Yesterday, I was mentoring a friend about anything photography. I don’t have a course guide or regiment of any sorts other than just having fun. Then a question to myself hit me later on that night which I had to ask myself over and over: as a photographer, what is my ultimate goal? Is it to travel? Make enough money to make PB&J sandwiches for my kid? I realized something that I never really spoke or even expressed about before but I discovered what it is!

It’s really hard to teach and put into words the feeling you get when I hand my client a cup of Joe in the morning then slide my signature yet simple brown paper wrapped package to my client across the small bistro table. Whomever my clients are, they always have this blank look, like the seagulls in Finding Nemo. I guess it might be due to my packaging as it is very plain. Curious, my client goes through the motion of pulling apart the butcher’s twine, then carefully peeling away the grip of the tape to reach the goodies on the inside. As all of this is going on, I’m sitting on the other side of the table, gripping on my hot latte as the heat emitting from the cup singes my hand but I don’t care ’cause I’m waiting for the one thing from my client: the Smile!

It’s kind of difficult to explain the joy of ‘the smile’ until you felt it the first time. Even if we all don’t have a client of some sorts, I think as a photographer (hobby or pro), we all have the power and just maybe, the responsibility, to leave a great mark on a family or friend’s timeline where in their description it will read *happy face*!

Well, I leave a little video from my mentor, Sue Bryce and just wait for the reaction ’til the end as it sums it all up.

Introducing Photo Culture: The Culture of Kids

Going down on the 24th of October @ the Beaux Arts Gallery (11252 Winthrop Main Street). 5 artist sharing their own interpretation of the show’s theme: The Culture of Kids. Through this event, hopefully we create and unite photographers to share ideas, techniques and enjoy the company of friends and family.

More information coming soon. Stick around through this youtube channel, nam phan photography facebook page ( and for more info.

Thanks and hope to you there!
Nam Phan

The great thing about shooting on location is that you have the product readily available should anything goes awry. The challenge within this opportunity is that I’m now taken out of my comfort of my studio (and pajama pants) to shoot within an environment I have never photographed before. All of these things run in my mind such as lighting, lighting, and more lighting. Insert Coins. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

So how did I pull off this particular on-location shot?

It’s fairly simple setup. Referring to the diagram, I was flanked by a pair of Alien Bees b800 with the left unit outfitted with a shoot through umbrella while the opposing unit was equipped with a 43″ silver lined umbrella. Sitting on the corner of the table in front of me were two Canon flashes; a Canon 580ex2 on the right corner with the bounce card extended and a Canon 430ex on the left. This is a bit odd: the 430ex did not have a bounce card built in which I thought those little plastic things were a standard affair. Lucky me, I had an assistant, my lovely wife (also my agent and producer), Sharonne hold up a 6″ white paper plate to bounce the light to illuminate the grapes. Oh, a note with the 580ex2 scheme: I wanted to bounced light to hit the champagne glasses to diffuse a variety of semi-hard light drama that we never see too often with product shoots and in this case, it worked!

To trigger the lights, the Canon speedlights were set off by my Canon 7d pop-up flash as I had a pair rf-602 receivers on hand which in this case, they were tagged to the back of the Alien Bees. When the pop-up flash is active, the hotshoe becomes nonfunctional so the rf-602 transmitter had to connect to the 7d’s pc sync port.

A couple clicks later and the shot was done.

The past month I’ve been crazy busy and as a photographer, I have been taken to new parts of town that I’ve never seen or heard of. One thing that has been a constant is this summer in Tampa, Fl is the scorching heat, so much so that I’ve been going to church and repenting all of my sins so I don’t end up in hell when the man up above decides my afterlife assignment. Yet, for some reason, this weekend’s photo shoot was relatively cool. I actually thought that the Cruz’s were officially shutting down the summer just so we could all see little Antonio shine and celebrate his 6 month B-Day.

This photo shoot went down in their neighborhood park that they mentioned to me during our ‘one-on-one’ dinner a few nights before the shoot. Somehow, they overlooked their local park as a “hot spot” but I’m pretty sure they will appreciate the lush and vast green grass their own backyard from now on.

Last night, I decided to rollout with my brother, Viet, to a session on campus in downtown Denver. A decent amount of people were on deck throughout the night but plenty of raw talent and dedication. I didn’t take too much video but decided to squeeze and puree my creative mojo for all you guys/gals.

As for the video, I pieced it together via Windows Live Movie Maker (gasp!) and then slightly tweaked via Youtube (double gasp!!). Did I spill the secret sauce? Scoop it while you can.



Mug Shots

Giving back to the community, especially the one that you live in, is a great feeling and just good Karma. It is also good way to get out and to get to know people who would have probably otherwise never met and walk away with some cool relationships. No matter what your profession is plumber, artist, cook, doctor, technician, attorney, trucker, etc., you can find a way to give back. The best part is it doesn’t have to necessarily be with large amounts of money! It can be with a small donation here or there (and surprisingly those generate the most smiles) and you can supplement with your talents or services. In my case I get to take hilarious pictures that generated huge smiles. The only way to grow out of ones shell is to go out and put yourself in a situation. Now, I’m not talking about running through 18 lanes of L.A. rush hour traffic but if you did make it out alive out of that frogger chaos, you definitely grew enough for the next 10 years. Ideally, the situations I’m referring to would be jumping on to a dance floor and busting a move for the first time or getting in front of your colleagues a recite a speech you always had stuffed in your back pocket before it officially turns into pocket lint. So this similarly parallels my opening about giving back to community. If you are in the Greater Brandon, Fl area listen to the news, tweets, and Facebook status of your fellow colleagues. For an hour or so get out from under the sink, stop painting your canvas, put the spatula down, hang up the stethoscope, tuck away the Allen wrench, skip out of your office, and park your truck to give back. This is how…

Recently I was asked to photograph a crew of mobsters participating in a future Cash Mob, date to be announced, with the Brandon Chamber and Focus Magazine. What’s a Cash Mob? I know what you’re thinking, there is some similarity with the Flash Mob but it’s not some dancing hijinks throwing out cash freely like a Magic Mike movie. The whole idea behind this shoot is fun gritty mug shots for all our business gangsta’s. This was a part of me giving back through services that I can offer, the other part, me being at the place of business when the Mob holds up the business to buy some really cool goodies.

Cash Mob– A Cash Mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business and everyone participating spends a minimum previously agreed upon amount (or more) and buys items from that business. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the overall the good of the community. You buy from them, they buy from you, and the happy circle goes round and round. They may also serve a secondary purpose to help your business as well in providing social networking opportunities. Even if they don’t buy or use services from you that you might provided, they may know someone who will! It keeps small business in big towns thriving essentially since we live in the times of big box stores. People put faces to names, and then you’re not just a name but a person that they actually want to do business with. They were inspired by Flash Mobs.[1] The cash mob is related to the carrotmob, which supports companies for ethical, mainly pro-environmental actions. wiki

Here’s a couple of individuals that really stood out from the Cash Mob photo shoot and gave me a great chuckle. Kinda makes me wonder what they have done in their past dealings but I won’t question them directly.

For you strobist folks, the photos was shot on a Canon 7d strapped to a Canon 50 f1.2L blasting away in the forms of f2.2 iso200 1/160sec. A Canon 580ex2 on the camera’s hotshoe firing in manual mode towards the ceiling with an Alien Bee B800 firing towards a 43″ reflective umbrella at it’s lowest power setting at camera left. The setting was actually shot in a hall way and the Alien Bee was placed at mouth of the hallway.

So watch out local small businesses, the Cash Mob is out there ready to strike at any time. 😉

Oh snap?! You don’t say? I’m published on Google Currents!

**woot woot**

Now, you don’t have an excuse if you don’t have 3g/4g on that tablet or at&t capped your bandwidth. You can read all of my nonsense and morsels offline.

How? First you need to have the Google Currents app. Copy and paste link:


Then click on this link will take you straight to my Google Currents feed..


Sorry fellow citizens of the internets! I shared this with everybody on all of my other channels (facebook, twitter, vimeo, youtube, google+) and totally neglected you guys & gals whom call my blog home. Since the quest for the world cup just started, I guess the timing is somewhat appropriate.

A couple weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to do some coverage for the USL PDL VSI Tampa Flames. Lot’s of ABC’s going on with the name but let me explain really quickly for this really unqiue sports program. The USL would be equivalent to the MLS (soccer) here in the states. I really don’t know if the MLS draft their players from universities like the NFL (football) but the USL have a ‘farm’ league known as the PDL which stands for Premier Development League. To me, its very similar to the minor leagues of the MLB (folks, it’s baseball if you’re not following me). USL PDL wiki

Enjoy ^u^

Here’s a quick rundown of this nifty device, the Tascam im2. Ordered it from B&H photos for about $50 with free shipping as it would normally run around the $80-$90 range. As you can see, the Tascam im2 is a condenser microphone which works with ipod, ipad, and the iphone 4. It’s a great little item at it’s current price especially if you have never been exposed the great power of a condenser microphone. You can monitor audio while using this device only if you’re mating it with an iphone 4 or ipad. Unfortunately, the im2 blocks the headphone jack on the ipod rendering the whole monitoring aspect useless.

So, if you have any one of those i-devices, I highly recommend giving the Tascam im2 a look especially at $50. At around $80-$90, I would place the im2 in the novelty as you can pick up small dedicated field recorders around this price range that have expandable memory, female 1/4 20 threading, and the ability to monitor audio.

Can’t wait to snag one of these cameras. The ‘zoom’ and ‘image stabilization’ are the best features of this camera..

Shoot what you got. Share. Enjoy. 🙂