Hello there!

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!

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The Buzz

Behind-The-Scenes: Little Princess

As part of my 1 hour Styled Session of my 5-year old’s birthday, Ava changed into her flowy pink dress and wore a handmade glittery gold crown that I ordered from etsy.  (She wanted a Princess theme whereas I wanted The Train Station theme, so we compromised by doing both.  Actually, she had 3 outfits, but that’s another post!)  :)

The fog had rolled in, so the temperature dropped 10 degrees and the wind picked up.  I knew this leg of the shoot needed to be really quick.  It was a time to just “get the shot and go”!  We were there for about 15 minutes, including walking to/from the parking lot.

My oldest daughter held my reflector when I needed it, and she took a couple behind-the-scenes shots with my phone as you can see here.  Thanks, Mia!


Ava’s dress had a gauzy layer that kept getting caught on the prickly wild flowers, so I had her stand on a stool.


I had waited til the end of the day to get the “golden hour” light, but didn’t anticipate the fog that rolled in after we started.  With the dense fog, you can see that we were running out of light quick!

My poor girl was so cold that she used her arms to hug herself to keep warm — which actually looked pretty darn cute, so I shot through it.


What I Shot:

East-Bay-styled-children-photography-princess-with-gold-crown  East-Bay-styled-children-photography-pink-princess-with-crown-looking-down


East-Bay-styled-children-photography-princess-with-gold-crown-looking-down  East-Bay-styled-children-photography-princess-with-gold-crown-shivering-in-cold



You can’t always control every aspect of your shoot, like the weather.  So find ways to make the most of what you have.  Sometimes that means finding an alternate light source.  Sometimes it means shooting through the cold and having artistic “thoughtful” shots of your subject rather than “happy” ones.

Use the resources you have, think quickly, and have fun!

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


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




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






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


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



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


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


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





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



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




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