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No one INSPIRED to be a professional photographer

I believe no one in their sound mind would be inspired to be a professional photographer.

Be it a wedding photographer, Family Portrait Photographer, Newborn Photographer or Children Photographer…

You might say…  But… I LOOOOOVEEEE taking pictures…    yes, that’s that!

 

For many, myself included, started photography and enjoy the “possibility” of creating something… and we devote majority our free time with learning and learning and learning about photography. Some become well converse in “photography terms” and spitting out words like “stop”, “depth of field”, “shadow”, “mid-tone”, “light”, etc like how we breath air.

Our work being praise by the friends and family in online and off-line, etc… We feel that we are floating in the air… ya, that feel great!!!

Of course, the natural progression is GOING PRO…

 

RIGHT???

 

Let me burst your bubble for one second. Going PRO isn’t a progression or the next level of acknowledgement of your work. Its like FALL in LOVE and MARRIAGE – *don’t get me wrong, I am a happilly married with 3 kids…  so read on please!!!

It was a wonderful feeling when you fall in love and everything seems “PERFECT”, nothing and its absolutely nothing that will hold us back… as time passes, the natural progression is Marriage… now, some might say, marriage is the end of LOVE… but I think otherwise…

now, here is the thing… you suddenly find yourself in REALITY!!!

 

but i digress…

The reality of being a professional is this… much like a marriage life, you have to make things work… the keywords here “Make Things Work”

What I mean by that is, it is never JUST about YOU anymore… it is you, your other half, your family and your other half family… much like work, its you and your clients.

We always have to remember our purpose when we offer our service as a photographer to the world… photography is a finite things that you do and it is 10% of you do as professional photographer.

First, you find people who like your work:
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you:
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you;
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you; to actually agree on the price you charge;
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you; to actually agree on the price you charge; to actual pay for a session;
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you; to actually agree on the price you charge; to actual pay for a session; to make put in a date with you;
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you; to actually agree on the price you charge; to actual pay for a session; to make put in a date with you; to prepare their family and travel to shoot location;
Then, you find people who like your work, to talk to you, to be interested enough to consider booking you; to actually agree on the price you charge; to actual pay for a session; to make put in a date with you; to prepare their family and travel to shoot location; to subject themselves to the shoot; etc, etc etc
Then, after all that… you need to make sure they are happy with the results… and you need to get them to order, then you need to get the order done for them as soon as possible to the way you promise them.

I am talking about 1 cycle… with 250-300 cycles a year and I had to do that again and again and again with as little deviation as possible between them and I am just like anyone else, the imperfect human being that has low and high in life.

—-

Furthermore, what you LOVE doing is photography but in order for you to do that 10% of what you love… you actually have to do 90% of things that offer you the 10%. Its crazy isn’t it?

But what keep a photographer, like myself, going back for more?

For sure, it isn’t just the monetary return, it isn’t the kick of doing things that you don’t want to do, it almost certain the LOVE for photography will prevail…?

One day down the line after years of working extremely hard… BOOOOMMM… you got an email saying “I HATE THE IMAGES”… It happen to me before many years ago… It wasn’t nice… if could floor you and put you right at the bottom of the deepest valley of this earth and finding yourself in a very dark, unappetizing place…

Some stays there and quit. Some climb and many falls back down, some reach the same point they were and make things better to reduce the likelihood of receiving the email that says “I HATE YOU”.

For those who start again from that point, the biggest things to bring them back to their LOVE of photography is their sense and purpose of doing what they are doing.

So what kept me safe and kept me wanting badly to go to the next shoot is what I feel is important…

 

The important of honoring people’s trust in selecting me to preserve their memories for them… This keep me goingother rewards are just icing to the cake.

 

With that in mind and oversubscribe as I always be, I find it difficult to convince myself to do less in preserving memories.

 

That’s how I feel about being a professional photographer specialising in preserving a little part of people’s memory.

Regards,

Hart Tan
Associate Master Photographer
www.tomato.sg
info@tomato.sg
www.facebook.com.sg

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The new Genre – 6-11 months baby photography

I call it as it is… 6-11 months baby photography, a genre that I don’t photograph much. Hence, I offer the shoots to 6 of my clients who have baby around that age so I can try and see if this is something I am happy to photograph…

To do well in anything, it is important to do what you love…

6-11 months old baby seems to be a stage where their personality is fully form yet not being shape by world. They are happy to do what they are happy to do and very intrique with what’s around them. They are just a pure joy to work with and Love it…

Tomato Photo is an establish brand and being associated with one of the best in Fine Art Newborn Photography and Lifestyle Family and Children Photography. It focuses on things that touches people’s heart and that’s what the brand is known for.

To start something, I am always prepared to start from absolute ZERO.

It is always fun starting something from Zero and it isn’t without any fear, fear that the new genre might not take off, fear of if it will effect the rest of my genre, fear of not doing well I suppose… but I believe it is a genre that worth preserving… I am ready to give it all…

For limited time, it will be priced at $499.99 for a weekdays session in the studio. Parent’s are welcome. For enquiry, please email info@tomato.sg

It was a very pleasant surprise that one of my client who I did the casting call wrote about the experience on her blog… you can read about it at https://j0annesim.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/a-shoot-with-tomato-photo/

Here are some images I did for this baby on their best 6-11 months old…

Regards,

Hart Tan

Associate Master Photographer
info@tomato.sg
www.tomato.sg

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No one Enjoy to be Ordinary… (nEbO)

It is going to be a wordy post… read if you are interested on what I say…

Our helper is home for holiday and one more sleep before we depart on our much deserve break after a big 2014 and biggest month for 2015… We are busy… but never too busy to serve people who choose us to preserve their memories…

I feel a lot nicer without the helper being around, busy as it seems, I feel that I am more connected to my children, do enjoy that. May not something that I like to do it every single day, but for majority of time, amongst that chaotic of having 3 little boys at home, I do learn to see simple things that makes them happy… that is to have me and my wife around them.

Over the weekend, I was invited by one of the youth club from NTUC to give a talk regarding to my photography philosophy as well as lighting last weekend to a group of young and passionate youth.

I took an immediate interest in offering my expertise to these people, because I enjoy looking at the “hungry-ness” of the youth and I hope to offer them a glimpse of what my world as a professional photographer looks like…

The truth is, I enjoy to be ordinary… being normal… Many in our youth are looking to achieve the impossible but as we aged, we come to a term that achieving a practicality of happiness is important.

I was ask about my business, Tomato Photo, and my approach… they are reminded that this is my approach and it fits well with my lifestyle… it is for me… may not for everyone.

Tomato Photo is a very unique business that build around my personal lifestyle, things that make sense to me and things that make me happy. Many may have notice that we don’t leave our number on our online present for all of 2014, we pull out on all the print advertising since mid of 2014… I couldn’t be happier… we all have 24 hours in our life… I like to get my 7-8 hours sleep every night… I spend roughly 240 hours a month working…

Late nights? I spend watching movies with my wife… not editing.

Without those “how much do you charge?” phone calls, I concentrate in the creative process… like doing nothing… somehow, I am the most creative when I spend time with myself doing nothing other than thinking… I know I have the technical ability, photography technique and people skills that allow me to create my work… I just need to “come out” with something that I want to do and with that… I need to do nothing.

Regarding to our charge, to many clients who haven’t give us a go, it is expensive… but surely, if I want more business, wouldn’t it makes more sense if I charge cheaper?

The market has a fair share of low price option range from a free photography to $18 groupon deals… I receive no less than 5 calls from groupon in the space of 4 years to get me to do that… Anyway… people do things for a reason… so my charge reflect the method I use to control the volume that I shoot monthly. Ideally, I am happy with 20 shoots a month, but not too bad if we did 25 shoots a month, that’s half of what I used to do 3 years ago. This allow me time to express myself creatively and as I grow more and more experience, majority of my shots require very minimal editing process which means more time spend on something else. I have also started in limiting the number of shoots I do for newborn to only 10 sessions a month… it is a number that I am interested in so I can spend time work on the finer details… I go to shoot every time and wanting to learn something more for myself…  I am hungry to learn about exploring my own capability, both in technical and experience perspective… I learn to be more attune to my surrounding and continue to improve how I shoot and looking at ways to make things simple and capture things that I felt, something that matters to me.

I used to give out my peers’ name to clients who I can’t shoot, but since I have my sister company, Bambini Photography, the rest of load has been off-load to them… and I am happy that way… of course, there are time that we are both are not available so we still recommend the jobs to our peers…
I have crafted Tomato Photo’s way of delivering the finish images to clients via online gallery, client select from home, no pressure… and purely allow them to purchase what they love… I find that, clients love it more by spending less with me, but as a business, I gain a lot more trust, referral, etc. At the end of the day, happy clients, happy me, happy Tomato.

I have less interest with money… for me I believe, doing things well, you shall rewarded with what you deserveIt doesn’t buy you happiness, though, it sure buy a lot of convenient. Having said that, I am making a decent living doing what I love.

Regarding to images, how to find individuality on my work, One thing for sure is I stop looking outwards, and dig deeper inside me to find what I truly feel when I am out with my clients… The process is long, harder, but the most rewarding. I stop looking at my competitors’ website, facebook, never gone on pinterest, etc for images. Not interested with what others are producing… I know there are a lot of great photographers out there and they are producing a lot of great works… but to my work… I got to ask myself “SO WHAT???” it is their work, not mine, no glory for me to achieve what others have achieve… I am more than happy to see fellow photographers winning awards and share my joy in congratulate them.

Regarding to my working gear, I have a small Domke F-3X bag, everything I need should fit in that bag. If it doesn’t it will stay at home… I have SONY A900 DSLR, SONY A7 Mirrorless, CZ 24-70 f2.8, Minolta 70-210 f4, two YN-560II flashes, Pocketwizard Trigger, Nine Sandisk 16GB Memory card, 3 sets of batteries. That’s it… I don’t need anything more… of course, in my personal collection, I have a lot more equipments that I hardly use. I prefer to use something that I am familiar with and concentrate on the images.

The success of Tomato Photo isn’t an overnight thing and there isn’t any trick… just simply doing the old fashion normal stuff… Delivering my promise consistently…

So here you have it… that’s how I do my stuff… I hope you learn to understand that you CAN personalise the business to fit your own lifestyle.

 

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Senior Portrait with the Santillos

It was late, dark and rainy before the shoot… usually, in this kind of condition, the shoot will be postponed. However, time isn’t a luxury that the Santillo’s family have. So we went ahead and hope the rain will quite down a little.

For the most part of the individual shot of Michaela, it was really dark and wet and glad it finally brighten up for a good 15 minutes so we can squeeze in the family session too.

I am glad that we have gotten images that the family love…

 

Regards,

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

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