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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My Final Shoot

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Recently, I went to my son’s soccer game where I brought my camera for the first time.  When I returned home, my vision was suddenly hazy.  Everywhere I looked — the kitchen, the livingroom, outside — there was incredibly dense fog.  Nothing was clear.  It was so bad that it looked like my house was on fire from all the smoke, but I knew there was actually nothing there.  It was really scary.

Hours went by and nothing I did helped my vision.  So I cried.  Hard.  Was this going to my be vision from now on?

I thought I had just had my final photoshoot.  I was glad it was of my own child, but was sad I wouldn’t be able to continue my business… a business dependent upon my ability to see!

My mind raced with things I needed to do, like contact my clients who had booked photoshoots to tell them the news and refund their money.  Then my thoughts snowballed.  How would I take care of my kids?  How would my husband continue to work away from home when I could no longer drive or take my kids to school?  Wait a minute.  Will I ever see my children’s faces clearly again?!! 

[Just a bit of background:  I have retinal issues with both my eyes, so losing my vision is not farfetched.]

Long story short, I saw two Opthamologists in one week, and they came up with two different diagnoses — the final one being the correct one.  It appears that the foggy vision can be controlled and was temporary — however, the lesson it taught me was permanent.  Everything changes; nothing stays the same.  So be grateful for the things you have and don’t dwell on the things that aren’t going right because everything changes.

On the nights I’ve been able to control the foggy vision, I spent minutes gazing at my children’s faces.  Minutes may not sound like a long time, but you try it!  Sit in front of your child and hold their faces in your hands.  And just look at them.  REALLY look at them!  Your child will probably think each minute is an eternity, as mine did.  Ha!  But I am so grateful I can see their cute little faces, dried-up food smears and all!

So go out there and do something you love.  Or do 10 things you love.  And be grateful you can do them.

xo

annie

Below are some photos of what I thought was my FINAL photoshoot.  My 7-year old son scored a goal during a Soccer game, and I was there to see it and capture it with my camera!

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Final Thoughts:

I know my experience may sound a bit dramatic because there are plenty of people who have lost their vision or acquired debilitating diseases and injuries, and they are doing great.  I am inspired by people who go through a loss and come out stronger.  I am in no way saying that my World would stop revolving if I had not gained my vision back.

What I was reminded of was how anything can change at anytime, including my ability to be a Photographer and ability to see my children’s faces!  It may not be right now, but perhaps some day.  It is up to me to make the most of what I do have, right now.

The lesson I learned seemed important to share with others because, in my opinion, we all can use a little reminder to put down our phones when we are with our loved ones or take an extra minute to enjoy the world around us.

Picnic by a Piazza

Lili and Eddie are more than clients.  They’ve become friends over the years.  (I’ve known them since their first photoshoot with me when Lili was pregnant with Benji 5 1/2 years ago.)

This year, I counted down the days to their shoot for the last two months.  I hopped over to them out of sheer excitement when I saw them in the parking area!  How can I explain this?  They’re the kind of people who aren’t embarrassed to show affection in public or laugh out loud.  They are passionate people with integrity and coolness.  :)  And their boys.  Oh, their boys.  They are respectful and playful and thoughtful.  I adore them!

When it came time for their shoot, we decided to have a theme that reminded them of their recent trip to Italy.  Here’s the set-up:

Stopping for a snack on a sidewalk near a piazza in Florence, reading storybooks (set in Italy), and just being happy to be together.

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Published in Daily Dog Tag

One of the sweetest write-ups ever and from a delightful publication too!  Thank you, The Daily Dog Tag!

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To see the entire article on The Daily Dog Tag, click here!