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Anniversary Family Session Castello Di Amorosa Calistoga || Bay Area 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.

Anniversary Family Session Castello Di Amorosa Bay Area Photographer

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!) 

Castello Di Amorosa Ewa Samples Photography

Calistoga Castello Di Amorosa Ewa Samples Photography

Calistoga Castello Di Amorosa Ewa Samples Photography

 

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.

Calistoga Castello Di Amorosa Ewa Samples Photography

 

castello di amorosa ewa samples photography

 

 

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…

crowded Castello di Amorosa

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.

Family Photography Sessions during Corona virus || San Jose Family Photographer

I’m stopping by to let you know that during this Summer I am still open for business. Many family photographers decide not to work and are taking their time off. That’s totally okay because this is a very personal decision to make.

However, instead of a variety of different packages and prices, with all that’s happening right now, I decided to offer 30 minutes long minis in the comfort of your own front porch or back yard. I want to make it as easy as possible for all my clients!

Don’t worry! YOUR FRONT or BACK YARD is AWESOME FOR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS – I promise you! 

I  have spent countless hours driving around the Bay Area and testing new locations. I still do that, because I have clients who’ve been with me for the last 7 years and I don’t want to run out of new locations to offer them each year!

All outdoor photographers have their “super secret” list of favorite locations they are ready to recommend for their clients. I have such a list as well. But when the world turns topsy-turvy the list is as useless as the list you make for the hospital before your labor. Do you know what list I’m talking about?

I was asked to make such a list for the doctors and nurses before my first daughter was born. They told me to write my entire plan for the delivery.

So I went ambitious:

  • all-natural,
  • no painkillers,
  • vaginal delivery,

But when the labor came, I was begging for epidural, and when my husband opened his mouth and this sentence got out of him: “but honey we had a different plan” I was about to shred him to pieces.

So, yeah… the list of beautiful locations can wait for another time… It’s still available for my clients if they want it…

 

Family-Photo-Sessions-During-Covid-19-_-Ewa-Samples-Photography-San-Jose-Photographer

 

I want to make it as easy as possible for my clients. Plus those mini sessions are designed to be as affordable as possible, too.

With the right attitude and the right angle, we can make anything work. Plus, these are special times. And special times call for special solutions 🙂

MAKE SURE TO TAKE YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS PICTURES THIS YEAR A LITTLE EARLIER… 

As the world is absolutely unstable right now, and nothing is for sure, I really recommend taking care of your FALL pictures this SUMMER. 

There are some predictions that the shelter in place (in its full potential) is going to return this Fall. That means no sessions, again 🙁 So, I really want everybody to start thinking about their family photos a little earlier this year. It might feel weird, but I think it’s also awesome to think outside of the box.

I’m open for sweet and short (not to mention fun) sessions:

  • on your front porch, 

front porch mini session _ Ewa Samples Photography _ San Jose Family Photographer

  • in your backyard,

backyard mini session covid19 - Ewa Samples Photography

  • in-home lifestyle, like baking cookies or doing crafts and arts or hanging out with your pet.

No matter the size of the pet. I’m pretty pet friendly.

pet friendly photographer in San Jose _ Ewa Samples Photography

 

As always I’m very open to hiking sessions or beach sessions. If you’re feeling adventurous or simply want to document your family having fun somewhere outside your home, that’s absolutely fine.  Let’s make it fun, short, and filled with as many kisses and hugs as possible.

family photography sessions 2020 _ ewa samples photography _ morgan hill

 

AFFORDABLE PRICE and A GREAT GIFT

The sessions I’m offering have two prices:

  • $175 for 10 images if you want it super short and kept to a minimum!
  • $250 for all images from the session

All images are going to be delivered online via online gallery and you will be able to purchase additional images after you see them – in a situation where you book the 10 images package but after you see the gallery you will want them all. And I know that this is going to happen because so far all my recent clients have done that! Hahaha!

This would be also a wonderful gift for families that you know could use a cheer-up these days! Or just for your sister or brother or a bestie!

Use the contact page to schedule your session!!!
See you soon!

Ewa

 

Yellow Flowers Mini Sessions

Family Picture with a springer spaniel

A few weeks ago I set a new picture as my desktop background. A picture very special to my heart. My 3 girls and I – my daughters and my old lady Di (it’s the picture you see above). On the day I took it we already knew we have only a few days left with the old lady and my heart was already broken. She was my everything. My best friend. My companion and the only baby sitter of my kids I ever had.

On that day I put my nice shoes on and we went to the park to celebrate. Celebrate us and our time together. My sweet, old lady is gone and has been for many years now, but she will be in my heart for a lifetime.

I love looking at all the memories we made together. All the moments captured forever.

11 months ago I decided to add another four-legged family member because one heartbreak is not enough, I guess. Rambunctious Oreo. He even has his own Instagram, btw.

This past weekend I made an extra effort to celebrate him and my girls. Us together. Our time, the way we play. The way we hug. The way we love each other.

I know, someday these moments will bring tears to my eyes, just like all the memories of Lady Di. But that’s how it all goes.

So, now is your turn to make memories of the special hugs and kisses and playful moments engraved in your heart forever. The mustard flowers are popping up and it’s the perfect time to celebrate.

Let’s celebrate in joyful YELLOW FLOWERS that are popping out already!

Yellow Flowers Mini Sessions Mustard Flowers San Jose Photographer

 

Celebrate whatever you want.
Celebrate Yourself.
Celebrate Your family.
Celebrate Your best friend: A human, a dog or a guinea pig.

Just celebrate!

Because the perfect time is now. 

In the past, I had clients celebrating Breastfeeding moments perfectly hidden in the tall flowers or proudly standing in the joyful yellows!

I had pregnant mamas and a lot of families just having fun!

And this year, it’s your turn!

The fields don’t last long so book your session ASAP! 

 

Ewa

 

Get outstanding Fall family pictures this year || Family Photographer, Morgan Hill, CA

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.

Fall MINI SESSIONS November 9th Limited spots!!! $399 All images (1)

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. 

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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! 

Paws for Purple Hearts Puppy Petting || Menlo Park Photographer

Did you know that being a “puppy petter” is a real thing? Well, it is!

I’ve had quite the experience in puppy petting in my life. Let me count… Amor, Rosie, Muffy, Maggie, Oreo, Ewelina, Natalia… Oh wait… the last two are my kids… However, all of my pups came with other (dirtier) responsibilities. The puppy petting I’m talking about today is different. Plus it serves an amazing purpose.

Paws for Purple Hearts, Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy

I recently connected with a non-profit organization which trains and provides service dogs for veterans. 

Let’s travel in time to 2006. In that year Bergin University Of Canine Studies (located in Penngrove, California) with the partnership of The Menlo Park Veterans Administration Medical Center started a research program.

Why this program is so important? Because today that program is an amazing non-profit organization with 5 locations nationwide. That organization is called Paws for Purple Hearts.

A few months ago I traveled to Penngrove where PPH’s national office is located. There I met with the founder of the University, the creator of PPH, Dr. Bonnie Bergin, and the team. That was a great experience.

PPH connects veterans with highly trained service dogs. They call them champ service dogs. The organization believes golden retrievers and labradors (or a mix of those two) are the best breeds for the purpose of becoming the champ service dog.

The most amazing thing about their training program is that it involves between 40 to 60 veterans per dog. One pup can have a therapeutic impact on so many people who need it. WOW!

The puppies are born and spend most of their early puppyhood in Penngrove. After they reach a certain age, a volunteer drives them once a week to the Menlo Park location (and back) for a puppy petting event and to start their training with veterans. Now, the best part is that everybody (age 14+) can sign up to become a puppy petter. Yes, you read that right. You come and pet puppies for an entire hour, once a week. I can assure you, just that itself has therapeutic powers! Puppy petting is designed to introduce the pups to all kinds of positive stimulation around people and they need as many of us as possible. 🙂

paws for purple hearts, puppy petting, June th _ewa samples photography

It costs PPH $35k to fully train ONE service dog! Can you imagine that?

Bergin University programs are growing. PPH is only one of them. When I visited Penngrove’s team they seemed really busy with 3 different litters. One of the litters will go to PPH. It’s the one you can see in the video. The two remaining litters will go to different programs. However, with the growth, they need to increase manpower and raise money.

Simply speaking, they need as much help as they can get.

Volunteers are always needed! Same with donations. PPH’s website has detailed information about getting involved with them, so please visit and see if you can!

Maybe I’ll see you there next time.

Summer Challenge for Kids. Big Ideas Start Small.

“Big Ideas Start Small”  – Summer challenge for kids (and their parents)

 

big ideas start small summer challenge for kids

 

Last Christmas my daughter attempted creating an online store. She was selling one of her paintings. She participated in creating a short video about it and the rest was done by me, her mama! We posted it once, and we forgot about it. The whole thing wasn’t a big hit.

We did nothing else to market it and spread the word about her little adventure.

We did, what many first timers do… We planted the seed but never watered the soil after that. 

Since then, she asked me countless times if we can do more, so she can sell more and support WWF. In other words, if I can do more to help her out. I told her, she will need to step up her game. I’ll support her and give her as much of my time and knowledge as I have, but the rest must to be done by her.

Every time I talked about running a business and about all the responsibilities that come with it her eyes glazed over and I knew I lost her.

It was simply boring.

Our life was a little crazy over the last year or so. I wasn’t pushing her to do anything with it. There was a lot happening already. However, with the cancelation of my Kids Photography Workshop, a space opened up for something I’ve been meaning to organize for a long time:

Business workshop for kids!!!! 

With all that in mind I decided to create something more fun. Something with a simple language that a kid can understand. Plus engaging and relatable content would also be nice! (right?)

Coming up with a short list of MUST KNOW topics for this was hard. There is so much I’d wanted to cover. However, I think I got the essentials down! We will find out if I’m right while putting all the bullet points into a practice over the next several weeks 😉

brainstorming _ ewa samples photography

Brainstorming

I gathered a small (but strong) group and we are up for an adventure!

By the end of this Summer we are going to have small businesses opened and running! 

We will cover such topics as branding, connecting with their clients through storytelling, web design, creative writing, and money (of course).

During this workshop all participants are going to learn how to:

  • name and connect with their superpowers (aka unique talents),
  • come up with a interesting concept for their business based on the unique skills they already have,
  • create a brand,
  • create simple marketing campaign from scratch,
  • create a website,
  • start their business with mostly free tools!!!
  • and more…

We will have trips to local businesses and listen to other CEO’s stories.

 

 business-workshop-for-kids.-ewa-samples-photography

With their notebooks ready for new ideas to be born!

 

Our first meeting was a big hit! 

All the girls got notebooks and sticker books.

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

We set up 3 main goals for our businesses. 

Lead. Serve. Impact.

 

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography-14

We had really great brainstorming session. All the girls supported each other and participated with their own ideas. Non of them had to think long to be able to list a few causes that they can support with their business. Animal shelters, homeless shelters and kids hospitals, animal hospitals, and more! WOW!

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography-2

Our team is made out of 4 girls. Two are my daughters and two are Carlie’s.

Carlie is the owner of Lehrfeld Farm in San Martin. And we are using her studio for our Summer Challenge meetings.

We are planning a few adventurous field trips already. However, we will have some exciting guest in the studio as well.

Plus we always have fun afterwards:

business workshop for kids. ewa samples photography

Stay tuned to see what those young enterpreneurs will create.

 

 

 

Kids Photography Workshop || Morgan Hill Photographer

This is my second year of running Summer kids photography workshop.

I know how much all the kids like the screen time.
I like to make this time more productive and educational. 

And I know with these classes kids get quite the great mix of all that.

Is the kids photography workshop a good fit for your child?

kids photography workshop_morgan hill_san jose

First of all, I don’t know a child who would be absolutely mad for giving him/her a phone and the permission to play with it. 

Second of all, this workshop is going to show the kids new ways for using their creativity. You will be amazed how interesting their point of view is. 

Like, back in April my older daughter (9 years old) entered her very short (and silly) video to Poppy Jasper International Film Festival. The video was played in front of an audience at the Gavilan College in Gilroy. It was really a great day for her! I have to mention that all the clips for the video were made on my iPhone and the entire video was put together on an iPad.

Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Gilroy

Poppy Jasper International Film Festival

My daughter is absolutely fluent with iMovie (iPad or iPhone version). She doesn’t have much access to games and silly apps. However, if she mentions making a video or editing pictures I tend to say YES to the time in front of a mobile device.  

This workshop is going to teach kids the basic knowledge about photography. All of that without the boring stuff necessary to master DSLR cameras.

I’ve seen kids snapping killer black and white images after going through this workshop. Something they were not even considering before.

If you want your kid to be able to look around and see the beauty in a leaf or an old fence… well, this workshop is the way to go about it.

This workshop is for kids who are curious, love outdoors and art.
If your kid is not into art, this is a great introduction to this subject. 

During my own battles with self-esteem and so many different issues I’ve learned that photography has been an amazing addition to the tools I’ve developed through the years.

Being able to turn my smartphone into a tool that helps me to express myself feels good. I can no longer say I’m bored if I have my phone with working camera and a few editing apps available. 

I’m a strong believer that the more we practice being creative the easier it comes to us. So, if you want your little one to gain great skills but also practice their creativity, secure their spot today!

…and, let’s get creative together!

P.S (I added the possibility to do individual classes instead of the entire workshop)
 

Spring Mini Sessions. Lost yourself in flowers! {San Jose Family Photographer}

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. 

san_jose_breastfeeding_photographer_Ewa_samples_Photography

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)

Spots available on February 22nd, 23rd and 24th

BOOK YOUR SESSION TODAY!

 

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! 

Creativity is like a muscle || Bay Area Photographer

 

Creativity is what helps me escape a lot of my inner demons. 

Demi Lovato

 

Creativity is like muscles Self Portrait Ewa Samples Photography San Jose Photographer

I strongly believe that creativity is not a talent. I believe creativity is like a muscle. We have to exercise it in order to grow it.

We are all born with the same amount of creative potential. However, when we go through life we learn different ways of dealing with problems. In the process, we develop our creativity or we decrease it.

I believe some people are prone to be more creative than others. In other words, some people are born with specific talents and can use them without having to spend countless hours on practice. Still, talent without creativity and vision won’t take you far.

Not everybody is exposed to arts and creative ways of expressing themselves as they go through life.

I prefer when my kids spend their time painting with me than doing their homework, for example. However, I know many parents who rather send their kids to after school math classes.

I’d also prefer if there were more art in schools and less testing and scoring and chasing some kind of invisible standard or more defined ways of success in life – like being a doctor, a lawyer, a broker, or IT person.

I believe art is powerful. Participating in art making in particular. With today’s technology and easy access to art supplies, creativity is one of the best ways to invest in yourself and your potential.

This year, I’ll be investing a lot of time and effort into spreading the art. I’ll try to show you how to see this world around us in a more artistic way. I’ll give you some ideas how to express the heck out of yourself via photography, creative editing, and some mixed media techniques.

I tend to express myself a lot with self-portraits. Therefore, I’ll be using a lot of them in my tutorials and workshops. You can translate this knowledge into whatever you’re interested in. It could be nature or your kids or your pets or even architecture. Or all of it.

To create material that interests you I’d like your help. Please take a few minutes and let me know by filling out this survey. If you had the opportunity, what would you want to learn about photography wise?

Otherwise, I hope you stick around and help me develop the vision I have for using creativity in our lives. Because I have a big vision and I want to invite you to be a part of it.

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! 

Halloween Playdate with pictures || Saratoga Family Photographer

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.


halloween pictures 2018 _ Halloween Photo Session San Jose Ewa Samples Photography-24

 

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.

halloween pictures 2018 _ Halloween Photo Session San Jose Ewa Samples Photography-18

 

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!

Ewa

 

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. 

 

 

Pumpkin Stock Images Bundle || San Jose Photographer

 

Fall is here. OCTOBER is here. And everything pumpkin is here. As a business owner, I know how important the visual part for the online presence is for many solopreneurs and bloggers. I also know what a pain in the butt it is to research the right images for promotions, specials, gift cards, blog posts, etc.

With that in mind, I have created a package of 32 high-resolution digital images of all sorts of pumpkiness… plus a flower or two.

Pumpkin Stock Images Bundle

(click on the image to get to the shop)

Pumpkin Stock Images _ Ewa Samples Photography

These can be used for marketing any October specials, events, used in blog posts, and many other forms.

They will go well with any Fall post for Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.

Great for greeting and “thank you” cards for clients, friends, and family.

Pumpkin-up October’s digital and/or printed flyers. Decorate your website with oh-so-orangeness…

The sky is the limit…

Meantime, feel free to sing up for my upcoming events, specials, or freebies throuh my email list. Some of them do not go public and I can assure you, they are awesome. Just like my subscribers. 🙂 

 

When is it too late to book your Fall Photo Session?

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.

Fall Photo Session - Anderson Lake September _ Ewa Samples Photography Morgan Hill-30

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. 

 

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