Simple Photo Tours is a Southern California-based company founded by two photographers who want to share their love of photography and travel with others through fun, well-planned photo excursions to exciting, picturesque destinations. The company has partnered with world-renowned photography bloggers Eric Kim and Steve Huff on numerous photo safaris and workshops. Simple Photo Tours has also sponsored the Beauties of Nature Workshops, an annual destination beauty and fashion photography seminar featuring celebrity models and Phase One medium-format cameras.
The tour company is a division of Simple Studio Group, Inc., an organization that specializes in furnishing both veteran and beginning photographers with the equipment and expertise they need to achieve the images they want. The company’s other divisions include Simple Studio Lighting, an online and retail store based in downtown Los Angeles that includes a 3000-square-foot rental studio and offers a proprietary branded line of LED and strobe studio lighting and accessories. Simple Studio Productions, the production division, creates videos for corporate clients and is currently working on a new TV show for the CW network. Simple Studio Rental rents lighting and equipment from the company headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The same location also features the Hatakeyama Gallery, a venue for local photographers to exhibit their work for the Downtown LA Art Walk and to host special events.
Todd Hatakeyama, the CEO of Simple Studio Group, Inc., is a former studio and wedding photographer whose product knowledge, business acumen, and entrepreneurial vision have turned Simple Studio Lighting into one of the preeminent e-commerce suppliers of studio lighting equipment. He has since diversified his enterprise into a burgeoning photographic services business, and now manages a thriving studio and a team of talented photographers and videographers. He travels extensively to pursue his passion for landscape photography and writes about his journeys and reviews the latest photographic products on his blogs, LightingLeica.com and RoadTripHounds.com.
Jay Bartlett, Vice President of Simple Studio Group, Inc., perfected his craft by taking battlefield pictures for the US Air Force while on active duty in Desert Storm. After shooting product for a medical company for several years, he became a full-time commercial photographer. Jay now specializes in shooting people and clothing for editorial, advertising, and fashion accounts and has worked for such illustrious commercial and corporate clients as Harley Davidson, Home Shopping Network, and Margaritaville Apparel Group.
A gifted teacher, Jay has led several photographic workshops with his popular “Breaking Through” seminar, and has instructed novice through advanced photographers in a variety of photographic scenarios. He’s also conducted a multitude of online tutorials, written product reviews, and hosted behind-the-scenes videos of professional photo shoots in action. A Phase One Certified Professional, he shoots primarily with Phase One and Mamiya medium format systems.