Beachy Backdrops are the Best

Visiting the beach is always a great bonding activity so here are some tips for the ultimate family outdoor photos.

Take photographs with the sea as your focus.

We love shots when the kids and parents are frolicking in the waves and enjoying the sea breeze.  Don’t be afraid to get in around knee deep and splash your family in fun and entertaining moments.
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Ready Set Action!

Any photographs with your pets or local wildlife in them alludes to freedom and fun. Capture these moments with your child, and the memories would be for life. Shots of children playing with birds or their beloved pooch display the innocence and fun of childhood.  For Mums and girls remember to have spare hair-tie on hand in case its gets too windy.  You don’t want your face to be covered in hair in all your family shots
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Write it in the sand…

Visually document their writing skills their young handwriting and snap away at the proud pose when they realize  they can spell their names.  Include all the families name to mark a moment in time when you were all together and playful
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Use the sunrise to enhance your image

Take advantage of silhouette shots using the natural lighting and shadows.  Use all the colours of the sunrise to create dimension and depth to your family photos.  Remember your sunblock for any outdoor shoot!

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Take a family photo while holding hands

Take group shots of the family holding onto each other and walking away from the camera to show the unity and love shared between members

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Interested in a beach shoot with Hart? Give us a call on 8858 0088 to schedule your family photos. 

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What To Expect From A Family Photography Photo Shoot

A while back, Hazel, asked me if I could do a session for her family… and so I agreed. It is always interesting shooting for people who is close to you.

For those who didn’t know who Hazel is, Hazel has been working with Tomato Photo for a number of years now, helping me with client’s enquries and getting the details booked in correctly so I can concentrate on the photography part.

So I decide to let her experience how I help my client from beginning to the end of the session to get to what they want, That is a beautiful images of their family, a symbolic of unity, bonding and happiness and perhaps memories preservation.

I believe the #1 Fear that people have that sometime even prevent them from procastinating on booking that family photography photo shoot is “NOT KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT”.

As our client Shahira says:

We were initially worried how the kids (3 year old and 7 months!) would be for the photoshoot. Would they be cranky and uncooperative? Then we met Hart who managed to win them over in less than 10 mins. We took his advice to let him handle the kids so we simply watched from the back. The kids were sooo comfortable and were totally in their element. To our surprise, the shoot lasted less than 30mins but it was enough to get wonderful, beautiful photos of the family. Told Hart we will see him again on the next milestone. Thank you Hart!

I feel, as a photographer, I play an important part of the success of the session. By success of the family photography photo shoot, I mean:

1. Making people feel they have made the right decision;

2. Getting the results that they want; and

3. Actually, enjoy the process.

I enjoyed the session very much as I have the absolute control on what I want to create; and see what I wanted to create come to life frame after frame… and of course, curiosity prompt me to ask Hazel to describe to me the whole process and how she feel… and here is what she wrote me:

Despite knowing and working with you for some time now, I was a little nervous and/or anxious about the session with my family; it was going to be the first time having someone else’s focused attention on taking photos of us so I did not know what to expect. But any anxiety and uncertainty quickly faded away the moment I introduced you to my mother and sister. Knowing that everyone was at ease with the help of your calming presence had made me feel at ease as well.

My excitement began to build when you started moving things around the studio in preparation for the setting. I wondered how the photos would look – it is always a joy to me to look at what in my humble opinion are “well-taken” photos. I found that your art direction was easy and clear; I don’t think any of us felt “lost” in a sense. Your positive verbal feedback after every shot was also reassuring – I know how to smile but I imagine that my mum (who does not take a million photos, selfies and videos) may not have felt as comfortable in front of the camera as I would have felt. And that you explained some parts of the session – like why tilt our heads forwards, or why stand sideways, or why the reflector was placed in that particular position – was something I personally appreciated, as I like to understand how things work. I was also surprised by how the little things matter, like when you reminded us to relax our fingers, and that you noticed those things to begin with! But when you think about it, I suppose these things should not be surprising at all, given your expertise and experience – it was all just new to me.

Overall, I would say that the session was comfortable, seamless, and quick; a positive experience for the three of us! I was also really glad to hear my mom’s approving feedback on how you handled everything – apparently she was also anxious and hesitant prior to the shoot but now, she’s a fan! – Hazel

What Can You Expect During The Family Photography Photo Shoot with Tomato Photo?

Your Expectations

If this is your first professional family portrait shoot with Tomato Photo, you might be expecting the session to be 2-3 hours long with 3 to 4 to 5 clothing changes and an assistant tagging along and making sure that every detail of the dress/hair is in place…

In Reality

I’m sorry, I’ll have to pop your bubble here. For my family photography photoshoot,

  • it averages around 45mins to an hour.
  • I shoot alone because a lot of great moments happen in split seconds especially true for young children.

I would rather sacrifice some of the perfect pose, perfect creaseless shirt, and perfect hair for that genuine moments. Stopping even momentarily to fix those little imperfections breaks the momentum and it will result in missing the shots.

  • I don’t work with an assistant too

I find the subject tends to look anywhere but the camera hence I don’t get the right looking into camera shots. Furthermore, I feel children tend to need to warm up to people who are foreign to them, so warming up to 1 (Me!) is easier than warming up to me + assistant. So if you prefer the results, I get them by working alone. So, eager parents and grandparents, I know you meant well to help, but I will request help from you if I need them as I expect you to relax and enjoy the bonding with your family.

Perhaps some of you are curious then about my process from the beginning to the end of the family photography photoshoot… So let me run this down and I hope to let you understand why and how I do it and what it means to the subject in front of my camera.

1. Start with “Warm Up Session”

By “Warm Up Session”, what I mean is time for me to get to know my clients better. This is after all the first time I get to meet your family (apart from returning clients).

At this “Warm Up Session”, I get to talk to each and everyone who is there and understand what is their behaviour/mannerism through observation. This is also where I get to know which kids belong to which family (when I do extended family photography photo shoots). At the same time, brief everyone on how the shoot will be conducted and what kind of “rules” I have during the shoot so everyone is in the same page. 

I will then let the children to “explore” the space and get familiar with what is there. This stage can be as short as 1 minute to as long as 10-15 minutes depending on family.

2. The Photography Session

This is the actual image creation process and usually lasts for about 45 minutes or so for a family session.

I tend to shoot really fast and flow from one shot to another seamlessly and go through many poses and combinations in a very short time, especially for families with young kids. I do build excitement and momentum during the shooting process by being the ‘monkey’ while giving lots of reassurances and feedback to clients on how they are doing. Parents are expected to relax while I get the kid’s attention but pay attention to my instructions while I’m conducting the session.

This is the part where everyone will need to keep up with the fast momentum as I give instructions on the fly (especially for families with young children) because the “look” that I want to create is usually a split-second moment type of shot. I do this is to ensure that the people in front of and outside the zone of the camera view “forget” about the camera and focus on what they are doing, how they’re bonding and having fun at the same time. Really… most people won’t have time to worry about anything during this time.

I love families to connect. I love hugs. I love closeness. And I love real emotion in there.

So less posing, more hugs, more emotions in the style of my photography.

For extended family portraits without young kids, posing and positioning will be the complete opposite of the experience mentioned above.

Of course, if I have the luxury (because with young children under 5 years old, it is NOT possible to pose them, so don’t try! I will talk about that later how I navigate in this) of posing people, I will make sure I make changes, even they think it is tiny… I look at the face, the size of everyone and make sure everyone looks about equal and how the light falls on them nicely.

With young children, I tend to ask them to “move” from where they are to where I want them to be, this takes a little experience as it will result into the “pose” that I want and it will happen usually split second. I tend to give instruction as I shoot and I will let parents know during the warm-up session to pay attention to my instructions so I can get the best for them.

I also tend to re-assure the subject when I get something nice of them. That usually motivates them to do more. I build excitement and I also build momentum during this process so people are carried away through these excitements and somehow forget that they are in front of the camera and this is the experience that I create. More about their family bonding and what they do and less about being aware of in front of the camera.

3. The “Closing”

At the end of the family photography photoshoot, I may do a scroll through the camera to show clients the images captured during the session, how the products look like if its a studio session and get to know about any particular flaw/edit that clients need me to pay more attention to.

Clients usually get to view the whole series of images anywhere in the world at their convenience within a week via an online gallery. Image selection/orders are made online and the finished products are delivered when the order is fulfilled.

Head over to out most frequently asked questions about photoshoots to learn more!

 

If you love the images and love to work together to get the images for your family, drop us a line at info@tomato.sg or call us at 88580088

There were about 20 of us. Ages spanned from 98 to 2, members of the family who wanted to play photographer, children who did not want to smile for the camera and tired members of the family from travelling. Yet, Hart took it all in his stride. He was easy going, warm and made everyone feel right at home. He took great natural shots of all of us and we absolutely love love love the photos.

Ren Jong, Fb Review

Hart is superb. Not only was he very responsive – he replied to our inquiry on Christmas Day itself and was available the very next day – but he was also a gifted photographer. He has a terrific approach to building a rapport with small children which really helped ensure our little one was smiling and enthusiastic through the session. Well done! We would definitely use Hart again and recommend him to others.

Nick Nash, FB Review
More Reviews

Family Shoot at Marina Bay – Indoor & Outdoor

One of the beauty of having the family portrait shoot done at Marina Bay is the appeal of the beautiful Marina Bay area with the ultra modern cityscape, The urban look to the image as well as the comfort of aircon inside the mall. This give you the outdoor and indoor in the same location.

It was Christmas and there are lots of amazing display and light but even without the festive, Marina Bay looks amazing…

This is the second shoot with Joanne’s family and it was a very relaxing and fun experience…

As a photographer, we also need to conduct ourselves in a manner that don’t cause much public nuisance so we make the work of security guard a lot easier… respect others and others will do the same.

Give us a call 8858 0088 and have a chat to see what we can help your family in getting the best images…

 

Regards,

Hart Tan
www.tomato.sg
info@tomato.sg
www.fb.com/tomato.sg


Shooting Solo

Why I Shoot Alone?

Newborn, Maternity and Kids photography is such a different genre in the world of photography. Most people think that we’re photographers with an army on set; assistants lighting technicians make up/hair artists – but this is far from true, at least in Tomato Photo Studio! In Tomato Photo, I shoot alone!

The Question Many Asks

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. However, 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 justifying 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.

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 Shoot Alone?

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.

Tomato Photo’s Success – Pre-empt, Pre-empt & Pre-empt

It is the things that we can do for our clients before they even think about that makes us where we are today.

For example, those of you who have used boutique 5 star resort services or even the famed Haidilao restaurant, 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.

  • “We booked a session with Hart for my 6mo baby last Friday. Usually my baby takes a long time to warm up to strangers but Hart literally took only 10mins to get him smiling, interacting and curiously looking around the studio so ready for the photoshoot! It was also a very pleasant experience for myself and my husband. We enjoyed the whole hour there. And then when we received the photos… oh my they were all captured beautifully. Especially my son’s expressions 🥰. Thank you so much Hart! “- Mags Heng

  • “If you want perfect photos that captures the moment, great experience with kids and quick turnaround for the photos – hart is the best! Pricing and packages are clear. Results are always outstanding. Hart is especially necessary if you have a big group. The more people, the harder it is to get a perfect shot (Without photoshop). Hart is good at priming everyone so that everyone is ready and perfect.
    Other Photographers might be able to handle a child with parents – with more and younger kids it gets harder to get perfect shots. We had bambini photography for a single child and it captured the moment, but not perfect for shots with more people” Huiying

  • Hart took a photo of our newborn 3 years back, and we loved the pictures immensely. Those photos are truly timeless, and superbly taken. Late last year, we started to arrange for a photo series with both sides of the extended family members with Hart again. But sadly, my father-in-law passed on in Feb this year. Looking back, we never took enough photos with him, and time truly doesn’t wait for anyone. Instead of putting off the photo session further (who knows what will happen tomorrow…), we proceeded once the pandemic lockdown measures are relaxed. We love the images taken last weekend with Hart, enjoyed the session thoroughly, and will definitely return to update our family portrait in a few years. Photos, especially the amazing ones that Hart always manages to capture, are truly the only way we can freeze time and moments. Our children are all growing up too fast, and our parents growing old too soon and Hart’s photos will be cherished by our family forever.” – Bernice

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…

    More Reviews

    Family Photo Shoot – a Calling?

    Family Photo Shoot - A Calling?

    Thoughts After 12 years in Serving Families in Creating Relaxed, Natural and Happy Tangible Memories.

    A Living Space That I Call Home.

    I love big canvases for our own family photo shoot as it shows the impact and reminiscences of happy days. A collection of memories made during our adventure with the family made into tangible form of canvases and photo albums.

    Sydney Harbour shot from Balmain was shot when my youngest was 1yo… I love the three individual shots of my kiddo on the swing and it shows how the kiddo always happy whenever they are on the swing.

    The Machu Picchu shot was taken way before we have our family, where trekking was one of our favorite activity. Shot taken after 4 days of trekking through the famous Inca Trail. These are just some of the conversation starters when friends/families come over and the story begins.

    Extended Family Photo Shoot

    Family Photo Shoot – Then and Now?

    As an adult, sometimes I feel we lost the ability to have fun like children… it’s something that I am always curious about.

    I was listening to a podcast by great wedding photographers about burnout…

    Truthfully, in the beginning of my career as a photographer doing family photo shoots, I felt similar because I see what I do is just another job and something I needed to do to feed my family, nothing beyond that. I struggled in the first few years…

    However, as we approach 12 years (yup! Tomato Photo will be 12 this month, March), I enjoy my work immensely, always can’t wait to go out for another shoot.

    The vision is different now and I learn to see things from children’s perspective. It’s always happy, always wacky and somewhat silly… but that’s happiness. The ability to enjoy life little moments like children!

    I once read somewhere that if you can’t enjoy small things in life, you don’t deserve big things in life? I wonder how many think it is true.

    I know every time I am out there away from my family, be with another family, capturing their family memories, it reminds me of my vision and that motivates me!

    Grateful that I found my “calling” that enable me to fully immerse in learning about life little happiness through the eyes of children.

    Thanks for reading and may the peace and happiness be with you.

    Regards,

    Hart Tan

    Family Photo Shoot Singapore

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