My Everything Bag

I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of person.  I love boots, hats, flip flops and sunglasses.  I rarely pick up fashion magazines because I don’t care to follow trends.  I wear what I love, what feels good, what makes me feel good about myself.  Maybe that’s not even really “a style”, but that’s how I choose what to buy and what to wear.

So when I was online one day and stumbled across this bag that perfectly sums up my style AND happens to be a camera bag… omg. <3

Today, I took it out for a spin for the first time and decided last minute to take photos of it — so don’t judge my flat hair.  ;)

east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-camera-bag-with-annie-tao

Here is what I love about this Kelly Moore (Collins) camera bag:

- It’s made of thick canvas and genuine leather.  This makes the bag sturdy, and not too heavy.  The dual material gives it an urban edge.
- The shape of the bag allows it to be slouchy, but the material makes it rigid enough to hold its shape.
- It has lots of metal buckles, studs, zippers, and lots and lots of pockets!
- It has a lined, padded interior with adjustable/removable dividers to protect my gear.
- The bag has a removable long strap, so I can choose to hang the bag on my shoulders or carry it by the handles for a different look.

east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-km-camera-bag-in-coffee-shop-canvas-closeup  east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-annie-tao-walking-with-camera-bag

My favorite part…

It has a separate area (a zipped pocket on the outside) for my wallet items!  In my last lens bag, I had to put my cash, keys and cards in one of the lens compartments, which meant they sometimes fell out because I would need to reach into the various slots to find what I needed.  With this bag, it’s right there on the side, and I don’t need to dig around or touch my gear unnecessarily.

The extra wallet area makes this bag a fantastic accessory for everyday use, not just for shoots.  Yup, this will be my bag for everything:)

east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-annie-tao-unzipping-top-of-camera-bag  east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-annie-tao-unzipping-camera-bag

east-bay-lifestyle-product-photography-km-camera-bag-in-coffee-shop-full-shot

To get more information about this bag, click on this link (go to Canvas collection and click on Collins).

[FYI:  Kelly Moore did not contract me to write this or give me the bag.  I bought this because I was looking for a new camera bag -- one that will last longer than a year and one that doesn't actually look like a standard camera bag.]

Holiday Music

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-family-picnicking-in-tree-farm

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la!

A random fact about me:  I love listening to Christmas music.  I will turn up the volume and belt it out.  If you’re in my car, I will insist that you sing with me.  I can listen to it throughout the year, not only in December.

But what if your season ISN’T jolly?

There is nothing jolly about my heater breaking the other day and it was only 35F degrees out — and I have 3 kids and a puppy to keep warm.  I was struggling to stay sane with my husband, Lawrence, away on another business trip.  This past year, I had some health issues, which has effected us emotionally and financially.  And every Christmas, I feel the void of my dad’s passing because this was the holiday when I’d see him.

Well, get this…

I still love listening to holiday music even though it may sound contrived when there are things I’m worried/stressed/unhappy about.  You know why?

Because every Winter, there are cheerful holiday songs playing on the radio.  No matter what.  That reminds me that time never stands still.  Things are ever-changing, and that includes how we see things.

We had warm clothes to wear when the heater went kaput.  Whenever my kids found out I was cold, they’d rush over to hug me to keep me warm!  Lawrence travels frequently for work, but he always returns home safely.  I found some great doctors who helped me with my health issues.  And although I wish we could be spending the holidays with my dad (or just have my kids and Lawrence meet him!), I know that it was his sudden passing that gave me the kick in the pants to change my career to one that makes my heart happy.

The songs remind me that things will be okay, so why not be joyful.  Be thankful.  Be good to others because some have it worse than I do.  And enjoy the little things because time continues to move, and you don’t want to find out that the ‘little thing’ was actually a ‘big thing’ and miss it.

So last Sunday, I had my last shoot for 2016 with Leonard, Gabrielle, Christian and Livvy.  It was a Styled Shoot with a Winter theme, so we had it at a Christmas Tree Farm.

Everything about it makes me want to belt out holiday music.  <3

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-man-gleeful-while-sitting-with-family-in-tree-farm  bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-holding-jar-of-marshmallows

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-christmas-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-family-having-a-picnic-in-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-ornament-closeup-in-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-mom-helping-daughter-with-ornament  bay-area-lifestyle-photography-family-hugging-in-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-playing-hide-and-seek-with-kids-in-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-young-girl-with-earmuffs-and-candycane-tree-farm

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-woman-sitting-on-haybale-with-kids-bxw  bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-being-silly-in-tree-farm-bxw

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-sitting-couple-laughing-in-tree-farm

Rainbow Bubbles

For a Lifestyle Shoot involving bubbles, having THE sunniest day in December was more than ideal.  It didn’t even feel like Winter.  And the sunlight created magnificent rainbows of color in the bubbles!

His parents, Peter and Sophia, took him to their usual park destination to do some of his favorite activities:  walk (and run!), blow bubbles, examine fountains, lean into mom for extra cuddles, look at dinosaurs, and step on lights that are on the ground.

I had such a nice morning in San Francisco — made even better with nice clients and a 2-year old cutie who kept saying “Annie!  Annie!”  :)

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-and-toddler-playing-bubbles-outside-museum

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-dad-making-giant-bubbles

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-statues-in-golden-gate-park  san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-carrying-laughing-son-in-park

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-kissing-baby-in-tunnel-with-balloons

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-father-chasing-toddler-son-view-between-balloons

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-playing-with-toddler-at-cal-academy

san-francisco-lifestyle-baby-photography-toddler-boy-standing-on-light  san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-garden-in-golden-gate-park

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-toddler-boy-unsure-as-he-leans-into-mom

Published on Wall Street Journal

An on-point article published in the Life section of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) today about the trend of choosing holiday cards that represent people’s lives more.

Oh, and my client’s (Roberta and Alex’s) holiday card was chosen to be in the article!  Thanks for the feature, WSJ and Paper Culture!  :)

wsj-header-bgwsj-holiday-cards-get-real-p1bwsj-holiday-cards-get-real-p2wsj-holiday-cards-get-real-p3-cropped

To read the entire WSJ article, click here.

Gold, Mushrooms and Trolls

Olivia and Emma had an adventurous morning with their parents.  They hunted for gold, explored a forest to find mushrooms, and avoided trolls at the bridge!   :)

There was also a lot of hugging, kissing and hand-holding, which made it a perfect way to spend a sunny morning after days of rain showers.

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-talking-with-young-daughter-in-golden-sunlight

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-toddler-girl-standing-by-herself-in-woodsy-park

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-moms-reaction-to-daughter-kissing-her  bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-preschool-girl-looking-to-the-side-in-golden-sunlight

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-holding-young-daughters-on-cement-wall-by-golden-leaves

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-laughing-sisters-holding-hand-on-bridge

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-closeup-of-sisters-holding-hands-backview

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-family-looking-over-bridge-bxw

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-holding-hands-while-walking-on-bridge  bay-area-lifestyle-photography-yellow-mushrooms-in-woods

Glorious Day on the Bay

There is nothing more glorious than being cuddled between the golden sunlight, the blue-est of skies, dancing waves on your favorite Bay, and the laughter of children who are happily building forts out of pillows and playing make-believe.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of sailing in the San Francisco Bay with my long-time clients (now friends), Priti and Rachad.  Bonus was seeing their children:  Maya whom I’ve known since she was a baby and Samir whom I met when he was born!

We sailed to a little cove in Sausalito, played there for awhile, and then headed back to the city just as the Super Moon appeared.  After we docked, we celebrated with wine and cheese while we continued to catch up.

Ahhhhh… it was a glorious day.

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-view-from-sailboat-of-gate-bridge-at-sunset

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-woman-with-sunglasses-on-sailboat  san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-family-on-sailboat-by-golden-gate-bridge-at-sunset

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-children-playing-on-floor-of-sailboat-while-mother-watches-downward-view-bxw

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-family-climbing-off-top-of-sailboat

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-family-hanging-out

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-son-and-mom-looking-at-each-other-at-sunset-by-bay  san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-succulents-by-the-bay

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-father-holding-daughters-shoulders-by-yellow-wall-and-flowers

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-family-piled-high-in-hugs-by-bay

san-francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-fixing-daughters-hair-on-sailboat

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-couple-enjoying-the-cityview-on-a-sailboat

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-couple-embracing-on-top-of-sailboat-in-bay

san-francisco-lifestyle-photography-family-cuddling-on-sailboat-by-golden-gate-bridge-at-sunset

Wonderland at the Farm

If you mashed together the stories Alice in Wonderland and Charlotte’s Web, you’d get this shoot!  It was so full of life and personality that we didn’t even need the sun to keep us warm or brighten our day.  (It sounds hokey, I know, but just look at the images and you’ll see what I mean!)

I feel incredibly honored to step out of my usual lifestyle shoots to take on this special extended family project.  <3

Now check out Wonderland at the Farm…

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-kids-jumping-off-haybales-at-farm

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-playing-guitar-on-haybale  east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-girls-hugging-their-grandfather

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-grandpa-with-his-funny-granddaughters-at-a-farm-2

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-kids-climbing-on-haybales-while-boy-plays-guitar

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-extended-family-portrait-at-farm-on-haybales  east-bay-lifestyle-photography-purple-hydrangeas

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-preschool-girl-profile-at-farm

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-four-young-children-working-the-ticket-booth-at-farm

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-four-young-children-working-the-ticket-booth-while-line-builds

east-bay-lifestyle-photography-alice-in-wonderland-tea-party  east-bay-lifestyle-photography-alice-in-wonderland-teapot

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-alice-in-wonderland-tea-party-with-animals-and-dress-up

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-looking-fierce-with-a-dragon-hat

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-three-generation-boys-in-family  east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-grandfather-laughing-during-game

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-four-young-children-lined-up-for-a-race-at-farm

east-bay-lifestyle-photography-couple-walking-while-holding-hands-on-path-grass-view  east-bay-lifestyle-photography-floral-bushes

The Positive of a Negative

One of the things I teach my kids is how their attitude effects the outcome of situations.  For instance, if one of my kids thought “I’m just not good at this”, they will perform differently on a test or at a game than if their attitude was “I can do this!”

Simply put, a good attitude is important.

So when it looked like The C Family would need to reschedule their shoot for the second time because of bad weather, Roberta and I remained positive.  And we went for it!

No matter what happened during their shoot — be it sprinkles, brief showers, or high winds — we looked on the bright side.  The result was magical.  We encountered many things that we would have missed had we rescheduled for a sunny day, like glorious ribbons of sunlight, dramatic clouds, sparkles of light from the drizzly rain, and even a rainbow.  A RAINBOW!!!

The next time you’re in a rut or things aren’t going your way, know that it won’t last forever and amazing things can happen because of them.

There are positives to all negatives!  :)

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-racing-on-path-by-a-white-fence

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-a-parked-google-bikes  bay-area-lifestyle-photography-couple-riding-google-bikes

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-playing-with-hazy-sun

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-father-and-daughters-on-top-of-hill  bay-area-lifestyle-photography-red-berries-on-bush

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-riding-scooters-in-the-rain

bay-area-lifestyle-photography-rays-of-sunlight-beaming-through-clouds-after-rain-bxw  bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-rainbow-photobombs-family-after-rain

bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-laughing-parents-giving-piggyback-rides-to-daughters-by-lake-bxw

bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-walking-along-edge-of-lake-after-the-rain-with-sunbeams-shining-through-clouds

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sibling Love

I love seeing how other family’s children interact because parents sometimes interpret that as goofing off and not following directions while I photograph through everything because, to me, that kind of interaction photographs well!  :)

In fact, I believe that kids picking on each other, tugging on each others’ arms, and even making fun of each other is what happens between kids who get along!  Those that don’t get along won’t even look at each other.  haha.  I have to remember that the next time I’m with my own kids in a store, and someone starts complaining that a sibling is standing too close to them!  This is Sibling Love.

Anyhow, I almost did an entire blog post on Clara and Jason just to prove my point, but I thought it’d be more fun for their parents to see a few shots from their entire shoot.  So check out some of their lifestyle images from last weekend…

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-brother-and-sister-facing-each-other-while-playing-in-garden

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-brother-and-sister-cracking-up-2  east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-brother-and-sister-cracking-up-1

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-brother-and-sister-heads-touching-in-garden

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-walking-through-garden  east-bay-lifestyle-photography-japanese-maple-leaves

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-two-young-children-pointing-at-word-hearts-on-bench

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-portrait-interrupted-by-dog-photobomb

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-and-daughter-matching-shoes

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-hug-by-hieroglyphics  east-bay-lifestyle-photography-sunlight-coming-through-pinetree

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-robots-on-steps-bxw

Like Old Girlfriends

Last year was a test of The L Family’s photoshoot endurance because it was freezing, like literally freezing!  Their kids, Rory and Dex, were so little too, and with little ones, they can’t fake comfort when it doesn’t exist, and they aren’t bribe-able.  (Is that a word?!!  ha.  Parents know what I am talking about!)  I still remember not being able to change the setting of my camera because my fingertips were numb!  But for Danny and Emily, they found ways to make it a fun experience for the entire family, frost-bite and all!  ;)

This year, we made sure it was warm and sunny by doing an ancient Sun Dance at noon for seven days.  Just kidding.  They booked their shoot earlier, so they could choose an earlier date!

It was a lot of fun to play games around this breathtaking garden and to observe the baby koi fish and turtles swimming.  My favorite activity was catching up with Rory.  Rory isn’t one of the parents.  She is 4 years old.  (Well, “four and three-quarters”, as she would say!)  I’m sure this sounds like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not… we walked around and talked like old girlfriends.

Towards the end of the shoot, I told her I’d miss her and she asked her parents if I could go home with them.  Sigh.  I miss her already.

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-twirling-while-family-smiles-in-teahouse-bxw

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-toddler-boy-pointing-at-fish-in-pond

east-bay-lifestyle-photography-koi-fish-in-pond

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-mom-and-toddler-boy-playing-with-mickey-on-steps

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-running-to-get-origami

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-father-and-daughter-playing-origami-chompers

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-carrying-toddler-son-on-japanese-bridge

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-standing-at-pond

east-bay-lifestyle-children-photography-toddler-boy-happily-holding-parents-hands

east-bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-sitting-at-bridge-bxw

Oh and here’s a pic of me and my “old girlfriend”, Rory!   (Thanks, Danny, for taking that of us!)

img_0789