Pensive Is Joy

 

Faces without expression interest me.
I like the ambiguity, the pensiveness.
But clients don’t like Pensive.
Not as a general rule.
They like unvarnished Joy.
Always have.
So.
Lately I’m doing something different.
During family photo shoots,
I run participants through a series of prompts.
Together we travel from Pensive to Joy
With many waystations in between.
I’m happy with the results.
I get what I want.
And clients get what they want.
Thoughts and reactions are welcome!

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Him to Her

WINTER, SUMMER—I traveled up and down the San Francisco peninsula photographing corporate business professionals. I’d like to share a few of them.

Adobe

The only thing better than a corporate shoot at Adobe is a corporate shoot at Adobe on a balcony overlooking the City. With a cityscape like that, your eyes would pop, too.

neilson corporate photography photography bay area san francisco silicon valley adobe staff headshot executive portrait will allen

CyCognito

Members of the CyCognito leadership team needed new headshots to match an existing look and feel. Although it departs from my customary style and aesthetic, I thoroughly enjoyed working with a white background and two off-camera strobes.

Procurant

When you provide solutions for the global food supply chain, it’s smart branding to photograph your leaders outdoors where trees and hedgerows provide a splash of color.

Fenwick & West marketing pro

This aspiring marketing leader at a legendary law firm wanted to blend the venerability of law with the approachability of marketing. Done and done. 

Oh, did I say Adobe?

If so, no harm in repetition 🙂

neilson corporate photography photography bay area san francisco silicon valley adobe staff headshot executive portrait will allen

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Utterly Absorbed

neilson family photography portrait outdoors grass natural light candid paige bay area photographer iceland

Flow.
Attunement.
Peak performance.
By whatever term, I’m a big fan of this kind of moment.
It’s as perfect as we can get, we nickle-plated angels and gold-crusted demons.
In Iceland, Paige is doing what comes naturally to kids everywhere:
Playing as seriously as a scientist at work.
Absorbed in a blade of grass with the insouciance of Buddha.
That’s why I take pictures.
Capturing—not perfect moments—
But the illusion of perfection in a green field with birch—
And a daughter I love intensely.

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Have Sister Will Weep

bay area family kid photography photographer black and white boy cry

Sisters.
They can be a nuisance.
Paige pushed one too many buttons.
And Gavin was about to punch her in the throat.
I saw him wind up like Madison Bumgarner.
Fast ball, all the way.
I intervened.
Dads.
They can be a nuisance, too.
When the urge to violence is muted, frustration often ensues.
Bitter, heartfelt frustration.
Tears happen.
Then—moments later—
A silent, unobtrusive camera click,
Because of course…

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Swept Away

Literally.
The wind was howling.
On the ridge, it was goose-flesh cold.
Hair was everywhere.
This way and that.
What to do?
Go with the flow.
Magic will happen.
Always does.
Click.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains swept away

But enough about the wind.
Let’s start in the Starting place:
With a man and his beard—glorious—
Who came a-walking from North Carolina.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains behold the man

Something—or rather someone—
Caught his eye.
Look at that radiant smile!
Evidently, she was stoked to see him.

bay area wilderness couples engagement photography photographer mountains white dress in distance

Instead of exchanging pleasantries,
They did what most Louisianians and North Carolinians do:
They started dancing as though it were the most natural thing in the world.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains dance

Afterwards, they settled down and hung out.

 

Now let’s return to the wind.
It continued to blow hard.
So we hit the road for calmer environs.
We found an olive grow in Los Altos Hills.
That’s right: an olive grove.
I smiled, they smiled.
We all smiled on our good fortune.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove smiles

But marriage is life.
And life is never only smiles.
So we played with expressionless faces.
No, this prompt won’t appeal to everyone.
But ambiguity is fascinating.
Neither happy nor sad.
Maybe even slightly bemused.
Ambiguity is an ink-blot with many readings.

 

Still, no matter what you see,
An unscripted moment is an occasion for joy…

 

Or a smooch…

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove kiss

Or the touching of foreheads.

 

Sometimes when things go sideways,
And you’re blown off the ridge,
Something unexpected—and amazing—happens.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove sun light

Ahhhh, magic!

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Best Buds

Meet J.

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits outdoors eyes

And Other J.

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits outdoor brown eyes candid fun hair

Nowadays, when you don’t have a prom date,
You pair up with your best bud.
Exactly as it should be.
Tear it up, ladies!

Neilson_Teen_Photography_Prom_J13

Goofiness and proms go together.
Just ask Other J who has a black-belt in fun.

When it rains outside during a shoot, you go indoors.
You take advantage of available light
And explore new styles of photography worthy of the occasion.

Oh, and you grab a spear of salvia.
That’s key, because if you can’t be outdoors,
At least you can bring a piece of it with you inside.
Where would this image be without that purple petal, right?!

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits studio blue eyes salvia petal fine art

As lovely as fine art portraiture is, it’s prom night after all.
So you’ve got to end on a goofy and timeless note.

Contact me for kids, teens, graduation, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Healoha Is Waiting

Meet Brigitte Mouchet.

She’s a wellness entrepreneur in the Bay Area.

She’s the founder and CEO of Healoha, a marketplace for wellness services that helps both clients and practitioners. Healoha is available in the U.S. and French-speaking countries in Europe.

Inspired by waves and ocean air, Brigitte hired me for a day of corporate photography on the coast in Half Moon Bay, one of her favorite places in the world.

We captured images for use on the company’s digital and social media channels, images ranging from corporate headshots like these two images…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo glassescorporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo environmental headshot

…to environmental portraits like this…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo environmental headshot orange sweatshirt

…and this…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo headshot orange sweatshirt bridge

…to social and active shots like these…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo social media runningcorporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo social media walking footprints

…and even to landscape photography, which required a jaunt to Santa Cruz, where the mist lifted at last and Walton Lighthouse winked at the purpling sky.

corporate landscape photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo social digital media

I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thank you.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.