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

Photography Projects for Kids

I love kids.  I just love ‘em!  A child’s laughter is THE best sound ever.  (Ocean waves come in #2.)  I love how kids are real with you, which makes “I hate (fill in the blank)” sting a little and “You are my best friend in the universe” mean so much.  I love running around with them, playing games, and making jokes.  My husband rolls his eyes when I show my kids “see-food” during meals, but it makes them laugh so hard!  I just tell them they can only do that with mom and that other people may think it’s impolite.  Fingers crossed that they’ll remember it.

So I probably don’t need to say this, but…  I love photographing kids and families because it combines two things I love so much:  kids and photography.

I also think it’s important that kids exercise their creativity, so I always encourage my kids to draw, paint, build, tell stories, write books, and now, experiment with photography.  My two youngest (they are 4 and 7) have children’s camera.  They’re more like a toy, but they practice composition and put thought into what they want to photograph.  My oldest (she is 9) has a digital camera, and she takes a lot of artistic photos with it.  We also have an instant camera (one that prints each image onto a small 2×3″ print) and we bring it on trips, so the kids can stick it into their journals.

The point is, kids can learn photography at an early age.  This doesn’t mean you should give them an expensive DSLR and pray they don’t break/lose/throw/sit on/drop it.  There are activities you can do together that can help them appreciate photography as an Art and a storytelling tool.

Here’s an example…

This past weekend, I had a “mommy date” with my son, Ian, who is 7 years old.  We bought…er, I mean, adopted a monster, named Domo, who looks like a furry chocolate bar.  My kids love him, as do I, admittedly.  (He’s especially cute in a mini Cal shirt!)

During our date, Ian and I got yummy drinks and then took Domo on a photoshoot.  Ian calls it a “Domo-shoot”!  Ian directed Domo and I pressed the shutter.  We laughed and laughed at all the things Domo could do.  (He apparently isn’t great at jumping, but he is super adventurous with tree-climbing and hiking up a hill.)  We had such a great time.

What kind of photography-related activities do you do with your kids?


“Um, how do I get down?”

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-children-photography-domo-climbing-a-tree  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-children-photography-domo-by-daffodills

*sniiiffff*  “Ahhhh, that’s nice.  WAAA-CHOOOOOOO!”


“I need to work on my tan.”



San-Francisco-Bay-Area-children-photography-domo-about-to-jump  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-children-photography-domo-falling

“Hike, 1, 2, 3…”


“Weeeee, this is fun!”


Favorite Images Of 2014

Thanks for all your Facebook votes the past few weeks on your favorite images.  I truly appreciate it.  I value your opinion!  It’s great for me to know what images resonate with others.

There are always surprises in how the favorite images shake out.  For instance, one of my favorite Light images (the one of two sisters with what looks like “fire”) hardly made it on people’s radar, but a simple headshot of a young female student got into the Top 5!  So interesting!!

So here they are… your Favorite Images of 2014 (as of today)!


A “moment” can be a split second of time, which makes it extra special. Or it could be a moment that tells a story — whether sweet, emotional or humorous!

#1:  Brothers and Best Friends


#2:  First Kiss


#3:  A Quiet Moment


#4:  Splish Splash


Tied for #5:  End-of-Day Father and Daughter Moment; Miss Personality

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Peninsula-lifestyle-family-photography-dad-walking-with-daughter-on-shoulders-in-haze  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Peninsula-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-walking-away-with-candy-and-crooked-glasses-BxW

#6:  A Mother’s Job



The photos that made it into this category were chosen based on imagining the same image with different light. I asked: “Would I love it as much then? Or is the light so significant that it elevates the image, and it wouldn’t be as memorable otherwise?” If the answers were no and then yes, they made it here! :)











Tied for #6:



Tied for #7:



Keith and Rosabel’s Engagement

There are some things that you “just know”!  Let me tell you about my cousin Rosabel.

Rosabel is intelligent, stylish, and charismatic.  She enjoys fine dining, a good laugh, witty banter, and a good pair of jeans.  More than anything, she is someone who doesn’t hesitate to share her opinions.  She is the opposite of the symbolic Disney Princess whose happy ending happens when a man saves her.  Rather, she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her goals.  She is a force!

And then she met Keith.  <3

She is still all those things, but when she is with him, she turns into an ooey gooey sugary puddle of love.

From the first time I met Keith, I knew they would get married someday.  I really did.  Call it a sixth sense!  I could tell by the way they interact with each other.  The way he looks at her.  The way she allows herself to be ‘soft’ around him.  It is a side of my cousin that I’ve never seen before.  And it’s tearfully sweet.

For their Lifestyle Engagement Photography session, we walked around Rosabel’s neighborhood in San Francisco, hung out by a wine bar where they had their first date, and ended in the Presidio where Keith bikes.  It was a fun-filled afternoon that perfectly represented them.

San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-engagement-ring-on-decorative-pillow  San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-man-in-grey-sportscoat-with-coral-wall


[Fun fact:  This diamond ring belonged to Keith's great grandmother!]





San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-couple-having-fun-walking-together-by-stores  San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-couple-snuggling-by-city-wine-bar


San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-couple-kissing-on-sidewalk  San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-couple-laughing-on-sidewalk



San-Francisco-lifestyle-couple-photography-engagement-in-woods-man-down-on-one-knee  San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-woman-leaning-into-her-fiance-in-woods


San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-woman-whispering-to-her-fiance-while-sitting-on-his-lap-BxW  San-Francisco-lifestyle-engagement-photography-mans-reaction-to-his-fiancee-sitting-on-his-lap-BxW