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.

Best Moments of 2019

Based on public voting, here is Part Two of last year’s favorite images.

A “moment” is defined as a split second of time ~OR~ a moment that tells a story.  My all-time favorite images are the ones that capture a story and have incredible light, so some of these have both! ❤️



While standing on a bench, Brother puts his arm around Sister and Sister takes his hand — to push it off her shoulder, so she can continue jumping (teehee) — but when you’re this age, these are flashes of time that are both sweet and funny parents will remember.



When you want to take a Couple’s Photo, you are guaranteed to have your little ones disrupting your moment in the funniest way.


Tied for #3

The moment your swim-loving dog decides to shake off all the water during a family portrait.


Two girls smell the same flower among the tallest bushes show the size of the girls and the tightness of their sisterhood bond.



The way the son melted into his father shows that love will get you through any struggle, including being homeless.  [Commercial Shoot]



The moment your dog wasn’t invited to join the family smoothie toast.


There always seems to be a dog in people’s favorite moments!  Check out last year’s results:  Best Moments of 2018.

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Most Delicious Light of 2019

The photos that made it into this category were chosen based on the role light played in the image. Specifically I answered the questions: “Did the light effect the mood or story of the image?” “If the light was different, would I like it as much?”  Then that collection of images went online for public voting during a set time period.  Check out the winning images!



The contrast of the little girl in bright yellow running down the pier that is blanketed in dark fog and lined with serious early morning fishermen wearing dark clothes was a photographer’s dream come true.  The lighting and colors tell a powerful story even without any faces shown.


Tied for #2

Backlight not only gave this mom and toddler a halo effect, which made this moment even sweeter, but also lit up the colorful leaves in the background.


We were packing up at the end of the shoot and see THIS LIGHT! The bushes are right next to the parking lot, so I shot it at a low angle to not get the cars.


Tied for #3

The ultimate combination of dense fog and colorful trees with Autumn leaves makes this image soft and moody.


The reaction of these sisters playing in this walkway was highlighted by the soft light in the center of the image. I shot this from behind bushes and trees to get a natural frame of dark green.


Tied for #4

This commercial shoot image of a real student studying in the library (hey, I was stealth – haha) was one of my favorites that day because of how the window dispersed light in the dark room, like a nucleus of a cell, so I centered my subject.


This was a sweet big brother moment where he held his little sister who was afraid of the scary grass, but it was the sunlight that makes this image happy. In a different light, the same image could appear gloomy and sad, thereby telling a different story.



The way the sunlight lit her while she was laughing makes this an image of joy.



A zigzag walkway, tall grass bending in the wind, brothers making moose and bunny ears on each other, happy parents, and the orange-pink glow from the wildfires reflecting in the fog makes this a visually unique image.


Want to see more?  Here is last year’s results for Most Delicious Light of 2018.

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The Last Shoot

You know that saying “Go big or go home?”  Well we chose the first option for my last shoot of the decade!

This lifestyle shoot involved stepping across a narrow cliff, climbing on rocks while holding a camera in each hand and in rain boots, and standing in a creek.

Unlike my usual lifestyle session where I move around without much awareness of my environment (the reason I prefer to wear boots to my shoots!), I needed to be keenly aware of my surroundings!  If I wasn’t, it could mean falling off a rock, slipping into the lake, stepping in poop, hitting my head on a branch, running into a tree, or brushing up against poison oak.  It was adventurous and, honestly, just a regular weekend for The Franks!

Their pup, Georgia, must have known we were “going big”, so she made sure to create one of my favorite family portraits EVER!  See if you can figure out which photo it is below.  🙂



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east-bay-berkeley-lifestyle-pet-photography-entering-lake-to-fetch-stick  east-bay-berkeley-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-and-boy-running-along-cliffside-by-lake



east-bay-berkeley-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-climbing-stairs-rail-closeup  east-bay-berkeley-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-climbing-stairs-rail-while-mom-at-top