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.

Go grab the December 2012 issue of Focus Magazine.

I had such an awesome opportunity to photograph this cover with the cutest kid winners of 2012. To everyone that is reading this, I challenge you to take a photo of five kids! Without the support group  and chaos control from Focus Magazine (thanks Mike and Aldo), Sharonne and the parents, this shoot would went down in flames.

Photo was taken at Christmas Lane in Dover ( Pretty awesome place to take the kids and family as  it’s really off the beaten path as it’s not off of any major streets or highways. So now you know (and knowing is half the battle)!



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. 😉