I will try answer the most commonly asked questions regarding personal photoshoots here so please read through this list before your shoot.
What should I tell you before the shoot? The more the better. I want to make sure I personalize every shoot to your specific needs, wants and desires otherwise all my shoots will look the same and we don't want that. Where are you from? What are you looking to use the photos for? Do you have specific style or photo references from my work or the work of others that you really like? Do you like the focus to be on you or more environmental? Traditional or city vibes? In my experience, the more info you give me and the better I know you before the shoot the better the end results!
How long are the photo sessions and what if I am late? It depends on what you book as my packages are run by the hour. If you book 1 hour it will be from our agreed start time for up to 1 hour. Sometimes I have clients who are happy with the results after 40 minutes or their kids or partner (who are not as excited about a photoshoot as you) get tired so as long as you are happy with the shots we get its up to you. In the case, you are late please be mindful that this will be included in our agreed end time meaning if you book 1 hour and you are 20 minutes late we will only have 40 minutes to shoot. This is to be respectful of my time and other clients as I am usually booked back to back. I always suggest to arrive a bit early and give yourself time to find the meeting location as Tokyo subways and trains can be a bit confusing if you are not used to it.
Where are the photos usually taken? Again, this depends on what you are looking for and time of day. A lot of my clients book me for night shoots in the city so I do like to shoot a lot in Shinjuku (Omoide Yokocho, Kabukicho, etc) as this is quintessential Tokyo. For day shoots it can be a number of different areas such as Shibuya or Kagurazaka and that is something we can agree on before the shoot. But all of my shoots are done in Central Tokyo (in and around the JR Yamanote Loop line). If you need to go outside of Central Tokyo this is definitely possible as long as we book the appropriate time and there will be separate travel costs associated to that which we can discuss before hand. In the case of a studio shoot the photos are all taken in my studio.
Can you travel outside of Tokyo to other cities? Definitely this is possible if planned well in advance. I have had clients book me as their photographer when they travel to places like Osaka however please note that you will be responsible for a full day shooting rate as well as transport and accomodation fees. For places a bit closer to Tokyo (not overnight) please see "Where are the photos usually taken?"
What should I wear? This is a great question and again will depend entirely on the type of photos we take and time of day. I would say refrain from black unless it's part of a fashion look which is accessorized. This is a keepsake memory experience so don't show up in your low effort joggers. Dress up rather down and if you are a couple I would say try to compliment each other in colours at the least. Also, I think it's best to avoid super busy prints or graphics. For something bold, I think primary colours like red or blue can really stand out. We can discuss a bit before your shoot what you have in mind! Do note, that Japan is still a fairly conservative society so some places like shrines or temples will not allow tattoos or overly revealing clothes so just something to keep in mind. In the case of studio shoots, it will be important that we decide beforehand what you will wear as it will affect the type of lighting I will want to use. Please co-ordinate and show photos beforehand.
When will I receive the photos and how? I like to turnaround as quick as possible but please remember that the actual taking of the photos is only one part of the process. As an artist, I need to apply my signature editing to each photo and I do that myself. Typically it looks like this: - send the 1st draft of ALL the photos we took that day in a low quality, unedited jpeg via a private online client gallery. This is a beautiful format for you to easily choose your favorite photos which you can simply just put a 'heart' on. These are not for download or for any use and will have a watermark on them. When you tell me you have finished your selection it will take me about 4-5 days to finish the complete edits including re-touching at which point I will send you another gallery with the full, hi resolution photos for you to download and do with as you like.
Can I order prints? There is just something so special about seeing your favorite photos in a print format. So yes, I have partnered with some very high quality print shops globally to be able to get you a variety of different sizes and formats. When I send you your final online private photo gallery there will be the option to buy prints no matter where in the world you are located. Prints are printed on Kodak Endura Professional Paper (Lustre, Glossy) or Fuji Crystal Archival Professional Paper (Deep Matte). These are the highest quality archival prints that have a longevity of 100 years in typical display conditions and 200 years in dark storage.
Can I change outfits during the shoot? Of course, it's your shoot and you can do what you please but just be mindful that the time taken to change and find an appropriate place to do so will count against the booked time. There are not a lot of easily accessible place to change like a public toilet for example so quick and easy change outfits would be best. In the case of studio shoots, there is a place of course to get ready and changed so this is not an issue.
What about luggage? Where should I keep my stuff? I highly recommend to come to the shoot with the least amount of luggage possible. I already typically have a lot of gear on me at any given time and can't carry more while I shoot and the areas we go to can be quite busy so minimizing what you bring will make the photo session go smooth. There are always lockers in train stations so give yourself enough time to find one thats availalble before the shoot. In the case of studio shoots, there is space to bring your luggage of course.
What camera and gear do you use? I shoot with a full frame Sony A7IV with a variety of top of the line lenses including several Sony G-master series.
Can you shoot video too? When I am in a photo session I only want to focus on photos. Switching between video and photos is not as easy as you may think as they are completely different settings and mindsets. So I do not do video unless we agree to a separate filming charge beforehand. In the case of taking some iPhone videos from your camera for some quick film this can be done however. If you want a videographer to join the shoot we can arrange something with someone I know and hire myself and have already worked with. Please discuss beforehand.
Can I use the photos for commercial purposes? Our photo sessions are for personal use only. For commercial purposes such as using them for your business to promote and sell products or services please inform beforehand as this will be then a commercial shoot which incurs different costs. The photos shall not be sold for any purposes.
What should I expect in terms of editing? My signature editing style has taken years to re-fine and that's probably a big part of why you hired me. I will take care of the basics of editing but also apply my colour grading to each individual photo. I don't just slap a preset on all the photos and call it a day. I will also do some facial re-touching to remove small non-permanent blemishes and overall make you look naturally your best (key word natural). I won't, however, remove people, change colours of outfits, or do any body shaping (make you thinner or more curvy for example) unless we agree to a separate editing charge as these are much different and longer processes. Please discuss with me any of your wishes.
Can I get the RAW files? Short answer is no. I wil not give RAW files unless its for a commercial shoot and the customer pays for them specifically. For personal shoots my stance is this: You hired me to give you photos in my style and like any artist I will not deliver unfinished work. Most of the time only I know what I want my RAW files to look like because I already know how I will edit them later. Many of the photos can look not so appealing in RAW format (underexposed and dark) but I know exactly how to manipulate the photos to get the desired end result. I think you will find that most PRO photographers will have the same stance and viewpoint.
I have no experience posing. Can you help me? Don't worry as I work with plenty of people with absolutely no previous photoshoot experience. I do this on a mutliple times a week basis so we will get you looking your best. My portrait style for these types of shoots is definitely more candid and in the moment. We will do some poses depending on the location but I want to capture you doing things and interacting as part of your environment and not just a wallflower. Just think of our time as some friends hanging out and taking some photos together.. the more relaxed and less stiff you are the more natural the photos will look. For studio shoots, I work with more pro level models and know where to position you to get the best lighting so you just need to follow my lead and cues while we shoot. Don't worry about it and come with an open mind to just have fun!
Do you give workshops or teaching for studio or street photography? All the time! I hold once monthly workshops in my studio with model for lighting techniques that have been hugely successful but very limited space. For more details please follow my Meetup group https://www.meetup.com/tekumi-jp For street photography I hold private lessons for beginners to advanced so please see my Services section. For outside portrait model workshops there is also info in my Services section. It will just take a bit more planning ahead on my side to secure the right model so get in touch! Any size groups are welcome!
I want help with arranging a proposal or wedding or other events. Can you help? My business is photography and not event planning so unfortunately I can't help too much in this regard. In terms of surprise proposals, what I have done in the past is go to locations before the shoot to look at lighting conditions and areas to preplan my shots and help with venue bookings and other things for a separate location scouting fee of $100USD. But help with booking hotels or restaurants for travelers and such is unfortunately out of my services.
Can you help with Hair + Makeup? I have a lot of great contacts in the city for this so whether for your outside portrait or studio shoot please let me know and I will arrange someone for the day once we agree on their fees.