Hello there!

My name is Annie Tao. I am a photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in lifestyle photography where you get to play, hang out, and be yourself. I capture the moments, real emotions and stories that occur during our time together. Check here often or subscribe to my blog (RSS feed) to see what I am up to or get creative inspiration. Thanks for visiting!

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The Buzz

My Philosophy

I scoured through thousands of my client photos and pondered my philosophy on photographing people.  What I realized was that my philosophy was incredibly simple.

Looking at all these gorgeous faces and families, my heart melts a little.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.   ~annie

Want to see more?  Yippeee… here’s a video on why you should choose Lifestyle Photography.

Behind-The-Scenes of a Boat Shoot

I love tight shots of people because, as a viewer, you get a sense that you’re sharing in a private moment.

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In every shoot, I also like to step back once in awhile to get an environmental shot because these images give context to a story.

Some locations, however, provide movement limitations, like a small room, a crowded location, or a sailboat in the middle of the San Francisco Bay!

So during my September boat shoot, Rachad carefully coordinated with a good friend to meet us in the middle of the bay.  His rescue boat was small and fast, so we could maneuver around my clients’ large sailboat.  It was thrilling FO SHO because — and I’m only spelling this out because I didn’t know this myself — the boat engines can’t be turned off on the water; the boats are always moving.

All this excitement brought me back to the days I jumped out of airplanes, dove into pitch-black caves underwater, backpacked in remote areas of Southeast Asia, and trekked through rainforests at night to find noctural wildlife.

Behind-the-Scenes #1

Getting on the rescue boat and back on the sailboat while both boats were moving was the most daring part of the whole shoot because there was nothing stable to hold onto, no area to step in the rescue boat, and the boats were at different heights.

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We zipped in front of my client’s moving sailboat, along side it, and all around it.  Salt water, wind, and my hair whipped against my face while I tried not to fall out of the boat whenever we hit a wave.  All the while, I was scrunched in the front of the boat and had to twist my body to get the angles I needed.

Think:  human pretzel!Annie-Tao-photographing-from-rescue-boat-BTS-instax-film

What I Shot #1

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Behind-the-Scenes #2

Here we were along side the sailboat while Rachad’s family was getting into position.  We had to maintain the same speed and race around to get the perspective I needed.

You can see the waves we generated from zipping around, and also the smiles!

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What I Shot #2

Rachad tilted his boat intentionally to show off the sleek lines of his new boat.

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This is what it looked like on-board!

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Behind-the-Scenes #3

Returning to the sailboat meant I was dryer and warmer.  Ahhhhh!

I stayed low to the boat — either sitting or squatting — as to not fall out when there was turbulence.  Here I am with little Maya, whom I’ve known since she was a baby.

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What I Shot #3

Being at the boat’s nose, I could capture multiple layers of imagery when facing backwards.

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I also walked towards the middle to get closer shots, making sure to shoot through things in order to get cool foreground bokeh.

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[If you want to see more Behind-The-Scenes (BTS) action, check out:  BTS of a Maternity Shoot, BTS of a Senior Shoot – Jalin, BTS of a Styled Shoot – Crystal, BTS of a Children’s Shoot – Little Princess.]

That’s all the Behind-the-Scenes I have for now!  Wishing you all a great week.  xo ~annie

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Festival of Lights

{Diwali:  A holiday known as the Festival of Lights to celebrate victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance.}

From planning this shoot with Renuka a year ago, I’ve learned so much about Diwali; and the more I learned, the more emotional I became.  This holiday spans beyond ethnicity, religion, or culture.  It’s about human kindness, community, our connection to one another, and standing together for what is right.

Photographing Renuka and Sandeep’s Diwali celebration was nourishing to my soul.  It’s something I will never forget.

I could feel the boundless energy as guests arrived.  Throughout the evening, one by one, candles were lit on the diyas, rangolis, and alter.  They provided a feeling of peace and hopefulness for our future and the future of our children. ❤️

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With You

Sure, some things I may ask you to do during your shoot may feel strange or even downright goofy.  To some.  Maaaaaybe:)

That’s where trust comes into play because I promise, there’s a reason for all of that.  During a photoshoot, images pop into my head based on what I see in front of me — the quality of light, patterns and textures in the environment, and the people I am photographing.  The best “directing” is when they feel more like spontaneous ideas between friends than directions.

Plus, it helps to know I am right there with you.  Through it all.  Laughing… being silly… being serious.

All of it.  ❤️

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