Online Dating Photo Guarantee!

Most of you know that I've officially retired from weddings, but there is a loop hole to get me to photograph your wedding. The loop hole is - if you have me shoot your online dating photos and the photo I took of you was the catalyst for you meeting "the one" I will photograph your wedding! This is why I was at City Hall yesterday photographing my client's wedding! Clem came to me in April 2014 for some online dating photos. We met in downtown SF and took a bunch of photos around 3rd and Market Street. Here's a few of my favorites including the photo that he used on his dating profile that helped him meet the beautiful Lauren.

So, when I got an email from Clem telling me that he met a special lady and my photo was the reason why I was elated! They both have kids from a previous relationship and as a child that grew up in a mixed family I was stoked to photograph their wedding and have their 3 sons involved. Here's a few of my favorites from yesterday's wedding at City Hall.

If you've hired me to do your online dating photos and you're getting married, don't forget to reach out to me. We have many things to talk about! 


Golden Art Show at Rare Device

My apologies for being so MIA on the blog this year. I've decided to step back from a lot of social media (other than Instagram & Pinterest) and sadly blogging is part of that stepping back, but when you have something as exciting as this upcoming art show with Lisa Congdon you gotta shout it out!

On Friday, May 1st from 6pm-9pm at Rare Device (600 Divisidero) is the opening of my show, Golden, which is a series of photographs that I took of Frederick the golden dinosaur and his friends, along with beautiful hand lettering by my good friend, Lisa Congdon. I'll have a bunch of show specials at the opening like actual golden dinos to buy, magnets, greeting cards, mini prints, unframed prints and prints. Hope to see you there and if you can't make it to the show to buy a print, you can buy them online on Rare Device's website throughout the month of May.

The origin story of this show goes back to last year when I took a break from shooting photos for The Identity Project and decided to spray paint a bunch of stuff gold and then photograph it. Frederick the golden dinosaur, was born during this time and he's actually named after my beloved Grandfather that passed away in 2000. Frederick is a way for me to express my sense of humor and I sure do love making him miniature clothes and doing fun set ups for his adventures in the studio. I started posting pictures of Frederick on my Instagram account and because of the response, I knew that I had something special.

So, how did Golden come about? Well, let's step back for a minute cause I gotta give Lisa Congdon a huge shout out for helping me with this project. I've been a fan of Lisa Congdon for a very long time and honestly you can't be a creative person and not know who she is! There's so many things that I love about Lisa, but first and foremost is how extremely generous she is and the ways in which she supports other artists to pursue their dreams. Have you picked up a copy of her book, Art Inc yet? You totally should if you're trying to or want to be a professional artist.

She is one of the most inspirational people I know and she deserves every single success that comes her way. I really respect prolific hard working people - to get a sample of everything she's accomplished, go to her website and click on SHOP, wow, right?! 

I also love that she found her love of art/painting later in life, that part of her story has always resonated with me because I didn't decide to become a professional photographer until I was 35. Fast forward to the early part of last year when Lisa was part of The Identity Project with her wife, Clay, (I think this is the first time we met face to face) and I was honored to photograph her twice in her studio, you can see a bunch of my photos on her gorgeous new website. We became fast friends and now we both run successful businesses with our wives. Yeah!

Golden is a collaboration that I am so excited about because it takes some of my favorite things, photos of Frederick the golden dino, and then Lisa's beautiful hand lettering takes it to a whole other level. Wanna know where I got the quotes? I spent a few hours on Pinterest looking at the most popular motivational/inspirational quotes and then there's a few that are sentimental to me like the quote from Wayne's World. I'm deeply honored to have collaborated with Lisa in this way and although she can't be at the show (she recently relocated to Portland) she'll be there in spirit and I'm eternally grateful to have worked with her on this show.

Here's a few of the prints that we made - there will be 22 in total:

In closing, I am stoked to share some promo shots with you that my friend Erin Conger took of me in Clarion Alley earlier this week. She's a super talented photographer and I can't wait to share the rest of them once the show is over. 

Hope to see you there and please send me an email through this website if you have any questions!


The Smart and Single Guide to Thriving in the Dating World

Today I have a lovely friend of mine, Tatiana, offering up some awesome dating advice for all of you single folks out there. If you want to know more about Tatiana, go to her website or follow along with her dating adventures on Instagram. Thank you so much for this awesome post. Please don't forget that I'm offering a special online dating photo session and coaching session with my friend Elizabeth - click here to find out more! 

The Smart & Single Guide:

5 Practical Steps to Thriving in the Dating World

By Tatiana

1) Life is comprised of moments: bad ones and wonderful ones

 If you are on a crappy date and all they do is talk about him or herself and somehow they still want you to split the bill; this is a bad date, but more importantly it’s a really bad moment.  It doesn’t mean that the minute you walk out of that restaurant your bad moment needs to follow you. Don’t let it snowball into something bigger, it’s just a moment.

The same rule applies to the great moments. Embrace them wholeheartedly. Drink them up as if they were the last dirty martini on the planet, better yet in the galaxy! It’s a moment, a fleeting moment, so #OwnYourMoment and don’t be so scared of what comes next that you don’t get to experience what’s happening right now.

 2) Tinder and OK Cupid Quickmatches are your FRIENDS

For reals….. A monkey could do this; Minimal effort with the biggest return. If you’re stuck in line at Whole Foods and can’t handle reading anymore headlines of the latest gluten free discovery, swipe right, swipe left. If you‘re in the women’s bathroom line (because let’s face it, the women’s line is always ridiculous) swipe right, swipe left. 

#SmartandSingle Fun Fact: Don’t get too attached to your swipes. All this does is shake up the queue. It’s as if you’re letting the Tinder and OKC gods know, “Hey buddy….I’m still single. Who else do you have for me?” It shuffles the cards having you appear in more people’s feeds while introducing yourself to potential new suitors. I swipe any boring moment I get! I’ve even done it on an airplane right before takeoff. And guess what? I matched with the hottie sitting in the aisle seat a few rows behind me.

3) A watched iPhone never rings

If you come home from a really good or really bad date, immediately get back on line and keep yourself available. I’ve always said there are four burners on every stove. I’m not telling you to be a playa. Heck no! Homie don’t play that game (I being the homie). But sometimes you have to keep the casual burners going until one dish is really really good. 

As women we have a tendency to get excited about the first dish and then we forget about the marinara sauce in the back, or the linguini on the side burner. We focus so much on the chicken meatballs in the front that sooner or later we realize chicken meatballs actually suck. And now we’ve burned the sauce and overcooked the pasta and have probably become extremely hangry. (Hangry: When hunger and anger collide developing into the most evil version of one’s self)

Keep your options open. Don’t wait for him or her to text you. Get back in line and meet new people. Swipe right, swipe left.

4) Be who you are from day one

Playing Miss Cool with the funny banter and not so serious attitude will get you another date and probably another one after that. But in the end, all you will have is funny banter. Don’t be afraid to let the people know what you want and what you’re looking for. I’m not suggesting being a buzz kill from your first conversation, 

“Hi my name is Tatiana. I like long walks, naps, and am looking for someone who has their shit together and by shit I don’t mean bullshit.” 

WRONG (loud alarm sounds going off here) There’s a way to say this with charm. 

“It’s taken a while but I finally have my shit together. And I’m looking for someone on the same wave length who truly wants to be in a relationship.” 

Play the game as much as you want, but ultimately it’s just prolonging the inevitable. And I much rather experience something awesome and authentic then the same four months over and over again. 

 5) You don’t have to date every good guy

Just because someone treats you well doesn’t necessarily mean he is the right good guy for you; nor should you feel obligated to go out on another date or “make it work. “ There’s something to be said for being loved. We love how this person makes us feel, but deep down we know something is missing.

The crazy part is this good guy adores us so much that we feel guilty not being with them. So we proceed to convince ourselves that there can’t be anything wrong with him, and the problem must be us. The challenge with this is that months/years can go by and the only great thing you have to say about your relationship is, “He’s a really good guy.” 

What I’ve taken from these good guys is that they are in our lives to set a barometer for how we deserve to be treated. They adore us because we’re awesome! We are smart and single women and we DESERVE to be adored. But don’t waste his time and take the good guy for granted. And equally important don’t take yourself for granted. You deserve the entire package. There are other great guys out there and one of them might be the right great guy for you.

Bio: Tatiana is the writer of the Smart and Single Guide and founder of BY Her goal is to empower single women through her products and workshops, to own their moment by focusing on what they do have in their life as opposed to what they don’t. “You might have it all tomorrow, but you choose what you have today.” At heart she is an inventor and entrepreneur living in New York City. She enjoys long walks, witty banter, and good old-fashioned meatballs. And yes, she is smart and single.



Valentine's Day Coaching/Photography Package

Become an Online Dating Superstar

I'm so excited to announce a special package for Valentine's Day for all of the singles out there. I've teamed up with local dating coach/sex and relationship therapist, Elizabeth McGrath, to help single folks in the Bay Area find love! 

Elizabeth is going to take care of your heart and head before you get out there on another date! Curious about what Elizabeth can help you with? Here's what her dating packages look like:

  • Together you will develop a bad ass dating profile
  • She will teach you how to communicate with a new date
  • Assist in helping you find your best self
  • Give you strategies about how to best showcase yourself on a first date

I'll be taking new online dating photos with you in a SF location of your choosing and these are my absolute favorite sessions because:

  • I get to talk to my clients about love and relationships the whole time
  • The photo session is super creative because I want my clients to have a ton of different option to choose from - full body, 3/4 body and some close ups of their face
  • Did I mention that 3 of my male online dating clients got engaged last year? Um, yeah, don't even tell me an awesome photo doesn't help you out tremendously with online dating profiles. 

We have two different packages that we're offering and you'll get on one (to three) coaching sessions with Elizabeth (either in SF or Oakland) and then you and I will be meeting up for an online dating photo session.

You only get one chance to make a first impression online, so you better make sure your lead profile pic is on point and that you are focused on what you want/don't want in a partner.

We are taking clients NOW, so please send a form in through my website if you're interested. We work with men, women and all LGBTQ folks, so don't be shy! If you know a single person that has been struggling with finding love, give them a gift certificate for one of these packages!

Find out more about the package details HERE.

Thanks and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

The Identity Project's Very Small World

Guest Post - The Identity Project by Shannon

Today I am sharing a very special blog post about the very small world that is The Identity Project, written by my dear friend, Shannon. I have been thinking a lot about the project lately because today January 2nd marks the one year anniversary of the project being launched on FB. It has been one hell of a ride and I'm excited about what I will accomplish this year. Take it away, Shannon!

Shannon’s blog post:

Let’s get this out of the way – I am a San Franciscan through and through. I moved to San Francisco shortly after I finished my undergraduate degree in Indiana back in the 90s. I came out in San Francisco and the city is one of the great loves of my life. I recognized and felt my Bay Area status more than ever after leaving the City in 2012, spending two years in Chicago for graduate school, and then pursuing a career/home/life in Portland, OR. Chicago and Portland are amazing cities in their own right, no doubt about that, but San Francisco will always be my heart; it helped mold me into the fabulous queer urban explorer I am today! I’d never be so trite to say I left my heart in San Francisco, because I subscribe to the belief that we must live in the present moment and since my heart goes where I go, I know I didn’t leave it anywhere. I’m convinced I’m a San Franciscan through and through because it doesn’t seem to matter where I live; SF ties are the ties that continue to sustain me. 

I’m pretty certain Sarah Deragon’s path crossed mine and vice versa at several points over my long tenure in San Francisco and more importantly in the inner sanctum of the Castro. The Castro is really just a very small gay town implanted into a larger city. We have over 35 mutual friends according to Facebook and who am I to argue with the social media behemoth.  But it wasn’t until the early part of 2014 that we were properly introduced. Sarah had shot a best friend’s wedding in Sept of 2013 and I’d heard amazing things about her talent, her energy, and her grace. My bestie had said to me numerous times, “You and Sarah must meet!” Sarah’s Identity Project launched with the New Year in 2014; I was immediately enamored with the project. One, because she originally shot photos of San Franciscans and the project included so many faces I missed while I was away working my tail off in graduate school in Chicago. And two, because I wholeheartedly supported the visibility the project was creating for non-conforming persons. Sarah and I “met” via email in early 2014 and I shamelessly begged her to come to Chicago and shoot the local LGBTQ community. One of the most interesting parts of living in different cities (and outside the SF bubble) is learning about a community’s vibe. I was eager to see the similarities and contrast of the two LGBTQ communities living side-by-side on the Identity Project’s site.  Once I decided moving on from Chicago and heading to Portland, post-graduation, was in the cards I once again shamelessly begged Sarah to bring the Identity Project to Portland. She ended up shooting in both cities and we officially met, face-to-face, in Portland’s Washington Park Rose Garden. Perfection. 


I got the opportunity to assist Sarah on day two of the Portland shoot. I was able to meet a ton of Portland queers, gays, unicorns, and all-around fabulous human beings. I got to witness the beauty that is our community, the courage of the community’s youth, and the camaraderie that comes with being surrounded by self-actualized humans that all have a vested interest in more visibility. The Identity Project came to be an important part of my socialization in Portland in ways I had never imagined. 

The San Franciscan-born Identity Project has continued to sustain me here in Portland. I went to the Rose Garden shoot with a new Portland friend and we ended up dating soon after.  I  went on another date with a woman I had met through the shoot,  I became friends with a couple of the people who assisted Sarah on the same day I did and one of them set me up on date with a friend of hers. I also met an ambitious young couple transplanted from SF and have since grabbed a beer or two with one of them. We talk all things San Francisco! Additionally, I met a fabulous performing artist who continues to invite me to great Portland events! 

Even though I had moved away from Chicago by the time Sarah took the project to the Midwest, I got to see familiar faces once the photos were posted! It’s been a pleasure watching this project grow and receive amazing press that continues to create visibility. I’m looking forward to seeing what Sarah does with version 2.0 in 2015!

The Identity Project means so much to me as gender non-confirming person, as a San Franciscan, as a new friend of Sarah’s, and because of the wealth of connections it continues to afford me. The Identity Project allowed me to expound on my “Queer Urban Explorer” identity and develop new and lasting connections here in Portland. The Project increases visibility, opens conversations, and creates new connections in ways I wasn’t expecting.  

(Thank you for this lovely post, Shannon! Can't wait to get back up to Portland for more food adventures!)



Year In Review - Studio Sessions

My Favorite Studio Sessions 2014

This was the year that my work in the studio really took off. I did a lot of studio personally with The Identity Project (it was kind of like my self-imposed studio bootcamp) and I did a lot professionally too. I love putting together these posts because I am a very sentimental person and looking back over all of the galleries brings up a lot of good memories. Here's just a sampling of my favorite studio sessions from 2014, enjoy! 

I'm so thankful to all of the companies that hired me to do indoor not so corporate headshots because one of them resulted in me having a bunch of billboards around SF. You might recognize the photo below if you've driven in over the Bay Bridge and looked to your left - thank you, New Relic! It is so thrilling to see one of your images on a billboard! 

Last month I went out to a high school in SF where my friend works with a group of amazing teenagers and I was able to bring in my studio set up, so they could have some high resolution/professional photos as a reward for all of their hard work this year. I had a blast at the high school and the kids were just great! There was a lot of Snapchatting going on during the session, so I can only imagine the behind the scenes coverage that this session got, ha! Here's a few of my favorite images from that afternoon. 

These next photos were from a family session that I did in the studio and their Dad had asked me to get a few shots of the boys in their basketball uniforms after the formal family shots. Of course, right?! I love these photos because I'm endlessly fascinated by sibling relationships (I love being a big sister) and up until this point in the session they boys had been super well behaved, almost too straight faced, so when I got this shot I was stoked because they truly capture the boy's relationships with one another. 

These next few photos are of the incredibly beautiful and smart Maxie McCoy. She is such a special woman that endlessly inspires me and we did a photo session because she's working on relaunching her website next year and she needed a few new promo shots. We did a combo session - studio/outdoor - and my cheeks hurt after our session from smiling so much. Maxie is a force to be reckoned with and I know that she is going to do big big things next year. I love these photos because she bought some balloons to be photographed with and when we were in the studio, they were less than cooperative, although she did try!  

These next few photos are important to me because they have two of my favorite people in them - Nicole Delger and my business coach, Nina Kaufman in them. I did this studio session with them because they recently launched a 6 week e-course called Brand Strong that will help any small business owner take it to the next level. I wish that there had been a course like this when I launched my business because I would've been immediately set up for success. I love and respect these two women so much and I'm so excited about this collaboration between them! They took a lot of time and care putting together Brand Strong, so you know it is going to rock! 

The most fun I had in the studio this year was when I photographed the lookbook for 3rd Season Designs.  They're an LA based company and if you've been to Renegade Craft Fair the past few years, you've definitely meet the girls that own the company. I love their work and we had talked about doing a shoot together for a long time, so when they shipped me their entire line of clothing to photograph, I was elated! I asked a model friend of mine, Jen, to come in and she was delightful to photograph and I love the final images. 3rd Season Designs is a woman owned company and they are passionate about what they do, so please support them by buying one of their beautiful pieces! This was my first time shooting on a pink background and I will be doing it a lot more next year, love how these photos turned out. 


In the late fall, I was able to donate my time and do some photos for the staff of the Transgender Law Center.  I hope to donate my time every year to work with one or two non-profits that need professional not so corporate headshots, so if you work somewhere that doesn't have photos or you haven't had new photos in 5+ years, please reach out to us! I deeply respect the work that the Transgender Law Center does and hanging out with their staff was a really awesome afternoon. Keep up the good work, folks!


And I saved the best for last - my niece Isabel is quite a ham and sometimes when she comes to visit, she demands a photo session as well since the studio in my house. So, one afternoon she wanted to do some photos and said the dress she was currently wearing wasn't "sparkly enough" so I went into my closet and pulled out this scarf and necklace. She is hilarious in the studio and these are some of my most favorite images of her ever. 

Hope you enjoyed my studio recap! More to come this week.