Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I have lived in Tokyo since 2005, working as a photographer and more recently doing video production as well. I specialize in story-telling: expressing the story of each individual I photograph, and the ‘brand stories’ of companies.
I have vast experience with the many facets of photo and video shoots, including scouting locations, casting, doing conference calls with clients and talent, handling logistics, setting up, shooting and editing the best photos in Photoshop, or the video footage in Final Cut. I am equally at home photographing a baseball player, fashion model or a famous CEO.
Although I’m based in Tokyo, my work has led me to places such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, London and many others.
Partial Client List:
- Brown Brothers Harriman
- Meiji University
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Economist
What kind of photography do you provide?
My typical client is a large corporation that needs one of the following: executive portraits, video interviews, or images for an advertising campaign. I specialize in people photography – interacting with the model, getting great poses, expressions and lighting, all in a way that captures their identity and also promotes their company brand.
How long do sessions last?
My many encounters with famous people – from Tokyo Governor Koike-San to the Dalai Lama – have taught me to work quickly when necessary. Depending on the shoot, the time required could range from ten minutes to ten hours. That said, a typical portrait shoot will last about 30 to 60 minutes.
What factors influence the fee?
Time spent communicating with the client, scouting the location, casting (if necessary), traveling, shooting, editing and retouching are all obvious factors. Another one is ‘creative complexity’: how much art direction, planning and problem-solving is required from my side. Equipment is another factor, and is either included in the fee or charged as a separate item (when equipment needs are advanced). Finally, usage is a major factor – where, how, and for how long the images will be used by the client. For all these reasons, I don’t have a single day rate, but prefer to give a quote that takes into account the needs of the project, so that both I and the client can arrive at a reasonable fee.
What kind of editing/retouching is possible?
Some projects involve a straightforward editing style, where I tweak tonality, color, contrast, and get rid of blemishes, dust and other undesirable things. Other projects entail a more complex kind of editing: getting rid of entire objects, for instance, or compositing various photographs into a single one. Whatever the need, I can handle it.
On the video end, I have a great deal of experience editing various types of corporate and advertising videos, often under intense time pressure.
Do you work with partners?
Although I typically work alone, it’s not uncommon for me to work with makeup artists, hair stylists, clothing stylists, and a wide variety of video assistants: sound technicians, camera people, fixers, gaffers, producers, and so forth.
Can you assist with logistics, for more complex shoots?
Numerous times, I have handled the logistics of a shoot – procuring models, arranging locations, preparing an itinerary, and so forth. In cases where the logistics are too complex for me to handle, I work with partners who are specialists in this area.
What language are shoots conducted in?
My Japanese speaking ability is intermediate level, meaning that I’m perfectly comfortable doing an entire shoot in Japanese, and communicating with a model, instructing them on how to pose and generally behave in front of the camera, in Japanese.
How many photos will I receive?
There’s no easy answer to this question, since it depends on the shoot. For a portrait shoot of an executive, I would normally deliver around 30 photos; for an advertising shoot, the total number of photos might be in the hundreds or even thousands.
What camera equipment do you use?
I currently use a Sony a7RIII with premium GM lenses, and a Leica Q2.
How quick is your turnaround?
I’m used to working under intense pressure, and have even edited videos during the shoot itself, on more than one occasion! Having worked with so many clients, I’m very empathetic to the timeline pressures that people often experience, and accordingly I communicate quickly and send the work promptly.
Why is professional photography and videography so expensive?
People sometimes express surprise when I send a quote. I think the main reason why photography and video shoots are more expensive than people expect is that there is a lot of ‘unseen work’ that goes into a shoot: the expertise of the photographer, developed through many years of practice and experimentation, the planning, problem-solving, communication and creativity, the editing and retouching, the high equipment costs including depreciation, and (especially in the case of video) the storage of media files. These are all things that get included in a fee, whether the fee is expressed as a day rate or flat fee.
What is your cancellation policy?
For cancelled shoots, there is a 50% fee.
Do you have liability insurance?
Yes, I have full liability insurance.
Why should I hire you instead of another photographer or videographer?
I’m a communicative, kind, attentive and adaptable photographer. Because of these social qualities, many people find me easier to work with than other photographers, who often aren’t as people-oriented.
I organize my time efficiently. A shoot that would take another freelancer three days might take me only one, because of my high level of experience.
I take the shoot very seriously and try to anticipate problems before they happen, and a client’s needs before the client is aware of them. When I take on a shoot, it becomes the most important shoot I’ve ever done, regardless of the client, type of shoot, or the pay.
There are certainly cheaper photographers out there. But those photographers come with disadvantages: they’re usually not as experienced, don’t have the strongest creative skills, and often take a casual attitude toward their work. If you’re comfortable taking the risk of a project going wrong, then it might make sense to save some money and hire freelancers like this.
I recommend that you look at a wide variety of portfolios and decide what you really need. If you believe I can help with your project, then I’d love to hear from you.
Who are your artistic influences?
Photographic: Mary Ellen Mark, Jeanloup Sieff, Edouard Boubat, Harry Gruyaert, Mark Steinmetz, Irving Penn, Martine Franck, Andrea Modica, Paul Strand, Gordon Parks, Ralph Gibson, Keith Carter, Katy Grannan and Saul Leiter, among others. However, I’m influenced by many other types of artists: painters like Chuck Close and Vermeer, filmmakers such as Kubrick and Altman, and especially great writers like Tolstoy, Maugham, Simenon and Katherine Mansfield.
How would you describe your working style?
I’m an ‘observational photographer’ who likes to set things up, allow them to unfold, then document the scene as it happens. I intervene and direct as little as possible, because I want to get an authentic moment that has a candid, spontaneous, unpredictable quality to it.