The Land of Magic


This time I will share some of my pictures that I have taken during  Elena Shumilova’s workshop and edited for this blog. To those who haven’t read my previous posts about the workshop, there are two links: and

To start with, I want to make it clear that I have never had any intention to copy Elena’s style, but I did wonder how she makes all her images to look so warm and alive, and how she brings every single detail of her composition to perfection.  I wanted my photographs to be perfect too :). I did learn some of Elena’s techniques, I came home enriched and joyous,  but I know that it is just a beginning of a magic journey, where hard work and inspiration walk side by side.

Elena’s workshop encouraged me to use my painting skills in my photography – something that I do very seldom, and only when it is absolutely necessary.  Elena says that to know is not enough. It will take time and experience to learn what opacity and brush size to choose, and where to put a stroke.

I was playing with Photoshop, and want to share the pictures I have edited straight after the workshop. Some are heavily painted, some just retouched. There are no added textures or presets – I have only used Photoshop brushes and painted manually. If you don’t mind, could you please tell which of the images you like better.

This is Sean. I know, I know, it is impossible to take a bad picture with Sean as a model. I am so grateful that he agreed to model for us, and sure he deserves a better portrait than this one I took on the run. Sean is a musician, a local Father Christmas, and one of the nicest men I ever met, with a personality larger than life.

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I have always had a love for backlit scenes. Unfortunately we got that thick cloud sitting on the horizon –  there goes the golden and dreamy light… This one got a little bit of light though.


In this image, I painted the background more deliberately, making it look like watercolor.


In the opening image, I painted it a night. This is the real scene, with just a basic editing.


In the end of the day we are all exhausted. Tried my best to squeeze a smile.

Sean Derry

Some more photographs to acknowledge our beautiful models.


elena shumilova workshop


elena shumilova workshop

That’s it from the workshop. In my next blog I will share some pictures of Inishowen –  the land of magic and beautiful people.

I had been on the road many hours, and did a lot of thinking ( it is probably why I had missed my turn and got lost somewhere between County Cavan and Monaghan)…

As we are living our life, unpleasant things happen. We may meet some people or groups of people who act unethically and mean; who destroy others with lies and themselves with envy. We can get hurt. We can be targets or collateral damage victims. There is some ugliness always lurking in the shadows, but you know what? The rest of the life is magic! Most of our life is magic. I would be a fool if I let this perfect life to be overshadowed with bitterness and negativity. This precious, exciting, glorious life! Sadness, and even frustration takes over at times, but the magic has never failed me – after every unpleasant experience something wonderful happens.

I would love to share another few links as a Thank you to all of those who made that weekend unforgettable.

Strand Hotel, Ballyliffin – highly recommended!

Famine Village  – photo shoot location

Malin Stables



Irish TV

And again, thank you Elena Shumilova and Brendan Diver, and all our beautiful models! More workshops scheduled for 2016, including two in the USA ( Long Island and Orange County).

More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!


  1. These are just amazing pictures, Inese! Your images always are, but I ADORE the ethereal quality of these particular ones, and judging by all the comments, your work has really connected with a lot of people. You know, we are bombarded with images on social media and other media all day long, but some really shine out and stay with us. Your post and pictures of the foxes have always stayed with me, and I look forward to seeing more of this new technique you have perfected, it is so magical!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Ali! I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. I have a ton of them, and probably will keep post-editing them one at a time when I get an interesting background for a composite. This blog is not a portfolio, but a place where I can be myself and share things I find interesting, and also my thoughts and worries. I use my own photographs to illustrate the text. Not always they come out as spectacular as the ones with the foxes :). Some of the photographs are post-edited, some are raw from the camera. In these photographs, the children are the models hired for the workshop, but normally, I share photographs of people, and especially children very seldom. This is a precautionary measure to not get attention from the certain websites. Thank you again for stopping by! Your Celtic stories are fascinating ( I am big fan of everything Celtic).

  2. Holy cow. I love your work. Followed and bookmarked your site so I can sit in leisure and read it later with coffee and slippers.

  3. beautiful photos, Inese! I love the dreamy effect you’ve imbued them with — it’s like I’m in a different land and another world!

  4. Inese – Brilliant – I’ve fallen in love with the work of Elena Shumilova because of you. I’ve posted her work of the child and her dog twice on Facebook. You are going to be competition – you are well on your way – you have the eye required and your work always seems to touch my heart.
    Are you familiar with the work of Lynn Lupetti. I started collecting her work many years ago. My all time favorite, The Softest Hug, Tom gave me for our 1st anniversary. I purchased the matching story board to go with it and they hang side by side in our living room. Although they may not be the most valuable piece in our collection, it’s undenialble my favorite and I cherish it even more because Tom gave it to me. I’d told him about reading stories to my teddy as a child.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sheri. Yes, I know her enchanting art, and I also know a few more artists like her, who are definitely blessed from above to bring beauty to the world and soften the hearts. Glad that you and Tom have one of her works as a special memory.

  5. These are incredible! The colors. The soft and light. It’s amazing how you can “paint” a photo in this way. Not to take away from the art, but to enhance it. I feel like I’m walking on a beach in a dream looking at these. My gosh! Well…well…well done!

    1. Thank you so much Alice. Very humbled with your kindness. I knew the technique like forever, but never used it other way than to fix flaws. It is fun to paint like that on the photograph, and I enjoy my newly acquired skill 🙂 Thank you again!

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