Self-Portrait

Yellow Flowers Mini Sessions

Family Picture with a springer spaniel

A few weeks ago I set a new picture as my desktop background. A picture very special to my heart. My 3 girls and I – my daughters and my old lady Di (it’s the picture you see above). On the day I took it we already knew we have only a few days left with the old lady and my heart was already broken. She was my everything. My best friend. My companion and the only baby sitter of my kids I ever had.

On that day I put my nice shoes on and we went to the park to celebrate. Celebrate us and our time together. My sweet, old lady is gone and has been for many years now, but she will be in my heart for a lifetime.

I love looking at all the memories we made together. All the moments captured forever.

11 months ago I decided to add another four-legged family member because one heartbreak is not enough, I guess. Rambunctious Oreo. He even has his own Instagram, btw.

This past weekend I made an extra effort to celebrate him and my girls. Us together. Our time, the way we play. The way we hug. The way we love each other.

I know, someday these moments will bring tears to my eyes, just like all the memories of Lady Di. But that’s how it all goes.

So, now is your turn to make memories of the special hugs and kisses and playful moments engraved in your heart forever. The mustard flowers are popping up and it’s the perfect time to celebrate.

Let’s celebrate in joyful YELLOW FLOWERS that are popping out already!

Yellow Flowers Mini Sessions Mustard Flowers San Jose Photographer

 

Celebrate whatever you want.
Celebrate Yourself.
Celebrate Your family.
Celebrate Your best friend: A human, a dog or a guinea pig.

Just celebrate!

Because the perfect time is now. 

In the past, I had clients celebrating Breastfeeding moments perfectly hidden in the tall flowers or proudly standing in the joyful yellows!

I had pregnant mamas and a lot of families just having fun!

And this year, it’s your turn!

The fields don’t last long so book your session ASAP! 

 

Ewa

 

Basic yoga stretching to wake you up!

First note before you go any further: the basic yoga stretching short video below is not a tutorial. I do not teach yoga. I’m mostly self-taughed. I’ve been practicing yoga as my main exercising routine since I was in my early 20ties. I have learned most of what I know and can do from books, and basic yoga classes.

basic yoga stretching

This stretching routine has been a base for my daily exercising for years. Sometimes I add more poses to it, or stay in the positions for longer to build strength. Sometimes I just want a quick stretch to wake up and be ready to tackle what the day has ready for me.

Yoga has been a huge part of my life. And I’m not sure why I didn’t mention yoga in my previous post. But because I didn’t, now is the perfect time to make up for it.

I know I’m not perfect in it. It doesn’t matter, though. The beauty in yoga is that it grows with you, and it adjusts to your level of flexibility and strengths.

First of all, I think (and it’s really only my opinion), yoga had saved my life. (bicycle accident with many, many cracked vertebrae).

Then,

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Now, yoga is my first resource I go to when my body and my mind is feeling bleh…

I also do this basic yoga stretch when my back is feeling sore from hours of sitting in front of the computer. As much as I love editing pictures, my back really dislikes it. Especially while having some issues from the past.

This basic yoga stretching routine is easy to adjust to your own skills and the level of your flexibility. Believe me when I tell you that years and years ago I was not able to stretch to the level I can today. It takes time and practice.

How about you?

let me photograph your passion

 

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Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe. For busy moms (and dads)

Today, a little not portrait related post. I’d say, it’s going to be more delicious then normal. I’m going to share with you my favorire homemade garlic bread recipe!

So,
How have you been? I hope not as busy as me. However busy is good, in some ways.
Busy in business is good, right?
Busy vacationing is also good, I think.

How about busy in the kitchen, while being busy with kids, while being also busy with some four leg companions, and then being busy having to keep it all together (because there is nobody out there to help you).

I have this suspicion you know what I’m talking about.

Even while that busy, and not wanting to have anything to do with the kitchen part of your house, you can still make this delish thing:

Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe _ ewa samples photography
Those are the days, or weeks when you look like this, every time you try to go for a walk. (this is a photo from my self-portrait project taken 4 years ago).

😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️😂⬇️

ewa samples photography, self portrait project

I was the brave one, always trying to do as much as I could at once!!! Not always succeeding, like with the walks. They would always end before they even started.

ewa samples photography, self-portrait project

Luckily, my kids don’t need any leashes these days. But my dogs still do. All 3 of them.

So, this past week, my husband was gone. The whole week. He’s been gone quite a bit this year.

So, while running a business, and trying to still cook homemade dinners (well, some kind of meal whenever I find the time for it), while experimenting with different approaches to eating is challenging.

For example, I tried the zero sugar diet. And the time-restricted eating. Thanks to a good frined, I also brew my own Kombucha!

I think, this whole “sugar thing” is some kind of joke. I’ll share my experience with you in the future, however, I’d like to hear your thoughts on that if you have something to say!

The time restricting eating is so funny. At least in my case, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, too.

Anywho…, going back to my husband being gone, I’ve mastered some simple recipes that all of us like. I have to admit, we often have banana pancakes for dinner, or store bought cinnamon rolls. The majority of the time we have homemade and super quick to make, so-called by my kids, “milk soup”. It’s an oatmeal, really. With a lot of cinnamon and turbinado-coconut sugar mix.

This past week, my kids were gone playing almost the whole day. Coming back for a snack or two. Bringing with them a bunch of friends. And when you have to feed a bunch, you go for the easy fix. In my case, store bought cinnamon rolls. I go with these guys, becayse they do not have any corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in them. Just good old sugar! (well, not really, but still better then most of what you can find in the stores).

 

Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

 

 

But today, I’d like to give you homemade garlic bread recipe!

And why do you call garlic bread a “garlic bread”?
– because it’s a bread and it has garlic in it.

A joke created by my kids. I couldn’t have made it, I’m just not that funny. 😂😂😂

The dog picture is not there by accident. The pup was seriously too cute not to throw it in the post!

Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
  1. Loaf of french bread (we love the freshly baked bread from Safeway). You can use sourdough instead. When husband is not home I use sourdough for this recipe, because it’s my favorite!
  2. Stick of butter. Not salted. ROOM TEMPERATURE, so it’s soft and easy to spread.
  3. Garlic powder.
  4. Minced onions.
  5. Salt.
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the loaf of bread leaving the bottom of the bread intact, so the slices are still attached to each other.
  3. Spread the butter inside the slices.
  4. Sprinkle inside of the slices with garlic powder, onion, and salt. ( I like a lot of garlic powder and a lot of the minced onions.
  5. Wrap in the foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. EAT!

I eat it simple. Bread, mozzarela, pickles, wine. The wine is optional in my case, as with age my tolerance to alcohol is getting lower and lower. With this speed, I’m assuming by age of 40 I’ll be totally allergic to even the smell of it.

The kids eat it plain!

This recipe gets pretty messy with the butter. However it’s really quick. And seriously delicious!

One more thing, this bread is WAY MORE delicious than the store bought garlic bread (pre-made and ready to heat-up). I’ve tried it and the store version doesn’t get even close to the homemade one. It’s a little more work then just throw it in the over, but the love you’ll get from your kids for it will speak for itself.

What’s your favorite recipe for a quick and easy dinner?

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Portraits inspired by Francesco Scavullo {San Jose Portrait Photographer}

In the recent workshop I’m taking with Donald Giannatti, up to this point, I have been inspired by (and we have studied) work of David Bailey, Gregory Heisler, Mary Ellen Mark, Francesco Scavullo, Albert Watson, Mark Seliger and Frank Ockenfels. Those names are some of the most influential portrait photographers of the last 50 years.

My head had been spinning, well, it still is, with ideas, inspirations, as well as frustrations and second guessing myself. All because this workshop has pushed me outside of my comfort zone on many occasions. Not to mention, I’d never been exposed to so much of studio work in my life as I’ve been for the past 7 weeks. And it’s a humbling experience.

Portraits inspired by Francesco Scavullo

Portraits inspired by Francesco Scavullo

When it comes to Francesco Scavullo, best known for his work on the covers of Cosmopolitan, I simply did not want to do any glamour/fashion shots. I ended up trying something he was very known for, and what’s called these days a clamshell lighting.

I used one soft box and a small reflector, which for the self portraits I was holding on my lap, or struggling to support it with my free hand.

inspired by work of Francesco Scavullo_ewa samples photography-2

Someday, I’ll look back very fondly on those moments in my garage when I had to be my own model, photographer and an assistant. And at the end, I had produced nothing close to a clam shell lighting kind of portraiture. It wasn’t funny on that day, but even today, I have a smirk on my face writing about it.

Before I got in front of the camera, I had this awesome plan to use my kids (as in most of the assignments for this workshop). Well, you know how that goes when you want your kids to do something (or not to do). They do exact the opposite. In a time when I needed them to be still they decided to make it a dance, and a hugging party.

kids photography inspired by work of Francesco Scavullo_ewa samples photography-3

And because this is such a rare thing between them these days, as they are more preoccupied with fighting over their toys and crayons, I started to “dance” around with them. Yeah, you might call it a dance…  However my dance was to somehow keep the reflector underneath their faces and take photos at the same time while they wiggled. Well, now my smirk is even bigger!!!

HA! Speaking about skilled photographer…. 😉

Portraits inspired by Francesco Scavullo
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And some behind the scene 😉

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Portraits inspired by Francesco Scavullo

Do you get frustrated when you have an idea in your head, have the tools to re-create / create the idea, but then things are not working for you.

Have you ever let it go then, and start being in the moment instead.

And then somehow you end up with things even better then your initial idea.

Because as David duChemin said today in his article, “we’ll all make much better photographs if we love our photographs more then we love our tools”.

Happy Monday!

Now off I go to think about our last assignment for this workshop: Greg Gorman

What do you have planned for this week?

 

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if you’d like to chat about your session, feel free to email to 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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Orchards Photo Session {Family Photographer, San Jose, CA}

Hi there!

What an amazing time of the year we have here in California. I encourage you to get out there and enjoy as much of the fresh air as you can. Let the kids scream from the bottom of their lungs! Let them get so dirty that you have to undress them first before you let them enter the car. Seriously I have not seen my kids so happy and full of life in a long time. The moment I told them they can play around the mud, their faces bloomed like the flowers surrounding us. I almost lost one of my lenses due to a flying rock, but oh well, we do way more silly stuff in order to get a good shot in our profession.

Lets be silly together this year. Lets get into interesting places. Lets read new kinds of books. Lets travel a little further… Lets be more! I like this plan… .

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If you would like to get those amazing portraits of you and your family in the ocean of yellow and green, shoot me an email. The sooner the better. Those fields won’t last for much longer!

 

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If you’d like to schedule a session with me, please email to ewasamples(at)gmail.com 
Also, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter and in return get on an exclusive list of mini-sessions, and model calls. 

Hope to hear from you soon, 
Ewa, your family photographer

After the rain, the sun comes out {Lifestyle Family Photographer, San Jose, CA}

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I am so much behind updating my blog here but living the life of a mom of two young children the inevitable thing, in this time of a year, had happened.  Both kids got sick at the same time and among doing lots of laundry and sleepless nights my last desire was to sit in front of the computer taking care of blog.

At the same time I almost lost hope for the opportunity to take my kids out to the Fall colors and fallen leaves. Day after day had passed by and it seemed like there is no end to their illness.

Finally after a short test walk two days ago, yesterday we went for a wonderful trip. The one I was hoping for since Fall has arrived. We played. Threw leaves. Got grumpy.
Life is good! 🙂

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Self-Portrait of the Photographer {Portrait Photography, San Jose, CA}

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Taking pictures is my passion. It is a passion of every photographer out there, at least this is what I believe in.

We spent hours on end shooting, editing, thinking about locations or location hunting, visualizing sessions with clients, browsing the Internet and organizing our Pinterst boards. Everything for one purpose – to become a better photographer and to serve our clients better. Many of us have mastered and memorized all the techniques of encouraging our models to feel comfortable in front of the camera. We know a lot about posing, how to make people look good, how to use the light and how to use every bit of space as a good spot for a photograph.

We take tremendous amounts of pictures weekly… Don’t we.

But how many pictures of ourselves, with kids, with spouses or without them, do we have?
How many times when somebody said, “hey you’ve been shooting all the time, let me take some pictures of you”, you just packed your stuff and run away or hide? I remember those days too good.

We have all the fancy equipment to capture beautiful moments of people and for people but so few of us use the same equipment and talent for themselves.

In addition there isn’t a better way to practice the knowledge about photography than to practice on ourselves. It’s free and nobody else needs to see it.

At the same time you might be really surprised how many great moments you will capture, especially if there are kids involved!
I cherish all my self-portraits I’ve taken so far, no matter how blurry and not perfect they are.

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So, if you’re a photographer, and if you read this, I challenge you to go out there and turn your camera on yourself.
Once for a while, instead of spending an hour in front of the computer looking for inspiration, just go out and face the camera yourself. You might be surprised how many new things you’ll learn, how many new ideas you will get.

I can promise you that!

Here my two tutorials talking about of how to start taking self-portraits:

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Now go out there and shoot yourself! Good luck and don’t forget to have fun!