Shooting Solo?

Why Do I Shoot Alone

Since 2008

The Question:

Every now and then, I do get asked the same question…“Hart, why do you work alone?”

Isn’t it a case of “the more, the merrier” where having more people around helps to ensure that things get done faster and therefore….more efficiently?

Sure, it can certainly feel impressive to have a team that can run around doing things on my behalf and make me look “important” during photoshoots but to be completely honest, I really don’t need an army to impress you during your photoshoot – I have generals that work behind the scenes and this allows me to show up in my best form to create work that you will love during your photoshoots with me, every single time.

What if I were to turn up with big and expensive lighting and camera systems as a way of justify ing my costs… Sounds fancy, right?

Would that really be justified, though?

One of Many Stories:

Let me explain further by sharing an experience I had a couple years ago during an extended family photoshoot…

So, I remember I walked in to a client’s home with a rather compact system (read: mirrorless camera system), which raised an eyebrow and a remark was made on how “little” equipment I’d arrived with.

As it turned out, my minimal system was instrumental in ensuring the experience went along smoothly. As soon as I took my camera out, the 2 year old child that was present instantly decided that she didn’t want to take any part in the photoshoot. Parents, you know too well how these things go…

So yes, the little one decided that everyone else should be in front of the camera, without her. I learnt later on that it usually takes her a while to warm up to new faces..

Of course, part of the reason why this photoshoot was arranged in the first place was to include this 2 year old girl in the photos along with everyone else plus, there were also visiting family members who were going to be around for only a limited time.

And because I was alone, my minimal kit that comes with a silent shutter (so when you click, there is no clicking sound from the camera) was not distracting at all for the little girl while she took her time to open up to me; she wasn’t aware that I had started capturing images silently! As everyone sat down together in their places, I waited for the right moment and “PEEKABOO!”, she appeared at the exact spot that I wanted her to be in! As I continued capturing the shots (silently), she remained clueless but happy and in good spirits! All 14 family members were 100% relieved that we got it done beautifully.

Later on, one of the clients shared with me that he had initial concerns with bulky gear and assistants tagging along for the big family shoot as he was worried these would really make things chaotic.. Needless to say he was rather glad that I turned up alone and with minimal gear!

WHY?

I haven’t always run a “one man show” during my photoshoots. In the past, my wife would tag along as my assistant for newborn photoshoots. In those days, I remember having to ask twice for the little things I’d I need during the photoshoot and it would take me 2-3 tries before I’d eventually get what I needed. This would often end up in intended moments being lost and therefore, not captured for my clients! It has taken us years of working together to learn to be better at being able to read the other’s creative mind, especially when time is of the essence.

Sure, we’ve since trained ourselves to work really well together. But somewhere along the way, I also found myself wondering what would happen if one day my wife were to feel under the weather on the day of a photoshoot? What would I do then? Postpone the shoot?

So I changed things further, and trained myself to run the show, solo. When clients choose to trust me in capturing their memories, it is my responsibility to ensure that I make it happen accordingly as they have planned whilst being as efficient as possible.

The success of our business lies on the things that we can do for our clients before they even think about it.

For example, those of you who have used boutique 5 star resort services, you’ll find that it is their ability to “pre-empt” what you need even before it crosses your mind that makes their service stand out.

Now, this is not an easy task, but it is something we value and believe in, hence we have kept our business small, serving only a limited number of clients each month so that we can attend to each and every one to the best of our abilities.

I would argue that having more than 1 person in a photoshoot is a luxury that is more beneficial to me as a photographer but not so much for you as a client as it becomes an unnecessary, additional cost to you.

I have always preferred getting things done sooner rather than later and getting more work done for our clients at the lowest possible cost so that we can make enough to use the very best products for them while keeping the business thriving, even during the most difficult times.

I love what I do, so I would love to keep myself competitive and continue to offer the best that I can to anyone who would love to work with us.

Your Benefits:

If you have read this far, let me assure you that me being a solo photographer has many benefits for you as a client.

Here are the top 5:
1. There will be only 1 stranger for your child(ren) to warm up to.
2. Our cost stays competitive so you only pay for the results.
2. Consistency is guaranteed so you know what you get.
3. You’ll see images of your child looking directly into the camera with their natural, candid smiles.
4. No third party disruptions; there will be no one else taking up space or interrupting my creative flow especially during crucial moments. These moments are unique and happen in a flash.

So if you understand and love the idea of “Less is More”, I reckon we will work well together!

Oh… have you see more than 1 conductor in an orchestra? No? Never? there must be a good reason why…

Drop us a message and let’s see how we can work together…


Minimalism….To Stand The Test Of Time

Minimalistic Newborn Photography - Simple but not easy!

These few quotes from famous people make a profound effect on the work that Hart is producing as he live and breathe Minimalistic Newborn Photography.
 
Simplicity Is The Ultimate Sophistication – Leonardo Da Vinci

Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean and make it simple. But its worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains
– Steve Jobs
 
 
It is always great to have options but sometimes, having too many options simply leaves us feeling lost, not knowing what or how to choose.
 
This can happen in many aspects of life but we would like to focus on what we do best; our Signature Minimalistic Newborn Fine Art Photography.
 
Naturally, you would have done some research and you might be feeling pretty overwhelmed with the choices available. Few props? Many props? Cute outfits? Themed setting? 
 
Or perhaps deep down, you’d actually appreciate something minimalistic, yet classy and meaningful too?
Newborn Photography Singapore

Your Baby Should be #1

 
To be fair, including props in your photos does indeed add a WOW factor to the eyes of the viewer. However that also means that the props themselves stand out more. The eyes tend to notice the props first, then your baby. And as your baby has now become the centre of your universe, shouldn’t your baby take up the No. 1 spot instead? 
 
It is true that using props and themes are very common these days with many parents choosing these styles.. So it makes their newborn photos pretty much the same as everyone else’s… Quite like McDonald’s in the hamburger world! Although there is nothing wrong with this, it is very common and probably more suited for people who love to follow trends.
 

Trends

 
If you think about it, trends will always come and go. What is considered the “in” thing now will eventually become “outdated” after some time and props tend to amplify this more. 
 
At Tomato Photo, we are of the opinion that a Newborn Photography Session should revolve around your newborn baby. This is why Tomato Photo’s style of newborn photography adopts a minimalistic approach; clean and simple with minimal use of props. Our focus will be on your newborn’s unique expressions, connections between parent and child, and how your baby looked when they were still in Mummy’s tummy. 

 

Expressions

 
What sets us apart is also the fact that we specifically look out for the ever-changing expressions of your newborn. This can be quite difficult to predict and is precisely why we are known for this! It takes minimalism to the next level which is all about pure, individual expressions. We find that this is one thing that parents really love!

But Why Minimalistic?

It has always been our vision to capture pure moments and genuine connections of your Family without the distractions of props, themes or costumes. And when it comes to Newborn photography, Hart’s original vision remains relevant even till today; to beautify a simple form of a newborn’s pose that mimics their positions in the womb. 

Capturing newborn images like this represents truth, purity, the miracle of life.. These are things that even time cannot change for they are timeless! And when it is your own baby in the images, you will certainly feel a tug at your heartstrings and be glad that you took the time to freeze those precious moments. 

Hart’s vision has remained unchanged since he started his professional photographic journey in 2008 and his style of work is still relevant today and still very much requested time and again. Clients simply love images that reflect their baby in the purest forms. Surely, that must count for something? Perhaps less really is more.

Click here to explore more examples of our Signature Newborn Photography series

In case you were wondering, here are some testimonials from other clients who have chosen us to capture their newborn photos..

 

The newborn Photoshoot experience was heart-warming and very professional. Hart handles newborn very well. The photos were very well-taken which captured all the expressions of our new born and us. Overall awesome experience! – Quek Shu Jun

Thank you Hart for the beautiful memories created for us! You have exceeded our expectations, capturing all possible angles of our newborn in such minute detail from his little ears to his hair and michelin folds on his back. You have also captured his many expressions and behaviours which was exactly what we were looking for. It was a joy watching how you handled the whole shoot by yourself with such ease and professionalism and how naturally you dealt with our baby. We’re sure he felt very relaxed too. And not forgetting the speed at which we could receive our photos, within the very next day! Thank you so much!

If you believe in capturing this precious milestone of your newly born baby so you have some wonderful tangible memories to look back on, get in touch with us to see how we can help to turn those memories into pieces of art. 



Preparing for your Newborn Photo Shoot

Newborn Shoot Preparation

When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, it can be hard to imagine what it is going to be like to have a baby, let alone prepare for a newborn photo shoot.  

The first two weeks are intense, but a little preparation will help make sure the photos from that special and unique time are ones you will enjoy for years to come. Tomato Photo is all about helping you preserve your precious memories.

Kids and Newborn Photography

Although there will be individual portraits, newborn photos don’t just have to be of your baby. Here are the 5 favourite variations of newborn shoot in one session.

We highly recommend planning on photos of the whole newly expanded family at this special time. And yes, that includes you! Your inclination may be to avoid being in the photos, but we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to be photographed with your baby, even though you may not be feeling at your best.

In years to come, you and your child will be glad to have these early photos, and you’ll want to include your partner, too.  Most importantly  include any siblings as well. They will be pleased to be included in the shoot and your newborn will be excited to see how little his or her older siblings were back at the time of the birth.

Do you want to do birth announcements? How about framed prints, or wall canvases. Set aside a budget; planning ahead makes you more likely to actually follow through, even in those busy first months. If you’re planning on sending birth announcements, arrange the theme and cards now to save time after your baby is here!

Family and Newborn Photoshoot

If you have a special outfit in mind for your baby’s first photo shoot, pick it and set it aside it now! You might want to bring a couple of options in case one doesn’t fit well.

Focus on outfits with special meaning, but if you don’t have anything in mind, don’t worry. Your baby will look great without clothes or wrapped in a blanket.  If you have a special blanket, toy or family heirloom, pack them, too. Maybe you have a silver rattle or other keepsake from when you were a baby, or a hand-knit blanket from a special relative. Plain but textured blankets work great in photos, either in muted or bright colours, but avoid busy patterns if you can.

Don’t forget about yourself! You don’t have to get all dressed up. A simple white shirt or black T-shirt will work great along with your favorite pair of maternity jeans.   A beautiful necklace and some simple earrings can add a special touch.  Don’t feel you have to wear make-up, but if a little make-up will go a long way to making you feel confident in front of the camera.

If your spouse, partner or other children will be in the photos, talk with them about what they will be most comfortable wearing. Keep it simple and don’t aim to get too dressed up. If you keep it casual and comfortable, everyone will be more relaxed. Don’t worry about having everyone match either. Just lay out all the outfits together on the bed to look and see if anything clashes. If it looks good to you, it will look good to you in the photos too.

Singapore Newborn Photo Studio

Sibling and Newborn Photography Singapore

Remember the  more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby and the rest of the family will be, too. Enjoy this opportunity to bond and start out a lifelong tradition of captured moments.

Wanting a newborn shoot for your little bundle of joy? Give us a call at +65 8858 0088 or Whatspp Us to secure your spot

View Tomato Photo's Signature Newborn Images

Home maternity photography at East Coast with Trina

“I think this is the first / last child” is the word that I heard often when people come to book my maternity photography session. I felt privileged to be included in client’s important milestone.

Trina lives in a beautiful home with very eclectic collection of artwork and furnishing. Collection that says so much about her and her family. The boldness in declaring “I AM” an unique individual and I appreciate that.

It challenge me to create images that portray them as family and their home. I use a lot of lighting nowadays in a home shoot because I feel that it gives me the control in lighting of inside the house. There are so many places that I love but lighting might not always ideal. With control lighting, everything become possible.

My idea in using lighting is to emulate what you see  as lighting at their home… so it still gives the same “feel” to it, the only different will be the quality and control of the lighting.

 


Regards,

Hart Tan
www.tomato.sg
www.facebook.com/tomato.sg


Black And White Newborn Photoshoot – Tomato Photo Signature Series

Newborn Photography…..So….How it all started for me? Why it started?

Well, it all started in 2008 during the birth of my son. See… I have always love Black and White Photos. I was happily taking all sorts of photos of my few days old son. Lifestyle’ly type shots, detail shots of his hair, tiny toes, tiny fingers.

During the sleep deprived state of mind at that point of time, somehow, I tried to connect the dots between achieving the ‘baby in the womb’ baby’s pose and putting it to live on the ‘outside’. In Black and White.

Black and white images seem to be able to convey more feeling, texture as well as the organic feel of the newborn baby by removing the very instant gratification of colour.

Just How Can I Achieve It?

At first, I thought B&W images will be an easy way to capture, but soon I realised the images though seemingly just a flip of a switch from colour to monochrome, but I was never happy with the results.

To make things worst, shooting newborn from client’s home pose the challenge in the lighting the images properly. Some home are too bright, some home are too dark and some, natural light at home simply out of questions.

I struggle a lot during those time to produce images that truly represent the beauty of the newborn in its purest form. The learning curve was steep and getting the consistent results with smooth gradient from bright highlight all the way to the shadow was an impossible task.

However, during these time, it is amazing how much I am experimenting with different ways from using soft curtain to soften the light, to technical black card, etc. Clients were raving how good the images were however, the quest to perfect the lighting is a personal journey.

Inspiration

What inspire me to create these images is from those ultrasound scans during my wife’s doctor’s appointment. However, how to achieve it on the outside is still very much a question mark. Putting lighting aside, managing newborn and curl them safely to get to the foetal position takes a lot of practice.

It was then that I started to experiment with those poses, those lighting, those shots. It took me quite a while. Trying to hold baby’s foetal position on the ‘outside’ was no feat.

We explored various ‘props’. Going to the pharmacy to get a roll of bandage, using it as a ‘wrap’ with the hope of holding the foetal position. After about a year in 2009, I was ready to do this. Now combining the lighting and the posing is a rather interesting combination.

Trying to convince clients to do a naked newborn shoot while they are still in confinement in the first few days instead of after the 1st month was a challenge in itself.

Back in the 2008, the idea of “newborn” photography was a foreign one. Majority of people will be in confinement and not wanting to do much until baby is about a month old. Even without anyone who is doing it similar way, it takes a lot of learning on my own to create entire body of work.

However, knowing that newborn only resemble how the look like in the womb for very short time and with painful trial and error, we found 5-10 days are the most suitable to do what I hope to achieve.

Ideals Versus Reality

I mentioned previously that I love Black and White Photos. Loving and achieving black and white photos are 2 very different skillset needed. Its easy to love, difficult to achieve. Too much contrast, the photo becomes too bright and too dark and the gradient drops off too much, too little control in light, the photo becomes flat and 2 dimensional. Of course, this journey of learning was a painful challenge.

I reach out to mentor who specialises in B&W imagery and learn the hard way on how to create something that truly mine. I learn the technique, then modify the technique as photographing baby and normal portrait is rather different.

It is exciting that I am still learning today, the type of learning is somewhat different. The days where posing baby was a challenge are gone. The days where inconsistent lighting are gone. What I am focusing after 11 years of learning this genre is how to create more brilliant images for clients at a comfortable duration.

I used to take 4-5 hours to shoot, because I need to learn and today, 1-2 hours is all we need to create a set of beautiful images gallery for your baby. With lesser time, I can see parents are less tired by end of the shoot and results in better family shots.

Shooting newborn nowadays are more like catching up with friends, sharing some parenting ideas, showing new parents how to manage their new baby while let them have set of images that they can cherish and as part of the legacy that they want to capture and preserve.

Newborn Trend Shifts
Over the years, I have seen a significant shift in trends on newborn photography. It all started with Anne Geddes with her beautifully curated baby shots made into a calendar.

It is worth noted, Anne Geddes only shoot for publication and have team of people to make things happen. Thereafter, another series of simplistic, natural light, posy newborn images started to emerge followed by proliferation of newborn props eg. bowls, swings, weighing scales etc.

The trend then moved on to the various material and textures of blankets, wraps, hats etc. All with the vision of dressing up the newborn shoot. Newborn prop makers became newborn photographer’s new BFF. I am of the belief that there were more newborn prop makers than there were photographers.

Photographers were sucked into buying the latest, newest prop creation to add some dimension and a touch of special to the newborn photoshoots. Trust me, my wife was at one stage addicted to buying the latest stuff as well. Looking out for the softest wraps, ideal sized bowls etc. The whole newborn prop industry was exploding.

These days, the trend seem to be digitally compositing images aka photoshopping a baby onto a snow covered woods; trees etc. The sky and your imagination is the limit.

Often, I ask myself if I am too stubborn for not fully adopting the new trend in newborn photography which focus on light and airy concept with flowery/pastelly colour, prop’y kind of images.

These are certainly beautiful images. However, props set up reminds me of fashion. They mark a certain time frame, certain era. Though we feel the nostalgic of those shoulder pad, trumpet pants, etc, this is certainly not something we are going to wear out day to day now.

Why?

When I reach deep down into my very vision why i started all these, it comes down to capturing newborn in their purest form. Form that only exist in the very womb of every mother. Trend come and go, the way how baby exist in mother’s womb don’t. I am glad after a decade, the very images that I created still relevant today and very much being request again and again.

My original vision for newborn remain true today… that is to beautify a simple form of newborn pose that mimic the very position in the womb. Something, that even time won’t be able to change it… The truth is I would like to create something so timeless that it will be a legacy that can be passed down in generation. Noble? nope, selfish? yup, totally… but for a good reason.

Here are some of my collection of my signature series… something a little unusual… but simplistic approach to my vision of baby in the womb.

If you believe that the greatest gift you can give to your newly born baby is a simple, natural and beautiful is important. Give us a call or whatsapp us to have a chat to see how we can help to turn those memories into a piece of art. Tangible memories that you can appreciate and create a legacy for your children.

MORE NEWBORN IMAGES HERE

We had a fantastic newborn photography session with Hart. We were rather apprehensive in the beginning and were expecting our little one to fuss and cry for the entire session. But Hart was a true baby whisperer and kept our baby (and the adults!) calm throughout the entire lighthearted session. Hart’s timeless photos of our little one and of our family is something we will cherish for a long time. It’s a shame Hart doesn’t provide babysitting services too!

Ling Koh
Google Review

I engaged Hart to do my maternity photoshoot and extremely loved the experience and loved the photos more. So when my baby was born, I immediately contacted Hart to photoshoot my baby Caleb like a supermodel….and wow! I am still flabbergasted till today on how awesome he is in handling newborns. Photoshoot was at home. When Hart arrived, like any new mama, I was anxious and had to ask if he needed anything else. If he need help with Caleb, can ask for help frm my confinement nanny… And Hart just calmly replied with a smile, “Dont worry. I am better than most nannies”. Indeed… He is like the baby whisperer. Just give him a naked, clean, well fed baby strap in diaper and watch as magic unfolds as Hart smoothly maneuver between his camera and wrapping, rocking, tucking, folding, and stripping my baby down to his balls and returning him to me fully clothed!!! He even fed Caleb when fuel was low, burp and petted him to sleep! My boy didn’t cry at all during the photoshoot (ok he only cried when hungry) amidst all the movements. All in all, Hart was beyond amazing! If i knew he was this good with babies, my hubs and i could hv just left Caleb with him n go out on a date! Thanks Hart! Now i have a problem selecting which photos i want for my album n frame…

Alyssa Chew
Google Review
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