Shy and funny, commercial photographer Ted Thomas, represents something that we need more of: optimistic souls.
Born in New Jersey in 1967, Thomas dreamed of becoming a photographer. Not just a good hand on the shutter, but the kind of guy that travelled the world capturing rare glimpses of amazing things, and then shepherding those special images through the editing and selling to magazines in order to deliver beauty to as many people as possible.
“I always thought being a travel photographer would be the best job. And when I did that I really had a lot of amazing experiences, a lot of fun,” he said enjoying a glass of wine at in Theater Square.
It was his passion for sailing that led him to pick Sausalito off a map as a cool place to live near the water and, so, in 1991 he moved to the Bay Area. He sold his early work to in-flight magazines.
“For the first six months I lived in North Beach and I worked in a photography studio. Little by little, I started getting more jobs,” he said.
Flash forward to today and Thomas is a very successful commercial photographer with a new Petaluma studio, called Zero Cool, down on Lindburg Lane.
What does Zero Cool mean? Zero Cool: Adj – Used to describe the awesomeness of something or someone; Extraordinary, Amazing, Breathtaking, Transcendental.
He specializes in photographing food and product images that might be used in catalogs or on websites.
“What I never expected was the most amazing light here. The quality of light in Petaluma is outrageous. Everybody I work with is jazzed about the light,” he said.
The most interesting part of Ted’s story for me is his leap of faith after many years of operating a commercial photography studio with a partner in Berkeley.
“We lived out in Dillon Beach and thought of Petaluma as where we went to town for shopping or movies,” says the happily married dad of two. “A huge driver of my decision to relocate my family and my business in Petaluma was to live the life I could see was possible. It was right here waiting for us.”
Not to mention eliminating a tough daily commute and staggering overhead with Berkeley rents.
“But I did have some serious concerns. I worried about one of my biggest clients in Oakland. How would this work for them? And I was also very concerned about the stylists and others we had on our team,” he said. “I didn’t want to lose anybody.”
In January Ted Thomas took his optimistic plunge. Not only did he buy a house on the West Side, he also rented a warehouse east of the old Line & Twine Factory. By the time the new business cards arrived he was busy, most weeks he’s behind the shutter seven days. But he’s also smiling more, riding his bike more, enjoying more family time and social sports with friends at
A few of his favorite Petaluma delights are burritos at , photographing the hills west of town and picking up his fresh meat box at T.
“These past few months have taught me that you need to take risks to have things work out. I took a big risk of losing my main client and I’ve never been busier,” he said grabbing his bike helmet.