Joanne TanPersonal Background

It all started when I was a 8 years old girl, looking at a large photo of beautiful girls huddling over an embroidery project, in a magazine. That photo permanently imprinted in my heart, soul and mind. That photo never left me. To this day, I can vividly recall the exact composition, the girls’ shiny, clean, dark hair, their clothes, and expressions. I looked at that photo for a long long time, and could not take my eyes away from it. I was struck by its quiet power of beauty.

Next time I fell in love with design and photography was 36 years ago at the age of 20, as a newspaper page designer, I designed about five pages of daily newspaper every day, and selected, cropped, and positioned news photos, based on a photo’s story-telling power and artistry. So I sort of jumped the gun, by first becoming a “judge” of photos (and hence the photographers) before becoming a photographer. That was before I got a full scholarship for Brandeis University in Boston in 1982, after working as an editor and a page designer for two years. Rewinding the clock two year back, when I was 19, I passed the national exam and became the youngest professional journalist for China’s first national English language newspaper, China Daily, and was one of its founding members in 1980. (This was my second career. I had been a teacher of English at the age of 18. I first learned English when I was 15.)

After going through college, I then became a legal translator at then the largest law firm in the US (Skadden, Arp, et. al, in New York City,) then continuing the same legal translation work plus working as a corporate and litigation support paralegal at another large law firm in San Francisco, Thelen, Marrin, et. al. I finally got my green card through employment, the hardest way and the only way of my choice. I was debating if I should go to art school, or to law school after working in law firms for 4 years. Instead of following my heart, I followed my fear: I didn’t want to be a starving artist. It took me five years to get my J.D., just to prove that I could get it.

My heart never stopped pining to be an artist. After I gave birth to my younger son, either the physical creative process of birthing a little human being stimulated the creative side of my brain, or I badly needed a mental break from nursing my baby and changing his diapers around the clock, or because of both, I took some UC/Berkeley Extension Architectural and Interior Design night classes, just to have some fun. I aced all the design classes, but did not have the heart to leave my two small boys to full time day care in order for me to go back to either art school or architectural school.

Then my sons became teenagers. I had some time of my own and at last some wisdom to live my own dreams. All the years I was my sons’ scout leaders, trekking in wilderness, or traveling with them to Europe, Mexico and China, I loved taking photos and some of them were stunning. I sold some landscape photos. I continued my paintings in oil and watercolor. It was not even a choice, – not to be creative was like stop a bird from singing. I was propelled to do my art, out of thirst and hunger to be creative. I have always loved art, nature, music, museums, and have been season ticket holders for symphonies and operas for more than 20 years. What would I regret not have done if I kick the bucket? – Not ever being an artist.

So, after my photographic art was displayed in banks and I sold a number of them to private collectors, I opened my photography studio, became a member at national and local photographer’s associations, participated in professional competitions, and won a few times, and now, my fine art photos are collected by Kaiser Permanente, and by a US Congressman. My portrait photography is recognized to be one of the best. Recently I was chosen to be the photographer for the prestigious Blackhawk Museum in Danville, CA, photographing their collections of fine arts and various art objects in their China, Africa, Spirit of the Old West exhibits, and more.

Moreover, I expanded photography into video production. The success in visuals combined with my hard-earned analytical skills from law school, business school classes, and journalistic experience have all contributed to my fast-growing full-service branding agency, 10+ Visual Branding. I use poetic words in telling brand stories, after distilling a brand’s messaging, I multiply the power of words with visual art, – photos, videos, logo and website designs. Many of my brand-marketing clients have increased their clients and businesses due to my unique “symphony” of skills, talents, experience, and passion. Like my first job as a teacher, I root for my clients’ success, exactly what I did for my students. Their success is ultimately my own marketing success. Their success is my satisfaction. I love the entire process of branding inside out, a multi-disciplinary process I created.

Photography is my joy, my love, and a lifelong passion. It all started when I was a 8 years old girl, looking at a large photo of beautiful girls huddling over an embroidery project, in a magazine. That photo permanently imprinted in my heart, soul and mind. That photo never left me. That photo kindled inside of me with its beauty and power and was the starting point for my love for art. Now, I am having the time of my life, in creating brand, visual art, marketing my branding and portrait clients, celebrating their authentic uniqueness, by painting with light, literally and physically.


Fine Art  |  Portrait  |  Event | Commercial

Three Trees in Sunset water fall, Bottom of the Fall & rainbow, 1 Water fall, Mt. Lassen, 2

Photographic Services


This is Joanne Tan’s photography: art and poetry that endures the test of time. As a talented painter and poet, Joanne Tan gives that quality of art and poetry to portraiture that are more than images, but photographic artwork that will grace above mantel places, in family rooms, bedrooms, or offices, to be cherished day after day.

Joanne Tan captures the uniqueness bestowed upon each individual, taken either outdoors or in her studio with professional lighting and backdrops.  Joanne’s portrait photography aims to capture not just smiles, but a person’s soul with each twinkle in the eye and various fleeting facial expressions. More than just taking pictures, Joanne is intuitively gifted in spotting an individual’s unique sparkle, nuanced expression, and silent body language for people of all ages, couples, families, children, newborns, pets. In one’s own wholesome and truthful state the beauty in everyone shines. Natural, spontaneous, and unique – these elements are the signature of the soul. “There is poetry in everyone’s face. With the right background, indoors or outdoors, and proper lighting, we add the right melody or harmony to the centerpiece, which is the subject in the portrait.”

LinkedIn Portraits

In addition to individual and family portraits that are both artistic and poetic, Joanne also helps individuals with their images on LinkedIn.  Her clients for LinkedIn portraits are highly satisfied. “Joanne can bring out the light, soul, and the best in each person in her photos!”

Joanne is also the portrait photographer for members in her local church.


Joanne is a recognized event photographer and is often retained by large regional community organizations for special events attended by thousands of people. She recently photographed opening ceremony at the Black Hawk Auto Museum’s “Spirit of the Old West”, gala for Danville d’Elegance, and a number of corporate events. Her skills have been highly praised by her clients, such as the CEO of Danville Chamber of Commerce, and the Chairman of San Ramon Chamber of Commerce.  Joanne’s family event photos were also highly regarded, one of whom stated:

“Joanne came to me through others who knew her and stated that she is an excellent photographer and very easy to work with.  I have seen this in spades as I had to have her assistance long distance [I live 475 miles from Walnut Creek].  We established what was needed for my mother’s 100th birthday party through emails and telephone calls occasionally.  When all was said and done the results were exemplary.  My mother looks fantastic, the pictures were well placed and I could not ask for more assistance.  She even went to the Stanley Dollar Mansion three times, once before the party and once after the party plus, of course, the day of the party so that we could have the pictures that made this entire day well documented.

I recommend Joanne Tan without reservation to anyone who has need of her photographic services.
Sincerely,  Kile F. Nightingale, Ed. Spec.”


Joanne Tan’s commercial photography has won praises by her increasing number of commercial clients for projects large and small, such as BMW, Fiat, Chrysler, and Honda dealers’ architectural and display photos, luxury cars at the Black Hawk Auto Museum, mural artists for museum exhibits, educational projects, nail products, etc. Her philosophy of turning images into poem and art has contributed to the outstanding quality and powerful artistic appeal of her photos, that help promote businesses’ success.

Fine Art & Nature Photography, Poetry

Joanne Tan’s landscape and nature photographs have been displayed by both Bank of the West and the Citibank branches in Lafayette. A number of Bay Area stores also sell her landscape photos, photos on canvas, and her photo greeting cards.  Her patrons include private collectors as well as businesses, offices, and restaurants.  In her upcoming book “True Art Lives Forever”, a compilation of her photos and poems, Joanne is celebrating both creation’s grandeur and nature’s exquisite and ordinary details.

The newly elected US Congressman from her California District, Mark DeSaulnier, bought and took her photographic art “Mt. Diablo under a Glorious Sky” to his new office in Washington D.C.

Both landscape photos and portraits by Joanne have won awards at professional photographers’ competitions.

Joanne’s gorgeous landscape prints and canvases have brought beatify to many homes and offices.  They can be ordered on her website’s “Prints & Canvases” section.

Oil Paintings  |  Design

Opera House Ceiling, B&W Eiffel Tower from Arc De Triamph - B&W Rodin House Rear  View, B&W

Joanne’s oil paintings are displayed for sale in local art galleries and stores. They can also be ordered on her website.  She takes lessons from famous landscape and cityscape artists such as Bryan Mark Taylor.  In addition to her art for beautifying homes and offices, and her photographic services for portraits and events, Joanne Tan is also a trained and talented designer, with a knack for floor-planning and color coordination. Joanne thrives on thinking out of the box in providing clients with many different versions for designing living spaces at the initial stage of planning a house’s creation or transformation. Her outstanding sense of harmony is further enhanced with her knowledge of Feng Shui.  Joanne is also a superb color consultant for painting houses’ interior and exterior.  Her love for color and harmony is evident in her oil paintings.

With an innate love for art and a passion for bringing each unique design project to life, Joanne works with every client in order to gain a full understanding of their artistic and practical needs. She is committed to creating living spaces that they will view as harmonious, balanced, comfortable and serene settings. She oversees design, floor planning, interior design, customer service and marketing initiatives, and she handles correspondence with all contractors and manages remodeling. Joanne is enthusiastic about utilizing energy efficient and eco-friendly materials, and she is a two time recipient of the Green Award, granted by The City of Lafayette in 2007 and 2008.

Joanne was an active volunteer in a number of worthy causes.   She volunteered in many positions such as: Council Member for a church for four years, Holy Planet Task Force Leader, assistant Boy Scout master, and a venture crew leader. She was the managing director for high adventurer training programs at the Mount Diablo Silverado Council of Boy Scouts America for 4 years, training scout masters and venture crew leaders.