Pet Portraits
Dog portrait

As many of our clients know, the Adams family are HUGE animal lovers. So much, in fact, that we use to have a small retail dog and cat boutique in downtown Benicia for awhile. The shop, Koda & Co., was named after our beloved beagle and was located First Street in downtown Benicia.  But that brings me back to PET PORTRAITS! As you look through the family portraits on this site, you will notice A LOT of dogs in our family portraits. Of course, because dogs are people too :). But did you also know that you can schedule a session JUST for your pet? It really is such a wonderful image to capture and, in my opinion, just as important as any other family member's portrait. Here are some examples of recent pet portraits, but as with any portrait session, keep in mind that these are completely customizable to your taste and style. So while these are done with a very european feel, we can also create some beautiful beach or park images or even portraits right in your own home. If this is something that has been on your to-do list and you would like to chat about the options, give us a call on the studio line at 925-676-7036 or drop an email to and we can talk about the possibilities.

Has Your Senioritis Set In?

Now that you’re a senior in high school, a lot of big decisions are going to come up fast, if they haven’t already. You have a lot to think about. It’s a big job. This means college considerations, SAT/ACT prep, building up your volunteer hours and sticking them on your resume—which is totally starting to fill up, by the way. And, of course, in the midst of all that, you still have to juggle school and all its demands, the potential prom and homecoming plans, and then, right there at the end are your plans for graduation. Thing is, before you think about graduation, you have to consider your graduation portraits.

Sure, you could just go with whatever service your school is providing. Those get the job done well enough. But the most exciting results come from a photo shoot customized to you and your preferences.

Gretchen Adams Photography does whatever we can to:

A) Make you comfortable during your shoot B) Make sure you love love loveee your results C) And key the shoot to your personality and hobbies.

On that thread, we’ll help you figure out what looks go best for the results you probably have in mind, what settings would make the photos exemplify who you are, and more. For example, want results that showcase that awesome new cut and color with the highlights you just got? Not a problem. You’re allowed to want those things. This shoot is totally about you! We’ll figure out what time of day is best for this and shoot at the peak of daylight where the sun can really show you and your new do off.

Another thing we like to do is figure you out. What are your hobbies? Do you love music? Bring your instrument along to the shoot, or if it’s not portable, we’ll come to you. Your baby grand piano doesn’t have to budge an inch. Maybe cheer and dance are your after school activity of choice? Bring your poms along for the shoot. Or we can even do a couple shots of you in your dance gear, all done up. This extends all the way down to football/basketball/baseball lovers, the wood shop pros and even the chess club enthusiasts. Again, when you have your senior portraits taken with the professionals at Gretchen Adams Photography, you’re getting a custom shoot that showcases you in all your Senior glory.

Mothers Day is coming, are you prepared?

Now that Mother’s Day is fast approaching, you and your family may be trying to figure out what to get for Mom. That, of course, is no easy thing to determine. Want the quick tip solution? Family portraits. What’s great about family portraits is that they’re not a gift she’s likely to forget anytime soon. Especially not if these portraits are hanging in your home or placed lovingly on her office work-desk.

Family portraits as a gift to Mom this Mother’s Day also have the added effective of netting you points. You’ve carefully planned this photo session, which can include the kids and even your family’s 4-legged friend. You’ve thought long and hard about what would please Mom most, and now you’re working overtime to keep the session a secret from her. She will definitely understand and appreciate the appeal of that. Women love that sort of thing. Trust us. We know.

After you’ve had a chance to coordinate looks between you and your family, decided on either an in-studio or on-location destination for the shoot, all you’ll have to do is await the completed project. From there you can decide what type of frames work best, if you’d like to display them in certain sizes, which poses she would appreciate most, etc.

You might even consider personalizing the photos further by planning to have the shoot at one of her favorite spots. Maybe she has a favorite tree at the park. We could have your family’s shoot there; or maybe she has a favorite shirt that you wear. Sport that in the shoot and prepare yourself to see her eyes light up when she opens her gift. Bonus points if she gets a little teary-eyed. Those moments are so special. We love helping you arrive at them.

Now, do remember, the important thing here is that Mother’s Day is coming up a lot quicker than you think. And all this planning and deciding and coordinating may take a little time. How much time will depend on the specifics of your shoot. What you have to do now is contact Gretchen Adams Photography for your consultation. If you’re in or around the San Francisco Bay area, we could be planning your family’s Mother’s Day gift in no time at all.

And if you don't have time to pull it off before Mother's Day, we also offer beautifully packaged gift certificates that you can easily present your awesome mom with and then she can plan the session for this summer!

Making memories with family portraits

IMG_94359002gretchen-adams-photographyFamily is important and that's no surprise. Another thing that's no surprise? One of the best ways to make memories with your family is to have family portraits taken each year. Hanging these photographs on the wall is a great way to see how your family changes over the years, with new additions, children growing up, and even pets included. We offer you extensive family portrait services with a personal touch. It's the Gretchen Adams touch that makes us so great at what we do. Before you head to any studio, check their qualifications. If they have a portfolio, take a look and see if the photographs match your expectations for your own family pictures. Gretchen Adams Photography has an extensive portfolio, so you can see our experience with family portraits. It surely speaks for itself. Deciding how you want your photos to look can be one of the biggest challenges, but we make sure that we take the time during our personal design consultation to really get to know your family's style so we can design a session that will truly reflect YOU. Remember that your photos will be displayed in your home, and you might even send them to family and friends. You want to make sure it shows the essence of your family and that it’s something you will be proud to show off. We work closely with our clients to make sure that all the details, from outfits to location, have been expertly planned out.

Speaking of location...that is another big consideration! Many big photography studios only offer in-studio shots, which will use a colored backdop. However, you may decide on a more natural aesthetic with us. We're more than happy to travel for photo shoots, including to your own home, the beach, or a park. This can be a convenient time to have your portrait done and spend some time together, especially if you're doing a family portrait that involves family members who don’t live together. Everyone can meet up at a special place, which will make taking the actual picture more memorable and a less stressful experience for everyone.

If your family includes some four-legged friends, a photographer who travels—that's us!—can be useful. Some of the bigger studios don't allow for the inclusion of pets. A photographer who is willing to travel can meet you on location and include your four-legged family member in the photo. We're happy to travel to accommodate your furry little friend. Because we are animal lovers ourselves, we know exactly what items to have on hand to make sure we get the perfect shot and our time together is a blast for your pets as well!

Gretchen Adams Photography offers convenient family photography for people living in Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill, as well as the East Bay area. As a small boutique studio, we'll travel to your desired location to provide you and your family with truly stunning results.

Planning your high school senior portrait

high school senior portraits Orinda CA gretchen adams photographyHigh school is one of the most memorable stages of life, and it can be bittersweet to leave this stage behind. Capture the memory of your senior year with high school senior portraits. Whether you decide to display it proudly or keep it safe in a photo album, these pictures can evoke fond memories as you move on to the next stage, whether it’s college, a career, or traveling. While you may get a yearbook photo taken by your school’s photographer, you'll probably want a more personal touch. Small studios are able to focus on you so that you are represented in the best possible way. At Gretchen Adams Photography, we can take your photo whether it’s for your yearbook or for a memento. Instead of relying on the typical solid background, we'll have a bit of fun with some travel so that you can get your photograph taken at your school, outdoors, or even at your home. All the details will be considered so that you will look your best in your high school senior portrait.

One of the best things about working with a smaller studio like us is the ability to take your time to get the perfect shot. In a typical school photography shoot, you are rushed and this shows in the final result. At the school, you are also typically limited to headshots, with no flexibility in poses. With Gretchen Adams Photography, you’ll have the time to try out different poses and the fun of different photo touches and lighting. Full body shots are really big, too, so be sure to consider those as one of your potential options. The hard part comes when you have to select the ones you like best, but don't worry, we actually make that a snap with our private in-person preview appointments. We're here to help guide you towards the very best images and the best ways to package them together. Although every family is unique in their portrait needs, most of our clients decide on one of our gorgeous folio box collections so they can have a set of beautifully matted prints with matching digital files.

If you find yourself in the SF bay area, consider consulting Gretchen Adams Photography to learn more about our senior portraits. Instead of waiting to see if you get a photograph you like from a typical school photography session, know that you’ll get excellent results you can be proud of by working with our studio.

High school senior portraits are important in every way

high school senior portraits san ramon ca gretchen adams photographyHigh school senior portraits are a long-standing tradition—a tradition that represents a step taken toward the adult world. This milestone deserves to be marked, and for many decades now, senior students have been getting their own personal photographs to help mark this milestone.

The trick to getting that absolutely spot-on high school senior portraits is to be sure that the personality and character of the student shows through. Many times, shooting on location is the best way to do this. On location shooting helps reflect the interests, habits and loves of the student while still ensuring quality photos. Whether the senior wants good head shots or wants pictures on the hood of their classic car, a high-quality photographer can ensure that the final results are more than worth the effort.

We know that you and your high school seniors are in the midst and chaos of one of the busiest times of the new adult's life, so Gretchen Adams Photography does everything within our power to snap a great shot with minimal fuss. What this means is that it's up to you to contact us and set up a time when we can begin this fun process. We'll all plan the shoot from the top of A to the bottom of Z, coordinating locations, poses, looks—all of it. That's one of the incredibly enjoyable parts, we've found, for everyone involved.

Students who've spent their high school lives playing a sport or instrument might like to don their letterman jackets, poms, or use their saxophones and violins as props. Some students really like to be photographed doing a certain activity, like drawing or playing with a pet. Others really enjoy straight on, face-forward headshots. Either way, it's important that you, at the end of the day, be happy with the final product.

To all you seniors out there, these photographs are an important part of senior year, and are the pictures that parents will send out to family and friends and with graduation announcements as well. To that end, it's pretty crucial that you get the very best photographs possible. Many times these headshots are the treasured mementos of this time of life and are those that will be kept for many years to come.

If the student is looking for a photographer who can generate something creative or of a certain quality for them, we at Gretchen Adams Photography, in combination with the student, can work together until that quest for awesome senior portraits is realized.

The message your business headshot is sending about your brand

headshots for professionals in the SF Bay Area Gretchen Adams PhotographyHeadshots have become a unique marketing tool in online and print advertising. Although this type of photography was once primarily considered to be the kingdom of models and actors, many business professionals are finding that clients consider it very comforting to know who they're doing business with. These professional pictures give your prospective customers an insight not only into your services but also into your personality, as a lot of information is conveyed by just seeing your facial expression and stance.

the science of facial reading

Although we don't always note it consciously, we make judgments about people from impressions that can last as short as 100 milliseconds. These quickly formed opinions are a combination of your upbringing, environment, and also the way the brain fires off messages. What’s important to remember here, is that the brain registers certain features and expressions in order to evoke an emotional response. From an artistic standpoint, we refer to this as "aesthetic." From the standard perspective, it's simply the way you achieve a greater openness and sense of empathy from your clients. Subtle aspects, such as how deeply your mouth is turned upwards or how widely your eyes are open, will evoke different emotions from the people you're trying to reach.

At Gretchen Adams Photography, we can help you achieve professional headshots that will really speak to your audience. Not only can we take flattering pictures to promote you and your business, but we can also guide you when it comes to achieving your most honest expressions. We understand that simply smiling isn't always the answer to attracting new people.

the nature of realism

Another aspect that your customers will tap into very quickly is how real a visual appears. Although headshots are posed, our trick is that they are naturally posed. We often take a series of shots so nothing in the photo seems strained or forced. Your forehead, neck, and jaw line are all places where this concentration is most obvious, but when you have your photographs taken in a relaxed environment, you let go of that stress and let the real you shine through.


A frequent problem that people have when they try to take their own headshots is when it comes to understanding that a static picture can still have flow. You may notice that do-it-yourself photographs can sometimes look like a moment frozen in time, rather than an instant that has simply been candidly captured on film. A photo that "flows" will give you the impression that there is activity happening both before and after that picture. Your clients will interpret that impression as a result of your personality showing through the picture. From there, trust is built.

If you'd like your customers to get a real sense of the relaxed and vivacious you, then a call to Gretchen Adams Photography can do the trick. We can take your headshots at our studio, in your office, or even outdoors. This way, your professional image is also your true image.

picture personality

As a representative of your business, you want to convey your personality and the purpose of your work. A headshot can effectively show this to your customers. You're basically giving people a brief, but vibrant, insight into who you are and how you can help them. When that first impression is made in as short as 100 milliseconds, you want to make sure your customers get the right message.

business headshotsJennifer
Authentic family portraits at your own home

outdoor portraits of kids by old vintage truck walnut creek ca gretchen adams photographyYou're probably pretty familiar with the traditionally posed family portrait. You may have even tried variations on poses to make the picture appear more fun, and to convey the personality of you and your family. After all, you want this to be something you can share with other. You want them to get a sense of how vibrant your family is from those images. But when you attempt to take these portraits yourself, do you ever feel rigid while posing? Are you the one responsible for the auto-timer, which leaves you having to rush back into position before the timer runs down? You have to admit that these shots are probably not the best representation of you and your family. Even studio portraits can be less than ideal, since this involves packing your family up and bringing them to an unfamiliar environment. Whether you're keeping these images to chronicle the growth of your children over the years, or sending pictures as gifts to your loved ones who aren’t nearby, you really want to be able to capture the essence of your family life. The ideal family portrait, then, should project a natural comfort that truly shows the joy and bonds of all the members in your household.

You know how lively, comedic and loving your family is. You want others to know that too.

a place of inspiration

At Gretchen Adams Photography, we like to step away from the classic studio image for family portraits. We realize that they don’t always capture the real interaction between family members, and even in a still shot, the dynamic that you all share is what really makes the portrait shine. You’ll find that you can get a more satisfying result when we're able to come to your home for a series of shots in a space that's natural for your family. We can take pictures indoors, in your backyard, or even at an outdoor location that your whole family loves and adores. Taking pictures in a space where you feel comfortable will let everyone’s personality and exuberance show.

We also understand that a studio can be difficult if you have younger children. When we bring all the equipment to you, it lets you be at ease. This makes the whole photography session a good experience for everyone in the family.

the art of not putting on airs

Stress is an emotion that isn’t easily hidden in pictures. Your self-portraits of the family and studio outings can generate a lot of what we like to call "performance tension." While we at Gretchen Adams photography pride ourselves for having an eye for balance within the image, we also do our best to coach you and put you at ease. Our ability to guide and comfort you and your family is part of what allows us to capture a memorable and honest shot. Basically, we're not only balancing the physical composition of your family portrait, but also balancing your personalities within the portrait.

four-legged family members

You may also have loved pets who are seen as members of your family. Studio portraits totally exclude your pups and kitty friends from the picture. When you contact Gretchen Adams Photography, you’ll find that we have extensive experience in making sure that everyone in the household, four-legged or otherwise, gets their time in the spotlight.

If you want your next family portrait to be a fun experience with stunning results, contact us today for an in-home photography session. We can help you not only capture the essence of your family, but also the fullness of the love that you share.

Thanks for the memories

outdoor high school senior portraits for guys san ramon ca gretchen adams photographyWhether you're looking forward or looking back—high school senior portraits are the pretty much the definition of tangible memories. They're an awesome way to remember what sort of things you spent your high school career doing as well as, perhaps, what you'll be doing as you move forward.

changing it up

You want your high school portraits to stand out, seniors. Here's why. First and foremost, your parents will likely send these portraits out to friends and family. And those friends and family are going to want to hang those photographs around their homes and offices. You know what that means—lots of eyes getting a glimpse of your photos. Having your portraits taken with us here at Gretchen Adams Photography means you're signing up for quality portraits taken with your wants in mind.

Another reason? These images also get sent out with your graduation announcements. Grandparents across the country, aunts and uncles, distant cousins—they're all likely to receive these photos with the announcement of your commencement. So, let's do this right. Let's do something a little different this year. Let's shake things up. We'll work together to figure out what looks, locations, and poses work for you.

lasting spirit

Parents. We've got some news for you too. Your graduating senior has got a style all their own and it's likely they've got a few ideas in mind for their senior portraits as well. With us here at Gretchen Adams Photography, we can capture a few stunning shots on location or in a studio. Either way, the portraits will be something both you and your teen can love. Our goal is to make these portraits into lasting memories. They've got the potential to capture the essence of the things your teen loves most—sports, nature or even just a few great pieces of clothing—and showcase their hopes for the future. After all, for some of us, those things do include the things we were doing in high school.

Senior portraits done with us have just what's needed to make those images standout from all the rest. Unique is just what we do. We also make sure that the individual portraits stand apart from each other. You might be wondering, "Well, how's that?" We do this by getting your senior to relax and show of their unique personalities. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of conversation and a smile to bring out that spark.

personality, quirk & interests

The personality that your seniors are growing into is an important thing to encourage. Naturally, you want them to achieve future success and further development, so why not support those goals with fabulous portraits? Half the fun is planning the portrait session. Parents, think back to your high school careers. What were your interests? Some of us were sports lovers, some of us were math lovers, others were band and cheer enthusiasts. Some of us might have even been a complex combination of all those things. If that's your senior, then half out battle's already taken care of.

Gretchen Adams Photography specializes in not only capturing the perfect shot, but also keying the photographs to the person in front of the camera too. We'll do everything we can to make sure the session is 3 things: stress-free, fun, and a perfect depiction of the graduating senior to-be.

Contacting us at Gretchen Adams Photography can get you started with planning an exciting senior portrait day.

Putting on a winning face

business headshots SF Bay AreaYou probably know how important image is when trying to attract clients. Although our society has always had an affinity for looks, modern technology has definitely driven people to become more visually acute. You see these aesthetics of advertising in any print ad or television commercial, to the point that we all have to admit that we'll try a product based, simply, on the way it looks or how appealing the packaging is. When you provide a service, you're basically selling yourself, so you have to make sure that your visual impact will drive your business. A good headshot can be your best ally when it comes to persuading a potential consumer to seek out your expertise. If a customer likes the way you look, or feels that your the photo on your website looks trustworthy, then you'll almost certainly have the guarantee of a new client.

visual cues

You may have tried taking your own pictures. Selfies definitely run rampant on the Internet, but they're not always the most flattering images. Part of the issue with this route for headshots is that, since you're viewing yourself, you don’t have the same objectivity that a professional photographer can give you. At Gretchen Adams Photography, we not only take great headshots, but we can also help you choose which images will reach your intended market.

When you look at your photos, you're also seeing them through the perspective of your own self image. If you’re having a stressful or off day, you tend to see your own pictures differently than you would on a good day. We can help to give you that objective eye, by putting you at ease, photographing you from different angles, and also taking your headshots in an environment where you feel most at home.

overdoing the editing

Of course, everyone wants to look their best, and editing software for photographs is used extensively for celebrities, models, and anyone who has their face in print. You may have some experience with editing your own pictures, but are your touch-ups turning off your clients? It’s very common to have your pictures end up looking unauthentic, and this can make your potential customers feel that you aren’t trustworthy. What you want is a natural looking headshot that highlights your best features, and is inviting to other people.

Contact us here at Gretchen Adams Photography. We can set you up to get your professional headshots taken. You’ll end up with a series of pictures that appeal to a range of customers, and make you look like the superstar you absolutely are! This can drive your business, and brand your name for better marketing reach.

light & shadows

Your new headshots can not only drive more service sales and business by providing an appealing face for your venture, but they can also communicate the fact that you’re a professional. Think about it. A shoddy image projects the idea that you’re not as capable as you really are. Your business deserves to be well represented, and an image that says you have experience will also be an image that looks polished. We give you that edge, not only by helping you look awesome, but also by giving you headshots that are high quality.

Gretchen Adams Photography can provide your business image with a richness that’s generated with the expert use of light and shadows. You’ll have a realistic representation of yourself that’s also appealing. We can help you show the world that you are a competent business person, and you can show your customers that your business is worth the effort of a great portrait.

business headshotsJennifer
Why kids ought to be in pictures

children's portraits by Gretchen Adams Photography walnut creek, caWho wouldn't want to freeze all of their little one's precious, candid moments and put them in a frame to keep forever? Kids say and do the most adorably cute things, but their youth is so brief. That's why children's portraits are so incredibly vital. They're time-sensitive memories that people often forget to seize, and in the blink of an eye, years have drifted by. Parents, you may be avoiding the idea of professional children's portraits for fear that your little one won’t cooperate or sit still for very long. This is completely understandable, but what's great is that there are photographers who are experienced in working with children and have more than enough patience and skill to get through a session, and to do so with finesse and ease. The importance of children's photos cannot be stressed enough. As time passes, grandparents are going to want to look back and share memories of their grandkids with friends. Those same kids are going to grow up fast and become nostalgic—let's be honest, haven't we all been there? It’s so worth it to catch those moments of innocence.

A Few Ideas

You can have these portraits of your children done in-studio, in a variety of poses and backgrounds, or you could do something unconventional and book a shoot on-location, in a place where he or she is comfortable. At Gretchen Adams Photography, our specialty is casual, yet polished photos. Have some candid shots taken of your little ones playing or running around with siblings. It's like tackling 3 different things: new memories are created, the children are having a great time, and the portraits look beautiful, natural, and totally genuine.

Often, when people think about kids in professional photos, they think about dressing the child in their nicest sweater, getting their hair to look just right, not a strand out of place. And this is great if your child is old enough to maintain the look, but if you’ve got a very young one who can’t stand dresses or ties, then it might be a good idea to have an on-location session in a comfortable place where things aren’t so perfectly postured.

In children's photo shoots, you need a photographer who is professional, flexible, and patient! You want to be able to collaborate on ideas and get the best results. You can check out our line of work here and see for yourself that simplifying the entire experience for you and your child will yield gorgeous photos that will be in your family for many, many years. Contact Gretchen Adams Photography today!

Studio vs. outdoor headshot sessions for men

Outdoor business headshots for men SF Bay Area Sometimes our male headshot clients assume that their headshot should be taken indoors in a studio environment.  That is a pretty common route, and we can certainly create some very polished and modern images in our studio, we do it all the time! But for some business professionals, especially those in a creative field or a highly competitive industry that requires you to really stand out, an outdoor session might be a better fit for you!

When a location shoot is schedule, we choose our locations very carefully. Maybe your headshot set needs to include formal business attire as well as some causal wear so that you have final images to use in a variety of ways. Not a problem! For a more business formal style, we love to use locations that have a lot of hardscape or architectural elements. It helps set a powerful tone, and can be a great compliment to a well-styled business suit. Taking the images outdoors also takes a bit of the “corporate feel” out of the traditional posed headshot. While your images will still come across as very polished and professional, they will also feel more welcoming and authentic. Not everyone thinks to have their headshots created outdoors with natural light, so your headshot will stand out against all the other head-and-shoulders-against-a-white-background headshots that you will see all over social media sites like LinkedIn.

Every business is unique so we work closely with you to plan a session that is just right for the image you want to convey. Give us a call or drop us a note and we’ll be happy to talk with you about what we can create specifically for you!

Eliminate senior portrait stress!

outdoor senior portraits walnut creek One of the great milestones in everyone’s life is graduating high school. There are a few things to look forward to (including the glory of seniority): Homecoming, Prom, and—of course—senior portraits! You know graduation is coming up fast when the topic of senior portraits comes about. Though this is an incredibly exciting time, it can also be a little bit nerve-wracking to make sure that the perfect photo is taken. This is the portrait that everyone is going to see and every family member is going to ask for! The pressure is definitely on! Worry not—Gretchen Adams Photography has all your bases covered. Lots of students use the photography company provided by the school, but many times, seniors see their yearbook photo or their prints and aren't exactly pleased with them. Why is that? Can somebody say, "Re-do!" Well, the reason for this is that the company provided by the school sticks students in a few awkward poses, takes a couple of quick shots, and then jumps on to the next. They don’t pay much attention to hair and make-up, nor do they make sure that all accessories complement the photo. Frankly, they aren’t paid to consider most of those details so, sadly, every celebrating senior just becomes a ticket number.

But no worries!—You've got options. If you're a parent or high school senior, you may want to seek professional photography services elsewhere, like with us here at Gretchen Adams Photography. This way, you aren’t restricted to the poses, the time constraints, and the fixed photo packages of the school. Some senior portraits are taken in cap and gown uniform, but others are taken in the standard black dressy shawl for ladies and suit and tie for men. With Gretchen Adams Photography, the choice is yours! Barefoot with jeans and a tee? Your letterman jacket and a ball cap? Sure! The photograph should be the perfect précis of who you are.

When you independently seek a photographer for senior portraits, you're essentially guaranteeing a top notch and quality experience. Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera or taking pictures amongst their peers. Most students would actually prefer a private setting, and a little more time than just a few minutes to get comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera. Having senior pictures done professionally also means that there are a variety of poses, and even backgrounds, to try, rather than the much smaller selection that may be provided at school. A better photograph means that, ultimately, you have acquired more for your money and the difference in care, quality and sheer aesthetic will be obvious.

If you live in, or can travel to, the San Francisco Bay area and would like to have senior portraits done independently, make sure you get in the studio with us here at Gretchen Adams Photography, and experience what it's like to have photos done with a seasoned professional. Not only will we deliver portraits that you'll be incredibly taken with, but we'll take our time with you and work at your comfort level.

seniors, uncategorizedJennifer
January headshot special

Two headshot sessions for the price of one! January is the start of “ramp up your business for the new year” season, so for the month of January Gretchen Adams Photography is offering a limited number of two-for-one headshot sessions to help you get your business off to a great start in the new year! 

For the month of January, book a headshot session here at our studio for the normal price of $495 and you can bring a friend for free! Split the cost and you both receive your own set of professional headshots for your business and personal use! 

This is a limited time only offer with limited space, so the offer will end as soon as our January calendar is full, so book fast! Please check out examples of our recent headshot sessions  here .

Call the studio at 925-676-7036 or email Gretchen directly at to reserve your spot!  


The perfect family photo—it's no myth!

family photos walnut creek, CANo home is complete without that perfect family portrait to grace the wall. They capture all types of families, from the largest to the smallest, in a framed moment of togetherness. And, honestly, how beautiful are those moments? These photos are meant to invoke joy and a sense of family pride, but often picture day can turn into a total flop. Here are a few things to remember to ensure a lovely family portrait and a fabulous experience!

  • Don’t worry about everything being perfect. They say you usually find perfection in imperfection anyway. And you can have that perfection, but it shouldn't cost you weeks of stress. The purpose of having the portrait done is to show family unity and happiness for years to come, and to make memories tangible. You definitely don’t want to look at your family portrait and remember it as a point of anxiety. At Gretchen Adams Photography, you’re in the hands of a capable and seasoned photographer.
  • Try to have professional family portraits done regularly. Families change, children are born, parents and grandparents age. This is a perfect reason to make sure every member is counted in your still shots. The holidays are the perfect time to get the whole family together and have a portrait done. Kids are home from school and out of town family members are arriving. You might even give some thought to using the photos as holiday greeting cards!
  • Consider switching up the scenery aesthetic of your portraits. We at Gretchen Adams Photography will shoot for you on-location. This way, you're not confined to a studio if that doesn't work for you. You can have your portrait done in a place where the whole family enjoys being. This includes everywhere from your living room to beautiful wine country in the spring! Get comfortable—when your location is less hectic or confining, your finished photos will reflect that.
  • Be sure that you’re doing business with a reputable and skilled pro! You've heard that photography is an art? It's never been more true. We care about your comforts and concerns for the details of your shoot, down to the very outfits you wear. You can view samples online in order to get a better idea for the high standards being met with our studio. We at Gretchen Adams Photography are dedicated to spending time capturing the best of the best shots for you, and when you work with us, you won’t have to breathe through the hassle of rushed photos shot in your local mall.

Gretchen Adams Photography is located in the San Francisco Bay area, and our professional family shots will not leave you disappointed. We can honestly say that the artistry and expertise shine through every shot, so portrait day won't be "just another stressful ordeal." We've all had them. Contact us in a hurry and schedule a session for your family, because bookings are limited and, as of today, the holidays are officially here!

Branding your business with professional photos

Gretchen Adams Photography Business HeadshotsIn every industry, there are those businesses that simply set the standard for quality and professionalism. Trust us when we say, you want to be that business! Those who go the extra mile often see the most success. So what is it that sets some apart from others? Creating a signature image or branding oneself is one of the keys to profitability. Though, yes, profitability and branding can be done in a lot of different ways, everyone knows that establishing an online presence is incredibly crucial. Whether you run a small business or are self-employed, the most widespread exposure is found on the Internet, which means that you really want to be branded and individualized from all of the other entrepreneurs out there. When your name or business is searched on the web, what will people see? What images will appear? Will you have a signature presence or will you be obscure?

One of the most important steps to take in branding yourself or your business is to invest in excellent photos. As a progressive individual, professional business portraits are a must-have for moving endeavors forward and broadening a client base.

Pictures divulge a lot about you and the type of service you aim to provide to your clients. So it makes sense that a headshot of you as the leader of your business, and of your industry, can help push potential patrons toward a feeling of comfort and trust when it comes to bringing their business to you. Headshots are certainly that first point-of-contact. Photos are powerful branding tools because they're visual and, therefore, unforgettable. They say a person is less likely to forget something if they can see and visualize it. Professional pictures of you, or your business partners, are different than just a simple company logo. They establish who you are and what you intend to provide. This is more than just a symbol—it's personal.

High quality pictures are so important because they represent you and the amount of care that you've invested into your brand. Therefore, a photo taken at home or on a cell phone won’t exactly be up to par. This is not something that business-minded individuals should cut corners on. The better the quality, the bigger the impact on your ventures.

Professional business headshots and photos can be done in a variety of locales. They can be taken on-location, in the photographer's studio, or at the place of business. Gretchen Adams Photography is a full service studio that knows how to cater to your needs, and produce an image that embodies your brand. Don’t sit on this concept. Take your business to new heights and call us here at Gretchen Adams Photography to schedule your studio session time. Please check out examples of some of our recent headshot sessions here.

What you need to know about headshots

What You Need To Know About HeadshotsHeadshots highlight the facial features of an individual from the top of the head to somewhere around the chest area and are very popular among people who want to establish their name and face in a particular industry. While, they are often used by actors and actresses in the world of performing arts, headshots are not limited to the creative set. Business people and entrepreneurs utilize headshots just as much to promote their services and present themselves as professionals.

Who Might Need Headshots?

You may wonder why a business person like a real estate agent, a contractor, or an event planner, would need a headshot. In actuality, investing in a quality photograph can be highly profitable to business for several reasons. It makes the statement that you care about how your clients view you and that professionalism is important. Plus, isn’t it comforting to enlist services from someone who is more than a name, but also a face? A headshot represents you even before meeting clients. This can take business to the next level.

Tips For Taking An Awesome Headshot

An excellent headshot is one that illuminates one’s true appearance from hair, to eyes, to skin color. The face is the focus here, rather than body type. When photographed in the right lighting, headshots reveal what a person looks like on a regular basis. This kind of picture doesn’t require a lot of staging or make up; it’s just a true shot of person, though natural makeup is always acceptable.

To get an even better photo, solid colors which complement the skin tone should be worn. Excessively bright colors, logos, or busy patterns can take away from the focus of the picture which is the face. Keep in mind, headshots aren’t the same as glamor shots in magazines. The purpose isn’t to model clothing or promote anything but yourself. The photo should be an honest depiction of you.

Clients want to feel like they’re doing business with real people. Headshots provide the perfect opportunity to show personality and give others the chance to see who you are before meeting you. This is a must in the entertainment industry but also in the everyday professional realm. Invest in some polished, high quality headshots and the value will quickly become evident. In fact, if you are in the SF Bay area, trust us here at Gretchen Adams Photography to take care of your professional photo needs. Please check out examples from some of our current headshot sessions here.

Outdoor senior portraits | san ramon valley high school

Another senior portrait session! These shoots are so much fun, I really enjoy working with the high school seniors to create special and memorable portraits for them. For this session, Madi brought along her sweet little dog, Kitty. It’s obvious how much Madi loves her and she was a good little doggie during our session! We started in town and captured some of the urban scenes and then headed down to the water as the sun was setting to get a different feel.  We even lucked out with a beautiful little tree that was changing color for the fall and had perfect light.  These are some of Madi’s favorites from our shoot…

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professional headshots

The importance of a professional headshot cannot be overestimated. With the explosion of the social media world, your online presence can be even more important than your in-person image due to how many people view profiles before actually meeting with you. A professionally executed headshot can convey your attention to detail and professionalism. Today, everyone can benefit from a polished headshot. We have created images for authors, scientist, doctors, attorneys, real estate professionals, painters, sculptures, entrepreneurs, boutique owners, insurance agents, designers, and everyone in between. If you are in need of a great quality headshot to help with your business branding, we'd be happy to talk with you about our options. Headshots can be done in our studio, on location, or at your place of business.

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Senior portraits by the water | san ramon valley high

Such a fun shoot with Claire to celebrate her senior year! I have known her since she was a baby and it's so cool to see what a beautiful young lady she has turned into! We had a gorgeous evening for our shoot with nice warm weather right at the end of the summer. The sun was setting fast, so we moved quickly and got a great collection of images with a few outfit changes in less than 30 minutes! Here are a few of our favorites from the set...

seniors, uncategorizedgretchen