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.

Sink Into Joy

I started writing this loooong blog post about why Mini Sessions don’t work, at least not for true Lifestyle Photography, but it became kinda, well, long.  Even this sentence is long — DOH!

Plus I don’t want to sound like I’m poo-pooing Mini Sessions because it can work for some people, especially those who are great at posing subjects.  It’s just not my style of photography or cup of tea.  Hey, I’m actually sipping tea right now, but I digress.  I’m like a puppy right now with my attention span.  SQUIRREL!  ;)

The point I am trying to make is:  Make sure you have enough time to sink into joy.

Not everyone can arrive on-location feeling relaxed, gleeful and fun-loving, yet those are the photos most aspire to have.  So make sure you have enough time to get to that emotional and physical space, and make sure the rest of your choices — clothing, location, activities — allows everyone to get there too.  ❤️


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Sun-Soaked Quality Time

So it’s wildfire season in California right now, which means rescheduled shoots because of bad air quality, planned and unplanned blackouts, horrific news of increased destruction, and smoky skies.

The only positive in all of this is it’s a great reminder of what’s important in our lives, and that’s our health and spending time with our loved ones.  Kim and Ashish know all about this, so I photographed their family having sun-soaked quality time together!  We picked a location that allowed their boys to run, jump and climb since Adventure is their middle name. :)

Last year’s jaunt through a dragon’s lair had imagery that is almost the complete opposite of this year’s shoot.  Which location and light do you like best?  (I love them both.)


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Conga Dance

Life is like a Conga dance.  It is rhythmic.  It moves in a direction — can be right or wrong, and sometimes moves erratically.  You’re part of a larger group, made up of family and friends.  Even when you’re not in the mood for it, it always turns out alright. 

Jennifer and Jonathan and their J-kids are first-time clients, and they arrived with THE best attitude:  willing to try anything!

This is what I sounded like throughout their shoot:  “Ooh ooh, I have an idea!”  And sometimes I’d throw in:  “But you can say no.”  They never said no.  Once I saw a spooky outdoor corridor and suggested to “do something scary for Halloween!”  I was able to imagine what the eerie light would look like photographed, and I also imagined they’d say no – haha.  I am so glad they trusted me.  See monsters below.

Sometimes I’d spot beautiful light or colors, so I’d ask them to hang out.  What they did was up to them.  Once they broke out in a musical theater number, a few times they hugged it out, and once they did the Conga.  :)

This family was so much fun to photograph.



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