saratoga 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.
It’s that time of the year, can you feel it!? I can! It’s time to get your Fall family pictures done!!! Oh, yes!!! I’m so excited for this Fall.
The season is in full blast, and I’m almost completely booked in October. That makes my heart sing because it means that so many families trusted me with their family portraits again! I just want to put exclamation marks at the end of almost every single sentence in this post because I’m just that excited!!! And honestly, I don’t get excited that easily.
The location for this mini session is absolutely gorgeous. There is variety of beautiful backgrounds. All my clients who have had sessions with me there were always very happy with the images we created there.
If you’re interested in Fall mini sessions with me please follow this link and choose November 9th as your session date. After you pick your date and your time slot I’ll contact you personally to go over the details of your session.
You’re going to receive recommendations on how to prepare for your session, what to wear and simply what to expect when working with me.
If you’d like me to create for you outstanding Fall family portraits let’s connect!!!
Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities throughout the entire year.
If membership is not for you simply get on my newsletter list so you’re always up to date about any specials, model calls and events (like workshops) I run through the year!
SPRING MINI SESSIONS ARE HERE!
Do you feel Spring in the air? Or it’s just me?
I kid you not, I get outside and I can smell Spring. Like literally I can smell it. Fresh, juicy green grass. The refreshing air after the rain. The birds chirping.
This weather we’re having right now reminds me of Summer rain in Poland. Well, a little warmer Summer rain.
Anywho, the rain and than the warmth means only one thing in here… It’s time to scout mustard flowers locations…
And that’s exactly what I did this week, and I’m excited to announce MUSTARD FLOWERS MINIS… (follow the link to read the details and see some breathtaking mustard flowers images from past years)
To stay on top of all the events and specials I run through the year sign up for my newsletter. Some of them do not go public so it’s always great to be on that list and get all the exclusive offers. Plus I’m planning to release lots of tutorials and educational materials this year. If you on my list you’re going to be one of the very first ones to hear about them. Test them. Benefit from them and be inspired by them if you on that list!
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!
To stay on top of all the events and specials I run through the year sign up for my newsletter. Some of them do not go public so it’s always great to be on that list and get all the exclusive offers.
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!
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:
This past week my “Photographing Stranger 52 week Challenge” got very sweet. Literally. It’s week 7th of the challenge. I seriously didn’t think I’ll come that far.
As you might know, we are big fans of libraries. Two weeks ago we went to our local library, for their free Valentine’s Day Crafts event. My kids enjoyed it a lot. On Valentine’s Day, we ended up in the library again. While on our way out, my older daughter spotted a sign pointing to the same room as the previous event. It said: Valentine’s Day Cookies Decorating. Oh man! How could we say no to that?
The fun part (or sometimes not really), of having kids who can read is, they no longer depend on the adults telling them what the world around them is all about.
This event was aimed for older kids but we were invited anyway, as most of the participants of this event were my kids’ age anyway.
While my kids were busy making their second set of cookies, I asked the librarian, if I can take a picture of her for my project. She didn’t want to just sit there while I was taking pictures of her, so she started decorating a cookie. She is a big fan of chocolate but not cookies. And because of that, we ended up with an extra cooking leaving the library. A reason for more happiness for my girls.
I love her smile she gave me at the end!
I’m happy that this time photographing stranger didn’t take me an entire week. It was a brief impulse and I went with it. In the past weeks, it took me several “misses”, as I call them. I see someone who I would want to ask but then I’m too scared and I miss the opportunity.
Now go and check out Hailey’s stranger!
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The last play date we had – The Halloween Portrait Play Date in Saratoga – was a great success. I’m so happy I’d decided to do it. I’ve connected with so many great families who haven’t worked with me before.
Thank you so much to all who even despite the rain came to have some pre-Halloween fun with me.
I decided to organize the Halloween Portrait Play Date because so often, too often, I see parents sharing photographs of their kids having fun in their Halloween costumes, but what’s always missing are the parents. Even if the parents wear costumes during Halloween, the pictures of the whole family I keep seeing are quick snapshots of before or after trick-or-treating.
I know how important and fun for kids is Halloween. They get so excited. They wish they could wear their costumes day after day for weeks. At least my kids do that (or wish to do that). Why not to make it a fun halloween session without being stressed about everything (like most parents do when it comes to professional sessions).
All that stress is going away during the play date. It’s fun, relaxed, and quick 😉
During the Halloween Play Date nobody expected anybody to look fabulous and the kids could play, run and scream, and pretend they are pirates and fairies… And during all off that all the participants had their family portraits done! This is how our Halloween Portrait Play Date looked like and felt like. Fun and relaxed with no pressure on anybody.
This was also a great introduction for many of the families who attended to get the feeling how working with me looks. And I hope they all had fun.
See you at our next portrait play date. However as soon as the photography craziness stops after the Christmas I’ll get back to organizing them again. Stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter and/or to the events on Facebook.
In the future if you’d like to receive special offers straight to your phone before anybody else, feel free to sign to my newsletter, and get the mobile app:
You are invited to join Portrait Playdate with San Jose Family Portrait | Maternity | Breastfeeding | Headshot photographer, Ewa Samples. The even is happening in Saratoga, California in a very quiet park. The park has playground structures, a creek and a meadow. Plenty of room for relaxed socializing and pictures taking. 🙂
Stop by Wildwood Park in Saratoga on Thursday, September 8th and enjoy mommy and me time in great company. During this playdate moms will have a chance to socialize. Kids will play and entertain themselves (and us). We will tire them out, so they will be definitely ready for a long and well deserved nap.
What’s most important, we will CREATE WONDERFUL MEMORIES for all the participants to cherish forever.
In very relaxed and laid back atmosphere moms won’t even realize they are having a professional session done.
Portrait Playdate with Ewa Samples Photography is a perfect way to socialize, relax, make new friends, and maybe business connections while having a professional portraits done.
To join the playdate, please RSVP to the Facebook event, so I know how many people are coming. While you there, sign up for Ewa Samples Events to be notified about upcoming playdates and other fun events. To get the feel about the portrait playdate watch a sneak-peek from our last event.
if you’d like to chat about your session, feel free to email me: ewasamples(at)gmail.com also, to stay on top of all kinds of specials as well as photography tips subscribe to my newsletter :