An interview with Nina Tantzen, talented photographer behind the images for our Relaxed Family Entertaining Project
Originally from Germany, Nina has lived overseas for 10 years. From the US to China and now, Singapore, Nina’s background was in marketing and product management for the FMCG industry in Germany. With her husband and two daughters, Nele (6) and Maxi (almost 2), Nina has now been in Singapore for just over 6 years and loves it.
Ordinary People had the pleasure of working with Nina on our Relaxed Family Entertaining photoshoot and what a great day it was! While Nina specialises in maternity, newborn and family photography, she was also able to capture exactly what we wanted for our Project, despite the distraction of 6 children, 6 adults as models, plus the extra helpers and directors running around.
Have a look at our gorgeous photo gallery here as well as some of Nina’s work below.
We were so happy to talk to Nina again about how she started as a photographer. Her story proves that even childhood dreams can one day come true and she gives us 3 great tips for aspiring photographers.
How did you start doing photography?
My photography journey is really quite ordinary (haha!). Like so many others, I started my business after having my first child.
Photography had been a hobby since childhood – I have my father to thank for that. My dad is a photography enthusiast and used to subscribe to photography magazines, which I also enjoyed reading. While he was generally more interested in the technical aspects (new camera models etc.), I was always drawn to the artistic side. I loved taking pictures and wanted to create beautiful images like the ones I saw in the photography magazines. This was in the film days, of course, and I took a darkroom class, dreaming of having my own darkroom one day.
Fast forward to the digital age and the birth of Nele. She was the most photographed baby on the planet – but I guess every first-time parent probably thinks that… When Nele was 4 months old, we moved from Shanghai to Singapore. This was a very welcome change, because Singapore felt like a much better place to live with a baby, but it also meant that I didn’t have a job to go back to.
Nele started preschool at 18 months, and by then I was really, REALLY ready to work again. Yet I was hoping to find something part-time, so that I could still spend time with my little one in the afternoons. That’s when the idea of doing photography professionally started to grow. Encouraged by family and friends who saw my images, I started assembling a portfolio. I then built my first website, registered my business, and anxiously waited for the first client to find me online. And they did. It all took off from there!
What is your favorite part of the job?
I often get asked whether I still enjoy taking photographs now that I have turned my hobby into my profession, and the answer is: yes! Still love it! I honestly enjoy almost everything about my job. I love meeting new people from so many different backgrounds and so many different countries, love hearing their unique stories!
I love seeing the excitement and nervous anticipation in my maternity clients and the love and pride of the new mum and dad during my newborn sessions (getting to hold those tiny bundles is an added bonus!), as well as witnessing the dynamics within families and capturing the unique bonds and connections.
I can now apply my Marketing knowledge to my own business, and I enjoy creating my brochures and Marketing material, as well as designing albums and custom products for my clients.
But my very favourite part of the job is the feedback I get from my clients after they first viewed their private online gallery! I don’t normally enjoy making people cry (well, that would be weird) but I do love it when I receive an email saying “You moved us to tears!” after sending out the gallery link.
Recently, after receiving their album and products, a client wrote: “Wow, this is so beautiful! Our most precious memories captured for eternity!” And that is exactly what I want to give my clients.
What would you say to aspiring photographers?
1. Learn about good composition, and follow the basic rules of composition, like the rule of thirds. (Though – as always – sometimes rules are there to be broken…)
2. Really get to know your camera, know your functions, your exposure triangle. I once read an image caption by Ryan Brenitzer, which said ‘Photography is the art of being prepared to be lucky.’, and this really spoke to me. In order to be prepared, you have to know your gear.
3. Shoot what you love! Shoot what you are passionate about! Shoot from the heart!
Thank you Nina for such beautiful work and for taking the time to tell us your story!