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

My Philosophy

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.

Walnut Dynamic Duo

I love the feel of wood under my fingertips, sun on my face, and sand under my feet as the waves sweep over me.

So when I saw this dynamic duo made of premium walnut wood with laser-etching and magnetic closure, I was smitten.

This is an exclusive custom USB drive with case that has a limited production, so I am thinking of a special way to use this.  Maybe it’ll contain an e-book that I’ve been wanting to write!  Or if anyone has any cool ideas they want to throw into the hat, let me know in the Comments section.  I’d love to hear them.

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Note:  This is from USB Memory Direct.  Here is 10% off code, if you wanted to try them out:  PHOTO10.  (I am NOT an affiliate and don’t receive commission from them.  Just sharing what I like!)

Back Light vs. Direct Light

My favorite time to shoot is when the sun is low in the sky.  I can shoot with the sun behind me, so the light is shining directly in front of my subjects — called direct light.  Or I can have the sun behind my subjects, so the light shines behind them — called back light.

There are also many other types of light, but today I am only talking about these two.

Which one to use is mostly about artistic preference.  And sometimes, you don’t have a choice, like if you’re shooting an event with a designated time, so it’s important to know how to shoot in both kinds of light.

Okay, with that said, I have a preference

Who knew?  Apparently, my clients!  haha.  When I’m on a shoot, I don’t shoot with my head as much as my heart, so I usually look for moments and images that tell a story or create beautiful lines and shapes.  I didn’t think I had a preference in light direction, until…

My recent Boat Shoot.  I was boarding the second boat and heard my clients tell the captain to get into a position where my clients’ boat was backlit.  The captain quickly turned to me like that must be wrong.  I just nodded in agreement and probably wore a surprised look on my face.  Gosh, my clients know me well!  :)

Here are some recent side-by-side examples of back light versus direct light (displayed in that order) of the same subjects, during the same shoot, shot within minutes apart, so you can see the differences.

Example 1

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Example 2

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Example 3

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Example 4

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*PHOTOGRAPHY TIP*

As you can see, there are significant differences between back light and direct light.

There are also merits in both kinds of light!  Back light is more moody with softer colors, but also have softer details.  Direct light has more vivid, saturated colors with greater details, but also has shadows.

If you could choose, which light do you prefer?

Personal Brand Photography

Guess what?  I now offer Personal Brand Photography!  This is THE funnest niche of business photography ever, so I am very excited.

What is Personal Brand Photography?

Think Executive Headshots on vacation.  Or Commercial Photography meets Instagram and had a baby – haha.

In a nutshell, Personal Brand Photography (PBP) is photography that produces a series of storytelling images of an entrepreneur.  It covers a part of the entrepreneur’s life while embodying their personality and includes detail shots.  Unlike a headshot session, not every image will contain the entrepreneur’s face, and you’d get a greater variety and number of images to use for your online presence.

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Who is Personal Brand Photography for?

Personal Brand Photography is perfect for entrepreneurs who want a plethora of fresh images they can use for regular posting on Instagram or other social media sites or for using multiple images on a webpage.  Entrepreneurs such as, consultants, makeup artists, stylists, bloggers/writers, social media influencers, web designers.

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Why do you need PBP?

Because doing business means connecting with your customers, and that means having photos that convey who you are, so others can relate to you and want to work with you.

Your brand needs to be clear as well as eye-catching.  Customers are more photo-savvy than ever before, and they can spot stock photos or staged photos from miles away.  Be real!

For businesses that do better with social media platforms, you have to post regularly to get traction, visibility and solid brand identification.

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How does PBP work?

Each shoot is different, and always fun.  It can be of you working or walking around town or your morning coffee routine — whatever story you want to convey.  Nothing is stagnant, so your images aren’t stuffy.

Each session includes a consultation so your shoot will be specific to what you need, unlimited images taken, edited high resolution photos of storytelling images, images of you, and detail images.  You’d also have Usage Rights of those photos, all delivered via a cloud site, so you can retrieve your images lickety-split.

The INTRO price is $750 for your first session, which is 1 hour long and will garner about 50 images.  This would provide you with approximately one image to post on social media each week for a year, or if you post everyday M-F, it is about 2.5 months worth of imagery.

Think of the Marketing boost you’d get!

Now what?

Start by booking your first shoot (do it now while it is at the Intro price!) and you can always book more later when your business needs another boost.

Or, book a few shoots throughout the year right now, so you can secure the price and dates, and we can shoot in different locations or different seasons!