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.

Eggnog and Cookies

How do you  make  bribe  encourage your kids to get along, look happy, AND look natural in front of your camera when you photograph them all the time and they are not having any of it???  You work the entire shoot around drinking sweet thick eggnog and eating fresh out-of-the-oven, melt-in-your-mouth gooey chocolate chip cookies you made from scratch.  That’s how!  :P

So for my Styled Christmas Shoot of my kids, I am proud to say that all my props (excluding ingredients for the food) cost $8.  The basket, bottles and straws were in the dollar section at a local store.  The baker’s twine I already had, and the large glass bottle was a gift.  Clothes were a mix of things we already had and a few items that tied everyone’s colors together.  Total cost was $50.

The reason why I’m mentioning this is to show that you don’t need to spend a lot to have props in your shoot.  Props can provide you with something to do, something to hold, and basically, a reason to not look at the camera — in addition to providing a secondary purpose, like being good bribery material (hee hee).  [To see another Styled Shoot created on a dime, see my Train Station Shoot.]

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones this holiday season!



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I don’t hide the fact that sometimes I come up with (*ehem*) interesting ideas during a photoshoot, but hey, it’s because I am working really hard to craft the image I’ve envisioned in my mind.  What is especially impressive, however, is most of my clients don’t even blink an eye at some of my requests!

I can neither confirm nor deny that I said the following things during Sara and Brian’s Lifestyle Photography session this weekend….  ;)

  • “I know that’s a cemetery and a freeway, but can you hang out right there?”
  • “Can you sell me some ice cream?”
  • “Is there something else he can hold that’s prettier than a tissue?”
  • “Sit here and snuggle up to him.”
  • “Saaaaaandwich!!!”
  • “Pretend that’s a mistletoe!”

Hey, if there is something that looks like a mistletoe and it’s above you and your loved one’s head…why not?!!  <3 is <3.



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Rinse and Repeat

Why do shampoo bottles have instructions that tell you to “rinse and repeat”?  How many times are you supposed to shampoo your hair?!!

Well, I can’t answer those questions, but I will say this:  Rinse and repeat is what came to mind when I was editing images from last weekend’s photoshoot!

Here was my thought process (bear with me!):  If you are using good shampoo, you shouldn’t need to do multiple rounds of shampooing and rinsing.  However, if it’s REALLY good shampoo, you may want to do it all over again during the same ablution just for the sake of enjoyment!  :)  The same goes for other things.

When I look at The L Family’s images, I forget that it was only 30F degrees and how we only saw Dex’s hands half the time because we had to keep them inside his coat sleeves.  I forget it was so cold that my fingers hurt, so I had to rub them together to get feeling back in order to change settings on my camera!  I forget that Danny and Emily had to play games with their kids to help them survive enjoy the cold.  Games like “Let’s hear the crunch of the frozen leaves when we step on them!” and “Let’s pretend we have hot tea for a tea party!”  :)  It was adorable, and it worked.  Not once did Rory and Dex complain.

These images makes me smile and makes me want to do it again because it was so much fun and there was so much laughter, despite our frostbitten fingers.

So, when you love something, I say:  rinse and repeat!


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