Welcome to The Kitchen Sink

This is where you find all the minute detail and the advice you need for a portrait session. I've chucked in everything I can think of - hence the title.

Note: if you are proceeding with a booking / portrait session, you need to read all of this page. 


Personally, I am not fond of vague or misleading sales information. So, for the photographic work that I charge for, I do make very plain the current options and prices and provide detailed explanations. Please see below.

The section called "What You Don't Get" may seem a little direct or blunt, but as I said, I like full disclosure and hate it when those little surprises get sprung on you. I'm just trying to avoid that.

I realise it is quite long, but having a good, compelling portrait made is a big job, and it deserves a big explanation - what's written below is important and useful, and it covers pretty much everything I can think of, and all bookings precede on the assumption that you have both read it and agreed completely and entirely with it. 

Did I Approach You? - The Original Unusual Pricing Bit

Sometimes I see people out and about in the world that I really, truly, desperately want to photograph and I approach them. I've included this note here for those people, who may have followed the link on the business card I gave them. If that's you, read everything, but ignore the pricing sections. Our original deal still exists and we'll work out the details when you e-mail me.

Pricing In Detail - Personal / Non-Commercial Sessions

Please note: the following information is for personal / non-commercial portraiture work, and the sessions given are example packages with starting price points for basic, straight photography and that added complexity usually means added expense, arranged on a case by case basis 

  • train expenses, both directions (and taxi if more than 500 metres from station or it's raining - hey, camera stuff is heavy & delicate)

  • 800 yen per hour for travel, both directions door to door (travel does eat up my free time, so I'd like at least what a part time convenience store worker gets)

  • location affects the travel pricing - please see "Location" further below

  • appropriate session fee: for example, 45 minutes - ¥27,000; 2 hours - ¥37,000; full day - ¥120,000

  • additional expenses: any additional items needed and any additional expenses to be incurred based on client needs, such as prop purchase or rental, location rental, permit fees, etc. must be arranged and paid for in advance

  • summary: appropriate session fee plus travel (the 3 Ts - train, taxi and time) plus any expenses incurred for client needs

  • note 1: it's important to understand usage - please see the Usage section below

  • note 2: print options and pricing are located further below

  • note 3: payment is made before the commencement of the session 

  • note 4: splitting a package - packages are designated as occupying single, continuous blocks of time. It is possible to split a package (say, a two hour session into a one hour morning sesison / break /  one hour fternoon session). Split packages entail a 25% increase in the session fee


  • the above pricing structures are for personal and non-commercial editorial usage (personal websites, e-mail sharing, personal blogs, online CVs, personal social media, and also news media or educational articles about you where you supply the images, etc.). 

  • please see the sections further down called What you Get and What You Don't Get for more information on usage

  • commercial and corporate usage is charged on a case by case basis with the fee depending upon the length and complexity of the project and the usage rights required by the client. This is agreed upon during the booking process. Again, see the sections below called What you Get and What You Don't Get for further details about this

  • just to be clear: commercial and / or corporate usage includes but is not limited to in-house publication, advertising, commercial editorial usage, general promotion, band or performer promotion, performance promotion, promotional or advertising posters, flyers, promotional postcards or media, tickets, corporate or business websites and social media, promotional / commercial social media, branding, branded goods, commercial illustrative use, etc. Basically, if it is in anyway at all connected to making money, to business, to the promotion of goods or services, or to performances, etc., then it is commercial work

Numbers - how may people per session?

  • personal portrait sessions are classed as individual sessions, family sessions or group sessions
  • individuals and groups of up to four are charged at the above rates
  • families of up to five are charged at the above rates
  • groups of five or more and families of six or more are priced on a case by case basis, based on the complexity and cost


  • payment for the session and travel (the 3 Ts in both directions) is to be made in full prior to the commencement of the session

  • payment is to be made in cash and in yen. If you wish to to pay in a foreign currency, a 3000 yen equivalent transaction fee applies. This cannot be waived

  • if you find yourself in a position where you are unable to do any of the above, please contact me no later than 24 hours prior to the booking, so we can explore options.

  • please be aware that, unless otherwise arranged, failure to make payment on the day and prior to the session will mean the session will not proceed

  • any additional items needed and any additional expenses to be incurred based on client needs (prop purchase or rental, location rental, permit fees, etc.) will be arranged for during the booking process and details for paying these costs in advance will be supplied at that time

  • please be aware that any unrecoverable expenses incurred based on client needs cannot be refunded

  • please also be aware that payments for services and or expendable goods rendered, delivered or otherwise completed are not refundable

  • details for payments for prints will be supplied upon print orders. Please see the printing sections below for details on printing options and pricing


  • neither the client nor myself shall be held responsible or accountable for delays or cancellations due to inclement weather or the actions of transport operators, with the exception of client responsibility for nonrecoverable expenses incurred on behalf of the client

  • I reserve the right at any time to cancel or reschedule for reasons of transportation delay, inclement weather or any such reason of necessity

  • upon making a booking the client acknowledges that I am not liable for any expenses or costs in any form whatsoever incurred due to said cancellations nor for any other reasons whatsoever

  • clients accept that should they wish to cancel or reschedule a booking, that they must do so prior to 24 hours before the commencement of the scheduled booking

  • clients accept that should there be a failure to cancel a scheduled booking prior to 24 hours before the date and time of the booking they shall remain liable for the basic session fee and any nonrecoverable expenses incurred on behalf of the client, and that any further rescheduling after this time will constitute a new booking complete with associated fees

  • The client acknowledges that I reserve the unequivocal right to immediately and without prior warning cancel a session or post production work at any time or stage if any client or member of said client’s party is or becomes either fully or partly inebriated, otherwise similarly affected or incapacitated, or acts in any way at all that I deem as an unsafe, abusive, offensive or unacceptable manner, and that I reserve unequivocally the sole right to make and enact such determinations. Furthermore, the client acknowledges that in such cases, the client shall remain, regardless of the stage of completion of the contracted work, liable for the basic session fee and any unrecoverable costs incurred on behalf of the client. Any further rescheduling after this time is at my sole discretion and will constitute a new booking complete with associated fees. Upon making a booking it is taken that the client accepts these clauses in whole and without reservation 


  • your location: this is where I travel to you. It could be your home, your office, your studio, atelier, kitchen, factory or workplace, a nearby park, or wherever you feel would be good or would suit the look you are after

  • my location: here you travel to me, and we shoot at my home studio, around my home environment and / or go to local locations I have scouted

  • travel charge adjustments: if you come to me, obviously, there will be no travel expenses. The exception is if using my vehicle to travel to a local location, where the fee will be 500 yen per ten kilometres (plus any toll road charges incurred). This will be arranged during the booking process

  • scouting: I prefer not to do pre-session scouting if you want to work in a location near you. It just takes too much time. I will however work with you once a booking is confirmed to check your suggestions for locations, usually via e-mail and your snapshots of the area

  • where is best? It's entirely your choice, but for standard portraits, my place is usually best. I know it better, have more resources available, and a large variety of nearby scouted locations. For 'environmental' style portraits however, I need to come to you.

  • when is best? If we're going to be indoors (like in your office, kitchen, factory, studio, etc.), then the time of day doesn't really matter so much. If we are going to be outdoors, then generally early morning or mid-afternoon onwards is best. Again, we discuss this during the booking process

    Important: this site and my business are both called Tokyo Portrait. This is because that's where the bulk of my work is done. However, it's important to note that I work all over the Kanto region, and at times even further afield. Also, despite the name, please be aware that my home studio is located in Saitama, some 30 or 40 minutes by train north of Tokyo depending on the station of departure

What To Expect

Here is what to expect during a session and afterwards

  • a session of reasonable length. What this means is at least the time stated for the particular session package. Realistically though, a session is done when it's done and if we need to go over a little, then that is usually fine, within reason. If it all goes well and works out quickly, and if the client agrees, I might wrap it up a little shorter than that. There is also the so-called busy person option, so please see For Busy People below

  • good and frequent direction and help from me

  • a great many photos to be taken, that I will later whittle down to a group called the ‘selects.’  From this first round of selects (typically around eight to twenty), I consult with the client to cull it down to the ‘picks’ or ‘keepers.’ Typically, you can expect anywhere from two to eight keepers. Remember, we're looking for only those honestly good, truly compelling images

  • delivery within a timely manner. Workload can vary, but expect digital results to be delivered from around four days to a week. If it is going to take longer than this, then I will inform you in a timely manner   

  • full disclosure about what I'm doing and why. So, ask away. With that in mind, please see the sections below

For Busy People

  • if you are a really busy executive, business owner, entrepreneur, artist, etc., with only a few moments to spare, I can set up somewhere suitable but out of the way and use one of your staff (or myself) to pose to set up the shot, and then wait till you have five or ten minutes free
  • this service is charged at the same rate as the 45 minute session package (Package One), as it entails the same workload

What you Get

Here, completely and in total, is what you contractually receive as service or goods from a personal, non-commercial use portrait session

  • my time and service as stipulated in the contract

  • appropriately resolved and sized digital files of the keepers, which are suitable for high quality, large web display and e-mail. If you wish, I will provide one extra set, resized to specific dimensions

  • a moderate amount of digital post processing on the keepers, where needed. Basically, I have set amounts of time for each package type and I divide the number of keepers into this to allocate a time per image. I start an image and work from biggest to smallest need and stop when the allocated time is up or there is no more need, whichever comes first. Then I proceed on to the next image. In practice, this amount of time generally proves sufficient

  • personal usage rights (personal websites, e-mail sharing, personal blogs, online CVs, personal social media, etc.) given in the form of written contract. 

  • non-commercial editorial usage. As long as I'm clearly and correctly attributed as the photographer and the images are not being sold or used commercially, I'm fine with editorial usage

  • reduced rate printing options (see Printing below)

  • again, I'd like to stress, you get full disclosure about what I'm doing and why. So, feel free to ask questions and also please see the next sections below, particularly the one following this

    Note: files are delivered only to the actual client. If friends, family, etc. require copies, these need to come from the client. This is a strict policy

What You Don't Get

  • full resolution files. Sorry, but full res files are only really needed for printing and printing is a very complex thing, and done poorly it can make a mess of my hard work and effort and make me look bad. So, I like to keep control of all printing or potential printing. Please see the Printing section further below for options on printing

  • exception to the above 1: I will supply carefully sized and resolved 'nengajo' files for printing, half the space of hagaki sized postcards - see the relevant printing section below

  • exception to the above 2: for editorial print use, commercial print use or media print use, suitable files will be provided, and delivered electronically to the publication(s) in question as per any prearranged agreements (please see the third and forth points in the section above, the fifth and sixth points in this section and "copyright" in the section below)

  • access to the rejects. Sorry, but for similar reasons given above, this is an essential business decision. All sorts of things during a session can lead to poor photographs, such as exposure anomalies, failed compositional experiments, blinking, half formed facial expressions, fly away hair, etc., and this is typical. These images, while common to all photographers, look bad if allowed out into the wild. So, like all other professional photographers, I retain control and possession of them

  • copyright. Please see the following section regarding this

  • unlimited usage. Again, sorry, but if usage is needed for commercial or corporate purposes, this is something that needs to be mentioned and negotiated separately on a case by case basis

  • mini 'individual' sessions when you are actually a part of a non-commercial group portrait session. Sorry, but group means as a group. Don't worry though, this doesn't apply to individual members during family sessions

What I Get

  • copyright. Sometimes people don't understand this and get a little concerned about it, but, unless otherwise agreed to, the creator automatically owns the copyright to the thing created - in this case, photographs. This is a simple fact. In addition to this, please note that by agreeing to work with me, I also legally retain the right to use any images as I see fit for personal display, promotion or editorial illustration. In practice, this means to promote myself, usually here on this website or elsewhere, or to illustrate, typically on one of my blogs or as a guest writer elsewhere. For more on this, please see the following section and the first point in the section following that

What I Don't Get

  • the right to sell your image for commercial usage. While legally the creator holds full copyright for the thing created (in this case, photographs), the creator cannot use anyone's image or likeness for commercial use, unless that use is negotiated for and documented with a model release contract

What You Need To Know

  • clients sign an online contract to engage in work to finalise a booking. Basically, this just means we agree to work together and that the client understands and accepts in full and without reservation the terms and conditions contained on this web page, and that any unforeseen silliness outside of anyone’s control (typhoons, train delays, etc.) won't result in any nastiness. It also ensures both parties reasonably attempt to do what they agreed to (i.e. we both turn up and do our best)

  • clients sign both an industry standard release and an industry standard usage rights contract before proceeding with the session (a type of release appropriate to the specific work and a type of usage rights contract appropriate for the agreed usage will be used). This occasionally freaks some people out, but it's entirely normal and is designed to protect everyone involved, both photographer and client, and we'll walk though exactly what it means. Most of this covers what was already mentioned above in the preceding four sections. Typically, for most standard non-commercial personal portrait sessions, this amounts to the client agreeing not to use the images in aid to make money with (without gaining approval and renegotiating the fee) and myself agreeing not to sell the images (again, without gaining approval and renegotiation) and for myself to only use them (if at all) for personal professional self promotion and / or editorial purposes  

  • what I offer here is essentially a specialist service - portraits in a style and manner the same as or similar to those shown on the various gallery pages of this website. If a client is looking for something completely different, like event photography, architectural photography, a totally different approach in scope, scale or look, then perhaps I'm not the photographer for that person. However, I just might be, and for extremely competitive rates. So, always feel free to enquire

  • a good photograph needs work, both at the time of capture and later in post production. Work takes time. While the various session packages are advertised as having their own specific durations, please remember the session fee also covers an approximately equivalent amount of time in post production

  • similarly, I can't just turn up and go 'snap' and walk away with a good result, so please make the time fully and truly available for a session and please prepare (see the What You Need To Do To Prepare section below) 

Two Hard Core Contractual Facts That Legally Need to Be Stated and Once Stated Are Taken As Understood and Agreed To

  • the services and or goods on offer for contract, trade or sale on this website from Tokyo Portrait and Dean Johnston as listed herein are strictly, totally and completely limited to the provision of those photographic services and or goods as stated herein and no other services, goods, claims, warranties or promises are made or implied.
  • by confirming a booking, the person making the booking acknowledges both that they have read and agreed with the terms and conditions contained in The Kitchen Sink and that they are responsible for ensuring all members of their party are aware of and comply with said terms and conditions.

What You Need To Do To Prepare

  • I don't usually provide make-up and hair stylists. If you really desire professional assistance, it typically needs to be organised by you. If you are really stuck though, I can make arrangements for you

  • for women: make-up can look weird in photographs. Bring make-up, but it is best not to wear any at all at the start. If we feel the need, I'll ask you to apply only the slightest and most subtle and natural looking amounts. You can always add more if we feel it is needed. Avoid any kind of make up that might leave your face shinny the exception would be if you really, truly are exceptionally good at applying natural and subtle makeup or have access to someone who can do this for you (hint: try a good makeup counter at a good department store) remember though, avoid anything that leaves your face shinny - I really can’t stress this enough

  • for men: it's best not to bother with make-up. If you are usually clean shaven, don't shave for a few days (or however long it takes you to get a good hunk of stubble). We can start out with a rugged look and then progress to a cleaner look (if you wish)

  • for both men and women: have your hair how you like it, how you want people to see it

  • for both men and women: organise several changes and styles of clothing, so we can try different 'looks.'  Avoid overly fussy patterns and overly complex clothing. You need clothing that looks good from several angles and that you can move in relatively freely

  • anything that inhibits movement can lead to stiff, trapped looking postures

  • bring items of clothing that look different from each other. For example, don’t bring three similar blouses. Instead, a blouse, a turtle neck sweater and a jacket, for example, would be better. Think in terms of items of clothing that will make you look completely different with each change.  

  • If we are going to be outdoors without anywhere to change, think in terms of items of clothing that can be added in layers that will cover up the base layer - see the point above for an example of this

  • Always feel free to ask advice during and after the booking process

    Really though, portraits are about you, not your clothing, so don’t worry too much about it, but just do try to choose wisely

Getting Ready For A Session

Making portraits is a dance, and as it has often been said, it takes two to tango.

However, we'll start off with a waltz, so I'll lead.

As we progress, and as we relax to the rhythm, we'll move into something more complex and adventurous - here we tango. It will take both of us, and in effect, we'll both have our own chances to solo. To prepare for this stage, there are some things you can do at home before a session.

  • for sessions at either your place or my home studio, find music that you really like and that makes you relaxed and feel free, and get it ready - have it ready to play or load up a USB drive with iTunes compatible files to bring with you

  • practise pulling faces in front of the mirror - get used to doing things that feel physically odd and that make you feel self conscious - especially, try jutting your whole head forward at the mirror. Don't try to look good, just be silly - try for exaggerated poses of emotions like happiness, anger, joy, confusion, etc. 

  • do the above once more, but now pay attention to what you think makes you look good. It's important that you know what you think looks good for you and that you can communicate this to me

  • look through magazines and consciously think about how people pose and where they place their hands, feet, etc. Mimic this. Bringing your own researched ideas to a session really helps

  • tell your friends and family about what you are doing and then pose in front of them. Ask their advice - don't feel shy about this, it's surprising how often they get into it and try to help you out

Bringing Friends / Support

By all means, bring or have present a friend or family member for support. It's totally fine. However, so as not to impact on the flow of the session, please limit this to one, or at the absolute most, two people. 

Also, while actually taking photographs, I will usually ask these people to remain just outside of the client’s eyesight and to remain quiet (other side of an open door, reading off to one side with their back to us, etc.). Some clients start to feel self-conscious or even to worry that they appear vain when friends or family watch, and this can lead to them becoming stiff. Also, some friends just can't help themselves and will try to offer advice and even, on occasion, to direct me. Remember, this is our dance - there's no cutting in.

Please make sure that anyone that you have as support understands the above and that they also know that I never, ever, without exception, take photographs of them, neither by themselves nor with the client - not even "a quick snap together to remember the occasion." Sorry.


Despite what many people believe, printing is not just a matter of pushing a button. It is a complex art, both with wet chemical printing and now with the more common digital processes. As such, it requires a great deal of extra time and effort, along with specialist tools.

While not a master digital printer (they are quite rare), I provide very high quality and extremely pleasing results. 

With digital images, a file that looks pleasing on a screen almost never prints well. To print well, a file needs to be duplicated and to receive print optimising adjustments (called a 'repurposed digital file'). This can be a very time consuming process. Printing also always entails varying degrees of trial and error, which in turn entails the use of high cost expendables - in other words, the using up of expensive ink and paper. Print pricing reflects this.

Session portraits are available as prints only to the actual client. If friends, family, your clients or media require prints, the orders need to come through the client. This is a strict policy.

  • NOTE 1: all client prints require duplication, retouching and pre-print digital adjustment (repurposing), and this is 4,600 yen per image. This fee is charged in addition to the print costs listed below

  • NOTE 2: prices include free delivery within Japan. Outside of Japan, arrangement and pricing of delivery will be made on a case by case basis

  • client prints: un-matted and available on either 'fine art' paper (archival cotton rag or archival bamboo fibre), or glossy photo paper

        ◦    A3 Plus size (A3Nobi) fine art: 9,700 yen

        ◦    A4 size fine art: 5,700 yen

        ◦    A4 size glossy photo: 1,700 yen

  • details for payments for prints will be supplied upon print orders. Payment in full is required before prints are processed

If you wish to work with a professional retoucher / printer, that is fine. All file adjustment / printing fees would then be paid to that service. I'm not interested in trying to take a cut. However, I must again stress that full resolution files must remain only under the control of the myself or the service being used, and thus I need to be involved in the process and approve of the service.

Nengajo Print Files

I can supply files sized and resolved (repurposed) to print well on consumer (home) inkjet printers at half hagaki size.

  • approximately 100mm x 74mm: 4600 yen

Fine Art Prints

All non-client images on this site are available for general purchase - in other words, images that are my personal work, from the Latest gallery or the Objects / Places gallery.  

  • fine art prints: printed on either archival cotton rag or archival bamboo fibre 'fine art' paper, un-matted and signed
    • A3 Plus size (A3-nobi): 32,700 yen
    • A4 size: 15,700 yen
  • as mentioned above, prices include Japan wide free delivery. Orders outside of Japan are arranged and priced on a case by case basis
  • as also mentioned above, details for print payment will be supplied upon print orders and payment in full is a requirement for printing to proceed

The Final Bit

So, having made it this far, and agreeing with all you have read above, reward yourself by arranging a session. I'd love to hear from you.  

Alternatively, you may wish to contact me via e-mail at dean@tokyoportrait.net

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