The 10 Best Lifestyle Photographers in San Francisco
We call San Francisco home, so we know better than anyone just how many jaw-dropping photographers are walking our streets. The fact that we’ve got sunshine, warm weather, and picturesque vistas doesn’t hurt, either — it makes San Francisco a prime spot for outdoorsy, adventurous lifestyle photography. Couple that with the presence of a strong startup and tech community, and you’ve got an ecosystem with a high demand for top-notch work.
Thankfully, San Francisco’s creative professionals can handle anything. Our list of the 10 best San Francisco lifestyle photographers features rising talents and world-beaters, as well as creative styles of all shades. Enjoy checking out their work — we certainly did.
Trinette Reed and Chris Gramly’s lifestyle photography is light and airy, clean and bright — it never tries too hard. There’s no over-processed feel or chasing of fads, just magazine-perfect shots of happy people living their best lives. That’s suitable for all sorts of brands, from apparel brands to food products and furnishings.
What’s also notable is that their lifestyle work is full of groups. It’s not the type of lifestyle work where a fashionable 20-something struts down an alley in the trendiest outfit you’ve ever seen — it’s the kind where families enjoy each other’s company and kids chase puppies. It teems with life, comfort, and love — and we think you’ll dig it.
2. Jenna Alcala
Jenna Alcala loves to travel, and it shows through in her sun-drenched, high-luxury lifestyle photography. Most of it tends towards high fashion, capturing natural light shots of chic, opulent scenes. Her work is an extraordinary fit for resorts, beachwear lines, and any other brand that pairs well with the more luxurious side of life.
Michal Venera is a grizzled veteran of the commercial photography world, a photographer whose reputation precedes him. His natural light work is often shot at low or high angles to draw the viewer in, and he can just as easily shoot comforting, rustic scenes as he can high-energy, adrenaline-fueling action shots.
Starbucks, Apple, and American Express are just a few of the companies that have trusted Katie Newburn to capture scenes that communicate the stories of their brands. And why wouldn’t they? Her advertising lifestyle work is top of the line, full of beautiful color and vibrant personalities. She’s great at matching her editing style to the needs of her clients rather than imposing her own style on every project — letting the work take center stage.
Laurie Frankel will do whatever it takes to get the shot — from hanging from the ceiling to crawling through swamps — and it’s that dedication to her craft that has solidified her position among the best San Francisco lifestyle photographers.
Her work drips with style and mood, and while she’s typically harnessing natural light, she looks for the places where it hits in dramatic angles, emulating classical portrait lighting setups — especially split lighting techniques. And so, her technical proficiency, combined with her keen aesthetic eye, make her one of the best in town.
6. Megan Bayley
Megan Bayley loves adventure — assignments that call for her to get out in the sun and ocean breeze suit her just fine. But we think her strongest work is actually the lifestyle work she shoots for places like restaurants and stores, wherein she attractively captures people hanging out and enjoying themselves.
Given the artificial lighting already in place in eateries and cafes, it’s often trickier than people might expect to get a well-lit shot with pleasing colors. If you’re looking for someone to shoot your interior for your website or social media, look up Megan.
7. Drew Wright
Drew Wright focuses primarily on food photography, but he’s an old hand — he’s been at this 20 years — with experience across disciplines. His best work is in his own studio, though he’s adept at capturing the feel of natural lifestyle scenes in other controlled environments. It never feels inauthentic, and it’s always well-suited for advertisements — and much of his work is indeed alongside ad agencies and art departments. If you’re looking for gorgeously polished work, check him out.
8. Jason Sinn
The work Jason Sinn produces for brands is full of character and style. Through creative scene-setting and editing choices, he’s able to produce images that are evocative — the ones that shine and grab the eye. He lets his clients’ personalities shine through, yes, but he also brings a lot of fun ideas to the table — so be sure to let him go wild a little bit. Always trust your photographer’s creative instincts!
Annabelle Breakey primarily shoots still lifes these days, and her work is crazy good. But it’s partially for this reason that when she is commissioned for lifestyle work, it feels fresh and energetic — for her, it’s a break from the ordinary. In particular, she’s a home-run choice for any brand in the food and beverage industry.
She has such a sense for the way food works, how its colors and texture inform our enjoyment of it just as much as the taste. Annabelle’s the perfect photographer to depict an outdoor cooking scene or a family BBQ — or really anything else you could ever want, for that matter. She’s that good.
10. Jason Bax and John Towner of Bax Towner
Jason Bax and John Towner joined forces to maximize their creative output. And produce they do, crafting enthralling images in the automotive, outdoor lifestyle, fashion, and tech markets. Their work has a dramatic, cinematic quality, a style with a cool-factor that’s through the roof. It’s their attention to detail and creative eye that ensure they’ll rank among the best San Francisco lifestyle photographers for a long time to come.
Since we’re neighbors and all, make sure you check out the incredible spaces available here in San Francisco. This town’s full of eclectic, unique spots to shoot in that you’d probably never otherwise learn about. Explore joints ranging from offbeat private galleries to lofts that are tailor-made for commercial photography. Let’s keep up the great work, San Francisco.