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!
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.
When you think “kid”, you think about how cute they are when they learn something new, like ride a bike or learn to read. Skip. Brush their own teeth. Maybe even do a cartwheel.
But then there’s Kina.
Seeing Kina move in her poetic, effortless, athletic way… I forget she is only 12. Twelve! All I see is a talented dancer. Like a seasoned athlete, Kina was able to make mesmerizing shapes during her photoshoot with the challenges nature and I gave her…
Fit inside a hole in the rock, make inspiring shapes, and don’t mind the red fire ants. Done. Climb to the top of that giant rock, go to the edge, and create interesting lines…oh, and try not to fall to your death. Check.
And when we hopped over to location #2 for some grassy, playground photos, the sun had disappeared and the wind picked up, leaving the temperature 25 degrees cooler. And she was in a leotard. Dance elegantly and pretend you’re not freezing. I was shivering. For Kina, no problem.
The part that gives me butterflies and makes my eyes water (they’re leaking as I’m writing this) is that I’ve known this amazing person since she was a baby! She was the cutest little chubby-cheeked baby with a full set of dark curly hair. Now with her talent mixed with hard work and dedication, she is dancing with the best of them and learning from famous choreographers.
I am in awe.
When you want to hire a photographer, there are many factors in your decision-making. It could be the talent and expertise of the photographer. It could be value, if you are on a budget. It could be the artistic style of the photographer. It could be the type of shoot — ie, posed in studio vs styled with props vs lifestyle/photojournalism. It could be one thing or all of these things.
The part many people don’t often think about is chemistry.
I know this isn’t dating! ;) But your chemistry with your photographer makes a huuuuge impact on the end result: your photos. It impacts how much you can relax and be yourself — which is, to me, THE most important part of your photoshoot!
How you feel during your shoot will show in your eyes, your smile, your shoulders…in how you move and interact. Unless you are a professional model or actor, you will be aware of the camera and the photographer, and thus, need to have good chemistry with that person.
How do you determine chemistry if you haven’t met them yet?
For starters, you can get a good sense from how they communicate with you in emails, texts or on the phone. Do they make you feel at ease or like you’re bothering them? Read their blog to get a feeling for their likes and dislikes, and whether they’re serious, quirky or casual. How do they describe their photoshoots, clients or themselves? You can generally tell if you will get along or are vastly different kinds of people.
For me, the main thing I want for my clients is to be themselves. Whether that means telling jokes, singing a song, sitting and chatting, or making fart sounds with their mouth! hahahaa…that hasn’t happened yet, but you never know! It doesn’t matter what it is exactly, as long as they are being real. Don’t subscribe to what you think I want or what you’ve seen online somewhere.
Do YOU. Be YOU.
Supna and I talked about how we taught our children to take deep breaths when they feel angry, frustrated, sad… Yoga breaths. This is also important for us adults to do because our lives are filled with busy schedules and packed To Do lists. As we get older, doesn’t it feel like the years are passing quicker than when we were younger? It is philosophically unfair, but c’est la vie.
So what can we do?
Take yoga breaths. Look at the colors and smiles around us. Listen to the music and laughter. Taste good food. Smell pretty things. Hold hands.
And that’s what Supna and Parag did during their visit to San Francisco from Florida for Parag’s big milestone birthday. (It also happens to be their 15 year wedding anniversary AND their first adult vacation since having triplets!) They enjoyed the Farmer’s Market, the sites and sounds of their favorite city, and, best of all, each other. <3