as well as myself had our first ever roasted marshmallows. And as much as I don’t want to admit, they were pretty darn delicious!


Did you have any interesting adventures this past weekend, or maybe planning something for the upcoming one? Feel free to share. 

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Don’t be a copycat! BE YOU!

I’m so excited for February. Starting tomorrow, my website as well as Facebook page will be filled up with YELLOW. Well, I’ll try to  mix it up with new recipes for Cinnamon Rolls, just to add some variety 😉

Yesterday, my older daughter had Day off school so we went around the corner to our local orchards to play, dance, catch ladybugs and what’s most important for this mama, test and practice shooting with my new lens.

This vintage, Russian beauty was made in 70ties, and it’s quite the weight. I’m still deciding if I like it better then the 58mm. There are pros and cons to both.

Both lenses are the same brand, and are not in production anymore. Also, they are strictly manual. To make them work on my DSLR I have to work with adapters. The 58mm looses its ability to focus on infinity when the adapter is used, so I have to use a different adapter to be able to take pictures of a subject that’s more then 6 or 7 feet away from me. While I do so, the lens stops producing the amazing bokeh I love it for, essentially. So, the only option for me is to work it with the first adapter and take close up portraits only (here is a session I did using that lens). Which is fine with me, because right now I have the 85mm and this beauty can work from far away. The downsize of it, well, it’s pretty heavy, and while trying to manually focus on dancing kids, and at the same time having to hold the weight of my camera + this lens, ugh… As they say, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL.


For me those lenses are one of the most amazing lenses ever produced. I’m on a hunt for 2 more, different brands, but they can wait. These days I’m patiently waiting for a package containing something “oh and ah”, also from Ukraine.

Most of the photographs presented in this post are barely edited. I’m not kidding. A few are straight from the camera, with the watermark added on them, only.

They were shot at 1.5 or 2 aperture, so pretty wide open, in full blast sun. I think, this lens is a piece of art, and I can honestly admit, that Russians knew what they are doing while creating those lenses.

Mustard Fields in San Jose

Mustard Fields in San Jose

Mustard Fields in San Jose






While I’m pretty comfortable with shooting the 58mm, I still need to figure out the 85mm. I’m also not thrilled with the lens flare this lens produces. The 58mm is magical: when you turn it into the sun, it make the most beautiful and magical flare. The picture below is an example. The flare here is small, but still, beautiful.


The 85mm takes more adjusting to make the flare nice, and require more gymnastics from the person behind the camera. And still, most of the time, the picture is not usable without a major PS editing skills. Which in my dictionary means “you are going to the trash, bye bye”.




Most of the time it makes a big orange/red spot on the picture, pretty hard not to notice. Especially if it’s in the middle of the subject’s head.

shooting with helios

Anyway, my message to everybody is to do what their little hearts desire instead doing what everybody else is doing. While other people run for their dear life to produce the most sharp and clear pictures using the most newer cameras and lenses, I simply go the other way. I went back to year 2000, and connected with a lens that I loved dearly when I was in high school and college. Discovering that I can use it on my DSLR was like a rebirth of Pheonix. Just watch my rise! 😉 LOL







Don't be a copycat! BE YOU!

Don't be a copycat! BE YOU!

There is no right or wrong way to do things. Especially in photography. So many people simply forget that photography could (SHOULD) be an art. While there is so much anger and competition, and frustration among photographers, we can make a conscious decision to not be a part of it.

Photography used to be about HOW THE PHOTOGRAPHER SEE the world. Today, it has change into, HOW ONE PHOTOGRAPHER SEE THE WORLD, and the rest follow, with the same style of editing, the same equipment, the same ideas for clients wardrobe and posing…

Don’t be a Copycat. Be YOU!


P.S Do you have any unique things you like to do or use in life?

Leave a comment or like my page on Facebook. 

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Dear Dandelion: I wish to have all the things I want to have {Lifestyle Kids Photographer, San Jose, CA}

Last Saturday I took my girls to the park for lunch. I didn’t plan anything, just packed my book and some food. We were gone for 4 hours.

During that time I’ve learned that my kids know about the old “belief” that if you blew off the white fluffy part of a dandelion your wish will be granted. I think they picked almost all the dandelions on that field.

At some point my 5 year old gathered as many dandelions as she could hold and before she blew them off, she said,

I wish to have all the things I want to have,

and after the blowing didn’t work, she simply crush the flowers. Whatever works, right?

They also wished for shooting stars, just so they can have more wishes…



















A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep

Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true

~ Ewa

if you’d like to chat about your session with me, please email to ewasamples(at) 
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I consider the Fall season open !

This past weekend I had a family session in a gorgeous location in Redwood City and we all agreed, THE FALL IS HERE.

With this beautiful throw I consider the Fall season open, and I don’t care what you say 😉


Then this week, I had the duty to walk our daughter to school and those few trips only reassured me about it. I know, I know, you might say that those few leaves on the ground doesn’t make it Fall,


but if you stop for a minute or two you’ll notice that there is more then a few of them laying around. You can actually make a pretty big pile, just like we did today on our way back from walking her big sister to school.






and like yesterday or today we did not have any problems with finding enough leaves to throw them in the air or at me (which was the most fun part of all).







I can smell it, I can feel it, and I can finally wear my poncho without getting all sweaty in it… That’s the sign the Fall is here. Seriously 😉


The only thing I’m missing is the rain.


These are just sprinklers. One can dream, right.

Sprinklers again...

Sprinklers again…

So my advice to you is to whenever you’re out today, stop looking at your phone for few minutes and instead look around you. Let me know if you were able to spot the Fall, like I did (with a big help of my Little One).

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if you’d like to chat about your session with me, please email to ewasamples(at) 
also, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter .

5 steps to take better pictures with your phone

Today I will give you several simple advices on how to produce better photos using your phone only. I am going to give you names of editing apps I’m using and which I think, are one of the best out there (would love to hear more names if you’re using anything else and can recommend it), and will try to give you some ideas about how to take your phone pictures to another level. After reading this post, I hope you will be able to improve your phone photography for whatever purposes you’re using it right now.

For years, I’d dragged my DSLR with me, wherever I went. Shooting ladybugs, sunsets, or my kids and then posting it to any social media was a time consuming process. And I couldn’t do it till I got home, threw it on my computer, edited it. Sometimes it took me up to a week (from the time the photos were taken) to post them online or share with my family overseas. When I got my first iPhone I was as happy as a little kid who got the dream toy.

From that day taking photos of random things, of my entire life and the way I see it has gotten so much easier!

The same day I created Instagram account and started trashing my Facebook friends feed with all kinds of pictures on daily basics, and in real time of the event happening. The coolest thing ever. 😉

I was using Instagram filters on every single picture because I though they are cool and make my photos more artistic, but that didn’t last long, as very quickly I’d realized they are not so cool, and they don’t add any artistic value to my photos 😉 Simple.

So I invested some time into researching good editing apps. The few I’ve found have given me some great tools to boost my creativity.

Having a good phone doesn’t mean that you will be able to take good photos; Like owning a DSLR doesn’t make you a professional photographer. The whole process needs a little more than that. So if you want to get more likes and comments on your Facebook photos or more followers on Instagram, or simply get better photos for your scrapbooking projects, try to implement those easy steps.

Step 1. Know your phone’s camera abilities and options ( AND GIVE THEM A TRY. NOT ONCE OR TWICE, BUT UNTIL YOU GET IT)

For example, for a long time I’d known I had the option to take panoramic photos. I tried it once, and it didn’t work well for me. So I simply didn’t give this option a second chance and did not use it for almost a year, until very recently, when I joined my husband on an ant hunting field trip, and sometime in the middle of it I got soooo bored I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I started taking panoramic photos. AND I LOVED IT!!! This option is so cool, and it can add such an interesting twist to your photos!

I don’t have the option but on most of the newest updates and phone models you can make time laps videos (check some great examples here). If you have it you should definitely check it out.

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As we know, to post to Instagram you need square photos, or additional software that will fit your not square photos into a square without loosing any details from the original photo. Check out my Instagram to see what I’m talking about.

Also remember that there is an option to shot landscape/portrait or square photos on your phone. If you want to post photos straight to Instagram then you have the option to shoot square photos and don’t have to deal with having to adjust the photo in Instagram. I used to do that for a long time. I simply was taking a square photos, and it made my Instagramming experience more pleasurable, faster and less frustrating.

Another very handy thing is to know that by tapping the screen with your finger during taking photos will automatically adjust the brightness of the photo to the object you’re tapping into. Here are examples:

I tapped on the sky to my daughter’s left, and the camera automatically made the picture dark, adjusting the exposure so the sky is nice and visible.

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The next photo was taken within the same minute, in the same spot, I just tapped on one of my kids. Both photos are not edited in any other way. They are straight from my phone.

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The first method, tapping on a sky or on any very bright space in the picture allows you to take silhouettes. It’s a good trick to know.

Step 2. Invest (time and few cents), into good editing apps

Simply forget about Instagram filters or any filters in that matter. Try to implement your own style into each photo you take by editing them yourself, the way you want them to look. Take control over the entire creating process. Sometimes it takes some time to figure it out, but all the photo editing apps are super easy and intuitive to use. Most editing apps come with basic filters (you can always purchase more), and those filters are better from what Instagram offers, but still try to use the manual editing options: brightness, contrast, temperature, sharpness, etc.

After more then a year of using free editing apps and constantly changing them because they didn’t have what I really needed, I finally found what I was looking for:

1. Afterlight – this is the main app I use for all my photos. I got it for $0.99 and it came with a set of frames, basic textures and filters. You can get more options within each set but I really don’t recommend buying more filters. The textures are pretty handy and the frames can add an extra twist to your photos, as well as one of the frames automatically adjust your landscape/portrait/panoramic photo so it fits into a square without having to crop it.

Since I started using Instagram I never really liked the square thing. I tried several apps that would help me to fit my original photo size (or close to the original, as all my photos are cropped to 7×5), into a square. Many of them while having this feature didn’t have all the other options the Afterlight has, and I had to use up to 4 apps to get the final result. How frustrating. Now I use 1 and I’m done 🙂

Here is a screen shot of my Instagram feed in which I use this option on almost every single photo I post.

Instagram Feed

2. Studio Design – this app will take your photos to a different level. It will let you create beautiful designs using your photos and mixing them with interesting and easy to use graphics. You can create something from scratch or simply use templates based on the topics like: #nature, #quotes, #selfie, #summer, #outdoors, and more. You can change the font, you can change the font color or opacity. You can adjust it’s size, add interesting lines, frames, shapes, text… You set your own limits with this app.

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pictures created with studio design

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3. Snapseed – I have it. I rarely use it. I use it so-not-often that when recently asked by a friend who is a photographer herself, if I’ve ever used snapseed, I answered: I have no idea what that is… Funny, HAHA. So, yes, it is a great app that has most of the things Afterlight has. It has more, or I should say different kind/style of textures, and some different editing options. It is not as intuitive to use as the other app, though, and that makes it not as attractive, but it’s free 🙂

Step 3. Learn basic editing (and stop using filters)

Yes, editing phone photos is easy, and it doesn’t require very complicated softwares, years of practicing and learning new techniques, or any complicated knowledge about composition and light. Of course it helps to know something, but in the age of digital photos it’s not a big deal if we take hundreds of photos that suck just to get the one worth sharing. It doesn’t cost you anything, and you can do it anywhere and at anytime.

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Step 4. Don’t stop with the first (and only), picture you take

I am never happy with my first picture I take. I snap one, then I look at it, and then think of a different picture of the same thing, just from a different perspective, using the light in a different way, moving the object in a different position, etc. Try to do the same. Don’t just snap and walk away. Don’t just take blurry photos of your kids and then be unhappy that nobody follows you on Instagram or like your picture on Facebook. Don’t say, you can’t do it or don’t know how to do it, because now you know, so get out there and put all the things you’ve read here into practice.

This is an excellent example of how many photos I took of this ladybug just to post one single photo on Instagram and Facebook. And this is just a very small example of how many pictures I took of her.

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This is the one I decided to go with:

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Flash does bad things to your photos. Forget about it. Turn it off. Turn it off!!! Act like it doesn’t exist. Remember about tapping the screen on your phone in order to adjust the brightness? Well, this simply can do the trick in low light situations. Flash will take the depth from your photo. Turn your low light photos into black and white. They will be beautiful and artistic.

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photos created with Studio_1

Now go out there and try it yourself!



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Hope to hear from you soon, 
Ewa, your Family Photographer

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