Toto Villaruel - TAP Photographer Profile

To say that Toto has a prodigious work ethic and is an absolutely incredible photographer is beyond being an understatement.  The work we see from him on a regular basis is stunning.  Whether it is a bright and airy wedding, a dark and moody engagement session or beautiful personal work, Toto has the ability to shoot and edit in a wide variety of lighting conditions while still producing photos that are distinctly his.  We are incredibly thankful to be able to share his words and work below.  We hope you enjoy Toto Villaruel's TAP photographer profile! 

IG Tag: @totovillaruel                   Website:

Where you’re based out of: 


What camera gear do you use? 

I kinda mix my gears :)  I do have the ff

Leica SL2s + Leica SL 50 1.4 summilux, Q2

Hasselblad cfv + adapted lenses

Nikon z9 + Noct 58 0.95, Z5 + Laowa 35 0.95, Z30 + 16-50kit

Canon r5 + rf 50 1.2, R6 + 35 1.4

Sony a7 IV + adapted lenses

Fuji GFX 100s + Contax 80 with .8 kipon

How long have you been shooting?

I’ve been shooting for almost +/-14 years

What inspired you to shoot professionally?

To be able to travel and shoot around the world :) experience new cultures :)


What is your favorite place to photograph?

Anywhere :) 

What place would you love to shoot but haven’t had a chance yet?

Cliche.. but Iceland or Africa


What do you look for in a session?  (Light, location, interaction, etc.)

Interaction and Light! :)


What is your Archetype and why?  (Which profile is your go to?)

Portra 400, 800 and Fuji 400h :) 


What are some of your editing techniques or tips and tricks?

I would say… get it right in camera and your gonna get the editing in one click :) Also study the film stock you are using to get the right tones for it :)

What are some of your biggest challenges in running your business?

Being too much of an artist :)) being too OC in terms of the colors :) 


Who are your creative influences?

Jose Villa, Jen Huang, Erich Mcvey :)


Describe your “Ah Ha" moment in photography.

When I got to do my own style :) when my clients would give me the creative freedom to just shoot :)


What are some mistakes that helped you to grow as a photographer?

Doing the awkward “model” poses to my clients :)) I learned that we should not treat our clients as models :) Trying out color profiles that would not work :) the more mistakes you have the more you can learn from them :) 

What inspires you to stay creative?

The pressure of always learning new things even after 14 years of shooting :) just being a sponge :) 


What goals do you hope to achieve this year?

Get more clients around the world :)  get a bigger house also :))

Is there anything you’d like to share about the creative process or editing that you feel would be helpful?

Have a vision in mind before starting every work :) once you got the look :) it’s way easier to fit in the color profiles on the style of shooting you have :) 


What is something you would have loved to have learned from another photographer early in your career?

It’s ok to take breaks :) me time or family time separately from our work is ok :)