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.

Love Is…

When I started my photography business 10 years ago, I thought my job as a Lifestyle Family Photographer was to capture the family’s story.

I was wrong.

I am not capturing any story; I am capturing the family’s definition of Love.

If you ask people to finish the sentence “Love is….”, the variety of answers will probably surprise you.  Love can be physical affection to some — the kisses and embraces they give and receive.  Love can be the unwavering support they receive when life feels uncertain.  Love can be lifting someone higher when they’re soaring and holding their hand when they fall.  Love can be many things.

Last weekend, I photographed The K Family’s “Love is”…

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San-Francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-and-young-daughters-by-flowers

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-in-yellow-laying-down-in-grass

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-sister-reading-to-her-baby-sister-on-grass

San-Francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-family-standing-in-mist-2  San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-white-flower-bush

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San-Francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-looking-at-each-other-and-laughing-while-holding-daughters-on-grass

San-Francisco-lifestyle-baby-photography-top-of-baby-hair  San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-wispy-green-grass-closeup

San-Francisco-lifestyle-baby-photography-father-holding-smiling-baby-closeup

San-Francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-with-baby-watching-young-daughter-dancing-by-columns

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[If you want to see how The K Family’s “Love Is…” has changed through the years, check out their first shoot, or this one, ooh or this one, or whoa – I almost forgot THIS one!]

Simple is Best

One of the life lessons my father instilled in me was:  Simple is best.

This is relevant in so many ways, including photography.  I had a couple years where I picked up trendy props and backdrops for indoor shoots.  What I found was my most favorite shoots were rarely when things were complicated with over-thought details.  My favorite shoots were usually when the location was simple, props were few, and my time together with my subject(s) was easy-going and free-flowing.

Take for example my shoot this week of my Mia who just turned 12.  (I do a photoshoot of each of my monkeys around their birthdays.)

We didn’t have anything particular in mind, other than Mia requested that her shoot be short.  (*ehem*  I will try not to take that personally.  smh)  We picked out her outfit just before we left, I told her to brush her hair, I made sure there was still battery life in my camera, and we headed out.

The area I had in mind for the shoot was under construction, so I kept driving.  After a bit of driving aimlessly purposefully, we stopped at a red light near a strip mall (classy, I know) where there was a parking lot and an unkempt hillside behind a row of bushes, which appeared to be planted to keep people out.  So obviously, I saw that as an invitation to climb over.  ;)

Voila, my mini shoot of my sweet Mia!

THE TAKEAWAY:  Sure, you should plan for your shoot, but you don’t need to overthink it.  Sometimes, my dad is right… simple is best! ❤️

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east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-putting-on-hat  east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-smiling-with-hat

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Bathtime Shoot

I am slowly accepting the fact that my kids will continue to grow up (as much as I’ve resisted it – haha), so I wanted to capture my youngest the way she is right now for her 7 year old birthday photoshoot!  A Lifestyle Shoot will be a departure from the last few years of doing Styled Shoots — like the Train Station Shoot and the Fairytale Shoot.

When Ava is at home, you can usually find her sitting on my lap, snuggling with me, singing me a song, playing with me, or being busy right next to me.  She’s my small, cute shadow.  Thus, I realize a “regular day” would be difficult to photograph unless I shot through mirrors or with a selfie stick!  haha.  So I narrowed down the shoot to bath time!

Bath time would show how she is in-between the stages of “little kid” and “big kid” because she can do everything herself, yet she still finds bath toys and bubbles fun.  Some things I wanted to capture:  she started wrapping her hair in a towel; she lost her 4th baby tooth a few days ago, so now her smiles have holes; she has creations displayed all around, like her Dr Seuss-inspired Pig In A Wig doll; and she loves singing and dancing right after a shower or bath.  With a hairbrush.  And the towel still on her head.

I am thrilled with how the images turned out and wish I could share more images with you, but thinking into the future, I want to respect her privacy and don’t want to embarrass her, so I can only show you a few select ones.  You’ll get a feel for it though!

Happy birthday to my Ava Bear.  ❤️

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-pink-bath-duck  East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-bath-tub-at-sunset

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East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-looking-at-tub-faucet  East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-child-holding-up-ten-bubbly-fingers

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*BEHIND THE SCENES*

This is me with my Warriors shirt and messy ponytail.  I know, my bathroom has kids stuff E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.  C’est ma vie. 

By the way, if Ava wasn’t in a bathtub, she’d be right there at my side, probably hugging my hip while telling me how pretty I look (even when I am looking ragged and tired).  Or she’d probably stick one of her little fingers in a ripped hole of my jeans and giggle.  :)

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