Beyond the Still Image

There will never be a replacement for the traditional still image, however, sometimes it is important to realize we have a lot of simple tools at our disposal to elevate the impact of our story. 

When I’m scouting a site, my instinct is to observe (or if that’s not possible, imagine) the natural flow of humanity through the spaces while paying close attention to key design features. It is important to ask my clients, “What story do we need to tell?” “What is the utility or flow we need to illustrate?” and “How do people occupy this space?”

Together, my clients and my team can then begin to formulate the best visual method to capture the context, feeling, function and experiences the design offers to its users. There are a variety of ways we can approach it:

Drones offer exciting and dramatic ways to demonstrate the context of the design or significant features. 

Integrated Technology Design: TEECOM | Building: Moscone Center | Installation: “PointCloud” by Leo Villareal
Architect: SmithGroup | Sculpture: Rob Ley | Client: Kaiser Permanente Dublin Medical Offices and Cancer Center

Still image animation and GIFs are playful ways to capture anything from the flow and function of the design to innovative construction methods.

Architect: IA Interior Architects | Client: Okta Headquarters
Architect: Lowney Architecture | Module Stacking

Video walk-throughs can provide a playful human perspective, moving through the space demonstrating what we might encounter along the way.

Client: LinkedIn | Architect: M Moser

When it comes down to it, all the technology aside, the most important tool is foresight and planning. My team and I create authentic visual narratives to emulate the experience and intention of the design. Planning ahead gives us time to dream up creative solutions, fill the space with the people who use it, and then roll out a story connecting with your audience. 

Whatever you decide is the best method for telling your story, I look forward to collaborating with you to make it happen.

TEECOM – Moscone Convention Center – San Francisco, CA

I am excited to give you a little distraction from our “new reality” by sharing the work we created for TEECOM’s scope of services on the new South Building at the Moscone Convention Center. TEECOM is a technology firm that delivers “…strategy, design, engineering, and project management for the most innovative projects in the world.” Telling this story as a visual narrative was an exciting challenge that opened the door to utilizing various different approaches to documentation. This project is also a great opportunity to demonstrate how we can adapt our services to meet the needs of a variety of different types of clientele.

Teecom’s technology integration brought the Moscone Convention center to life, preparing the venue for the future of innovation and connectivity. Therefore, as you would suspect, it was critical the visual products we created reflected this outcome. In order to effectively showcase this, we utilized traditional photography, animated stills and drone video to diversify the media package. The result was a set of eye catching visuals to support the narrative.

Below are samples of the work we created.

Drone Video

I was delighted to work with Lloyd Ranola, one of my favorite drone operators to create not only the drone still images, but also this short video. Having a talented team behind the project is critical. I feel so fortunate to work with awesome assistants who second as models, drone operators and post-production editors and I can’t WAIT to get back in the field with them again. Lloyd is responsible for the awesome edit of the video footage.


Animated GIFs are a lively and unique way to demonstrate technology that otherwise wouldn’t be fully understood in a still image.

Still Images

There will always be a need for the still image. When we capture stills we of course need to have a strong composition, but equally as important is representing how the space is utilized in an authentic way.

There is no doubt we are entering new unfamiliar territory, but one thing is for sure; whatever is ahead of us will be able to overcome if we continue to work together an nurture our relations and connections with each other.

Here’s to utilizing the time we spend apart as a tool for gaining a deeper appreciation for all the wonderful people we get to work with once we are through these strange days. My you be inspired and excited about the creative freedom this time can inspire and put into action once we get to experience once this is behind us.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes @ The Phipps Conservatory

I truly believe that when you put out energy that is in line with your deeper intentions, everything begins to fall into place. The decision to photograph the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania occurred spontaneously when I discovered the Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

While having a conversation with a young woman at my table during Build Business 2019, I was excitedly sharing my plans to head over to Pittsburg after the conference to photograph Chatham University’s Net Positive Eden Campus designed by Mithun (stay tuned for this project)… She then asked me if I was planning on visiting the Phipps Conservatory? I was unaware of Phipps, but after hearing what she had to say I was determined to add it to my schedule.

This chance encounter and conversation led me to the opportunity to photograph one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens generates all of its own energy and treats all storm and sanitary water captured on-site. It is the first and only building to meet four of the highest green certifications:

•    Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard
•    LEED® Platinum — tied for the highest points awarded under version 2.2
•    First SITES™ Platinum project
•    First WELL Building Platinum project (pilot)

The center’s mission is, “To inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research;…”

To read more about their work, follow this link.

The Washington D.C. Water Building

While visiting Washington D.C. for the SMPS Build Business conference I had the pleasure of photographing the D.C. Water Headquarters, designed by SmithGroup. This project has been on my radar as it’s been touted as another one of SmithGroup’s excellent executions of sustainable design.

The beautifully planted green roof reduces stormwater runoff and contains a lush native planting to absorb rainwater.

Estimated to be one of the most energy efficient buildings in the region, the treatment plant utilizes an innovative wastewater thermal recovery system that will capture heat from the flowing influent in the winter while providing a heat sink in the summer months. A heat-recovery chiller in the building is run by the heat transfer between wastewater piping and a separate clean-water loop. This system is then connected to a series of fan-powered thermal units to provide space heating or cooling as necessary.

This unique building was a pleasure to photograph. Located on the banks of the Potomac River, it’s curvilinear design is unlike any structure I have photographed. I really enjoyed the play of light and reflection on the glass and metal panels which made for fun opportunities to capture abstract details.

SMPS Build Business Conference

I had so much fun at last month’s SMPS conference. It was amazing to be among such a focused and friendly community. I enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Thank you to everyone who visited my booth and of course a special thank you to SMPS for such a successful conference. It was an honor to sponsor such an empowering event and to be a part of such an engaging community.

IIDA Design Awards Gallery

Medallia by MMoser. See the full photoset here.

It was so exciting to see many of our projects in the IIDA 2018 and 2019 Honor Awards Galleries as entries into the Northern California Design Awards. I want to give special recognition to all of the hard working marketing teams getting their projects out in the world and entered in award competitions. It is no small feat to coordinate these photo shoots to create effective visual narratives. I’m proud to be a part of your team and happy to see so many of my clients featuring their work among the industry’s best.  With the caliber of clients and projects I’m working on in 2019 I’m excited to see what next year’s gallery will look like!  Keep up the amazing work everyone.

New York Power Authority (NYPA) by Gensler. See the full photoset here.
Fogo de Chao by HOK. See the full photoset here.
LiveRamp by Studio O+A. See the full photoset here.
Ternderloin Museum by Perkins+Will. See the full photoset here.
Golden Gate Urgent Care Mill Valley by SmithgroupJJR. See the full photoset here.
LinkedIn Design Lab by MMoser. See the full photoset here.
Patreon by Gensler. See the full photoset here.

Marketer Magazine

©Marketer, The Journal of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, April 2019,

I just received the SMPS Marketer Magazine’s April 2019 issue, in which I am the featured photographer! I enjoyed working with the editorial staff to select appropriate imagery to accompany the key presentation topics at this year’s Build Business Conference in Washington D.C. If you are a member of SMPS, look for your copy of the current magazine in the mail or browse the online version at

I look forward to seeing you at Build Business this Summer!

Below are a few of my favorite spreads:

Hale Mahana

Check out these fun images from a recent adventure in Honolulu. Lowney Arch designed this 14-story private housing facility for college students in the Honolulu area. For more specific details about the project check out the lowney arch website to see more!

We had a lot of fun flying the drone and capturing dynamic compositions. The weather was a bit tricky, but I was lucky enough to capture these shots in between monsoon like downpours. The rain, the birds and surrounding tall buildings, made this an excellent opportunity to sharpen my piloting skills!

Art Archives: Spain

In 2019 I’ll be sharing a series of blog posts featuring creative images from my archives that have been formative in my photographic journey.

The first set of images are from a series I captured while traveling in Spain as a young graduate student.  I’ll never forget how fun and liberating it felt to wander through the country with a spirit of discovery -no agenda, no schedule- just some cameras (4 to be exact) and a hunger for all the sights and sounds.  The color images in this post were shot with a medium format Holga toy camera loaded with 220 roll film…I was all about efficiency and if I could get more frames per roll, why NOT. Unbeknownst to me at the time, 220 film rolls loose their paper film backs after the first handful of frames… which resulted in these abstract ‘happy accidents’.   Imagine my surprise when I got the film back to discover these richly colored images with harsh red squares of light in the middle.  I knew I was “experimenting” with compositions, multiple exposures and abstraction, but I had no idea this is what I would get.

The image above eventually became the inspiration for my logo and, for me, captures the liminal space where an idea becomes reality.  This theme of bringing the invisible into manifestation is a major theme in my work.  The black and white images were shot with a 35mm Canon film camera and processed with a sepia finish.  I hope you enjoy this excavation into my archives- stay tuned for more coming soon!



Art Archives: Portraits

My great grandmother after a stroke silenced her.

Valeska Voiges, my muse as a student.


My brother Jon and our nephew Lucas James Hagopian.


Lilliana my cousin twice removed.


This image was accepted into President Obama’s library along with a poem written by my Grandmother Patricia Bush.


Isis…an Irsh woman in Santa Barbara experiencing what it is like to wear a burka for one week. 2003