Premier family portrait photographer in Walnut Creek » outdoor and studio portraits in the SF Bay Area, CA

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Hello! My name is Gretchen Adams and I am a professional portrait photographer based in the SF Bay Area. I have been specializing in capturing images of families, professional headshots, and high school seniors in beautiful outdoor locations since 1999.  While casual in nature, my portraits are always polished and refined to command a place of honor in the family home.  My boutique studio offers a limited number of portrait sessions every month to ensure that each of my clients receive my full attention to detail and styling to result in the most timeless, cherished, family heirloom portraits and beautiful display options.

When viewing on a computer, please use the PORTFOLIO tab at the top of the screen to view samples of my current work. When viewing on a mobile device simply use the DETAILS tab at the bottom of the screen to select different portfolios.

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Pet Portraits

As many of our clients know, the Adams family are HUGE animal lovers. So much, in fact, that in addition to our portrait business, we also have a small dog and cat boutique in downtown Benicia. The shop, Koda & Co., is named after our beloved beagle and is located at 364 First Street in downtown Benicia. If you happen to be in the area, please check it out! It is full of stylish accessories and gifts for your pets and home. We are not there all of the time because we are often in the studio or on location for portrait sessions, but our wonderful niece Sami is there to hold down the fort when we can’t be and she will gladly show you around!

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.

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Has Your Senioritis Set In?

IMG_senior_portraits_3_gretchen_adams_photographyNow 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.

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Mothers Day is coming, are you prepared?

IMG_gretchen-adams-photography-baby-portraitsNow 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!

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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.

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