Portrait Photography

Jessie – traveling tattooer, artist, dog mom, van dweller

This weekend I got inked with two cool tattoos I’ve been planning to get for years! But this is not about the cool tattoos as it is about the cool story behind it as well as the cool tattoo artist who did it for me.

Meet Jessie. She is currently traveling the country with her sweet four-leg companion Chico, in her, mostly self-remodeled, van.

Jessie, my stranger no. 5 who doesn’t really feel like a stranger from the first moment you meet her.

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Australia-born, Jessie started her journey as a van dweller and traveling artist this past Thanksgiving. After 8 years of living in Minnesota. Her current travels brought her to Eileen from Flora and Fauna Jewelry. I met Eileen several months ago. She was staying in Morgan Hill in one of the cutest RV’s I’ve ever seen.

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Eileen and Jessie met through Reggie. I haven’t met him but after watching his youtube videos (one of them is about Jessie itself), and following his Instagram, I feel like I want to meet him. So maybe our paths will cross, because who knows. Anything might happen. 

living in rv

Just several days ago I saw on Eileen Instagram account her new addition to the tattoo family she has on her. She credited Jessie, and I immediately went to her account. To my surprise, I saw she’s in Los Gatos!!! How freaking crazy is that?

Just the night before, I was sitting on my computer photoshopping a picture of tattooed Tinkerbell so I could use it for my Facebook profile. Yes, it was just for a fun profile photo, not the real tattoo (which my husband was very worried about!).

I’d been longing for a new tattoo so bad, it’s crazy. If I was looking into a tattooed Tinkerbell pictures, you know it got really bad. In the past month, I’ve looked for local tattoo studios and artists and I inquired for some of the ideas I’ve had. But still, I wasn’t sure about any of the people I’ve found. 

And here she was, Jessie. I inquired to her as soon as I discovered her. And we were set for a tattoo session the next day. The best part of all, she helped me to create one awesome piece from two tattoo ideas I had planned to put in separate places. 

Here are some shots from the session we had.

Picture of Jessie and Eileen during their tattoo session here.

And here is the wonderful movie Reggie made about Jessie (and you can see Eileen in it as well):

Thank you so much, Jessie, for appearing in my life from nowhere. You’ve made a mark on my life, and not only! 🙂
See you next time!


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Learn about portrait photography during photo walk

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

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

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

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

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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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Your camera doesn’t give you vision {Family Portrait Photographer, San Jose, CA}

Last weekend I was babysitting for a friend. During those two days I had a chance try my luck on a longboard. Something I had always wanted to try but never really had the opportunity to do. It was fun and painful (at some point). 😉



During that time I also had great time reading a review draft of a book written by a photographer S. Dirk Schafer. I got quite the chuckle out of it. It’s filled with great quotes about photography, photographers, art, passion and the author thoughts and short stories about photography, his career, his experience as a photographer. From the fist page to the last this book is filled with witty humor. On that note, I want to keep this post as a humorous one, as well, although I will mention one quote in here I found in the book:

The camera is a piece of s***… Nikon doesn’t give you vision. Canon doesn’t give you vision… That’s your job.

Zack Arias

A camera is an amazing thing, but it needs something else then a fast lens to be a powerful tool. You can learn how to take better pictures with iPhone by stopping the mindless “snapping”. Get inspired by what you see around you, in your life and in social media.

If you short on ideas, try to recreate something at first. The more you do it, the better you’ll get in creating your own, unique images.

Often many of us forget about it. We blindly pursue equipment that’s the most innovative, the most expensive, recently updated, you name it. We think, after we get the fastest lens our pictures immediately will get better. While that might be true in a technical point of view it has nothing to do with the vision you have for the picture. If I didn’t have my vision for my style and the way I want to create a certain portrait my super duper Nikon D800 would not help me with that even if I begged it.

I also think that in the world of “snapping” many people have lost themselves in just “capturing” everything and anything without stopping and taking the time to look at the whole picture and try to make an art out of it, look at the situation with a vision…


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I am guilty of all of that myself. I often catch myself longing for new equipment thinking it might help me with something. But with what, I ask myself. How much sharper I want my pictures to be? Do I really want to join the rat race where all photographers point at each others’ pictures saying this is “too soft”, this is “out of focus”, etc. Really? No. I don’t think I want that nor I need that. What I need and want is to have more time to craft my vision and the iPhone camera is pretty helpful with that lately, implementing the truth in the saying: “the best camera is the one you have with you”.

If you’d like to chat about your 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

Au Pair in San Francisco {Portrait Photography, San Jose, CA}

Right after her first email, I got crazy excited about this session. Being an Au Pair is a topic close to my heart.

This brave young lady, one day, decided that for a while, she would want to live in America. She left her home country not knowing how to speak English what-so-ever. She dreams big and she follows her dreams. One of them was to have a professional session done in the city of San Francisco. Why didn’t I think of that when I was an Au Pair 🙂

In one afternoon we’d visited many places, as well as missed many. There is just too much to see in one day. Not to mention to pose in front of this deeply in love in SF photographer. If I could I would probably stay in one spot way longer that just 30 minutes. That’s why we are already talking about having another session done in spots that we had missed! Can’t wait D. !!!

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The first minute we met, she said, she is as excited as she is scared. In her mind she is not photogenic nor pretty. Can you believe that? I hope she thinks differently after this session!!! 🙂

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If you’d like to schedule a session with me, please call (408) 882 7438 or email at 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, 

San Francisco City Hall Wedding {Bay Area Photography, CA}


When we first met to talk about their wedding they had it planned for 4 people. A few days after that it appeared that the party evolved into something bigger. Considering it was my first wedding session the level of my excitement grew with the number of wedding guests. What we had planned to do in one day had to be stretched for two sessions therefore in few days you will see them again here but in different scenarios.


and for some weird reason I can not embed the slide show into this post… Instead you can click here to watch it.
I am sorry for the inconvenience.