From runways to living among nomads

A Bay Area local, I grew up in Saratoga and played soccer for Stanford University.  Scouted by a modeling agency upon graduation, I reluctantly took a single modeling job, not knowing it would turn into my actual profession for the next decade and lead me into photography.  As a Ford model, the experience gave me an opportunity to travel, but more importantly I was humbled to learn from some of the best fashion photographers in the world.

Recognized as the face of Perry Ellis clothing, along with Milk, DoubleMint, Hanes ad campaigns from the 80s, I turned my interest to photography, where I've been firmly planted for the past 20 years.  I do believe my background in modeling is what allows me to capture the portrait imagery I do - I pride myself on being able to find the absolute best angle and proper lighting for each person based on their individual features.

Outside of people photography, my wife and I are extremely passionate about cultural photography, along with landscape and wildlife, gravitating towards the more overlooked areas of the world.  In the past year alone, we scratched a hyena (maybe not the best idea looking back!), volunteered with the giant pandas, photographed Siberian tiger cubs, took a nap with a wild chimpanzee, slept within earshot of roaring lions in Botswana, scratched a yak in Tibet, visited nomads in Mongolia and dodged a charging silverback gorilla in Rwanda.  We are running two private photography tours to Mongolia in 2018.

As for modeling, I signed back with my original agency, Look Models, although I limit my assignments, since photography plays a much greater role.  

I’m honored to have diverse clientele -- from Hillary Clinton to oil executives, celebrities, NFL players, politicians, as well as three prime ministers.  

I'm hired frequently for international work - a third of my year is spent out of the country, either for cultural photos or working with human rights organizations to capture special milestones in developing countries.  

I reside in San Mateo, CA, with my wife Ruth, who has given up taking extra clothes on trips in exchange for my 87 pounds of camera gear.  We have a Tibetan Terrier, Parker, our little studio mascot.

I’m excited for my next assignments - Rwanda and Nigeria.  And be on the lookout for the cover of LL Bean Spring catalog!

Todd’s work in the Bay Area includes all types of lifestyle photography - weddings, family, newborn, and maternity photography.  His corporate photography ranges from headshots, products, workplaces to corporate events.  

His international assignments will see him in Nigeria and Rwanda in the fall.  He will be leading a photography expedition tour to Mongolia in 2018, showing the nomadic culture and landscape of Mongolia.

About Ruth Rafalovich

I am fortunate to work with my wife, Ruth, on all of my shoots.  She's been with me over 9 years through challenging photography assignments and long shooting days.  She's a trooper - sleeping in frigid conditions in Tibet and most recently in Mongolia in a ger with 10 nomads and a goat.

She's also obsessive about travel and is constantly on the search for the next off-the-beaten path experience.

Todd Rafalovich

[email protected]

studio (650)685-8070