Commercial Photography: Diversity and Authenticity

You probably know this, but I’ll say it anyway:  I love photographing schools.

Photographing schools means capturing constant movement, facial expressions, and complicated light in an uninterrupted way.  Photographing a masters program, like a business school, means there is an extra challenge of photographing adults.  (Adults are usually more serious about learning and don’t find my silly noises and faces endearing like little kids – haha.)

I was reminded of something during this trip to Houston.  When it’s a top-tier school, the caliber of students is high — which means photographing people who have led accomplished careers before even stepping foot onto campus!  From meeting a doctor to a music label executive to an army sergeant, there were times I had to remind myself to keep shooting.

This kind of diversity was thrilling to be around, and I was so thankful that my 3-day Commercial Shoot in Houston had a lot of pockets of time for me to roam freely and capture the authentic moments that I saw.







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[If you’re curious, here is my very first Commercial Shoot at Rice in 2016 and my 1-day shoot in 2017, Be Distinct.]

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The Way They Are

I had another fun playdate, I mean, photoshoot with my little buddies, Rory and Dex!  🙂

This time, it was at their mom’s workplace, which was truly the coolest office building ever.  It’s like workplace-meets-Disneyland, a place where innovation and productivity can blossom.  Get this:  there was a Library, gardens, a gym, Laundry Room, THE coolest chairs everywhere, gorgeous artwork, and even a Game Room!  Danny and I had to pick our jaws off the ground and ran around like little kids.  (It is a new building, so he hadn’t been there before either.)  Rory and Dex were happy with their purple bots and lots of snacks (I mean, where do they put all those snacks?!!)

We had such a fun time together, as usual, and I am so thankful this sweet family is so comfortable with me that they let me get reeeeeally close to them (haha) and let me capture them exactly the way they are.  ❤️











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Behind-the-scenes with my fun playdate buddies:


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[ENDEARING:  adjective.  Manifesting or evoking affection. To give rise to love.  Beloved.]

That is the word that perfectly sums up Joe and Yolanda’s family.

I’ve photographed this endearing family for 11 years, and there have been many changes — but one thing that has remained a constant, and that is the strength of their bond.

For their shoot this year, we brainstormed all week and ended up at a location that was pretty much in their backyard!  What a little gem, and at golden hour too!  It was the perfect place for our endearing family shoot.  xo


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Sunshine and Cacti

Roberta and Alex wanted to have their shoot in Arizona where they’d be around cacti and the warm sun.

Except we didn’t go to Arizona, and it wasn’t very warm.  🙂

We did, however, find cacti, and it was SO COOL.  It looked like we walked into a page of a Dr. Seuss book.  Oh, two out of five of us got pricked though.  (This story has taken a turn.)  One was to a child’s finger and drew blood, and one was on an old lady (ehem!) who thought the long leaf would bend when she walked into it, so it stabbed her in the noggin like a needle sword!  (Okay it was meeee!  I know, I’m graceful – haha.)

Anyhow, check out their sneak peek.  In case you couldn’t tell, we had a blast!


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Commercial Photography: Heartwarming

Did you know food waste contributes to global warming?  If food waste were a country, it would come third after the U.S. and China in terms of its contribution to global warming!  (Read this Washington Post article if you want to learn more or go straight to

Partnering with Underground Agency and StopWaste to shoot an ad campaign that will educate and hopefully decrease food waste felt so good.  We all need to step it up to help the environment!

The shoot involved photographing different families with produce.  We had 2 long tables full of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from — such as the most beautiful collard greens, carrots, sugar snap peas, basil, strawberries, and pears — so the entire studio smelled fantastic.

The challenge of creating emotive images in a studio environment was a big one (and may have allegedly caused tummy rollercoaster feelings the week before – ehem), but I had to remind myself to approach the shoot the way I would any other shoot:  relax, have fun, and be myself so that my subjects can do all those things too!

The result:  heartwarming images that take my breath away. ❤️ Now that’s a better kind of ‘warming’.








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Things I Won’t Tell You

I won’t tell you how much I love this family.
I won’t tell you how special it is to have friends who believe in you, encourage you, and support you.
I won’t tell you how fun this photoshoot was and how much I laughed.
I won’t tell you how smart and cool and humble Alex is, and how teary I get thinking about how he’ll be in College next year.
I won’t tell you how talented Sam and Marissa are, and how much they blow me away.

I love this family.

Shoot, okay I lied.  I WANT TO SHOUT IT ALL!  🙂




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A Trip Downtown

When you’ve known your client for over a decade, a trip downtown ends up being a trip down memory lane. 

I know I’ve said this before (I’m like an old record player, but hey, those are retro cool – haha), but I feel sooooo fortunate to be doing what I love for my business.  I get to meet amazing people, catch up with them like old friends, watch their kids grow up, and hang out in different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area all while playing with my camera.

Alex and Keiko’s eldest was now off at College (sniff), so the five of us jaunted around a cute little downtown area, sipped teas and lattes, petted pups, and shopped at a local farmer’s market.  It was a relaxing morning with friends and family.  ❤️

Oh, and at the end of the shoot, they surprised me with one of the beautiful bouquets from the market!  How sweet is that?  They are sitting on my dining table right now and brightening the room.


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The Light Within

There’s something about Brooke and Emmy that is undeniable.  They have some kind of energy that radiates from within when they are together.  It’s a light that makes others want to be around them, to laugh with them, to be better people because they incite inspiration without even trying.  Especially during a time when we are bombarded by negative news, being around Brooke and Emmy felt like a little vacation for my soul.  ❤️

Now with Fletcher and Annie, their energy has grown.

While in San Francisco, we visited all the same places we did on their wedding day.  To no surprise, many strangers around us were friendlier and happier, even at 8am in the morning.  At one point, we found ourselves testing out sirens and sitting on motorcycles because… a couple of police officers insisted!  (When does that happen, right?!!)

Happy 5 year anniversary, Brooke and Emmy!  I am unbelievably touched to be a small part of your lives and incredibly grateful you returned to San Francisco to see me!  xoxo 




“Stick ’em up!”



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Magic Flute

One weekend over the Summer, this story came to me, so I grabbed a camera, a willing child (haha), and shot it.  Styled Shoots can be playful and whimsical, like this one.


A long time ago in a distant land, there was a young girl who lived in solitude and was wistfully lonely.  One night when she gazed into the deep dark sky, she witnessed a shooting star.  She closed her eyes and made a wish. 

The next morning, she woke up and found a shiny gold pipe laying next to her in the grass where she slept.  She looked all around, but saw no evidence that anyone had even approached her.  And why would anyone give her a pipe anyway?

She waited a long time before deciding to pick it up, and when she did, she produced sounds on the pipe that brought her to tears.  Beautiful poetic sounds.  This made her so happy that she didn’t notice she was playing for hours.

By the end of that day, she discovered this pipe wasn’t any pipe.  It was a magic flute!  Kind and friendly animals came to her when she played and followed her wherever she went.  The young girl was never lonely again.

The End



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The Greatest Gifts

I think one of the greatest gifts is creating a memory with someone you love, and a bonus would be to have a photoshoot that captures it!  ❤️  Rashmi believes this too (SQUEEEE!) so she scheduled a shoot as a gift for her photography-enthusiast, family-loving husband.

It may not have been that big of a surprise to Sat since their very first shoot with me in 2008 was also a gift.  I still remember hiding at a park while Rashmi brought Sat and their then-toddler son on a walk towards a stranger (that’s me — haha) that led to some fond memories.

It is obvious to anyone who knows Sat that his family is his Everything, and having boys he can play sports with as well as climb cliffsides and trees with is like a kid-at-heart’s dream come true.  Add to that, he and Rashmi have raised boys who are loving and caring, so there are always sweet moments of closeness.

I feel so honored to get to photograph this special family throughout the last 11 years!




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