Monday, January 10, 2011

Family and child photographer... interview with ANNIE TAO.

Annie (San Francisco, USA) called herself a lifestyle photographer. She is famous for family and children photography. You may find some of her articles in Digital Photography School.

1Q) Can you please tell us the story behind this portrait? How you took it and why you choose to shoot this person?
I love editorial images – images that tell a story.  Many of my favorite images were taken when people weren’t expecting to be photographed. 
I took this image at the end of a family photoshoot.  We were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot, and my clients were putting their kids in the car.  When I noticed Ian was being mischievous by climbing into the driver’s seat instead of his carseat, I knew this could be interesting, so I was ready to take the shot even while I was talking to Julie, Ian’s mom. 
This image was taken the moment Ian realized his mom spotted him!  In a matter of a couple seconds, I stepped back and composed the shot to capture Ian through the window and Julie in the reflection.   

2Q) What photography gear you used here and why? What is usually in your photo bag?
I used a Nikon D90 and a Sigma 30mm/1.4.  I choose the D90 for shooting families and children because of its light weight.  I run around a lot during shoots with children, and I need to be able to carry 2 camera bodies and a bag of lenses, so weight is a large consideration for me. 
For a typical lifestyle photoshoot, I will bring 2 Nikon bodies and several lenses, such as a 70-200/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 30mm/1.4, and 14mm ultra wide.

3Q) What do you love most about shooting portraits?
That it’s never dull or mundane.  Every person has a different story, different experiences and different personalities.  As an artist, I get to translate their uniqueness in my photographs. 

4Q) Do you consider yourself mostly as a “portrait” photographer?
That’s a great question.  Although 98% of my photographs are of people, I still don’t consider myself a Portrait Photographer.  I define “portrait” as an image of a person.  I capture moments and emotions

5Q) Do you work with available light or do you use additional lighting often?
Available light!  Even for evening and indoor shoots, I still prefer using available light.  I find that photographing with available light creates a greater variety of moods and has a more organic feel in the images. 

6Q) What/Who are your photography muses and influences?
I was a painter before picking up my first camera, so I’d say the Fine Arts influences a lot of my work.  From how I compose a shot to my attraction to light, patterns and colors, it all stems from my years of watercolor and oil painting. 
My recent influences are the production of movies.  I love watching how the Directors of Photography shoot each scene – ie, how the camera pans into a room, how they set up the lighting, how they compose the scene to unravel a story.     

7Q) Any tip for taking better portraits?
Be ready with your camera at all times.

Thank you, Annie!

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