Mya in the City

Not long ago, I had the honor of photographing the staff and executive team at Mya, an SF-based company that helps recruiters optimize their workflow through AI.

Their office is located on Maiden Lane, one of the most picturesque streets in the City. Combine that with the team’s commitment to shooting outdoors, and you have the makings of a great photographic day.

One of my favorite shots is this portrait of a CEO as a young man. The hubbub of City life goes on round him, while he hovers confidently in space. Red accents glow in the background. If I were to retake the photo, I’d drop 2/3 of a stop below ambient and fire an off-camera flash. Pesky shadows under his eyes bother me now.

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This particular shot was a lot of fun to make. Primarily because I enjoyed walking the Lane with this executive. We shot the breeze about science, medicine, and the National Geographic. I had good fun just getting to know him. Best of all, I fired my flash.

bay area san francisco corporate photography portraits headshots mya maiden lane

I love this next photo. It took a while to get it just right. But it was worth the effort. Plus, I like things in threes. See the bokeh frame left? See the bindi, nose ring, and earring?

Portrait of an executive in sf vinita

How did I get this harried professional to relax? You know, the usual—we talked about our wives and family life. Trust me, if you’d been there, you would have smiled, too. Oh, one last thing. Check out the crop. You’re looking at 2.39×1, which isn’t your standard 5×7. I’m a big fan of 2.39×1 and 16×9 because they offer a cinematic lens on the environment, of which the subject is a part.

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See the soft green tree-clouds in the background? I did then, and I do still. I tell you, threes are the best! Plus, I like the curbsides, faint and disappearing.

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Ditto. Except in this shot, the light had changed dramatically from the prior one, requiring me to stop down from f/1.8 to f/4.5. Background is too sharp for my liking, but it was a trade-off I was willing to make to get the shot.

Portrait of an executive in SF eric

Happily, the executive team was thrilled with the process and results. One of their senior leaders even chimed in here.

Contact me for creative Bay Area corporate and candid family photography.

 

 

Friday Night Lights

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Meet Scott.
He’s a marketing executive
With clients on the East and West Coasts.
Recently he joined me for a Friday Night Lights session.
No, not football.
A much more wholesome activity:
Candid headshots for Bay Area professionals.
I run the sessions out of my DIY home studio in San Jose.
They’re good fun.
I get to meet new people and practice my discipline.
And people get splendidly priced photos,
For use in trade shows, conferences, or digital and social media.
Oh, sometimes they get a splash of wine, too.
And not the cheap stuff, either.
It’s Friday night, after all.

Contact me for creative corporate and candid family photography in the Bay Area.

The Outsider

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That’s Gavin.
And his shirt and his glasses.
Together, they form an image of a fine young greaser.
If you know something about Gavin, you know he doesn’t smile for me.
And that’s exactly as it should be.
He’s got a point of view.
He resists much; obeys little.
Good for him.
Cleverly, I asked Gavin to smile,
Knowing precisely what I would get:
A radiant non-smile of magnificent proportions.
Perfect for a steely-eyed visage and a tough kid aesthetic.
So good on dad for hacking childhood behavior and making the shot work.
A few days later, Gavin hacked me back, proper.
We were scouting light at Stevens Creek County Park.
Dad, he said, posting up in dry yellow grass.
You can take a picture of me for a scoop of ice cream, he said.
One or two?
Two, he said.
No, one.
OK.
Smile or no smile? I asked.
He laughed.
No smile, he said.
Deal.
I got the shot; Gavin got his scoop.
So good on us.

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Contact me for creative Bay Area corporate and candid family photography. 

1103: Origin Story

Bay Area corporate family photography photographer san joseI didn’t go to grad school to earn an advanced degree for nothing.
There’s an entire philosophy behind 1103 Photography.
1’s and 0’s are a nod to the Silicon Valley
And its fascination with data.
An 0 in the shape of a lens,
Which has great iconographic properties.
Plus, let’s face it—nought is cool.
Just ask mathematician Robert Kaplan.
“If you look at zero, you see nothing;
But look through it and you will see the world.”
A fine sentiment, that.
A 3 because everything excellent and rare comes in 3’s.
And 1103 was my home address as a kid.
1103 Milky Way.
No kidding.
Totally astral.
1103 Photography is a homecoming for me.
Lastly, I’m not a big fan of personality.
I’m allergic to personal branding.
Kevin Neilson photography just sounds silly to me.
1103 Photography, on the other hand, is an all-seeing eye without an ego.
At least that’s my sincere intention.
Fingers crossed.

Contact me for Bay Area corporate or family photography. 

At Play in a Cupertino Creek

Several weeks ago, I ran a promotion on Facebook: Share my update for a chance to win a free family photo session. Some of you did just that. Thank you. Those who didn’t, I forgive you. Good news—we had a raffle winner! Gail Imamura. Some of you may even know her. She grew up in Cupertino and went to Monta Vista High School. Recently we met at McClellan Ranch in the morning, and I got to hang out with Gail and her kids. They’re a joy and a wonder. Her boy liked me right away. Her girl, not so much.

But eventually she warmed up to me.

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The trick of course is to do what kids love most: play. We had a footrace….

bay area san jose cupertino family outdoor photography mcclellan ranch kids

…and hunted for rocks and threw them across the creek…

…and celebrated Feats of Strength…

…and played peek-a-boo…

bay area san jose cupertino family outdoor photography mcclellan ranch kids

…and even flexed our wildlife biology skills with a crawdad claw.

bay area san jose cupertino family outdoor photography mcclellan ranch kids

All told, we had a blast, and by “we,” I definitely mean me. Gail, it was great seeing you and playing with your kids! Thank you.

For Bay Area corporate or family photography, please contact me.

 

Bay Area Gothic

bay area san jose family corporate portrait photographer black and white rural woman

September.
It’s three o’clock.
The sun is hot, the sky cloudless.
In the heart of the Silicon Valley, the valley of profit and loss,
Between the green western and yellow eastern foothills,
A rural woman stands amidst the wreckage of streams and orchards.
Nearby, the Guadalupe River is littered with plastic debris
And choked with abandoned grocery carts.
Walnut and almond orchards, peach and apricot trees
— Turned under long ago —
Are buried beneath a concrete layer of commercial activity.
She stoops, lifts, hauls, and sweats profusely.
Her eyes blaze fiercely.
Two diamonds gleam in her ears.

For Bay Area corporate or family photography, contact me. 

Then There Was Lightroom

My photography advanced with Lightroom in a big way. It taught me color theory, composition, and patience. Imagine my surprise when Adobe—the creators of Lightroom—contacted me for executive and staff photography. Surprise bordering on ecstasy. The photographic equivalent of returning to the mother ship. I gleefully boarded, then developed a new kind of String Theory…

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…visited the psychedelic wall…

Portrait photography executive business woman headshot indoors at Adobe

…and the ball wall…

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…and made portraits outdoors…

Corporate photography business portrait headshot Adobe woman

…and went back indoors…

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…then out…

corporate photography business portrait executive headshot bay area san jose san francisco adobe

…twice…

bay area corporate photography san jose san francisco adobe

…and finally back in, again, always in search of new light and backgrounds, like this one…

creative corporate photography business portrait executive headshot bay area san jose adobe woman

…and this one.

bay area san jose san francisco corporate photography portraits adobe

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to photograph at Adobe and meet the people who make Lightroom possible in the first place.

Looking for a Bay Area corporate or family photographer? Contact me