Relaxed Headshots

Julia and Aaron needed headshots for work, but not stuffy ones — so I pulled them aside at the end of their Landfill Shoot.

We walked to an area between the water, parked cars, and large shipping containers (seriously!) where there was diffused light.  The light was so pretty there that I widened my scope to include the kids.

These relaxed headshots are more like relaxed portraits.  Ahhhhh…

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-woman-with-scarf-and-windblown-hair-by-gold-hay  East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-a-dude-in-the-woods

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East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-looking-up  East-Bay-lifestyle-pet-photography-wet-black-dog-headshot

For more information about taking headshots, you can read A Change Is Coming and How Your Subject Feels.

Or if you just want a LAUGH, you can read about doing headshots of my Worst Client!

Commercial Photography: The Coder School

I met this guy in College who told me I apologized too much.  My response was:  “Sorry?  What did you say?”  haha…just kidding.  But it wasn’t far from the truth.  So I’m going to make it a point to NOT apologize for this super duper long blog post!  And I’ll tell you why…

This after school program I photographed was so cool:  The Coder School.

Headquartered in the Silicon Valley, The Coder School offers a variety of coding classes to kids and teens.  Knowing how to code has changed from giving people an edge to being a basic building block necessary to excel in many professions.

I photographed several classes, hung out with the founders and some of the managers, watched the coaches make their classes fun, and pulled out a few solo students for a marketing campaign.  There is a lot to share in this Sneak Peek… and I’m not sorry.  :)

East-Bay-commercial-photography-the-coder-school-building-sign  East-Bay-commercial-photography-young-boy-working-at-computer

East-Bay-commercial-photography-coach-watching-students-code-at-workstations

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East-Bay-commercial-photography-teen-girl-with-long-hair-looking-confident  East-Bay-commercial-photography-code-class-closeup-hands

East-Bay-commercial-photography-boy-having-fun-in-coding-class

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East-Bay-commercial-photography-code-student-laughing  East-Bay-commercial-photography-coding-school-for-children-and-teens

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East-Bay-commercial-photography-the-coder-school-founders-and-managers

Commercial Photography: Oakwood

When I photograph a school, my goal is to answer these questions through imagery:  What makes this school different than other schools in the area?  Are they the programs and classes?  The faculty?  The campus?  The student body?

From being at this Preschool to Grade 12 private school for 2 days, I could clearly see that there were teachers who felt passionate about infusing knowledge and confidence into their students, and there were students who were eager to learn and having fun.

Oakwood School was surrounded by natural beauty, but the coolest part was seeing all the joyful, hopeful, and thoughtful faces that filled the grounds.

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-elementary-school-wagon-in-garden  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-students-following-their-teacher-in-a-line

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-proud-teacher-hugging-students

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-principal-talking-with-students  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-colorful-leaves-on-campus

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-student-showing-art-teacher-her-work

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-young-student-holding-science-specimen  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-student-with-hand-to-heart-during-allegiance-pledge

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-high-school-teacher-during-class

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-private-school-campus-mural-building

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-elementary-school-students-sitting-together

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-kindergarten-teacher-interacting-with-students-at-table

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-boy-student-with-curly-hair-closeup

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-high-school-students-in-between-classes

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-dance-party-during-lunch  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-boy-holding-green-balloon-for-science-project

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-commercial-photography-students-sharing-a-book-in-heavenly-light

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Commercial Photography: The Bigs

I call them “bigs”, but they’re still littles to me.   :)

High School students are very special because they are capable of applying what they’ve learned academically, socially and emotionally compared to the lower grades.  It’s also a time they are preparing to soar into their adulthood.  The possibilities of their achievement are boundless.  Their excitement for College is palpable.  And to photograph them at this junction is invigorating.  Whoa, that’s a lot of adjectives!

Below is my final sneak peek of last week’s Commercial Shoot (Pinewood School, Upper Campus).

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-High-School-students-talking-with-teacher  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-High-School-students-walking-with-principal

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-High-School-student-laughing-during-science-class  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-High-School-science-teacher-giving-lesson

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-High-School-student-during-science-lesson

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Commercial Photography: The Middles

Middle School students are sometimes the hardest to photograph because they either love being photographed or they’re the complete opposite, so getting the kind of images I want usually takes more patience, a long lens (so they don’t see me — heehee), and a certain flair for making the students feel at ease.  :)

Here is a sneak peek from last week’s middle school shoot (Pinewood School, Middle Campus).

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-four-boys-working-on-lesson-in-class-by-window  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-two-middle-school-girls-working-together-in-classroom

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-flowering-tree-in-front-of-school

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-middle-school-girl-walking-to-class  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-ground-plaque-at-school

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-school-building  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-teacher-enjoys-working-with-student-in-class

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-classroom-with-hands-raised

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-music-teacher-playing-piano-while-class-sings

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-boys-playing-chess  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-education-photography-girl-laughing-during-class-game

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Commercial Photography: The Littles

Photographing schools is so much fun because A LOT happens in a school.

Students are studying and playing, they’re laughing and quiet, they’re working by themselves and in groups, they’re listening and sharing, they’re sitting still and moving… and often very fast!  :)

My secret to photographing schools is striking a balance between being a fly-on-the-wall where I don’t disturb anything and sculpting a “prettier” scene by talking to my subjects or re-positioning things and people — all the while, being mindful of the light, backgrounds, composition, expressions and lines.  Most of my time is spent doing the latter (“sculpting a scene”), but the trick is doing it in a way that doesn’t discredit the authenticity of a moment.

Below are some images of the littles (Pinewood School, Lower Campus).

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-girl-student-looks-up-at-lunch-table

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-watercolor-setup-on-desk  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-girl-listening-intently-to-teacher

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-smiling-student-painting

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San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-smiling-student-with-flower-in-hair  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-school-photography-students-on-play-structure-capturing-different-visual-layers

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Why Photography Matters in Business

With the prevalence of internet usage and infusion of social media in our daily life, consumers have become more visual now than ever.

Not only do they count on a website or app to look appealing, they also are more inclined to notice — and judge — if an image is an authentic one or one that is a stock photo.  Does the image provoke a feeling?  Does the image look real?  Is it believable?  These are the questions that consumers answer subconsciously.  Unintentionally.  This is what happens now with visually-savvy consumers.

A content-heavy landing page is no longer desirable.  What is enviable are sites with eye-catching images that make the viewer feel something.  A connection.  A feeling.  A desire to buy it, to attend it, to be a part of it.  Whatever the business is, the images can make a consumer intrigued.  It is then up to the total content of the pages to seal the deal with whatever the business is selling.  Without the compelling images and a buttoned-up marketing strategy, consumers will exit the site.

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression.

So if you’re a business owner or you manage a business, take a look at your website and ask yourself, “What does my home page say about my business?”  “Does it command my attention?”  “Does it look modern and exciting, or boring and dated”?

As an example, I’ve attached print screens of Rice Business School‘s Before and After home page and program page.  This was a recent Commercial Photography project I worked on, and I am very proud to be a part of it.  I think you’ll agree that the Before and After are like night and day.

*HOME PAGE*

Before

RiceBusinessSchool_OLDwebsite_splashpg_bg

After

These are a few of the rotating images…

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RiceBusinessSchool_NEWwebsite_splashpg2_bg2

RiceBusinessSchool_NEWwebsite_splashpg3_bg3

*PROGRAM PAGE*

Before

RiceBusinessSchool_OLDwebsite_studentprofiles_bg

After

RiceBusinessSchool_NEWwebsite_studentprofiles_bg

Websites have been vital for businesses for eons, but with each year, I believe that Commercial Photography has increased in its importance.  What do you think?  Can you have a great business without a strong web presence and imagery?

Commercial Photography: Rice University

I went back to Houston, y’all!  :)  This time, I spent a few days photographing the beautiful and prestigious Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.  (For short, I call it Rice Business School.)

All important projects have goals. 
One of my goals was to capture the personality and essence of Rice Business School in an authentic way.  My days consisted of attending classes, taking casual headshots of students within each MBA program, capturing images of professors collaborating with students, scouting locations, and sculpting images based on the light.  Putting someone in the stairwell because there was “good light” was not unfathomable!  ;)

All great adventures have obstacles. 
One that surfaced was the weather.  There could be sun and clear skies and then a half hour later, it would turn dark, rainy, and windy.  And no one would blink an eye… except me, a California girl whose State has been in a severe drought for years.  When it rains in CA, it’s reported on every news channel!

No obstacle was too big, however, even when we found out on Shoot Day 1 that there would be no students on Day 3 and few students on Day 2.  So yes, I had to photograph a school with limited students.  Meh, not a problem!  ;)  All kidding aside, I wholeheartedly believe challenges are opportunities for growth, so bring them on, I say!

Now take a look.

These are the faces of Rice Business School… the faces of the campus, faculty and students.  They have much to celebrate at this school, and I am humbled to be a part of their creative process.

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Bay-Area-Commercial-Photography-business-school-student-talking-in-class

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Bay-Area-Commercial-Photography-Rice-University-building-archway  Bay-Area-Commercial-Photography-business-school-professor-headshot

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Bay-Area-Commercial-Photography-business-school-building-upward-view  Bay-Area-Commercial-Photography-business-school-building-table-view

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Want to see what I worked on the last time I was in Houston?  There was a dark and windy rainstorm then too!  Click HERE and HERE.

Commercial Photography: Duchesne Academy 2

Now that you’ve seen Commercial Shoot days 1 and 2 of Duchesne Academy of The Sacred Heart, I wanted to share a peek of day 3… “The Dry Day”.  You can just imagine how I hopped and skipped around campus that morning when I saw the glorious sunshine!  :)

In this blog post of the all girls’ Catholic School shoot, you’ll see students who show self-confidence, curiosity, respect, friendship…

…and beauty from within.

Commercial-education-photography-sunrise-over-school  Commercial-education-photography-students-walking-to-school-in-morning

Commercial-education-photography-two-sisters-walking-to-school-with-book

Commercial-education-photography-school-grounds-angel-statue  Commercial-education-photography-preschooler-girl-looking-up-in-mini-chair

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Commercial-education-photography-library-bookshelf-next-to-window  Commercial-education-photography-two-students-sharing-a-chair-in-library

Commercial-education-photography-young-student-happy-about-choosing-a-book-in-library

Commercial-education-photography-librarian-kneeling-next-to-student-in-reading-room-of-library

Commercial-education-photography-two-girls-working-on-electronic-table-tablet

Commercial-education-photography-young-student-looking-over-her-glasses  Commercial-education-photography-painting-on-wall

Commercial-education-photography-young-student-sitting-crisscross-on-carpet

Commercial-education-photography-art-teacher-instructing-young-students

Commercial-education-photography-students-playing-instruments-in-music-class

Commercial-education-photography-students-holding-hands-closeup

Commercial-education-photography-student-group-in-science-class

Commercial-education-photography-girl-with-short-hair-and-goggles-doing-science-experiment  Commercial-education-photography-girl-wearing-glasses-and-lab-coat-in-science-class

Commercial-education-photography-school-grounds-colorful-tree

Commercial-education-photography-student-playing

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Commercial-education-photography-Head-of-School-talking-with-students-wearing-blue-blazers

Commercial-education-photography-students-walking-on-campus  Commercial-photography-flowers-in-campus-garden

Commercial-education-photography-three-female-students-together-between-classes

Commercial Photography: Duchesne Academy 1

I had the pleasure of flying to Houston, Texas last week to photograph Duchesne Academy of The Sacred Heart, a Pre-K to 12th Grade Catholic school for girls.  [FYI:  Duchesne is French and is pronounced "doo-shen".]

I was blown away by the tremendous amount of kindness that exuded from the students and faculty during my 3-day visit.  There were students who helped put away furniture that we moved for the shoot and did it even after we said they didn’t need to help.  People held doors for us and welcomed us with big, genuine smiles.  When we asked for directions to a room, there were students who didn’t just point, but rather, they took the time to walk with us.

That may sound small, but I don’t think any amount of kindness is ever “small”.  And they never went unnoticed or unappreciated.

The emblem for this school is a heart, which I think is perfect because, from what I experienced, this school is full of HEART.  <3

Since I have too many favorites to share on this 3-Day Commercial Photography project, I divided them up into two blog posts:

Part 1:  Days 1 and 2, which were the wet days.  Yep, it was raining.  On Tuesday, there was even a thunderstorm and the darkest sky I’ve ever seen in the day!
Part 2:  Day 3, which happened to be the dry day.  Wahooo… and there was sunshine!

Below is Part 1.  Enjoy!

Commercial-education-photography-father-holding-daughters-hand-walking-to-school  Commercial-education-photography-young-blonde-girl-smiling-during-assembly

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Commercial-education-photography-father-and-daughter-before-dropoff-1  Commercial-education-photography-school-grounds-Jesus-statue

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Commercial-education-photography-student-in-religion-class  Commercial-education-photography-religion-class-inside-chapel

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Commercial-education-photography-students-working-on-science-experiment-upward-view  Commercial-education-photography-girl-wearing-green-goggles-in-science-class-and-looking-intently-at-board

Commercial-education-photography-girls-playing-before-assembly

Commercial-education-photography-small-group-working-on-robotics-project

Commercial-education-photography-teacher-instructing-student-in-class  Commercial-education-photography-head-of-middle-school-talking-with-students-on-bench

Commercial-education-photography-female-teacher-at-white-board

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Commercial-education-photography-girls-during-daily-prayer  Commercial-education-photography-girl-with-yellow-headband-in-class

Commercial-education-photography-female-student-typing-on-laptop

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Commercial-education-photography-student-working-on-oil-painting-outdoors  Commercial-education-photography-student-working-at-ceramics-turntable

Commercial-education-photography-student-working-on-ceramics

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Commercial-sports-photography-girls-softball-umpire  Commercial-sports-photography-girls-softball-second-base