It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am consumed with gratitude.
I am grateful for having amazing clients, like The T Family (highlighted in this post) who have been reading my blog since I first started one and were clients even when they didn’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am grateful for the children who let me point my giant clicking boxes (aka cameras) at them year after year. I am grateful for my husband and three monkeys who not only are okay with me leaving every weekend for client shoots, but who are also my biggest cheerleaders. I am grateful for the photography community who think I actually contribute to their learning (this blows my mind!) or tell me that I inspire them in some way. I write my articles for you!
I can go on and on, but will stop short of me turning into a bubbling pile of drippy tears.
With a full heart and genuine appreciation, let me share some photos from my Thanksgiving shoot of the T Family…
When the Bay Area dips down to 40F degrees, I resign to think Winter is here. But when I met The S Family for their annual Lifestyle Family Photography session last Saturday, there were beautiful Autumn colors everywhere we turned.
Elaine and her daughter, Clara, both wore red dresses and the boys had bits of red in their outfits too. Unbeknownst to them, they complimented the colors in the environment!
The flecks of red sing to me.
The elegant Swan Princess tends to her garden, daydreams of her love, stretches out, then peacefully falls asleep.
Richard and Lisa tied the knot on September 21, 2013. (My husband and I were guests at their wedding.)
Now that their wedding day and honeymoon are over, Richard and Lisa can settle into their lives as Mr. and Mrs. But before putting away their tux and gown, we had a “Day After Shoot”!
These two love birds are such a sweet couple. Let me tell you a little story.
One day, many years from now, Richard and Lisa are retired and their children are grown. (Yes, they will have kids! ) They sit quietly together on their deck to read the newspaper and watch the birds as they fly over the water. They wonder what their kids are up to and when they will bring the grandkids over to visit next.
Then, Richard shuffles inside the house and brings back a book. A book with these photos in them. Surprised, Lisa gives him her full attention, and they flip through the pages together. They point and chuckle. Then it’s quiet again.
Richard gently wipes a single tear from Lisa’s cheek. He puts his arm around her in comfort. She looks up at his face — the same face she fell in love with many years ago — and smiles.
Photography has the powerful ability to instantly transport you to a particular moment in your life. Oh, to fall in love all over again!
Wishing you both a lifetime of friendship, love and quiet moments where your hearts are overflowing with joy. xoxo ~annie
Wedding gown: Lazaro
Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bride’s hair and makeup: Reiko Horiuchi
Photography: Annie Tao
Camera info: Nikon D800, 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, 24mm f/1.4, shot at sunset.
Two darling girls — Taylor and Amber — whom I met this weekend, reminded me of this quote by Marion C Garretty:
A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
While being chased by her dad, Amber, in the cutest little voice, said, “Please don’t eat me!”
The Great Devourer
Daddy caught Amber and gave her monster hugs and kisses!
This lion never left Amber’s side, even when she played with leaves and needed both hands.
Taylor is dressed up like a Pink Princess here, but inside, she is a Naturist who loves everything outdoors, including rocks, and doesn’t mind getting dirty. (I love her!)
Her little freckles and piercing ice blue eyes made her irresistible to photograph. Taylor’s face remind me of characters from Norman Rockwell, one of my favorite artists of all-time.
It’s All About Attitude
Amber played so hard that she fell countless times and even drew blood on her face during the shoot! After each fall, she’d stand up on her own, dust off her hands, and say, “I’m okay!” Not one tear.
The World would be a happier place if we all had her positive attitude!
These two images of Taylor and Amber fill my heart with joy.
The moment you take your first sip of freshly poured champagne, the fizzy bubbles kiss your lip. Photographing The Y Family is just like that!
Think decadence and everything-fabulous, then add unexpected wonder and delight.
Oh how I love champagne kisses. xoxo
A “good photoshoot” boils down to two raw materials: good light and the subjects having fun. That means the images would then focus on the expressions, the mood, the story and the relationships. (The light quality effects the mood of the images.)
This weekend’s East Bay Lifestyle Family Photography session with The H Family had all the raw materials. Activities included tree-climbing, joke-telling, performing, playing with sticks, holding hands, hugging and goofing around.
His eyes… are…. so…. soo… entrancing.
I know what you’re thinking and the answer is YES. Yes, I had to chase Chase!
One Moment Please
Max’s First REAL Hug
This photo is perfection: the way he is holding his dad’s head, the way the light sparkles in his eyes, the way Daddy Clark’s receiving the hug with his eyes closed. It gives me chills.
First Shoot Since Their Wedding
Chase and Clark were so good at singing Usher’s version of ABCs that I thought I may need tickets to watch the show.
If you are drooling about the sunlight above, like I am, this image was taken a few minutes before sunset.
To catch this light, you have to be ready because it may last less than 5 minutes.
Sometimes you choose a location and end up shooting somewhere else. The reason for this is usually due to light, but sometimes it’s because of an activity that happened organically. Sometimes it is to avoid a crowd.
In Sunday’s Bay Area Lifestyle Family Photography session, I spotted this little area next to the parking lot. It had great light, and I knew the textures would photograph well. Once my clients arrived, I saw that their outfits and hair color coordinated well with the location — bonus!
I was so glad that my first-time clients didn’t think I was crazy for proposing this odd location, given that we were amongst well-known spectacular spots. Thanks for trusting me, Lucy!
Glorious Parking Lot
I was standing IN the parking lot when I shot the image in the Top-Right!
Little Arete smiled the BIGGEST smiles every time I looked at her. She was cheery like the sun.
A Taste of Tuscany
I arrived early to scout the area, and I stumbled across this castle-looking building. BOOYAH!
We had to walk a bit to get here since it was tucked away, but it was worth it!
If you’re a client, trust your photographer.
If you’re a photographer, don’t take any location for face-value. Explore. Keep your eyes open. You may find a cool spot where you are standing…or parked.
Without prompt, Dani and Charlie hold hands when they are together. They lean in to whisper sisterly secrets, and then they burst into laughter.
They are pretty young now, but I can already see that they are, and will stay, the best of friends. There may be times in life when things get a little tricky, and I feel comforted that they’ll have each other as they grow up!
Shake it. Wiggle it. Shimmy. Jump. This family shot makes me happy!
My East Bay Lifestyle Family Photography session of the P Family was centered around a coffee shop. It wasn’t planned that way.
In fact, we planned to have the shoot at an entirely different location, but changed it last minute because there was a big event taking place there. No one knew about it until I showed up. Let’s just say my clients received 2 calls, a voicemail, a text and an email from me that morning! Oh the drama.
Just like everything in life, everything happens for a reason. So this session unraveled as it was meant to be.
And it was beautiful.