All About Cyndi

When I take photos, I strive to connect with each subject, to get to know them and what makes them happy, and to draw out genuine smiles and joy in every image.

But, of course, getting to know each other is a two-way street, which is why I wanted to tell you a little more about me!

Where I Come From

I live in Richmond, California, and grew up in the city next door, El Cerrito. I consider myself a Bay Area native, even though I was actually born in Seattle. My parents moved to the Bay Area when I was just six months old. In fact, my mom still lives in the house I grew up in.

I’ve been married for 14 years, and we have a 28-year-old son. who lives in Austin, Texas. I currently have one cat and two dogs, all of which are rescues. Since age four, I have always had a pet in the house, often more than one. Most of my pets I’ve adopted from a shelter, so I know there’s a fantastic furry friend waiting to love and be loved in every shelter and rescue agency. Every time I’m in a shelter, taking photos of the animals up for adoption, I wish I could take them all home with me!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I love to read, go to the movies, play golf, and hike with my dogs. I also enjoy traveling with my spouse, as well as landscape and still life photography.

Some of my favorite TV shows are Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones, Call the Midwife, New Amsterdam, and The Rachel Maddow Show. When it comes to movies, I love way too many to list, but a few of my favorites are The Color Purple, The Help, Apollo 13, The Green Mile, and Hidden Figures.

As I said, I absolutely love to read, and my taste in books is pretty varied. I’m a big Stephen King fan, and some of my recent favorites are All the Light You Cannot See, Michelle Obama’s BecomingReady Player One, Madeline Albright’s Fascism, and the Outlander series.

My taste in music is just as varied. A few of my absolute favorites are the Beatles, Sarah McLachlan, Sia, Lady Gaga, Cher, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, and Enya. You’ll find that playlist on whenever I’m at my desk editing photos.

How I Became a Photographer

My first experience with photography was in high school. I became friends with a guy who was taking a photography class, and I became interested in photography too. My first camera was actually a gift from my grandfather.

In high school, I had dreams of being a photojournalist or working with National Geographic, but my family told me that I wouldn’t make any money as a photographer and should get a real job. After 30 years working in corporate America, I was sick of it. Even though I made a good living as an IT manager, I hated the work and was looking for something new.

I’d gotten a digital camera a few years earlier and had begun to rediscover my love of photography. I donated eight photos to a women’s charity event called Girlstock, and they all sold. I was stunned and decided that maybe I was good enough try doing photography for real.

I started out as a pet photographer, in part because I couldn’t imagine myself giving directions to people on how to pose. It took a few years, but I finally got over that fear and now have no problem guiding people in front of the camera, including telling them to do silly stuff like jump up and down, climb trees, or even race each other!

My first photo session was nerve-wracking! I wasn’t sure I had any idea what I was doing, but I still managed to get some good photos, even though I never once changed my camera settings. I shot over a thousand images! I think you’d call that “spray and pray.”

Since that first session, I’ve learned and grown so much as a photographer. I’ve learned to think less about technical skills and focus more on each client. Now, I remind myself to slow down, take the time to evaluate each subject, make connections, and, above all, have fun!

My Favorite Photo Session Memories

A few years ago, when I decided to focus on tween portraits, I did a BFF session in Tiburon with four friends between the ages of 10 and 11. These girls were a blast to work with!  They were cooperative, silly, and serious, and even willing to climb trees and jump around. We played music, sang, laughed, and got some great images as a result! Turns out this age group is one of my favorites to work with.

Another memorable session is actually a series of sessions over six years with a client and her beloved bloodhound, Wyatt. We did two sessions at the beach, one on the UC Berkeley campus, one along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, and one in my studio.

Wyatt was a big dog with a lot of personality. He had a ball obsession and loved to play! He also liked drinking from the human water fountain. He was friendly, well-trained, and didn’t mind being photographed or giving kisses. It was a real treat for me to witness the bond between these two year after year and get to check in with them regularly. I get attached to my clients, and it’s great to see them come back again for sessions!

My photography is all about capturing candid portraits of life’s many messy, imperfect, joyous, and beautiful moments. Forget awkward, posed photos. My goal is to capture real smiles, real laughs, and real love. I work to create images that are playful, fun, and authentic, revealing your genuine joy and affection. I believe that having your photo taken shouldn’t be uncomfortable or something to dread. It should be a blast! That’s why I work to connect with each client, helping to create meaningful interactions where that connection can be both seen and felt.

I want every person who has a session with me to truly enjoy our time together, to have fun, and to create memories that they’ll look back on with joy for years to come. It’s my hope that you’ll be glad you put in the time and effort to capture a few moments with your family.

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