First post for 2017…

Well well… It took a month for me to write the first post… No, I am not that busy that prevent me to write the post, but rather finding the inspiration on the right topic that mean something to me and hopefully bring values for people who reads it…

We are 33 days into 2017 and I learn so much about new things… perhaps a little wiser I might add…

One of the things I learn is the meaning of the word CONGRUENT… No, it isn’t about the dictionary meaning, but it is almost a guiding light that bring Actions to support the WORD that we speak or write and most importantly the VISION in life.

Running 2 extremely successful photography businesses isn’t about luck, or only about knowing what to do in business… it is more of it…

It is that small little things… it is not even visible… but it is one of the key factor in the success in anything that you choose for your life…

Let’s rewind back to 2008 where we started Tomato Photo, back than, I believe in getting the images that mean something to parents like myself… I don’t know anything about ART… it simply a simple urge to make sure other parents can have what I have… an evident of how my children looks like in their growing up process… that was it…

Fast forward a few years from 2008… the work is picking up so much that late nights and long hours of working become somewhat a pain and at that point, I started to lose the VISION why I started Tomato Photo in the first place… sure, bank manager loves me… but deep down, I felt the emptiness… It was then, things started to change… I believe that MORE parents should have the memories of their children preserved, BUT, I can’t do it all…

4+ years ago, Bambini Photography was born… Fast forward today, it took them just 4 years to achieve more shoots and higher success than Tomato Photo in 8+ years… and I am forever grateful for all the team members both in Tomato Photo and Bambini Photography… because through them, I can achieve my VISION of letting more parents preserves their memories while I have TIME for my own family and TIME to build another business with partners that share the same VISION of letting businesses to do well that feeds every team members that supports it… these people have dreams that allow them to get up in the morning, sacrifice their time away from their family to achieve that… and I want to be part of it.

In the same process, I have the privilege to share my knowledge with my peers (some might call it competitors), some accept it, some think I am crazy and some other things… some choose to do something and well some choose otherwise…

Anyway… The success lies in everything I do every second when I am in my shoots, or guiding my team or mentoring my photographers is the being congruence in what I say and what I do… It is that simple…

I learn that, we have to be congruence with ourselves… that is arrive “On-Time” to every single Goals that we set in life…


Hart Tan

9 Facts that Business is like driving…

Sadly, in this world today, we are glued to the screen and whatever the information that it feeds us… we all know that we should look away…

Driving though, forces you to put them down and concentrate on driving…

So naturally, being more of an outdoor family photographer, I spend a lot of time on the road, that gives me time to think, to feel, to come out with ideas… most of them by drawing the similarity in the traffic and business… Just stating some fact and not offering much solution because I feel solution is unique to individual and part of the “Fun” is to figure things out.

Like business or photography, when we just started, we stumble, we constantly looking at those “setting” and worrying that we don’t do the “right things”. We may do a few “wrong” things here and there… as we progress along, we feel more in control, we know our shit!!! finally…

But after years and years on the road, I discover a few things that I thought relevant in set you thinking in running your business…

1. If you follow the leader of the pack, you can’t see what is in front of them – just think driving behind a big trucks.
2. There are many cars on the road, but they don’t actually do much to the state of your mind and where you are trying to go… but sometimes, those are distractions that is difficult to ignore for many. One may criticize how one is driving, how one SHOULD drive, etc…
3. It is easier to switch lane when you are moving and in full control of your own situation… at the same time, it is very difficult to move out of the non-moving state…
4. Outer lane, though dedicated to faster moving traffic isn’t always the fastest lane.
5. Going fast isn’t always make you reaching your goal faster.
6. Going slower, enjoying the view while you drive and having clear understanding of what the traffic condition gives is more enjoyable and more control on how you use your resources to get to a point.
7. It is wasteful to drive abruptly… like stepping on gas too fast, breaking too hard, etc…
8. Strategy and conserving resources allow you to move consistently without getting caught in situation
9. Be aware of what’s around them, but don’t overly worry about your surrounding.
At the end of the day… we do get to a point that we want to go… the journey is rather important… I prefer going slower, enjoy the ride and get to the point in the time frame that I wanted. What’s yours?


Hart Tan
Associate Master Photographer

7 Things people never told you how to succeed the competitive market

Peekaboo… 2014 come and go, 2015 has arrived and before we know it, 2016 will just be around the corner… I hope this post allow you to look at professional photography differently and for those who are sitting on the fence, these are things that you need to know.

It is always kinda a dream job being a photographer, be it maternity, newborn, baby, family, wedding or pet photography, most people’s perception is it is a cool job and all you do is go out, enjoy what you are doing and getting paid doing what you love…

I need to pop that bubble for you… majority of what you do as a professional isn’t sexy at all… It’s a lot of hardwork, a lot of trusting the gut going the opposite direction and continue to do what you believe.

Here is the hard truth…

You can’t do the same thing that everyone is doing and expect different results and the only person that is going to be successful is the one who continuously change and adapt to the situation and condition.

So what do you have to do to survive this competitive market?

1. Be yourself.
I know, it is easier said than done but you will find it easier and easier when you ignore noises that surround you.

Have a vision of what you want to say about your life, your work is going to be as good as what you want to say about your life.
Never ever start a photography career until you know what you want to “say” through your work. With good technical, yes, you can make an ok living out of it, but sooner or later, meeting the ends takes over and creativity is flush down the toilet. Photography become a mundane and nothing more than a job.

2. Stop looking at other photographers website, pinterest, etc
Though it is nice to know what is out there, one thing you need to stop doing is to start analyzing what others are doing. You are not someone else, so don’t wish that you are that person. Spend your time doing soul searching, practice your photography and stop looking and feel small about yourself. Chances are, if there are people paying for your service, you are good enough. Just need to continue to improve both technically and professionally.

3. Find Mentors
A good mentor makes a lot of different and will shorten your learning curves and fix that bad habit of yours. Although, finding a good mentor is really difficult. It pays to be persistent and polite when looking for one. A good mentor do not praise, but continue to find faults in you so you can improve. Beg them, pay them, or whatever it takes to get through their door and let them allow you to learn from them.

4. Attitude is everything
It isn’t important what is happening around you, but what is your attitude towards them determine your future success. Being honest takes double effort but in long term, it will reward you as well.

5. What your competitors do and say has no bearing on your success or failure.
As soon as you can forget about the noise that is out there and concentrate on what you are doing, you are on the road to create your own. They can tease what you say, they can disagree on what you say, they can even call you whatever they like… you have no control of it. So why worry about it?

6. Create a business that make sense to you and you enjoy doing it.
There isn’t a right business that fits everyone, but you CAN create a business that fits you. If you don’t enjoy doing wedding, don’t do them. If you don’t enjoy offering softcopy, don’t do it, if you don’t like working on weekends, then don’t do it… If you have a very strong vision that translate into your work, clients who seek you will work with you in your term. There is no right or wrong in doing business. Just because someone do it, doesn’t mean you should.

People can feel what you LOVE doing, and they will LOVE to work with you. Don’t be afraid to create a very personal business that fit you nicely.

For example, I hate selling, so I don’t sell anything to my clients, I simply allow them to purchase what they want through online gallery. It has worked well. I know I can sell well face to face, but I enjoy it more when clients purchase what they like and tell a million people.

7. Keeping your promise
Sound simple, but it is very rare to find business that able to keep their promise. Knowing how to photograph means nothing if you can’t deliver it to your clients the way you promise it. You don’t have to under promise and over deliver, you just need to deliver your promise every single time, day after day, month after month and years after years.

So I hope by end of 2015, you are splashing a great time….


Hart Tan


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