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.

Smart Start

Let’s get one thing straight: Teachers are the best.

In the back-asswards Hierarchy of the Underappreciated, they’re perched on a mountaintop of nurses and EMTs, janitors and sanitation workers, freelance writers, line cooks, and UN interpreters.

So when Smart Start preschool hired me for staff photography, I jumped at the opportunity and threw myself into the assignment as though it were Teacher Appreciation Day.

Actually, days. I hope my effort shows.

Day 1—Newark, CA

 

Day 2—Livermore, CA

 

To the staff at Smart Start—and teachers everywhere—thank you. Thank you.

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

Mountain Living

Last fall, I ran family photography mini sessions in the woods above the valley. What joy! What fun! Amazing, really.

Family #1

I admire a man who carries his son like a sack of flour. That, and dresses in pajamas to please his wife who has a vision, come what come may…

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley upside down

…and makes googly eyes at his boy just because.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley father son

Here older brother is doing what every kiddo wants to do, always: play, play, play.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley bradley son earnest

Younger kiddo doesn’t know it yet, but this allegory of brotherhood in three frames will set the tone for the rest of his days. When in doubt, shout. Or listen, as the case may be.

Family #2

Wrinkles the canine keeps the family together like a good herd dog.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran pup

Mother and daughter square up for a shot as golden hour paints the landscape in magical tones.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran mother daughter

Only thing better than having a brother is hanging out with a brother on a fence.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran sons fence

Rim light transfigures everyone it touches.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley tran rim light

Family #3

With scenes like these, every family deserves at least one…

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion trees

…OK, maybe two family portraits.

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion fence

Of course, where would Family be without Grandma? She lights up the scene!

bay area family photography photographer photo session lahonda skylonda mountains palo alto redwood city menlo park portola valley kinion grandma

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Urban Chic

When I capture a candid expression like this…

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation ring

….and a heartfelt laugh like this…

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation laugh

…and a bookishly hip shot like this….

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation books

…all in the space of 23 minutes, well, I’m ridiculously happy as a result.
“There’s one thing a photograph must contain,” says Robert Frank.
“The humanity of the moment.”
For what it’s worth, I agree.
Thanks for visiting.

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