san jose family photography

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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Stanford Fall Family Session. {Lifestyle Family Photographer, Palo Alto, CA}

While I sit and edit last Saturday’s beautiful and colorful Fall session done at Stanford, and while getting reminders about my disc being full, I remembered I’ve never blogged about a session I had at Stanford almost exactly a year ago. The photographs are still sitting on my computer, so, it is a great opportunity to go back in time and catch up with some things.

This family was one of my very first clients back in the days, and I look at those times very fondly. Every year brings new people into my life and my business, but when I get a chance to work with those who have been with me since my very first year, I feel extremely happy. Also, each year brings new lessons and challenges, and during this particular session I had a chance to try my photography skills in a fog. I have to admit, it was exciting. But the weather did not prevent the family to have a really good time!

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Stanford_Colorful_Family_Session_in_fog_Ewa Samples Photography

Stanford_Fall_Fun_Family_Session_Ewa Samples Photography

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Palo_Alto_Fall_Family_Session_Ewa Samples Photography


Palo_Alto_Fall_Colorful_Family_Session_in_fog_Ewa Samples Photography

Stanford_Fall_Colorful_Family_Session_in_fog_Ewa Samples Photography

Stanford_Fall_Colorful_Family_Session_in_fog_and _rain_Ewa Samples Photography



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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Q: What do you call a business that isn’t run like a business? A: A hobby.

This is Day 6 of 15 Day Blog Challege and we are to talk in it about our Ideal Business Model. Natalie Sisson fro “The Suitcase Entrepreneur” says that we should run our business to support our style of living not the other way around. In my life it’s the other way around, so far. There is a whole lot of living and doing just to support my business. And I am not talking about myself but also about my husband who’s supported me financially when I needed it. And I needed it, believe me!!!

Lets be honest here. Running a business is tricky, especially when you start it not knowing that the part you want to do the most (like taking pictures in my case), is only a very small part of running a successful business.

For every successful establishment there is another that didn’t make it past the first five years, shows data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I have run a hobby for a long time while all I wanted was a profitable business which would support my lifestyle. I have fought my husband who would always say, “you’re running a hobby, not a business, be real about it”. Until I realized what he was saying is right. The realization didn’t come easily as it meant big changes. In photography business people are afraid of speaking about what’s behind their business in public, in front of the clients. They hide within photography forums and groups and over there they let the worst  frustrations out. Sometimes they direct the frustrations toward another professional, someone who’s cheaper, someone who is not as good in posing people as they do, someone who hasn’t been in business for as long as they are therefore he/she can be run into the ground for asking for an advice.

I have witnessed photographer after photographer being crushed by another peer, by somebody who should be looked up to for their knowledge and experience but they choose to be angry at the newcomers and therefore loose the credibility. Nobody wins in a such situations. People get hurt in both ends. I experienced it first handed. It hurt. Tremendously. It didn’t last long as I decided to cut off all the groups and forums where I saw it happening. I wrote about it in my last post.

It’s unprofessional to complain about our clients. Yes, I agree!

It’s unprofessional to talk about how hard it is and how many hours and sleepless nights we work and how much time we have to spend away from our families in order to earn some money. Yes, I agree. All small business owners do that. We are not any different. We do not work more (or less) then any other entrepreneur out there. Hell, all you full time working people do that.

The thing I don’t think it’s unprofessional is to share some (because not all) insights into photography business, and educate people about it.

There is this conviction that photographers are hobbyists and charging people an arm and a leg for their services is unacceptable.

I also think that artists don’t have to be starving in 21st century. Few days ago I saw this on Facebook, and I shook my head in understanding.


I’ve started writing this post yesterday during our road trip to see a potential home to buy. Yes, your read it right – it was a road trip because it’s way up North from San Jose. We can’t afford buying a home in Silicon Valley, and we are outgrowing our present place, so we are looking into different options.

I though and though about the way I want to write this post and if I really should write it the honest way, or simply list what would be the ideal model without going into anything else. As you can see I went for the most honest way.


A bridge you would have to cross to get to our place

A bridge you would have to cross to get to our “potential” place 🙂

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Moving to a different city away from Silicon Valley might bring to us new possibilities. We will be able to achieve more for less. One of the houses we looked at had this wonderful first floor, which we both agreed, would be perfect for my small studio and an office.

Yes, I am dreaming about working space, and a small studio. Not because I particularly want to switch to studio photography, but because I want to have options, and because there is this more creative troll hiding inside me and wanting to have a studio for more personal and soul freeing use.

One part of my ideal business model is to have a studio. Another part of my ideal business is to be able to travel to photograph people. I know that the market is oversaturated with photographers so the possibility for someone from Texas (just because I’ve never been to TX and would love to visit there) wanting to hire me to do their family portraits is equal almost 0.09% (just because there is always hope, right?), and we all can dream.

But I can’t just sit and hope.

[ctt title=”If I want something to happen then I must do something towards it so the probability of the happening rises” tweet=”If I want something to happen then I must do something towards it so the probability of the happening rises” coverup=”2UqQ4″]. Got all philosophical here.

If I want to do stuff then I need to be able to afford it. To be able to afford it I have to earn more. To earn more I have to change my business model and charge more, or find a different job.


This is a view from our "potential" backyard

This is a view from our “potential” backyard

With my ideal business model I wish to be able to work with many non-profit organization donating my time and my work to a bigger cause. My dream is to be able to travel to other countries to be involved with helping people in need or supporting a cause I feel strong about. Just this year I got involve in working with, La Leche League South Bay and Alzheimer’s Association and would love to do more of it in the future.

My ideal business model is not a discount base business (although it started that way). If I run any specials they stay between me and my subscribers. Sign up while you can!

My ideal business model is based on families who come to me year after year after year.

My ideal business is based on trust and respect,  not on a “good deal” philosophy.

My ideal business is based on my professionalism and support.

My ideal business model is to run a business not a hobby.

Thank you for reading



P.S while we are at talking about trust and respect here is short “testimonial” like video of a returning clients of mine who are explaining why it is important to work with a photographer who knows the family and have work with the family in the past.

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How to look beautiful, comfortable and confident during a family photo session

In my opinion, there are as many ideas of how to dress for a family session, as many family photographers are out there.

I’m ok with using patterns while some photographers try to discourage from doing so. I’m ok with mismatching and not coordinating although I know, that many photographers have different opinion about it. And that’s ok!

I love scarfs, shawls, hats, and always encourage my clients to bring those accessories to the session, while other photographers would encourage you to have clean and simple style without any distractions from you as the main subject. That mostly happens with studio photography.

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The common question

We all have our own styles and we want our clients to dress the way we like our brand to be portrayed. Elegant, funky, colorful, vintage. If someones style is vintage and elegant they will guide you to dress accordingly to their brand’s style.

One of the most common asked questions before the session is: “What do you want us to wear?

– “Wear whatever you’d like” said no photographer ever. We always try to give a small hints and advice of not to wear, what colors to avoid, etc.

I do try to encourage families to pick clothes that would make them feel comfortable and confident. I also always say,

“wear something that’s YOU”

If you’re planning to do a glamour sessions, or to update your social media profile photos session, then that’s a different story, and I will want to talk about that, also by inviting local photographers who specialize in that kind of photography for short interviews. Will be posting the interviews here.

How to look confident and comfortable during family session, san jose family photographer

Sometimes feeling comfortable is not enough

On the picture above I’m wearing cloths that are comfortable and make me look/feel confident. That day I also let my kids to dress themselves. This is us and I adore the picture simply because our dog (who is old and very sick) was with us and the main reason for this picture (and few more) was to photograph the four of us together. I didn’t really care for festive clothes, because it wasn’t the look I was going for here, it was the memory.

You don’t want to look at your family portraits and wish you were wearing something different. That spoils the whole experience.

There isn’t a worse thing, then spent great amount of money on outfits for the whole family and then right before the session find out then the kids don’t want to wear it because it’s something new and probably not comfortable, or something that they don’t really like but it was picked because you wanted to match it to your dress or dad’s outfit. It also isn’t fun when during the session you don’t feel comfortable in what you’re wearing; When it doesn’t feel like it’s YOU.

In a perfect world you should feel 100% confident with 100% beautiful, and 100% comfortable. Is this really possible to achieve? Probably, but I think trying to reach a healthy balance among those 3 is the best indicator to start from. There are always things that won’t be 100% the way you want it. There is always not enough time for the perfect make-up because dressing the kids took way longer than you had expected. Let me know if I’m wrong but I think that most of today’s moms feel the most comfortable in yoga pants and t-shirts so asking them to wear something beautiful, festive, and at the same time comfortable feels like something very contradictory. right? 😉
But still I always say that anyway, knowing that many of my moms will come to the session wearing jeans. Am I upset about it? Not at all, as much as you shouldn’t be if you choose to dress that way. Just don’t forget to thrown some extra jewelry, and a colorful scarf and you’ll be looking good!

Here is a photo that hangs on my wall as a canvas:

nola's iris garden-4a

My kids wearing my scarfs (what they simply LOVE to do), one of them wearing her shoes on the wrong feet (at that time she wouldn’t let me help her with putting them, she wanted to do it “by myself”). Kissy and huggy in a new, unique place. THAT’S US!

It was us during one of our “adventures” while location scouting. The photo tells a story to me, and it’s way more US then the photograph with me in a black dress (last picture in this post)

The less you have to spend on your outfits the more you can invest into your post session products

Dressing nice to a session doesn’t have to mean spending extra $500 on outfits. There are ways to coordinate outfits for the entire family just using the clothes you have in your closet. You just need to know what to look for. If your friend has a dress that you really like, and it’s your size, and she doesn’t mind you using it, well, what’s the problem in borrowing it? There are many ways and resources, and I will try to help you to find out what would work the best for you in this matter.

As an example, here is a dress my mom used the wear when she was a young woman. I inherited it when 15 years ago she decided to clean her closet and this was one item she wanted to get rid of. This dress is unique, and I love unique! If you have a treasure like that in your closet, bring in with you! I WOULD LOVE TO PHOTOGRAPH YOU IN IT!!!

How to look beautiful, comfortable and confident during family session

How to look beautiful, comfortable and confident during family session

Color matters

If you want to make the session fun and colorful and if you’re a family who really cares about details then there are websites out there which can help you with picking the right color palettes for the entire family.  Here is a websites with ready color combo palettes and schemes. Just find your favorite and try to coordinate your family outfits accordingly to one of the pallets. It’s a really great website if you dig deeper into it. Here is another website where you can have more fun with experimenting with the colors. This website let you see what are the complementary colors in case if you’re one of the bravest and would want to dress your family in those colors.

For the picture below my kids wanted to wear tutus, and you know, when a kid wants something, the kid gets it just for the sake of a good picture in the process 😉 With all the color going on them, I simply tried to stay neutral.

How to look confident and comfortable during family session

Pastel colors work best for photographs. I always encourage people to avoid red, white, black, and bright yellow. Small accessories like shawls, jewelry, sweaters, jackets, hat, etc., make a big difference in the picture. If you normally don’t wear any make up, I would recommend to add some blush and mascara to your overall look for the purpose of the session.

With whatever you decide to go, don’t over do it. Don’t reach the point where you don’t feel like yourself anymore.



If you’d like to chat about your session with me, please email to ewasamples(at) 
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



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