Fishing, like Marketing, is a Sport of Patience

One of my hobbies is fishing. There’s something about the calm I feel standing out on the ocean, smelling the salt water and reeling in a good catch. Even more than loving to fish, I dig seafood, specifically fish. Well, I love food in general! Just as some men are steak guys I appreciate a fresh catch. I’m Asian, what can I say?! Sometimes, my Snapper comes to me on a nice white platter with a side of grilled veggies. But most of the time, I have to check the tides, pack the cooler, bait the hook, stand around for hours (which is actually good alone time by the way) waiting for my catch, and then maybe, just maybe I’ll have a nice fish dinner. There are times when I go out and the tides just right, the fish are biting like crazy and I catch enough fish to stock up. Then there are the times when no matter how well I planned the fishing trip and prepared my line that I get nothing. The case is the same for any artist when trying to attract attention to their new business, new work or even to maintain a sharp presence on an agency’s or client’s radar that they’re already on. Being an artist is like fishing. You need patience, diligence, discipline and to keep on creating regardless if you get any bites or not. You have to market yourself.

Just like the fish see the bait on your line, if you’re continuously putting your work out there, the agencies, business and individuals that you’re targeting see your work…they just may not be hungry at the moment or have an immediate need for what you’re trying to feed them. Nevertheless, they see you and may even really like what you’ve put out, the time to bite just wasn’t there. There will also be times when you throw something random out there and the whole world seems to react by putting you on top…again, just like fishing. Marketing yourself as a creative is just like fishing.

It’s a waiting game that’s hard

Being a photographer is not an easy gig. The awards, accolades and recognition are amazing but most people don’t see or understand the effort that goes on behind the scenes so they think the results are instant (please don’t take offense, I’m speaking in general terms). If you put your best out there and have the patience to see it through you’ll reap the rewards in due time! It’s not easy to wait or to keep pushing forward when you receive no feedback, or worse, hear nothing at all. But it all comes back full force once you catch that first bite.

Be patient and calm – for no one can catch fish in anger.”

Herbert Hoover

As I sit here waiting for my fish to bite here’s a short clip and a little bit about the behind the scenes production on my 2014 Summer/Fall automotive marketing campaign:

I delivered a clean and simple mailer to my prospective clients and agencies that I would like to work with to not only show my creativity and skill set but to also pack as much visual stimulation and sense of quality as possible without making them go into sensory overload. In my former corporate life used to work in the marketing and media business, so I have a strong fascinating with papers, texture, font and all things digital. I also partnered with my artist rep and brand consultant over at SWP and Company for insight and guidance from an outsider’s perspective-you know that person that is detached from the work and can easily say yes or no to an image or idea.

On the outside, I started out with a smooth frosted satin envelop. Originally my thought was to go old school, something along the lines of a linen textured manila envelope but the clear envelop quickly develops a sense of transparent curiosity. You immediately see every bit of the contents packed. At this point, hopefully, I’ve got the interest of my fish intrigued.

Next, I personally wrote to all of the prospects on my list to give them a sense that these packages were not just made in a factory or by some random fellow busting copies out at FedEx/Kinkos Office. It is true that a handwritten note is not as clean or form fitted as a typed letter but I sent this mailer out to people who I would really like to work with and whose work I admire. I wanted to show to whoever opened this package that I am a hands on person. I not only want to work with these companies and individuals but create relationships that go beyond just one project. The paper I selected is a heavy cotton base paper that speaks to my appreciation of quality, especially in branding and all of the elements involved. It also gives the recipient that sense of texture I mentioned earlier.

nam phan photography promo fall 2014 v1

The piéce de résistance, is of course, my magazine portfolio. It features all of my recent automotive projects in a full spread fashion. Over the last several months we explored several options for my marketing mailers. I liked the magazine option not only for the many images you can include within that one mailer, giving the recipient a good feel of my style, but also the clean cut feel that a magazine brings. I figured, if any of my targets would like to use me for a print campaign, let me show them my work in that form. I also, like every other business person out there, had a budget. I not only wanted to send this mailer out to potentially land jobs but to put more of my work out there and show a sign of appreciation. Going with a magazine format instead of a hardcover book or more costly mailer materials allowed me to send the mailer out to people who follow and support my work. Those are the individuals that are the true bread and butter of my business and at sometimes even a motivator or inspiration. Because they really dig what I do, they’re always mentioning my name or referring me, without my asking. I feel it only right to give them props and send them something!

nam phan photography promo mailer fall 2014

The second to last page (last fold of the magazine) is intentionally blank. Remember, I’m targeting creatives, artists, individuals working on projects and works that stimulate our senses in some way. I wanted to stimulate theirs. The last fold is blank on both sides for the recipient to imagine and image I captured for them, promoting their product or piece of work. Or maybe they just have a “what in the world?” reaction, either way, a reaction was made and the purpose served. On the back of the magazine I included a QR code, that when scanned, takes the recipient directly to my website in which case they can view my work digitally, see my online portfolio and have my contact information. It’s not only a “business card” but a call to action that directs traffic towards my website allowing them to see more work if they’d like. Every detail was considered for me to show what I can bring to the table, now they just have to bite!

And there you have it, fishing and marketing.

Happy Mother's DayI wanna wish all the Moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day today! Normally I’m the one behind the camera but it’s obvious I wasn’t here. I’m thankful for my mom and love her very much…now if only she was only internet savvy and could see this. I’m in serious debt to my mom for the lifetime of service I receive! She was the one that I ran to, as a little runt, when I got hurt or wasn’t feeling well. She was the one always looking over my shoulder, even when I didn’t think she was and up until this day she always wants to prepare my favorite dishes. Being a husband and a father has made me realize the work and rewards of being a parent, the work my mother put in and the love she got in return. And then there are times, I’m sure, like most parents, that she felt all of her efforts were unappreciated, unnoticed or forgotten. They weren’t Ma and I love you!

I also want to give a huge thumbs up to the mother of my daughter, my wife, who deserves thanks everyday for all that she does. I love this woman with all my heart I’m giving her a Supercell high-five for her Super Mom services. I’m realizing that women really do have superpowers, it’s not a myth or fantasy.

Wishing all the Moms out there Happy Mother’s Day!

Peugeot 208 t16 Pikes Peak Morning Prep

Being in the element and photographing on location can be a tricky affair. Even more so when you need Mother Nature on your side and you’re trekking 9000+ feet of elevation! While I was preparing to shoot the Pikes Peak Test Run I had to pack some key essentials and, as I mentioned in my previous Blog, also mentally and physically prepare myself.

Here are my 5 key pieces to make my Early Morning Shoot, and I do mean Early Morning-3am, a bit easier for my body.

1. Wicking Base Layer Shirt – Shooting started around wee morning hours of 3am. Dressing in layers help to keep your body warm and comfy yet also makes it easy to stay cool by peeling off the layers as it warms up like an onion. It all starts with a wicking shirt as your base layer. A shirt that has the capability of wicking- Absorb or draw off (liquid). I personally like the ones from The North Face and Under Armour.

2. Various Munchies & Amp food (Energy food for me: Almonds, A couple Granola Bars, Smart Water, Unsalted and No Sugared Organic Trail Mix {no need to sugar shock or have salt dehydrate your body}, Bananas, Apples and if I need something sweet but natural small pieces of Dark Chocolate) and of course Liters of Water –Need to keep over hydrated. Drink about 2 bottles before even heading out…and leave ample time to relieve yourself!

3. Cross Training Shoes – Hiking boots might be a better option for some, but I feel most comfortable with my Nike Cross Trainers as they’re fairly light, provide a great amount of stability and pretty much match all of my workout and outdoor clothes. Yes Ladies, us men do look at our wardrobes too-We don’t need you clowning on us any more than you already do for looking like fools.

Peugeot 208 t16 Pikes Peak restaging

4. Radios – To keep in contact with your Shooting or Production Team (if you have one). If you don’t have a team it’s still a good idea to have one to tap into an Emergency Channel in the event you need it and you have no cell phone signal. And for those thinking that radios are a thing of the ancient past and still wanting to rely on cell phones, if you saw the title above, the word mountain is in there, the possibility of you being lost in an abyss without cellular signals is a pretty fair chance!

5. Stretches -Or for those like my wife-Yoga. Yes, you read that right. The movements you do before and after working out are what I’m referring to. You need to stretch your muscles for all the movements they will be doing-even the ones you haven’t thought of. Walking may not seem like much but at high altitudes with lower levels of oxygen, for extended amounts of time and moving over long distances, the long steps you have to make while walking takes a toll on your body, specifically your muscles and your lungs. Imagine this-Your standing on the side of the mountain swapping out batteries, drop it and while bending over to pick it up feel extremely nauseous, like you want to faint and there is a shot that you want to capture about to take place in less than 60 seconds. Now you feel like crap both mentally and physically not to mention you most likely blew your shot because you’re recovering from your exhaustion over picking up a freakin’ camera battery! That would suck. This has a little more to do with what I spoke about in the previous blog on being in shape and working out and I tie it in here with the stretches and yoga as one of the things you learn to do and put into practice when you incorporate this into your daily routine is breathe control. You learn how to relax when you’re stressing out and in a rush. You learn when and how to properly breathe slower or faster. You condition your body over time so that when you finally meet the elements it automatically knows what to do-you don’t have to think about it and definitely don’t overact or overexert yourself.

6. Bonus: Patience – This ties into point 5. Don’t rush to a spot so quickly. I have a 3 Year Old Tot at home and think back to her bedtime stories as I type this. Think about the “Tortoise and the Hare”. Plan out the shots you want-or at least try to anticipate them in order to be where you need to be when you need to be there. You might be a little slower in getting there but if you plan to be there and take your time getting there-pace yourself I don’t mean Sloth mode, you’ll be where you need to be (unless it’s some crazy unplanned action shot and well, you just better pray and hit the shutter). Also, there’s lots of loose gravel on the ground and when trekking at high grades while carrying an equipment bag on your back you don’t wanna go tumbling down the mountain side, I for sure as hell don’t.

Peugeot  208 t16 Pikes Peak


Mr Froggie Needs Visine

Something told to me to look at my bird house before walking inside from a morning shoot and to my eyes, I’ve spotted this well camo red-eyed frog. As long he eat the bugs, he’s more than welcomed to stay.

Shot on Canon 7d with 17-55 f/2.8 barrel. Photo edit and cropped in lightroom.


Greener Side of the Mountain : Chris + Lauren

The recent fires in Colorado shut down almost the whole state down to a stand still. For the unfortunate, their home, memories and dreams burned laid to rest underneath the black ashes. I never been so close to such devastation; I was already to run out of Dodge. Fortunately, Chris + Lauren were right on the other side of the ridge in Boulder and their awesome day will be blessed by starting their lives by sharing their first kiss together on the greenest patch of grass within Chautauqua Park.

Cheers to Chris + Lauren! May your dreams and memories of love and happiness will never rest and turn to ashes.


Cliffs Notes

+ Headed to Colorado right after the day where we all ‘Merican’s set the sky on fire to celebrate our independence.

+ Due to the fires set on the land of Colorado, my beloved Pikes Peak Hill Climb race was canceled which brought a lot of sad faces including me.

+ Did a lot of fishing. Curse you whomever you are that set those fires.

+ Hip-Hip-Hooray! Congrats to Chris + Lauren. Francis and I photographed their union right behind the ridge line that once held the fire behind the city of Boulder. (see following post for more details).

+ Curious: X-rays

While waiting in line with the other cattle to be processed through airport security, I always wondered, ‘how would it be like to be scanned through the x-ray machine?’. Granted, I wanted to go home, not to the detention center, so I enlisted my trusty ipod to give me a glimpse of the wonderful yet mysterious airport x-ray machine.

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..



Snippets – Having Fun and Getting Worked in Denver

Since purchasing the Tascam im2 for my ipod, I wanted to created short snippets of my life as Nam Phan: husband, father, photographer, and now realizing I’m somewhat out of shape and a bit short on breathe.

So without further ado, here’s some snippets and behind the scenes of my trip to Denver a week ago.

Enjoy ^u^