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Cool Dad Hangouts: Professional Photographer Danny Santos

MamaPost Category - MamaMama
PlayPost Category - PlayPlay

Does the Dad in your life need some inspo on where to take the kids? We’ve talked to some of the coolest dads in Singapore to get their tips on where to go and what to do with kiddos in tow!

Nothing warms our heart more than seeing super hands-on dads, and professional photographer Danny Santos and his 13-month-old son Elias are no exception! We caught up with Danny, who originally hails from the Philippines, and Elias near their fave stomping grounds at beautiful Bedok Reservoir Park. Besides off-the-charts cuteness, look out for recs on dad-friendly spots around Singers, along with some great expert tips for photographing your kids!

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to hang out with your child?

We live right next to Bedok Reservoir Park, and bringing Elias there early in the morning or late in the afternoon is just perfect for him to explore and pick up leaves, people-watch, waddle in the playgrounds, or practice walking in the boardwalk.

What are the most Dad-friendly places in Singapore for changing diapers?

As long as the place has a clean decent space for diaper changing, it’s all good. But I do have my favorites: Forum Mall, Tampines Mall, and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Shoppes. My least favorites are Suntec City and East Coast Park!

Favorite playground in Singapore?

We like to bring him to the Marine Cove at East Coast Park on weekend mornings. We do a quick breakfast at My Briyani House, and right next to it is the huge playground good for kids of all ages. After that, we walk around the beach for some quite time. It’s a nice weekend ritual.

On weekdays, we sort of created an indoor playground at home for Elias, extending the usual play pen to a larger size than usual. I guess being first-time parents, we probably got over excited.

cool dad hangouts danny santos

Best spot for coffee when you’re on early-morning Dad duty?

I brew my coffee at home, using beans from Perk Coffee. They have a great range of coffee, roast weekly, and they deliver to your home. Nothing like a good cup to perk you up.

Any favorite bedtime book recommendations?

Just the usual: The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child… but I would recommend the sound book version as it adds a nice twist to the storytelling process. In addition to twisting your voice in a number of different ways, you get to add ambient sounds that compliment the story. Elias never gets enough of it, really.

Any favorite apps/games to play with your kids?

I would say Endless Alphabet on the iPad. The quirky tunes that tell you how a letter sounds are enough on their own to make both baby and parents laugh.

What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids when Mom’s not around?

I like to wander around the Bedok Reservoir with Elias. It gives me a very nice serene alone time with the baby, as he goes on explorer mode where he tries to walk everywhere and touch everything.

What are your favorite date night restaurants?

We really haven’t had the chance to have a date night out since Elias was born, hahaha. His bedtime is around 8:30pm, which means our bedtime is only a few hours after that. Our date night is basically wine and cheese when the baby sleeps.

Do you have a favorite shop?

Even way before we had Elias, we always liked The Better Toy Store. We love how it sticks to the basics when it comes to toys. So we knew we’d be back regularly when we had a baby… and sure enough, we were.

Where do you like to train/exercise?

I’ve been cycling for around 2 years now. I ride with a group called Harabas two or three times a week – either we ride east to Yishun, Seletar, Punggol, Tanah Merah Coastal Road, then East Coast… or we ride west to Mandai, Neo Tiew, Lim Chu Khang, Jalan Buroh, then West Coast Highway. Getting to ride far and riding fast can be quite addicting.

Sometimes I cycle alone, which can also be quite therapeutic and relaxing. However, lately due to family, illness or work, I haven’t been cycling as regularly as I would’ve liked. But as soon as I get the chance, I’m back on the road.

What are your favorite family-friendly holiday destinations? 

We haven’t yet had the chance to travel with the little one. But hopefully soon when time and work allows.

As a professional photographer, do you have any tips for parents to help capture baby’s early moments?

My first tip is to have a small and portable camera that takes good quality photos like the Sony RX1 r2. Because the really special moments can come at any time, and grabbing a small camera will be easier and faster. Point and shoot makes for less fiddling around with the settings.

If you’re using your phone to take photos, I use the app Fotor a lot – it lets me create collages mostly for comparative before and after shots, like baby at 1 month / baby at 6 months… or baby serious / baby smiling.

My second tip: buy an external hard drive and make sure you save all the photos and backed up. A year later, you’ll be in for a surprise when you go back to all the shots you took.

cool dad hangouts danny santos

Finally: don’t get too carried away with taking photos. What’s more important than capturing those moments is appreciating and living those moments.

 A huge thanks to Danny and Elias, and a big shoutout to Irina Nilsson Photography for the spectacular snaps!

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