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

The Heart of America

I love buying fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers directly from the farmers.  I love hanging out at farmer’s markets and listening to music.  I love looking at all the vivid colors, shapes and textures of the produce.  And, let’s be real — I love satisfying my uncontrollable need to accept (and devour) any and all fruity taste-tests!

Farmer’s markets are awesome.

And now, after my Commercial Shoot at North Berkeley’s farmer’s market, I was able to talk with some of the farmers and watch them work.  And wow — they are not only incredibly hardworking, but also, they are some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.

I am so grateful to be reminded of how farmers are the HEART of America!

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I am also delighted I had the opportunity to take photographs for a great organization, Ecology Center, and an amazing program, Market Match.  Eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge when you have a small budget and this program enables lower income families to essentially “stretch their dollar”, so they can buy fresh and delicious produce at farmer’s markets!

This Commercial Shoot was a dream come true in so many ways:  the visual beauty of nature, the people, the program.  Love it all.


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The Good Tears

We all hope our lives are sprinkled with such heartfelt moments that we cry the good tears.  The I-can’t-believe-it’s-really-happening tears.  The I-think-my-heart-is-going-to-burst tears.

Brooke and Emmy got married on June 11, 2014 in one of the most breathtaking buildings in the country.  It was the perfect setting for a union of two beautiful souls.

I met Brooke and Emmy for the first time on their wedding day because they live in Ohio.  Though we emailed each other a lot and spoke on the phone, it didn’t take me long to learn (and admire) that they are kind, intelligent and charismatic… that they are devoted to, in love with, and entirely respectful of each other… that they are grateful for the big and little things in their lives.

They are inspiring people who bring light and cause smiles wherever they go.

No exaggeration.  That day, countless strangers — some while driving by — cheered and congratulated them.  One couple offered to buy them a bottle of champagne and meal!  You can’t help, but feel the love when you see them together.


Brooke and Emmy



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You want to know how cool they are?  They came prepared with pizza for the car ride!

As Brooke so eloquently put it, “Sharing pizza makes a happy marriage!” or something like that.  I was laughing too hard and busy bracing myself in the car to remember exactly what went down.  (Just kidding, Vance!)  :)


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Thank you, Brooke and Emmy, for letting me be a part of your special day — a day filled with laughter, love and “good tears”.   


Wedding venue:  San Francisco City Hall

Restaurant:  La Mar

Hair and makeup:  Kim Carmichael and Anthony Genes of Follicle

Brooke’s dress:  J. Crew

Emmy’s dress:  J. Crew

Brooke’s shoes:  Banana Republic

Emmy’s shoes:  J. Crew

Brooke’s hairpin and bracelet:  borrowed from Melody Wrenn, dear friend of couple

Photographer:  Annie Tao

Food Photography Tips


Does this photo make you want to eat it?

Food Photographers think this way.

Food Photography can be simple to quite complicated where there are Stylists involved to glaze and spray and even use tweezers to carefully place each crumb!

I admit I can never be a Food Stylist because I find the natural crumbs and even sauce splatters appetizingly beautiful.  I also can’t be a full-time Food Photographer because I don’t have the self-control to walk away without tasting it!  (I love Food, what can I say?!!)

Here are a few basic tips to get you started with Food Photography…



1.  Watch your angles.

Take a top view then a side view.  Variety is the spice of life.  (Spice, get it?)

2.  Minimize what’s in the frame.

You don’t have to get too fancy with what is under, behind and next to the food item.  Let the food be the star.

3.  Use natural light.

Food looks better in natural light, so take the shot during the day and set the food near a window.  Make sure you turn off the indoor lights, so there isn’t mixed lighting on the food.

4.  Prepare it to be eaten. 

When you are photographing food, it can help to prepare the food like you are ABOUT to eat it.  Sometimes seeing a piece on a fork or a heaping spoonful makes the food look more scrumptious!

5.  Consider the ingredients.



I recently baked banana blueberry bread.  Instead of photographing it as a fully baked loaf, I sliced it to cool (photographed it) and then plated it (and photographed it again).  I also photographed some of the ingredients, like the locally grown blueberries right after I washed them and the two perfect organic brown eggs.  The dough mixture even looked good to me because it had chunks of fruit, so I photographed that too.

Do any of these images make you want to eat it?  I know MY answer!  Mmmmmmmm….






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Ready for a Bite


As a reward for reading this far (haha), here is my recipe.  It is seriously delicious!

Annie’s Blueberry-nana Bread


Butter, for greasing the loaf pan
1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting the loaf pan
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed to yield about 1 cup
1 cup of fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon).  In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients (sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla) until blended.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Gently fold in the bananas and blueberries at the end.  Careful not to over-blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 55 minutes (times may vary slightly depending on your oven).  You can check by using a toothpick and inserting it into the middle of the loaf.  If it comes out clean, then the loaf is done.  Set the pan aside to cool.  Then remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

Enjoy with your favorite beverage!  And don’t forget to share.  :P