San Jose Family Photographer
When things got bad at Calistoga a few weeks ago, all I could think about was this sweet anniversary family session at Castello Di Amorosa.
Last year, when one of my very dear clients purchased a membership to Ewa Samples Photography, they said they want to use one of the sessions as their anniversary celebration. They wanted to do it in a special location!
We looked at locations within or very close to the Bay Area. We brainstormed for days. Each time we found something that they were happy to consider however there was another problem: did we want to pay hundreds of dollars of shooting permits on their grounds?
Was it worth it? – we thought.
Can we find something better? – yes, we knew we can.
So… the research continued.
As the research went on the proximity from the Bay Area grew bigger and bigger. Until we found just the spot.
Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga
(this post is mixed with some iPhone shots of our family trip I made out of this session. Because I couldn’t just leave my kiddos behind when I was going to visit a CASTLE!)
This place looked perfect. My clients thought the same thing. We knew we found the spot. They did not charge for shooting permits which was an extra plus. The only charges were to buy a ticket to get in.
I booked a cute Airbnb cabin and in March 2019 we were off for a great adventure. Our cabin was in Santa Rosa without Internet or TV and I LOVED IT! We spent the entire weekend exploring the property we stayed at, playing board games, cooking some delicious breakfasts, and visiting downtown Calistoga.
For the Castello Di Amorosa, well, the place looked a little different in person. Smaller and VERY crowded. When I say “VERY crowded” I mean like elbowing people around you while trying to pass them in the narrow castle passages. Oh… the good old days when being in a crowded place was allowed… Hahaha…
As you look through my clients’ pictures (the slideshow below) you probably won’t believe me. However, in reality, I had to use all the magic of “the right angle” during this session. I went down, and left and right and “block” people with my clients so you can’t see them in the background, and more… My back was really hurting after this session because I’d put in a lot of workout during it. But it was well worth it!
The memories are spectacular and I will always think about this session as something special. Not every day I book sessions which give me the opportunity to travel to very cool places.
Today Castello di Amorosa is recovering from 5 million dollars of loss in wine due to the recent Glass Fire and I wish them all the best in their speedy recovery.
This year Halloween came surprisingly early. We got our first costume about 2 weeks ago. Not like I planned it. We went to get a shampoo to be precise. We came back with Halloween costume. Of course, as soon as we got the first one we had to go shopping for the second. You know how that goes when you have more than one kiddo. As soon as we got both we went to take Halloween pictures. Because for once in my lifetime I wasn’t running behind with things… Haha.
It always blows my mind how a costume can make a child happy. They are always looking forward to the day when they can dress up in them and run around. And it’s only because of them I organize the Halloween Portrait Playdate each year. They always remind me of it when October sneaks on on me.
“Hey, Mom?! Are you doing the Halloween Playdate this year?”
And I’m like, oh shut… Time to put the add together… If not those two, I’m not sure if my business would survive (just kidding)
So, just so you know. There is this thing going on this Sunday, October 14th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Halloween Portrait Playdate.
Absolutely free to attend if you come in your Halloween costumes. After the event all participants will get online galleries with their images to make whatever purchases they want from there. For detailed pricing of the available packages and to get your FREE ticket head over here.
Hope to see you there. And I hope to create super fun Halloween Pictures of your Little Ones or even better – of your entire family!
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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.
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.
This Smash Cake in one of my favorite locations in Saratoga was a crazy one. Normally a quiet place, this park turned into a corporate event on the day of our session.
I got to the location a little earlier. To my big surprise, what I saw is the entrance being blocked by a “corporate event” sign. Loud, live band music is playing. The park is swarmed with people. The scent of BBQ and grilled sausage is filling the air. And I’m panicking.
I called the client, explained what’s happening, and promised I’ll find a great solution to this before they get here.
I quickly started listing all the locations I knew in the area. And there is a few. However, the conclusion was simple. We didn’t have the time to make the drive to any of them before we would lose the gorgeous light. With a few minutes to spare, I went inside for a hunt for the best spot in the swarmed with people park. As I entered it, I realized, I know just the right place. I was not mistaken.
We were able to do the entire session without a single person bothering us on the back of the entire party. However, the smell of the bbq and grilled sausage was really hunting me the entire time. LOL
Saratoga Smash Cake Session
After the session, Kristen and her family gave me the best gift a photographer can get. A beautiful review:
AMAZING! Our family session was on Sunday night and it’s Tuesday and we already have our pictures! Ewa was great with our son and was able to improvise when the park where we were planning to have our session was closed! She knew there was a clearing, sort of in the woods, towards the back of the park and it was the perfect backdrop for our family session. The pictures are fantastic and I would recommend Ewa over and over!
If you’re ready to make some magic this Fall with me, grab this gift from me, and schedule your first session, TODAY! My weekend dates in September are booked however there is still time to create beautiful memories in October and November. Well, even December is cool, if you like to splash in puddles!
Anybody up for a Mom and Me Beach Session?!? I am!!!
Earlier this year I had a session with Caroline for Mother’s Day. And right then she said, we need to get together for a beach session this year.
So we did, last week. It’s more of a playdate when we meet, to be honest with you. The whole session part takes us about 15 minutes. But then we spent 4 hours talking while the kids are in their happy state.
Caroline comes to update her mom & me pictures at least once a year. She’s been doing it for the last 5 years.
I encourage all moms to jump on board.
Because what’s today needs to be cherished as bold as possible. Don’t wait for the better you. For the thinner you. For You that you hope to be tomorrow or in 6 months or a year.
Don’t wait for permission to celebrate yourself or whatever you’re going through in your life right now.
The water has been present in the last month quite a lot, as you can see in my Instagram feed 🏊🏻[instagram-feed]
And it feels like when I want to escape for a little, water is where I’m heading. The sound of water in my ears especially. The sound of water or the quiet world it gives. It calms my mind.
The sound of the ocean and water calms me, and I recently started to listen to white noise sounds for meditation and relaxation purposes. I am sharing one video I found on youtube. If you’ve never tried white noise sounds you should check it out.
Let’s hop to the beach someday!
Here are some dates for beach sessions available through July and August. Hop on board TODAY! Pick a date. Weekday or weekend. Pick a package and pick THE dress… All done.
If you want to do it on any other days not listed in the form or on a different beach, let me know. I’ll see what we can do about it! 🙂
If you need help with picking the right dress then this ebook below will help you.
For quite some time I’ve been thinking about doing a 6th b-day celebration photo session with my younger daughter. In the past she wanted to be Moana, then she wanted to be Pipi (because of her sister’s previous photo shoot). I wanted it to be personalized like the Pipi photo shoot. At the same time I wanted to be able to capture my daughter’s personality and the way she loves all the creatures she comes in contact with.
While brainstorming the ideas I received a message from Carlie from Lehrfeld Farm . She was interested in a personal project we hope to work on in the near future. She invited us to her home which is also her farm and her art oasis.
In my last post I was talking about one of the most beautiful places in Morgan Hill. Today, I have to admit that Carlie’s farm is getting very close in ranks. Well, being very specific: one place is in Morgan Hill and one in San Martin, so… 😂😂😂
After visiting the farm I came across an image that inspired me and pushed me to ask Carlie if I can visit her again. During our previous visit I saw how much my daughter(s) enjoyed being there. I decided that the farm is where I want to do my daughter’s 6th b-day celebration photo session. When I shared the idea with my little one (she wouldn’t be happy if I told her I call her that) she was beyond happy.
I think the best b-day gift was just the time at the farm for her. She got to cuddle with chickens, feed the bearded dragons live worms and run with Silver (the miniature horse).
In some of these pictures I see a future teenager in her and all I want is to wish for a magic spell to prevent both of my girls from growing up. But the only magic is now.
Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet baby!
It’s been raining cats and dogs if you haven’t noticed. I feel like this year, I’ve enjoyed the rain as I haven’t in a long long time. For some reason, it reminds me a lot of Poland (my home country). I’m not sure why, exactly. On some days when it was warmer AND raining, a weird thought went through my mind. I compared the weather to Polish Summer. Warm rain, this fresh scent. Just wonderful.
In addition, all this rain is making the world a beautiful place. Especially within nature. I can’t wait to pack my camera bag and head out the door for some good hike and pictures taking after all the wetness goes away. Well, most of it. I still like shooting in the rain and if you’re up for it, I do have some availability for a family session in the rain.
The rain and the cold did not prevent me and my family from going out to the most beautiful place in Morgan Hill. This place is my oasis, and as one of my friends recently notice: “you must like it because you’re always there”. Well, yes. I like it. And I’m almost always there. Especially with my kiddos or my dog.
These images are from April last year. This year the reservoir has half of the water, but it’s still pretty. And it is soooo green!!! Seeing the wate level I secretly wish for more rain. Please, don’t send hateful thoughts my way for that. Haha. This place needs more rain.
Remember as soon as the rain stops you will have about 2 months if not less to get your session done in the amazingly green and lush nature, where the grass is looking juicy and not hay-like. So, check your calendars and plan ahead.
Yesterday’s spontaneous trip to Thorson Ranch in San Martin (but we entered it from the Morgan Hill side. haha!) was a hit of the month. Well, the month just started and I’m already excited for what it can bring with such a start.
I knew where horses are our kids’ happiness will follow. Not to mention my girls’ favorite movie these days is the “Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron”
While passing Thorson Ranch yesterday we saw a crowd of trailers and horses, and we decided to have a look at whatever was happening there. We were heading out for a spontaneous trip anyway, and this was happening right around the corner from where we live.
I had to do an iPhone production from the even as well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t, or didn’t try.
Just keep in mind I rode a horse once in my life. And he threw me into the river. I was 7 years old. I wish I had bigger and better experience with horses during my life because I really like them. OH, and once, I spent an entire month as summer camp tutor during horse riding camp. In beautiful Polish mountains. The kids, who otherwise were very high maintenance, were very eager to get up early in the morning to clean the poop (so they can get extra credits for riding). It was amazing to witness their passion for horses.
Anyway, I’ve seen the arena busy on several occasions in the past but never got inside to have a look at what was happening there. Despite the fact they are our neighbors.
Equipped with the best camera possible – the only one I had with me, my iPhone, I tried to document our experience. Here it is!
The kids loved it. Now I can’t get out of my head the idea of signing up my girls for horse riding classes. I think that would be a dream come true for them, and oh, the endless opportunities to get amazing images of horses…
Last year, I had a vision for my Holiday card. I’d arranged several dates to do it with my family, and each time there was something that pushed the first date to the second date. And then the second date to the third date. And then the rain came. And then it got very cold. And I finally said, it’s today! With a grumpy husband, hungry kids, and a dog that was all over the place we went out.
For the first 15 minutes, I was trying to figure out HOW for the sake of it all, am I going to manage the big umbrella (behind us on a downward slope), that was flying away with the wind every time I let it go, while running towards the camera to set the self timer, then running back to position myself and manage my kids who were not having it. And the husband. You know, the regular thing. Standing like a statue in a place where he was put, looking up the newest news that might have appeared during the last 15 minutes.
My hands were freezing. In my mind I was just about to commit a murder on somebody. I was ready to throw everything down, and to start jumping on it like a mad woman, smashing and breaking all the equipment.
And here we were, holding a sign that says JOY! Oh the best joke of that entire Holiday Card making process. Isn’t that the truth of self made holiday cards… (at least I got an awesome feedback from almost everybody who received the cart!). The process was similar to a childbirth: you hate everybody around you during it, but after you see the baby, everything is forgotten. (or so they say…) Hehehe (as my 5 year old says it).
If you’re still thinking about doing your own holiday photos (or skipping it all together), because:
- the offers you see don’t look like anything you’d want to have on your Holiday Card, (same old, same old holiday photos), (that’s why I was considering not doing any holiday minis this year because I was struggling with coming up with something special for my clients)
- you really need 1 or 2 (ok, 3 images at the most), – and you could always use some of the iPhone photos you already have. I DARE YOU!
- you want something unique,
Well, then stop that train of thought. I have something better for you. Something that will save your sanity.
We will find a unique message for your card!
No matter if you have kids or maybe…
…expecting a delivery…
or maybe, you have a different kind of kids…
Holiday Mini Sessions – Unique Silhouettes
Detailed address will be available upon signing up. Email me to firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your spot (or use my contact form).
OR SIGN-UP HERE
If you want to get very special offers and prices for mini-sessions, full sessions and portrait playdates, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography.
or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:
Let me introduce you to this amazing family. I’ve been working with them for the last year. We are going strong second year. Shayla is a fan of my annual membership and the way she uses it always makes me very happy. When it comes to have a family session with her she always comes up with fun ideas.
For example, I will forever remember running around Stanford with a group of adults (and kids) dressed in pjs!! Christmas Pjs, to be precise. You should see my grin when, after waiting for them to arrive at the location, I saw a person in pjs appearing in the horizon. And then another. And then a few kids… That was THE BEST!
Before that, though our first session was in Hallowen costumes (and halloween pjs). That was our very fist session during which I fell in love in the time I have with this family, every single time we meet. It’s not about the interaction with me. But it’s about the happiness and the normal-ness. The normal craziness thats’ happening during the session. We pose a little, but most of the time I chase the kids, trying to keep up with their level of energy!
This past April, they chased bubbles in the gorgeous sunlight…
sat on a flower swing made by H & J Flowers
and laid in the tall, green grass.
and all of that within 12 months from her fist session.
Our second year of the membership we started with a super wet family session in Saratoga. And super fun, I have to add. (well, fun it is always with the Denenbergs!)
and some pictures, as usual!
If you want to be able, like Shayla, do several amazing sessions during one year, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography.
or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:
You can call it Halloween Mini-Session. I call it a Halloween Portrait Playdate. The difference between those two is that regular mini-session is booked ahead, paid in full ahead, and you would have a particular time slot for your 10 or 20 minutes in front of my camera.
The portrait playdates I organize once in a while are a little different.
During the playdate you come whenever you want to, between 2 and 5pm. During the playdate I take pictures of all the kids with their parents having fun on the playground. I take some time to work with each family separately as well. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll take you on the side and we will create some magic.
The admission to the Halloween playdate is totally free of charge. This year we will have a small gift for everybody who comes. To be sure you receive the gift, it would be great to RSVP on my FB page if you’re coming.
Halloween costumes are not required, however they are preferred. Expect to see a park full of parents and kids in costumes, so if you choose not to be dressed up, you’d be a minority. LOL
Bring a whole lot of fun attitude with you as well.
The Halloween Mini-Session / Portrait Playdate is FREE to attend. You will have the option to purchase images from an online gallery all attendees will receive within one week from the playdate.
Single images are $50.
Package of 5 is 195.
Package of 10 is 250.
Hope to see you there,
If you want something 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!
or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:
With the time during which I’ve been pursuing my passion in photography and the values I offer in the communities around me, I’ve discovered another passion. If you look around my website, you’ll see quite a few videos. So, you can probably guess.
Videography while doing family, or any other kind of photography session.
I’ve been providing video clips from family session since 2015 (if I’m not mistaken, haha), however I never really took the time to talk about it and to introduce it the proper way.
Videography services for families who care about documenting the precious & too fast fleeting moments in a medium that captures movement and sound…
Can you imagine to be able access the sweet voice of your little one laughing, and jumping and making silly faces in 10 or 20 years!
All of that while YOU are in the video, as well!?!? This is something, that’s a little different that the still photographs. And I know you might not feel like you want to be in a video. I know you might even think, being a part of a photo session is a stretch already.
As scary as it might sound, it actually is super fun. You don’t even feel like the video is being done. I do at the same time as I take pictures. Often I mix the images, the video, and carefully picked piece of music to create piece of memory you will LOVE.
The video is happening at the same time as the regular photo session, so there’s no need to panic, fake it, run away!
You will LOVE it and CHERISH it for the rest of your life. Not to mention the amazing memories your kids are going to be able to share with their kids and your grandchildren.
One of my very favorite videos I made is the breastfeeding one.
You should see my daughter reacting to the video I made for her during our mom-daughter photo shoot. My private Pippi Longstocking…
For more examples of my videography work you can jump to:
For more information about pricing head over to the Investment / Photography page.
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!