|Our Cover Photo by Hart|
With the proliferation of smart phones, digital cameras and photography apps, photography has become an integral part of everyday life. We ‘shoot’ almost everything, from food, pets, sunsets, rainbows, architecture, to even personal idiosyncrasies, road accidents and ugly civic behaviours…basically anything that we presume is camera (or instagram or stomp) worthy gets a snapshot.
As parents, we literally take tons of photos of our family but these are often candid in nature and taken under less-than-optimal lighting conditions. On important family occasions and especially when we travel, we rarely could have any beautiful family portraits as I would be the one behind the lens.
That is why we endeavour to have a proper family photo-shoot at least once every year just to document our family milestones. You see, unlike candid photography, a family photo-shoot not only gives the family photos for keeps, but more significantly, it gives the family shared memories of those preparations leading up to, during and after the shoot: The coming together of the entire family, the interactions and exchanges that make a family photo-shoot an event to look forward to.
Being an avid photographer myself, we are not short of good snapshots of our daughter so my main motivation for going to a family photo-shoot is to ‘immortalise’ the bond and love shared between the 3 of us – Daddy, Mommy and Dana. What I look for in a photographer is not merely the technical skills of getting the angles and exposure right, but the photographer must be able to capture the natural, spontaneous emotions of his subjects in as less contrived a setting as possible.
This year, we were fortunate to be offered a chance for a family photo-shoot with ‘Hart’, the founder of Tomato Photo, just before Dana turns 5. The studio is located in a terrace house in the heart of Katong. The spacious, cosy, tastefully furnished home-studio added to the comfort of the shoot. We felt relaxed the moment we stepped in and were not at all uptight compared to some other studios we’ve been to which makes one feel stiff, claustrophobic and unnatural. Added to that, Hart engaged us in casual banter and even obliged Dana by letting her play with some of his props before he began the shoot. As a father of 3, he was good at striking up conversations with kids (and parents) so much so that going into the photography session seemed like just an extension of that initial conversation.
Hart’s joviality was infectious and in his light-hearted manner, he drew natural, unscripted responses from our family effortlessly. He even gave us latitude to in the poses, only occasionally prompting with his suggestions. Throughout the session, we talked, we laughed, we hugged, we kissed…Just as if we were having a much-anticipated reunion with a long lost family member. Time passed swiftly during the shoot but Hart did not for once make us conscious of the time constraints.
We were given an online password to view our photos about two weeks after the shoot and I was thoroughly impressed with the output. Hart’s medium-format Hasselblad Camera and professional Profoto Studio Lights, coupled with his skilful edits made the studio portraits outstanding. The skin tones were natural and his control of contrast and white balance, especially in those black and white portraits, were par excellence.
We love the photos very much and decided to upgrade our package for a bigger album as a ‘family keepsake’ to pass on to Dana in future. We corresponded with Hart extensively with regards to our preferred album layout and his replies were always prompt and polite. To complete the pleasant experience, our album was printed in thick archival quality paper, exquisitely packaged and came wrapped in a distinctive box topped with a satin ribbon. Even the DVD containing the soft copies came in a well-crafted hardcover sleeve. Hart has put his heart into delivering a memorable photo-shoot experience for his clients and that has made all the difference.
Photography allows one to encapsulate precious moments for eternity but Tomato Photo goes beyond that by doing it with a undeniable sense of pride and class. It was as if Hart was extending his passion for the Art of Photography to those of us who chose (and have the privilege) to be photographed by him. Thank you for the memories, Hart!