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. Thank you so much for your comment! I don’t usually post-process much unless I am saving a bad picture 🙂 This workshop gave me a different perspective.

  1. Your photos stand on their own merits. 🙂 Although, how nice it is to have a mentor like Elena. It is always nice to improve on one’s work.

  2. I love the picture with the girl and the horse on the beach at night. They shine with an internal light while the background remains dark. Simply beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Susanne! I was thinking of the bright moon in the clear sky. First I though I would paint the moon on the horizon, but then I decided to leave it unseen, just paint the light. This image was the most time consuming, and I still feel like it is unfinished. So glad you like it!
      My best wishes!

    1. Thank you so much! Aren’t the little girls sweet! I haven’t yet decided how much of the ‘dream-painting’ I am going to use in my future pictures, but I really loved to play with the workshop images.

  3. Great! I’m glad to see the follow up to your earlier post. I love the contrast between wisdom and youth. By the way, the toddlers in Ireland are really huge and I– Oh wait, those are tiny ponies… Em, never mind.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I just edited the images I took at the workshop. I guess if you google Elena Shumilova workshop and open Images, you will find another thirty almost identical pictures 🙂 I still don’t know if I am going to use this techniques on a regular basic, but I like to play with them, and I am grateful for the comments like yours :).
      I would love to work with Sean in the future. He is a wonderful model.

  4. Your photographs are so beautiful, Inese, and Sean and the little girls make wonderful models. I love the way you edited the ‘header’ photo to make it look like night, and the one of Sean in which you painted the background to look like watercolour is beautiful too. You certainly know a lot about photo editing! I wouldn’t know where to start with Photoshop.
    Wonderful photos altogether.

  5. Congratulations Inese, the pictures are really beautiful, great work !!
    I am also a follower of Elena Shumilova, is an excellent photographer and artist … like you.
    I loved to see you both in the image of the previous post, I feel great envy 🙂 congratulations again.
    Hugs from Spain.

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