Studio Photography

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
kids photography inspired by work of Francesco Scavullo_ewa samples photography-6

And some behind the scene 😉

kids photography inspired by work of Francesco Scavullo_ewa samples photography-7

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?

 

3-4_without silhuette

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 :

Subscribe to our mailing list

 

Lets connect on Facebook

San Jose Kids Portrait Photographer inspired by Gregory Heisler

Last week I blogged about my first assignment for the portrait workshop I’m taking. Last week I’ve created some portraits that were inspired by David Bailey.

My second assignment was to study work of Gregory Heisler. This was pretty challenging. My idea for some of the portraits went beyond my equipment, and I had to settle for what I had on hand. I’ll definitely revisit this assignment whenever I have what I need for it. 🙂

This time I focused only on creating portraits 0f my kids, and let one of the pups out it.

san jose creative kids photographer colorful and fun studio -6

san jose kids photographer colorful and fun studio

I wanted to include a little more personality into those portraits. We used last year’s Halloween costumes, and for the extra spark we added their favorite thing to ride on. I also couldn’t let my older daughter NOT to put some of the decorations she loves to wear each and every single day. However we limited it, because I didn’t want the neck full or necklaces to take away the viewers focus. And believe me, she can look like a christmas tree on some days.

san jose kids photographer colorful and fun studio

san jose creative kids photographer colorful and fun studio

san jose kids photographer colorful and fun studio

san jose kids photographer colorful and fun studio

This was the last portrait I took of her and for the assignment in general, and I think, it’s one of the most accurate pictures of her. She loves her choo-choo train, and she’s very proud of all her riding skills. This thing is not made for heavy riding, but she doesn’t care. She’s taken it everywhere with her, and she’s been riding it to and from the park on daily basis. She has fallen off of it, just to get up and laugh her bruises away. She’s normally not the toughest cookie, but when it comes to this vehicle of hers, she has her own superpowers.

San Jose Kids Portrait Photographer inspired by Gregory Heisler-7

 

Today, I’m working on a third assignment, studying work of Mary Ellen Mark, and I feel like my brain is burning because all of the thinking I’m doing… 😉

3-4_without silhuette

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 :

Subscribe to our mailing list

 

Lets connect on Facebook

David Bailey Inspired San Jose Kids and Pets Photography

I’ve been Natural Light Family Photographer for over 3 years now. For two years I’ve own a tiny set up for portable studio, and used it mostly for Smash Cake sessions in my clients’ homes. However, I’ve always felt like there are other ways to use the equipment I have, and I’m limiting myself by not learning about it. Whenever I tried something new, I did not know where to start from. I lacked inspiration and had great amount of excuses not do dig deeper.

And here I am, digging David Bailey and Gregory Heisler.

How did that happen?

Well, thanks to a friend I recently learned about a portrait workshop, and I instantly knew it’s something I’d love to do, but again, I was looking for excuses not to take it.

david_bailey_inspired_kids_pets_photography_ewa_samples_photography-1

For a long time I’ve tried to convince myself that blasting a great amount of light on my subject to make it look flawless, is to know it all for my business, and I should be happy with knowing at least that much. However deep inside I knew it’s not how I want to do it, and that I want to do something more creative.

david_bailey_inspired_kids_pets_photography_ewa_samples_photography-2

One of the excuses was that my equipment is not enough, and I should wait until I get something bigger and better. But the truth is, I didn’t even know what I need, because I’ve never practiced anything beyond my comfort zone which is required to know the limit of my equipment.

san_jose_creative_kids_photography_ewa_samples_photography-3

And here I am today. Taking the workshop and working on my second assignment. My equipment works just fine. Of course, I could have better and bigger stuff, but seriously, I don’t really need it for now.

In the workshop we have 2 weeks to study one great photographer and then be inspired by that person, and create work based on what we’ve learned about this photographer. It is awesome. Two weeks and I feel like I’ve learned a tone already.

Pictures for this post are inspired by David Bailey work, my first assignment for this workshop.

san_jose_kids_photography_ewa_samples_photography-1

Each week we are inspired to create something. We’re pushed to get out there and work whatever we have and just learn. I’m loving it.

san_jose_kids_photography_ewa_samples_photography-2

I’m not sure if my pups is loving it as much as I am, though 😉

san_jose_pet_photography_ewa_samples_photography-1

san_jose_pet_photography_ewa_samples_photography-2

Today, I’m working on the assignment for Gregory Heisler and I don’t remember the last time I was so frustrated with photography. I don’t remember when I was thinking so much about a concept for ONE portrait. Where to put what, and where bounce what to get the vision I have in my head. It’s a good frustration, though. It pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

3-4_without silhuette

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 :

Subscribe to our mailing list

 

Lets connect on Facebook

Celebrate Yourself with Bay Area Portrait Photographer (or by yourself) ;)

I call this project “Celebrate Yourself”, and it’s a part of my creative portrait photography journey, which I plan to evolve into something fun, and a little different then ordinary portrait photography.

Women_creative_portrait_ewa_samples_photography-1

In this case, I think, it was more about celebrating myself and getting my idea out of my head, more then the subject celebrating herself. You can’t tell but she was freezing in there and all she wanted was a hot tea and a warm sweater.

Deep inside, my dear friend Iryna thinks, what I did to her on that day was a revenge for all the times I had to pose for her. Well, I didn’t have to but this is what friends are for, right?

For me, this project turned out to be a fun experiment. Not only artistically, but personally.

For me, this project was never meant to be in black and white, you know, like converting the whole picture into a black and white photograph.

I know that for most people it would make more sense. But it’s not about making sense, it’s about being true to oneself. Life doesn’t make sense most of the time. And things are never perfect, no matter how hard we try. And this was not about creating something perfect. It was about creating something that speaks me to myself (it that makes any sense).

Showcasing one of those pictures here and there I’ve already received some comments on how I could improve the image by converting it into black and white, or making the background less significant. Well, that’s not going to happen. Just saying.

celebrate_yourself_bay_area_portrait_photographer

In today’s society, people are very easy on giving you advices on how to improve anything in your life, even if they were not asked to do so. And that’s ok. Take it with a smile and move on. Say, “thank you, but, no, thank you” and do things your way. I think, the “super talent” of ignoring others opinion about oneself comes with age, though.

Whenever we get stuff out to the public we are judged, and people are very eager to give us their opinion (doesn’t matter if we asked them for it or not). We have few choices:

  • we can do what we think people expect us to do, and not be criticized for doing something unexpected and different.
  • we can stop doing anything from the fear of being intimidated by people and their opinions about our work.
  • we can be ourselves and have this attitude: “world’s opinion of me is none of my business”

My own decision is to start carrying less about what people think of me, and more about what I think of myself and how I want to feel doing things I love.

It feels good, and I wish I had this ability earlier in my life.

celebrate yourself bay area portrait photographer-2

How about you?

3-4_without silhuette

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 :

Subscribe to our mailing list

 

Lets connect on Facebook

San Jose Family Photographer. Fine Art Children’s Photography.

This is definitely NOT about me complaining. Although, I have to admit, it feels really good to have delivered last photographs to clients. There are still some albums in progress, as well as wall arts, but most of it is behind me.

This is about me being happy to be able guiltlessly focus on some of the ideas I’ve had wandering in my head for quite some time. Something more personal and experimental. It’s more of a Fine Art Children Photography then my usual documentary and lifestyle.

Sometime ago, I came across a painting, and after seeing one I wanted to see more. And I have discovered A. Andrew Gonzalez:

And when I was going through his paintings I had an idea…

And I couldn’t wait any longer. And that’s good because I’m still waiting with blogging about my recent sessions for everybody to send and receive their Christmas cards. While waiting, I’ll fill the quietness in here with pictures of my daughters. Those two have surprisingly been very happy/willing to get in front of my camera. Probably, because we have been doing stuff that’s a little different from our usual.

Of course there’s a little bribing involved into the whole process. You see, to get this photograph:

fine_art_kids_portrait_san_jose_ewa_samples_photography-2

and this:

fine_art_kids_portrait_cupertino_ewa_samples_photography-2

I had to agree to take this picture first:

fine_art_kids_portrait_san_jose_ewa_samples_photography-1

Her cow is her life companion, and leaving her out of the frame is always a challenge. Not to mention additional 20 stuffed toys she owns, and sleeps with, but we settled for a portraits with only two of them this time.

 And while creating we also had fun doing some face relaxation exercises 😉

fine_art_kids_portrait_palo_alto_ewa_samples_photography-4

before getting into the pose:

fine_art_kids_portrait_cupertino_ewa_samples_photography-1

And finally the piece I was hoping to get. And I got it.

fine art children's photography palo alto ewa samples photography

I have to admit if feels wonderful to get the ideas out, and work through them.

One down, three more to work on (as of right now).

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 :

Subscribe to our mailing list

 

Lets connect on Facebook

How to do a cake smash session {Cake Smash Photographer, San Jose, CA}

This post is for professional photographers as well as for parents who consider hiring/doing 1st b-day cake smash for their little one. In a few simple steps I will tell you how to do a cake smash session, and succeed with it.

Cake smash is not about posing, it’s not about the right outfit, or the perfect location. It is about fun and mess, and celebration of your little one turning ONE! It is one-of-a-kind session, and I highly recommend doing it with your kids.

I won’t lie to you.

Cake smash sessions are not the most complex and hard to do. They are super fun, and they can be done in a comfort of your own home. No matter if you’re hiring a professional or doing it yourself, theses few simple tricks will help you to get the best out of this session.

If you’re prepared the right way, they are not even that messy. If you’re hiring a photographer, it is good if he/she can come to your home, so you’re close to the bathtub after the session is done.

cake smash session san jose-1

 cake smash session san jose-6

1. The best time to do the cake smash session.

DEFINITELY MORNING, right before breakfast.

It is good to feed you lil one a very small meal before the session. The more hungry the baby is the more likely he/she is to dig into the cake! Also sleepy and cranky babies equal disaster, no matter what activity we are trying to do with them. Our little ones go through stages of up and downs during the day. It is the best thing to pick the right time. If your baby is most likely to be happy after his afternoon nap then do the session at that time.

2. The cake.

CAKE IS IMPORTANT, but don’t let it to take away from the whole experience. Don’t forget that it’s your little one who is in the focus not the cake.

If the cake is too sweet, it’s guaranteed the baby will not want to eat it. Most store-bought cakes are too sweet for such small kids to enjoy it.

Also the frosting should be soft so the baby is encouraged to dig deeper. The softer the better.

cake smash session san jose-10

cake smash session san jose-5

3. Decorations

Cake smash session can be done anywhere. Studio, your home, your back yard, public park. I like simple decorations that you can get at any party supplies store or etsy. Color coordinated set up is recommended. You can use you wall as a background, and get a plexiglass sheet from a store for the floor, or vinyl flooring from Home Depot. If you already have a hard wood floor then non of these are necessary.

smash cake photography, san jose -1

4. Team work

No matter if you’re hiring a professional or doing it yourself, cake smash is a team work. One is taking pictures while all the participants try to encourage the baby to eat the cake or encourage him to smile.

Often the baby will burst into tears or simply will want to leave the scene without even trying the cake. Do not give up. Try to encourage him/her to have a bite. Cut it for him/her if necessary. Engage into a game of digging in. In the past I had a baby who didn’t want to touch the cake, but was ok with digging in with a fork. Get creative with it.

You must know that situation is new to your baby, and he/she needs some help to understand it.

cake smash session san jose-2

cake smash session san jose-3

cake smash session san jose-4

5. Don’t hesitate to use tricks

Remember, during cake smash session your baby is put into a totally new situation. Not only he/she is presented with a overpowering flavor of sugar, sugar, sugar, he/she also is not sure if all of the sudden he is allow to get so dirty and messy and just go for it. Let encourage the baby to eat the cake by sneaking a favorite food into the cake, for example, small pieces of banana 🙂

cake smash session san jose-11

cake smash session san jose-7

cake smash session san jose-9

cake smash session san jose-12

cake smash session san jose-13

cake smash session san jose-14

6. Bathtub

Cake smash without sweet bathtub photos is not a complete session. Don’t forget to finish your session with some water and bubble bath 🙂 Make it playful and relaxing, your baby worked hard for this.

cake smash session san jose-15

pink_girl_smash_cake_los_gatos_california_ewa_samples-11

cake smash session san jose-16

 

1

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

Let’s stay in touch through Facebook. Like our page and you will be able to see what we are up to on a daily basis:



First Friday in Los Altos {Kids and Family Photographer, San Jose, CA}

This month I had an awesome opportunity to co-host a wonderful event at The Girls @ Los Altos during First Friday in Los Altos. A monthly event for downtown businesses. We had so much fun, starting from pumping the balloons with a manual pump, which broke sometimes in the middle of making the wall. Luckily we had some customers ready to help us. The old fashioned way of blowing balloons is the more reliable, it looks like. 😉

The kids looked stunning! For the photo booth they all tried outfits provided by the store and carefully picked by the store owner, Cecilia. I was very glad I got to work in such a great environment. It was fun and also crazy. I met wonderful girls and I also met little S. and her family (first and second picture below). Their were in front of my camera not so long ago. It feels like it was yesterday, but I was not. hahaha.

What’s most important it looked like the kids were having pretty much a lot of fun: running, jumping, dancing and throwing the balloons! And this is what matters the most! Right!

 

first friday in los altos with ewa samples photography-1

first friday in los altos with ewa samples photography-3

los altos kids photographer, ewa samples photography-3

los altos kids photographer, ewa samples photography-4

photo booth with ewa samples photography-1

photo booth with ewa samples photography, san jose family photographer-2

photo booth with ewa samples photography, san jose fashion photographer-3

san jose kids photographer, ewa samples photography-1

san jose kids photographer, ewa samples photography-2

 

1

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

1st Birthday Smash Cake {Smash Cake Photographer, San Jose, CA}

It always amazes me how careful and unsure about the cake kids are at first.
If somebody would have put a whole cake in front of me and said: “go ahead! It’s all yours!”, I would not think twice. Would you?

It also fun when parents or siblings get involved into the whole cake eating, or smashing on each other… This time we had a Big Brother lending a hand…

boy_smash_cake_cupertino_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-1 boy_smash_cake_cupertino_mountain_view_family_photographer_ewa_samples-1 boy_smash_cake_cupertino_mountain_view_family_photographer_ewa_samples-2 boy_smash_cake_redwood_city_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-1 boy_smash_cake_redwood_city_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-2 boy_smash_cake_redwood_city_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-3 boy_smash_cake_San_Jose_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-1 boy_smash_cake_San_Jose_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-2 boy_smash_cake_San_Jose_los_gatos_family_photographer_ewa_samples-3

 

1

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 discounts, and model calls. 

Hope to hear from you soon, 
Ewa

Valentine’s Day Mini – Session {Family Photography, San Jose, CA}

valentines_mini_session_bay_area_san_jose_ewa_samples-1

Starting today, I am offering a super special offer!
Book a session within the next week, and use it at any time during the 2014!!!

Just because love is in the air !!!

valentine's special

 

The offer includes: 

30 minutes session

1 8×10 print

15 high resolution, edited, digital files

Please email me for more details at ewasamples(at)gmail.com or through a contact page.
While you there (on my contact page) don’t forget to sign to my newsletter in which you’ll be informed about all kinds of specials way before it goes to the public.

Have a wonderful evening!!!
Ewa