Feb. 19, 2021

Tri Nguyen: How to create demand for your work

Tri Nguyen: How to create demand for your work

💯💯💯 “You’ve got to be proactive. Instagram is great, but you can't just post nice photos and expect people to just come flocking to you, that doesn't happen. I don't passively market." Tri Nguyen

Attracting clients is no easy task as a freelancing creative, particularly when passive marketing has been shown to rarely produce major returns.  Instead, it is proactive marketing and focusing on content that is in-demand that will yield success.  In this episode, I have the privilege to sit down with commercial photographer, Tri Nguyen, about his creative process and the evolution of his career that has picked up more work in 2020 than ever before. 

Tri Nguyen



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Michael Der  0:02  
You're listening to entrepreneurs, a podcast that inspires photographers and visual artists to live their best creative lives. My name is Michael Der and I am a full time photographer with nearly 10 years of experience in the freelancing world. And I'm sitting down with an amazing community of visual artists to talk about process, business, and the lessons that have helped them grow. So let's get to it. Entrepreneurs starts right now. Okay, folks, welcome to another episode of entrepreneurs, we have a very special episode today, our featured guests, is an impassioned visual creative out of the bay area with a diverse portfolio of commercial work that includes corporate Fitness, Food, real estate and lifestyle photography and filmmaking. We're going to be discussing some really important concepts in self-employment, about competition about hustle about client development, and ultimately at the core of it, how to find and create content that is in demand. You can find his work at ci when photography.com and on Instagram at Tri underscore Nguyen underscore photography. So without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce the wonderfully talented photographer and filmmaker, Tri Nguyen to the show. Tri Welcome to the pod, my man, thank you so much for being here.

Tri Nguyen  1:12  
Yeah. Thanks for having me. This

Tri Nguyen  1:13  
is exciting.

Michael Der  1:14  
I appreciate Is this your first time on a podcast before?

Tri Nguyen  1:17  
Yeah, yeah, I've been on the production side, you know, I've done the video and audio recording for a podcast, but not a guest never been a guest. Well, I'm

Michael Der  1:27  
very honored. And as I was looking your information up, you have a very atypical path to becoming a creative, I'd say, you know, you've got a BS from Carnegie Mellon, an MBA from Johns Hopkins and an extensive career in it. So I mean, on paper, you're very much like the son My parents wanted instead of me. So let me just kick this off with you first, like what made you pursue the arts,

Tri Nguyen  1:50  
like you said, you know, you and I grew up in an Asian household. And you get we have a traditional parents who are like, No, you get you get, you're gonna get a degree in engineering, or medicine or finance, anything else, you just kind of screwing around. And you know, and I kind of I listened to them, I got a degree in chemistry, got a master's degree in it, I got a nice comfortable job. And it just wasn't I just wasn't really happy. You know, I wanted to be something, do something creative. I've always enjoyed doing photography. I always had a camera, throughout high school in college, just kind of playing around, but never really thought about as a career, until I moved out to California. I moved out here almost eight years ago with my wife. And, you know, it was it was like, now, if I'm ever gonna pursue photography, now's the time because I came out here. I had a long career in federal government consulting, I was, I was an IT consultant for the FBI for a number of years. Oh, great, great job, great, you know, it's steady and you know, challenging somewhat, and then I moved out here and I didn't have an IT network at all I was I was, I was talking to recruiters to find an IT job. I said, I took my first job here, wasn't it? But then I said, you know, if my wife encouraged me, if you if she said if you're going to do it, and And now's the time to do it, you know, there's a lot of opportunities here. And, you know, just make the leap, see what happens. And it's, it's really paid off.

Michael Der  3:15  
So when you started kind of branching off onto your own, and you kind of went full self-employment, did you have the clients first? Or did you have the business plan first, like what came first? Sometimes it's one or the other for people?

Tri Nguyen  3:30  
I would say, Well, you know, when I came out here, I, I started establishing photography, my photography, network tips, kind of as a side business, kind of a side hustle. So I have some clients first, you know, I started offering my services to Stanford, I start off as a sports photographer, that's where you and I met that sports shooters Academy, right. And that the most of my background is started out in sports. So I started branching out to the local universities and, and, you know, just to just offer my services so I had some clients and that turned into other types of photography turned into doing headshots and turned it into doing lifestyle photography. That's all I had some, some clients probably not enough to be a full time photographer when I decided to go full time. That's when I really had to hustle and look for clients.

Michael Der  4:17  
Yeah, but it was a side hustle for a good portion, right?

Tri Nguyen  4:20  
Yeah, yeah, I'd say for a few years.

Michael Der  4:22  
Yeah. And what did you learn in because, you know, you go to business school, right? What did you learn? Did

Tri Nguyen  4:27  
you learn anything about entrepreneurship? And in business school, you kind of learn from other people you learn from experiences, you kind of, I'd say Business School, it's good for developing your instincts for business. And that that goes for being an entrepreneur also, how to treat clients, how to how to negotiate how to, you know, you have to make a quick decision about is this a good is this a good deal or not? You learn how to negotiate learn how to develop those instincts. And

Unknown Speaker  4:53  

Tri Nguyen  4:54  
there are some courses on entrepreneurship but you know, it's it's academic, you know, you Learn, you learn by doing, you're making your mistakes.

Michael Der  5:02  
I feel like my issue with schooling sometimes is that like the technology advances at such like this incredible rate, and maybe business is different, but you know, generally, what's being taught now may be irrelevant 510 years from now, because the Tech has created a new wave of new platforms, maybe new philosophies on things like marketing and business, and just how we create and consume content in general. So I kind of want to get your stance on this having gone through that curriculum. Do you think there's like any disconnect between the material that is being taught in schools, and the real-time real-world practices that we have to take into account now? Or am I just kind of making that up?

Tri Nguyen  5:41  
No, you're right, you know, they're, they're, they're things that never change, you know, communicating with people, developing networks, developing relationships with people. And that's, that's really important that that that never changes, you know, but, but let me tell you a quick story that My name is I went to business school in, oh, 505 to eight. And my first one of my first classes was communication or something, I can't remember the name, but that the miscommunication and he had us, right, it was it was an older guy, probably 60. But he looked like he was at one time an executive for GE or something, he has write a memo, you know, you know, you know, nobody writes memos. Now. You know, you write emails, or you know, even these days, even text messages, but he has write a memo with a nice, clear subject, you know, like, you know, attention such and such, I remember thinking that I've never written a memo in my life. And I'm sure my kids will never write a memo. And they're like, you know, so, yeah, in that sense. Yeah, yeah. But the idea is still the same. You know, you can communicate clearly, you concise emails, you know, you don't want a three-page email, those types of things are what you learn,

Michael Der  6:44  
what, in what ways did school maybe fail at preparing you for this venture into a self-employment career? Or even the photography industry? In what ways? Did school fall just a little bit short?

Tri Nguyen  6:58  
Let me see, I think there's classes that I think were just useless for me. Yeah, you know, I'm one of them as accounting, you know, that we had it, we had to go into the weeds and accounting, really, and I see the value of it, but we spent a whole semester in it, and I knew I was never going to be an accountant. So you know, and that this is one of those core classes, and there's a few others that are just, I know, I was never gonna need it, you need to understand the basics of accounting, but you don't need to go dig deep in accounting. You know, there's, there's a lot of things like that I think these business schools should be should tailor the program to what you really what your interests are, you know, there's people who want to be accountants, there's people who want to be finance, and I knew I wasn't going to do any of that. You have to Yes, I understand. I have to understand the basics of it, and that I completely agree with but to have a full semester, you know, doing balance sheets, and something I'm not sure it's really, you know, I'm not sure it's really that, how much value for me,

Michael Der  7:53  
one of the things that I'm interested in is reaching out to kind of my local community, you know, particularly the small businesses that could use some better promotions and better branding. And I know, this is something that you do very, very well, what would you say is the key thing to keep in mind as you approach these small brands, and give them your pitch, okay, if

Tri Nguyen  8:10  
you want to, if you want to work for them, you have to show something in your portfolio, that's, that says that you can do the job has to be, you know, sometimes you can pitch like, Oh, look at, you know, this is what Nike did, I can do something similar, sometimes that works, but you have to show you have to prove to them before they hire you, you have to prove to them that you can do the work, whether that means you go out, gather two of your friends who look like models, and you shoot a similar shoe, shoot the concept. And then you show it to them and say, This is what I want to do something similar, and then you sit down, you get it, you get your foot in the door that way, or, you know, you just you have to find a way to prove to them that you can do the work, you know, so your portfolio has to speak to them.

Michael Der  8:48  
Exactly. How important is that level of communication with somebody that's a prospect at that point, because I'm curious how you get from Hello, we might be interested to Hello, where do we send the paycheck to?

Tri Nguyen  9:01  
Yeah, yeah. You know, it's, it's never just one, you know, communication. It's never just one email, you know, it's, if you're, if you're approaching them, and you're selling them cold and you're going to be prepared to you know, to email and follow up and find them or find the Find out who the decision-maker you know, just you got to keep at it with that we know without being annoying without being that guy who would that gets sent right to spam. You know, you gotta be you got to be persistent professional, your portfolio website, your social media, it's got to be clean. And you know, it's got to be cuz they're gonna look at it and they're gonna say, Alright, this guy will give this guy a chance or they're gonna say this guy's you know, kind of just screwing around. He's not really serious, not really professional. So then you approach them, you know, in a professional manner.

Michael Der  9:44  
How many of your clients would you say, find you versus you finding them and reaching out initially it was like 80% me going after them. Now it's probably more like 30% and a lot. A lot of my work now is word of mouth, you know, referrals and word of mouth.

Tri Nguyen  9:59  
You know? I see a lot of people graduating from college with an Arts degree in photography, whatever, and they think that people are just going to knock on their door. And that doesn't happen that way, you still have to go, you still have to go get it, you know, you still have to find a way to get your work in front of people, you know, you still have to network. You know, during these during this pandemic, in the last year. I've been fortunate, I've been very busy. But I've had some downtime. And during that downtime, I'm still churning, I'm still hustling, I'm still meeting people on LinkedIn and say, Hey, you want to grab a socially distance coffee, we can get outside and we can chat and let's turn into work for me. Nothing replaces, you know, the good old fashioned networking, you know, developing relationships, for example, hypothetically, I wanted to approach Nike or something like, Hey, you know, who's in charge of the sports market, who's a marketing person, you start, you start branching out, so looking for the right person to read, to connect in to get bring into your network, hopefully, start communication went through if they're receptive. You know, for me, I've, I've started reaching out to, to agencies around here, you know, finding out who's doing video production, who's doing photography, and you know, and just talking to them, these days, people, you know, it's a double-edged sword, it's people have more time, because, you know, they're, they're either sitting at home working, or they're not working, you know, but they have more time to meet and chat with you, but it's about meeting a person. So, and I always insist on meeting in person, if at all possible. Yeah, I mean, these days is a little tougher, but if at all possible, meet in person, you know, I'm pretty confident that I, you know, I come across as friendly and professional. So

Michael Der  11:30  
I'm so curious about what people's perspectives are on marketing versus what it actually might be. I get the sense from you that you know, you're a person that instead of focusing solely on let's say, Instagram, and waiting for the pings to come back, you just pick up the phone. 

Tri Nguyen
Yeah, you got to be proactive, you know, Instagram is great, but you can't just be can't just post nice photos and expect people to just come flocking to you, that doesn't happen. I don't passively market I'm just I don't just sit there and say, Oh, I have this great, these great photos, and people are just coming flocking to me, it usually doesn't happen. 

Michael Der
I think that is probably the hardest lesson for a lot of creatives to figure out. And once they have to rely on this form of income, it kind of hits them in the face, because you realize, Oh, I can't just sit back and wait, because I have a great portfolio, it's incumbent upon me to get that portfolio onto the desks of people that can have the power to hire me and kind of pitch to them. That's a pretty good lesson to have. And I'm sure you learned that pretty quickly, even before you started to venture out off on your own.

Tri Nguyen  12:31  
Yeah, yeah, that's, that's, that's definitely true. You know, you know, having a portfolio is kind of like a basic requirement. Now Now you gotta show them that you're you can handle a big job, you gotta be professional, and you know, and they want to work with you that's most important is they want to, you want to show them that you're personable and then they enjoy working with you provide a good experience for the whole process.

Michael Der  12:52  
So I want to stick on to portfolio just for a second. Because I'm curious about like, how you develop the portfolio that's so vast, you know, you do corporate, you do fitness, you got real estate and food, you have the filmmaking, you have the lifestyle. How did you balance this notion of between, you know, the riches are in the niches versus I'll kind of cover all my bases. 

Tri Nguyen  13:15  
Yeah we've all heard that. Look for something, specialize in it, and then and then that's what you should do. And I'm not a believer in that. I think these days, I enjoy shooting real estate, I just came back from a real estate shoot today. I enjoyed shooting food, I enjoyed shooting sports, I enjoy doing video, so why can't I do all of them, I enjoy it. So I work hard at it. I think I'm pretty good at it. I know. They're all, they're all so different. But I enjoy doing. I'm a commercial photographer and a commercial video producer. So I can do all those things. If I can't, if there's an area that I can't do it, I'll figure it out. Or I'll find someone that can join my team that can do it with me these days. I think people finding out during this pandemic that you specialize, for example, in sports photography or event photography, you're playing a lot of trouble. You know, you're probably hurting because, you know, so and this is this kind of kind of extreme case, because pandemics don't happen very often. But you know, it's good to diversify, I think.

Michael Der  14:07  
Yeah, no, absolutely. Did it. Did you feel like it took you a lot longer to develop all the skill sets necessary? Because you do all of them very well. Generally, this doesn't. I don't see this too often. Usually somebody is really strong at one thing. They might dabble in something else, but it's kind of, you know, half-assed, you do really well in all of them. How long did that take you to kind of develop those skill sets?

Tri Nguyen  14:29  
it Yeah, I work hard. You know, I tell all my friends that when I was working in it, it was I get into work at eight o'clock I'd be done a four you know there's an FBI, I'll be done a four o'clock and then the rest of the day I go to bed. You know, I hate my family. I go to bed at nine to 10 o'clock at night. Now I get up at seven. I'm working until about six either shooting or emailing or communicating or networking or, or you know, writing proposals writing invoices. Don't have dinner from six to nine with my family hanging out with each other And then they go to bed at night, then I work from nine to midnight, every night, Saturday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday too. So I'm working hard. And a lot of is because I have a lot of passion for this, you know, if I'm not working for my business, then I'm on YouTube looking at, you know, researching how other people do things, you know, how this person like this, you know, how to how do you set the lighting for this, and I'll research I'll spend, I spent a couple of hours doing that. So I have a passion for it. If you go in there saying I really enjoy sports, but I see there's money in food photography, maybe I'll try that. If you don't have a passion for it, it's not gonna last, you know, you have to have a passion for whatever you do.

Michael Der  15:33  
Right? Well, you answer my question in some degree, but I want to kind of revisit it. You know, when you're not shooting when you don't have a job that day in terms of like a paying client? Like what are you filling your time with? For the most part, you mentioned, you know, you're doing research, you're marketing to other clients. Walk me through a typical day where you're not shooting?

Tri Nguyen  15:50  
Well, there's always administrative stuff. I mean, you're a business owner, you're not just a photographer, there's always administrative every, every morning, I wake up to 10 emails. And every night, you know, after dinner at my kids go to bed, I'm replying to all those emails, you know, or sending out invoices or proposals. So there's always this, you know, it's not the whole day, but it's, there's always a little bit of that, if I'm not shooting, then I'm I'm looking, I'm looking for opportunities, I'm reaching out to people on LinkedIn, I'm reaching out to my friends, sometimes I just have the urge to shoot, I'll reach out to my network models and, and friends, hey, it's gotten to a shoot, it looks nice, nice, Moody, cloudy day, let's do a quick shoot, let's throw something out there. And then and you know, there's always models out there that they're always looking to shoot looking to upgrade their portfolio to or sometimes I'll reach out to other filmmakers, you know, I'll meet up with them and chat with them. You know, I had a coffee with a guy and I met from East Bay two days ago, you know, just and we're planning to do a music video. You know, just for fun. You know, I'm a gearhead. So this year, I've acquired, you know, a bunch of new cameras, including the red Komodo and I just want to use it. I'm just eager to use it. So you know, I don't trust that it's ready to, I'm ready to use on a production set yet, so I just want to use it on, you know, just to test out on with my friends. So you know, I'm always looking to do something. I always want to stay busy.

Michael Der  17:08  
Yeah, you got to find room to kind of play.

Tri Nguyen  17:11  
Yeah, yeah, that's right.

Michael Der  17:12  
What administrative you mentioned administrative work, which I think also surprises a lot of people when they first enter this industry, and they realize, Oh, you know, it's not all shooting, and maybe some people do shoot a lot. But you know, some? for a lot of us, we do have a lot of administrative work to do. What administrative work? Do you like the least?

Tri Nguyen  17:29  
I don't like sending invoices. It just feels cumbersome. I know. I mean, that's, that's, that's the number one rule of you know, when a business get the money. But, but I just don't enjoy doing it. It's obviously you have to do it. But yeah, I enjoy it. And that's like, you know, an hour a week, every week. So it's it's a fair amount of work. But I don't like doing that proposals. I don't mind doing because then that's because it's very important. You have to make sure you get everything right, in the proposal.

Michael Der  17:58  
Yeah. How long do you spend on a proposal?

Tri Nguyen  18:03  
Well, you know, I usually schedule a call and so and get fill in all the blanks, but writing, that's what pulls out, you know, I use a sir a software called honey book, and, you know, there's templates. So, you know, that, you know, the most of these proposals fall into one of these templates. So it's should be straightforward.

Michael Der  18:20  
Yeah. And, you know, you provide a variety of services, and I just mentioned those, you know, with videography with photography, and a lot of different areas. Could you shed some light on how you have consistency in your pricing? I think that's one of the areas that is so difficult to discover, as a creative that doesn't have any mentorship. Is there like a methodology that you use to come up with your quote, easily, you don't have to give us the prices? But just, you know, your method?

Tri Nguyen  18:47  
Yeah, you know, every proposals different every project? Well, I would say every, but most of them, there's a little bit more of this, a little more of that a little less than that. So you kind of have to play by ear, kind of develop, develop kind of your instincts as to how long you think it will take, you know, it comes down to how much of your time and how much someone else's time that you have to maybe freelance out to. So you know, you develop a job with a rate and hourly rate that you're happy with. And you For example, let's say you're doing a half-day shoot, you come up with a half-day rate. And then if it's video then how long do you think it will take to edit this? You know, what else do you need? Do you need a Do you need to hire a video editor? Do you need to get to get the license to the music you need to get an animator so you have to think about all those things when you write a proposal,

Michael Der  19:37  
a proposal for video versus a proposal for photography is that any different

Tri Nguyen  19:40  
Yeah, it's different because video projects quantum more time to get to deliver a finished product you have to order the audio to worry about the video editing. I tell everyone for half-day shoot it's about two days of editing. You know so it's a lot of you can take for a half-day shoot let's say you walk home with two hours of footage you got to pour through all that and make cuts and everything that that right there, it takes a half a day just to make just a cut through all the raw footage and then you have to start deciding how this is all gonna play together. And then you have to do the sound design, you have to do the color grading. So that was a, it was a steep learning curve I got into video three years ago. And it was a steep learning curve. Because you know, as a photographer, you're not to worry about audio, you don't have to worry about audio, you don't have to worry about a lot of different things, you know, the camera movement and things like that frames person, you know, frame rates and things like that. You don't have to worry about too much at all. Where's that? Where does you know with video that that's critical?

Michael Der  20:33  
What was the hardest thing for you to learn? When you kind of pivoted to video?

Tri Nguyen  20:37  
There's no I was a lot, you know, I insisted on learning how to do. There's a lot of people who shoot and don't do any editing. So I wanted to learn both. So though I think learning how to do video editing makes you a better videographer and cinematographer. So I learned how to do I use Adobe Premiere? And that's a steep learning curve. No, you have to there's this there's a lot of different things and a lot of different facets. Now now I look at Lightroom it looks somewhat simple compared to what you have to do in Premiere.

Michael Der  21:05  
Does, did editing video prepare you to be a better pre-production kind of planner?

Tri Nguyen  21:11  
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's, that's, that's another big thing about video is the pre-production is more complicated, you have to, there's a lot more things more intensive, a lot more things you have to worry about in pre-production, when I was just starting out doing video, you know, I was used to doing pre production for photography, which is nice to kind of do some location scouting, and kind of get a sense of how you want to light it. And that's pretty much it. You know, and whereas, you know, with video, you got to think about how the audio the camera movements, and you know, it's a lot more multi-dimensional.

Michael Der  21:45  
Do people ask you for the video, like for that you have some great kind of promotional material on your site? And I'm sure you have more that you don't have on your site, these kind of five-minute promos, do people reach out to you and ask you specifically we'd like something like this? Or is this part of your pitch?

Tri Nguyen  22:01  
Yeah, yeah, I know, I'd say a lot of times, and this is probably true in photography, too. A lot of times people reach out to you and they're not really sure what they want. So that's Yeah, you had to sell them? Well, okay. So based on your brand, you know, maybe this would work let's go through here. So here's like a storyboard a mood board that we can kind of go through which ones do you like, you know, and I'll put, I'll show them some of my work, I'll show them other work that could work. And you know, and we kind of come to an agreement like, well, what they really like,

Michael Der  22:28  
I wanted to talk to you about the scope of these projects, specifically, the videos, because I think that's important for people who are, who want to do these projects to know what is involved to some degree, for a basic, let's say, five-minute video that is, you know, fully finished, what's the shortest amount of time that you spent on a project to complete that? And what's the longest it's taken you?

Tri Nguyen  22:51  
Okay, five minutes. Most videos these days, if it's sitting on the web, if it's advertising, it's two minutes or less. Okay. So let's also let's just say, for the sake of this conversation, two minutes, it's usually a full day shooting, you know, especially if you if it's evolving models and coordinating locations, it's usually three to three to five hours shooting Max, a minimum, minimum,

Michael Der  23:14  
right? Okay.

Tri Nguyen  23:15  
I'll say it's usually a full day.

Michael Der  23:18  
And what about pre-production,

Tri Nguyen  23:20  

Tri Nguyen  23:22  
let go, there's lots of if there's a location scouting, then then you know, I'll be or the producer will go look for location, or a lot of it can be handled over email, if you can put it if you can storyboard it on on a template on a document. And that works out too, especially if it's shot in an area of San Francisco that I'm familiar with. And there's too much on site pre production.

Michael Der  23:44  
And then you're editing time for let's say, a two-minute video, how long does that normally take you?

Tri Nguyen  23:48  
I usually say, give me three to five days to get your first draft, then they get one major revision. And then from there, it's some fine-tuning, unless there's some listeners on any major, you know, I don't like the music. I don't like this. I don't like this whole half of the video. But then it's a little faster from there. But the first draft is usually, you know, a week. These days, I think these days, people want it pretty quickly. If it's a two-minute video, they expect that pretty quickly.

Michael Der  24:15  
That's pretty extensive, then.

Tri Nguyen  24:17  
Yeah, yeah. It's, it's, yeah, it's a lot faster, a lot longer than the thought process to edit photos.

Michael Der  24:26  
How do you balance multiple projects going on at the same time? Do you try to schedule it so that you don't have to do that? So that you can kind of zero in it's difficult sometimes I have

Tri Nguyen  24:37  
shoots with three different clients in the same week. And, you know, trying to coordinate all that and then, you know, if I feel like it's a busy week, then I usually don't, you know, tell my other clients that edits will take a little longer. But I've gotten to the point where I have to, if I'm doing the edits myself, I have to schedule a day where I'm just doing edits. You know, I can't just schedule shoots after shoot them. Next, you know, I won't have any time to edit itself. I've got an appointment, I have to like, schedule. This day I'm editing for client a,

Michael Der  25:05  
I think you and I talked about how you had even more work in 2020. So I'm curious about the trends that maybe you saw, what type of content is in demand? What have you found for yourself to be successful?

Tri Nguyen  25:17  
Yeah, 2020 was an interesting year. And when, when this whole pandemic started in March, April, you know, I was, I was scared, just like everyone else thought there was gonna be any work, and everyone's just going to close their, their, their bed, their accounts, and just take it sit it out until, until this is over. And that wasn't the case, you know, like you mentioned, it was my busiest year, it was the best year I've ever had. And, and I found that, you know, March and April, slow, because people have so much uncertainty, but then, but then things start to pick up again. And then, you know, people still business are still in business. So they still need advertising, they still need content. So, you know, its productions are smaller, smaller teams, you know, so I've had the, I've had to get COVID tests, before I got on to a production site. So you know, there's things like that, but smaller teams, you know, the content hasn't changed too much I and I would say like, the travel difficulties have created opportunities for me, whereas, you know, some companies, but abroad and a team from LA, now they're looking for homegrown talent to look for local talent. So you know, it's created opportunities for me in that sense, but, you know, the people, the people don't stop needing marketing material, you know, you can see that the stock market is still crushing it. So, you know, businesses are still doing fine. They still need content, they still need the material.

Michael Der  26:38  
Did you notice any type of timeframe where it started to really tick back up? It was there like a notable trend that it was like, Okay, these types of businesses started to kind of reach out and call me again? Or was it just people feeling like they kind of were a little bit more comfortable?

Tri Nguyen  26:55  
Yeah, I took a couple weeks, maybe a month or two. But you know, you know, there's, there's things that obviously never picked back up sports photography is one of them, you know? Yeah. sports events, I should say, I used to, I used to cover events for Stanford and a couple local private high schools here, that went to zero. And I've done some business, business events, you know, event videos that went to 02. So there's things that just never picked up again. But other places, fortunately, I've been lucky, real estate picked up, doubled, you know, because people aren't going on site to do to look at properties and look at residential real estate. So they needed walkthrough videos, they needed Nice, nice photos. So that's just that that area just went through the roof of the food photography. I didn't go to zero, but it was very quiet, as you can imagine, because restaurants are pretty much dead. But yeah, some areas picked up in some areas, just just, you know, really hurt and buy out imagine, I'm hopeful that 2021 things will start picking up in those areas. Again,

Michael Der  27:59  
you mentioned a lot of different shoots, you know, you talk about food, you sports events, you know, you do your video packages, what's the most demanding for you to shoot, and why I would say corporate events are pretty are pretty challenging, because,

Tri Nguyen  28:15  
you know, there's a lot going on, you know, if anyone's ever been to any of these, like, corporate events, at these large conference centers, there's a lot packed into the agenda and you have to kind of have a you have to assemble a team to cover all of it, or as much as you can someone, the keynote speaker, the audience reaction, you know, all the, all the behind the scenes stuff, you know, and then you do the interview on, you know, you do an interview off stage. So there's a lot there's a lot going on, that's always a challenging day. But you know, corporate anything is pretty lucrative. So you know, it's good to have

Michael Der  28:46  
and what's the what's the easiest what's what's kind of something that you got in the bag every time

Tri Nguyen  28:51  
at sports photography, I love it. I've been doing it long enough where I you know, I can anticipate things and yeah, I just enjoy covering athletics. You know, I used to cover professional boxing, I used to cover some professional football, but now I cover High School athletics and I love it just as much it's in many ways it's much less of a hassle you know, when you cover professional sports yet you have to show up two hours early get get get media past you know, get look for your location, and you know, you get and they want those photos within an hour or two and it's just it's a full day whereas I shoot high school sports I can kind of leisurely show up 10 minutes before the game starts. And you know, it's just less of a hassle less than a headache can be just as lucrative. Yeah, level competition isn't a high as high of course, but I still enjoy it.

Michael Der  29:44  
How much of your work is photography versus videography nowadays?

Tri Nguyen  29:49  
video is probably 80% of my work now believe it or not, is it really?

Michael Der  29:53  
Yeah. Before 2020 was it different? Or is it always kind of been that way since you started picking up video? No,

Tri Nguyen  29:58  
no, it's been trending up. You know, I think started doing video 2017 and it's been trending up you know 2017 was by 10% of my business because I just started I wasn't I didn't really know what I was doing then 2018 was probably 30% in 2019 it was probably 50 or 60% last year was 80% So 2020 was 80% so I you know, and it's not i'm not implying that photography is dying it's not because there's always gonna be a need for still photography but that's that's where my interests and that's where I'm finding my interests are right now is I enjoy doing videos I enjoy doing films

Michael Der  30:30  
did you go all in on video like did you just buy everything that you could from the get go or did you kind of gradually build your pieces up?

Tri Nguyen  30:38  
So I you know initially you don't need to jump in with like high-end cameras you know I started out with a mid I bought a used was that I bought a using Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro which is pretty good you know it's one of those value cameras I think it's it's a it's a great camera but it cost like $4,000 for a video camera isn't isn't considered high end just this years when I started I got a red I got a higher end Cinema Camera, a Canon Cinema Camera, so I don't go crazy if you're looking to get in video that don't go crazy buying like high-end stuff yet just learn videography first, they'll get you there's other things to invest in, you need. What's more important I think is lighting you need video lights now you don't you can't use strobes, obviously, you need video lighting, you need audio equipment. So you know those are those are just as important.

Michael Der  31:32  
So what is your current storage facility look like right now? I mean, you got a lot of gear

Tri Nguyen  31:36  
right and a lot of gear. My wife's getting on my ass about it, man. I have a have an office and and there's barely anywhere to walk. I have Pelican cases stocked upon Cal Pelican case. Yes. Everywhere. Yeah. Yeah, that's probably true. With a lot of people in this industry.

Michael Der  31:54  
Yeah, well, I mean, you guys, I guess you have the background to kind of have the mental bandwidth for all of this, you know, working in it, having that kind of skill set back in the day, that allows you to, to juggle all of the tech that you need to have for a video to go to here to start tethering to do this. Did you feel like that helped? Absolutely. Yeah,

Tri Nguyen  32:15  
I know, I'm, I'm a gearhead, I enjoy learning about the tech behind doing videos and doing, you know, still photography. Yeah, I had a natural interest in learning about cameras. So that definitely helps a lot, you know, that goes back to looking at you having a passion for this, you know, if you have a passion for it, then then you're always going to enjoy it. And, and you'll probably go further.

Michael Der  32:39  
When you have your teams do you assemble rather small teams? Generally, I mean, you can put 2020 aside, you know, as an outlier type of year, but under normal conditions with your team for a video production be rather large or small, how would you define that?

Tri Nguyen  32:54  
It depends on the project. But you know, you know, you know, I it's bigger teams, and then for video production, like, a big team is more than like, say five people that becomes cumbersome. You know, you maybe have one or two cameras. If you're playing director then you know, then you don't have to operate the camera. So but usually I'm operating the camera and directing. And if you're lucky, you get an audio guy and you know and clients on site, you know, maybe someone sells assisting with the lighting or you know, photos a lighting assistant. But yeah, usually it's pretty small, but it usually runs pretty light. And I mean, you know, these, these, a lot of times you're doing site shot shoots on site at your client site, and there isn't a lot of space, you can't have people just milling around. So

Michael Der  33:38  
could you do these shoots by yourself? Or is this something that you have to have a team with you?

Tri Nguyen  33:43  
I've done plenty of shoots by myself. Yes, well, yeah, if it's small enough for me, if it's just one, if it's one camera, definitely you can do it by yourself, you know, do that's where you get to learn, you'll learn how to do everything you need to learn how to do audio, you don't have to learn how to do it right you gotta learn how to do lighting, where Mike my commercial photography background really helped there. You know, if you can if you know if you if you're good with the lighting and audio and you understand how to work the camera, then you can you can do it everything. You can do everything on your own, but you know, it's easier, it's always easier and you know, and it's less likely that you'll miss anything if you have someone else

Michael Der  34:16  
there. Right? What whose role do you think is the most invaluable to you? Is it the digital tech? Is it the audio lighting person? When you have a team of your own? Who do you really rely on the most?

Tri Nguyen  34:30  
Now they're all they're all important and you know, they're on the way

Michael Der  34:33  
that's the diplomatic answer right there.

Tri Nguyen  34:35  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, lighting is very important. Yeah, I usually do that myself. lighting and you know, the camera operator, very important. Audio. If it's just an interview, it's straightforward if people are moving around and the audio person is important, too.

Michael Der  34:53  
I wanted to talk to you about you know, how you kind of jumped into your photography business. Can you remember Things you needed to address first before you did that, like what was that checklist? What did that look like?

Tri Nguyen  35:05  
I never actually wrote down a business plan you know, I knew what equipment I needed to do the type of jobs I would wanted to take you know good camera what's what maybe what's more important are good lenses, professional level lenses, and whatever lighting I needed since I started out doing sports I didn't really need that much lighting. I need a good long lenses long zoom lenses and camera that can handle the burst the proper burst rate for sports which you know, which is back I started I started out doing sports photography using a Canon XS rebel x si which is like a consumer level you probably could have bought at a desk buys 20 This is 2008 or you know I started doing with that but you know, I got I didn't have the burst capacity of the professional and stuff but I still got some good shots but you know you start somewhere and then you know you as your as your business grows you for better equipment,

Michael Der  36:00  
how often are you upgrading you know, as you as you've seen your business kind of grow and evolve like do you have a set plan or is it just kind of feeling it out and it's like okay, this time of year I'm gonna go and make a plunge on something new to elevate my my product

Tri Nguyen  36:17  
but you know, depends on my needs. You know, this year it was a big upgrade year what this mean 2020 because there's a slew of just killer cameras just came out in 2020 knows that the Canon r five mirrorless was great. I sold my my last DSLR which was the one dx mark two. I sold that two weeks ago. Now I just have mirrorless cameras for stills. I don't do live stills anymore. I just have the archive and for video this is a big year for video too because they finally have cinema cameras are small enough to fit on on gimbals a small gimbals so they have that the Komodo which fits on my my DJI Ronin RS two and the Canon c 70. So I bought both of them. I sold my larger account I sold my Ursa Mini Pro, which is a gigantic beast of a camera, great camera, but face to the camera. I sold a few other cameras, but I finally got the Finally I finally feel like I got to a point where if I can, if I got the opportunity to shoot like a netflix documentaries, I have the right equipment for Yeah.

Michael Der  37:22  
Did you feel like there was a real need to go to mirrorless like there was something that you felt like it's gotten too good at this point that I can't ignore it?

Tri Nguyen  37:32  
Well, there's there's multiple reasons. One of them is you're right. It's gotten it's gotten really good. And the other reason is, that's where the industry is headed. Well, you know what DSLRs Will you know, in about five years? bewildered, you still have a DSLR Yeah, you know, it's Yeah, it's industry is headed towards mirrorless and it's not going to look back you know, you can you can try to hang on with using adapters if you'd like you know, in five years, but what's the point just, you know, move embrace the better technology, I think,

Michael Der  38:01  
yeah, embrace the change. You do a lot of drone photography too. Right? When did you start adding that into your regimen?

Tri Nguyen  38:08  
Four years ago, I got my FAA license and you know, crashed a couple drones you know, learned the hard way. But yeah, I just want to tell everyone man Jones are not toys. You know, they're dangerous. You know, they you can kill someone with that thing. I've been very lucky. I've never no one's I never hurt anyone or damaged property. But I've crashed a couple of drones. And I can see the potential once. here's here's a story. I was flying a drone to San Francisco just a small one. Devin the Mavic mini Mavic two Pro is pretty small drone small battery. I was in flying in financial district. And you know, there's a lot of radio interference in that area. I made the mistake of launching from the ground up I should have locked in the floor roof of a building but it crashed from like, maybe 40 feet above the ground, just not that high. I went to look for it around the corner and this drone was on fire. I mean, the battery, the battery pack caught on fire. I mean, they're not they're not toys. And I and I have a $2 million liability insurance policy on the drone. Just the drone, not my camera equipment. Nothing else, just the drone, because I can see the potential of getting some serious hot water. You know, with a drone?

Michael Der  39:22  
Yeah, no, it's no joke. You know, speaking of are you incorporated? Did you formulate yourself like an LLC or anything like that?

Tri Nguyen  39:30  
Yeah, I did. Yeah, I think it's, you really should.

Michael Der  39:32  
You mentioned it before how a lot of your best marketing has actually been word of mouth. Is there any other form of marketing that stands out to you as a reliable point of emphasis, whether it's like email marketing print, do you do any of that stuff?

Tri Nguyen  39:48  
No, I don't do any email or print marketing. I, you know, I register on websites like thumbtack, you know, that I'd say I'd say thumbtack was a great way to get my business started. Mostly low end stuff. And you know, low end, when you starting out at $700 job, it's not bad, it's not a bad deal. And I'll say I'll say a lot of these small jobs turn into big jobs, I don't get much work on thumbtack anymore, but it's not a bad way to start. And you know, it gave foot in the door with a couple places do a good job. And they'll start and people will start referring you

Michael Der  40:24  
did your pricing change from the time you started doing this to now? And what was the tipping point for you to all of a sudden say, Okay, I'm not going to do jobs at this rate, I'm going to do it at this rate, or has that not been a factor?

Tri Nguyen  40:39  
Yeah, my pricing has definitely changed, you know, and so it's, you know, it's, it's the whole supply versus demand, you know, I got to the point where I didn't have I didn't have enough hours in the day to, to do the shoot, do the edits, you know, do administrative work. And so I just had to raise my prices. So right, unfortunately, you lose, you lose clients outweigh potential clients that way, but you end up working, let the same or less amount of time and earning the same or more. So, you know, it's kind of a good problem to have. But yeah, once you get to the point where you just can't handle the work, and maybe you're not charging enough,

Michael Der  41:13  
yeah, I often tell people in to kind of go through this thought experiment of like, if you doubled your rates, and you lost half your clients, you'd still end up with the same amount. I mean, obviously, there's no guarantee that that would happen. You could lose all your clients. But you know, once you start thinking about it from that vantage point, if you're really busy, you know, chances are you'll you'll end up roughly around the same area with more free time.

Tri Nguyen  41:34  
Yeah, yep, that's true.

Michael Der  41:36  
How do you feel about free work? I,

Tri Nguyen  41:39  
I'm an advocate of it, I still do free work, I pitch I you know, if it's the right client, or this year, I pitched my work, pro bono to San Francisco Food Bank and goodwill, San Francisco, goodwill, because I want to help out, there's a lot of people struggling, you know, I have I have the ability to help, you know, if it's if it's marketing to help people and families are struggling, and you know, I have time I'm going to do it. So and also, you know, and you do that do that kind of work, you know, it often leads to other things. You know, if you're starting out, and you know, you want to work for a brand, or you like this brand, but there are startup that'll have the money, you'll just go in there. Offer your work for free, kick-ass and you have a great, you know, you have some and portfolio that you can show off. But, you know, you don't obviously, you can't do it too often. Or you get stuck in it. Yes, this is still a business, but I'm not I'm not against doing some free work.

Michael Der  42:37  
How do you normally select your prospects? Like for the people that you reach out to? You mentioned this food bank? What is it about them that attracts you to take them on as a potential client like or clients like that? You know, is there something that stands out, like I want to work for this person?

Tri Nguyen  42:51  
A lot of times, I'm in commercial photography and video production. So if it's a brand, I like that, you know, I'm a believer in or I use myself and I would love to work with them, you know, usually I would love to work for them. But yeah, if it's something exciting, you know, always you should always think, is this gonna help my portfolio? You know, is how am I? How is the How will this help my portfolio for the type of work I want to get for the future? So that's a big part of it, too.

Michael Der  43:17  
Um, what action or step do you think is most commonly overlooked by creatives and getting the work that they want? What's something that we neglect,

Tri Nguyen  43:25  
you know, I think the relationship aspect of it, I, you know, I, I've talked about this before, people want to work with people that they enjoy working with, you know, obviously, you got to be able to do the work, you got to show something good. But you know, there's a lot of good photographers and videographers out there much better than me that, that I've been able to get the work and some of these other people folks, maybe have it because, you know, they're not, not professional or just don't, you know, don't know how to manage a client. I think that's where my years of IT consulting, working in a professional environment really helped me and going into going to business school really helped me it was because, you know, you, you still have to develop a relationship, you start to shake people's hands, get in front of people, and you know, people have to enjoy working with you that that's that's a big part of it. It's not just oh, this guy's a great photographer and Griffith almost gonna flock to him. It doesn't always work that way usually doesn't work that way.

Michael Der  44:19  
Yeah, it's very much sometimes how you work versus just the quality of your work. I mean, it's both. But I think that first part gets a little bit overlooked. What other forms of managing a client? Have we not talked about that I think that you could illuminate us on I mean, you talk about you know, walking them through the creative process. You talk about negotiation, is there anything else there that managing a client entails because I think I think our audience needs to hear that.

Tri Nguyen  44:47  
Yeah, you know, yo, you know, I always talk about I've said professionalism for a lot of times but be responsive. You want to follow up don't nickel and dime them, you know, don't leave a sour taste in their mouth, you know, but be very Sponsor I mean, irritates everyone interior hates me when I send someone email, I don't hear back for three days. And you don't want to do that to a client, you know. So you know, and show up on time short or even. My rule was I show up early, you know? So you know that those things, those little things go a long way you and I would say most of the time when people refer why somebody calls me emails me. And from a referral, they'll say, oh, such a such had a great experience working with you. They didn't they don't say they don't always say that you produce a great video. They enjoy working with me. You know, they enjoyed working with you. So they referred you.

Michael Der  45:32  
That's a really great lesson there. Yeah, to focus on the little things because I think that's 100% correct. And I just think of it myself as a consumer. I hate being nickeled and dimed. I hate when people, we've never been in an era where it's more accessible to reach somebody. And yet, when somebody takes three or four days to get back to you, it's it's almost unacceptable at this point. inconceivable. So if you focus on those little things, that's huge. And not so much managing client, I guess it but really building that client relationship?

Tri Nguyen  46:02  
That's right. Yeah, it is about building relationships. You know, I get a lot of repeat work, because you know, people, even when someone leaves a company and goes to another company that will remember me, and then, you know, right, yeah, that happens a lot. You know, so it's a, you know, you hear it all the time, it's a small industry, people get promoted, they move on. And you know, they want to work with the guy that they enjoyed working with,

Michael Der  46:26  
is there a practice or like a habit that is overrated to you know, something that creatives often spend time on that usually fails to pay any return on?

Tri Nguyen  46:35  
Yeah, don't don't put too much stock in what your social media looks like, you know, post them good. I I post once a week, man, just just just guess, get your best stuff out there. And then it's just like, your website is having an online presence? creatives do and I'm sure you've been reached, you've been contacted about doing work for free. And, and then and then someone saying like, well, this is you'll have a lot of exposure? Well, if you really think about like, what kind of exposure or what kind of, and how much effort you put into that, you know, a lot of times it's that it's not worth their time. So it just you have to really, you have to kind of like parse through those types of opportunities.

Michael Der  47:11  
Do you get nervous before a shoot? Do you get anxiety?

Tri Nguyen  47:16  
If it's a big shoot with? No, I'm really nervous about things I can't control, I cannot control if it's a shoot with five models and three locations, and the weather may be bad, you know, I get nervous about those things. I know there's zero, there's zero control over that. But you know, I just want everything to work out perfectly. And it makes me a little nervous sometimes.

Michael Der  47:33  
What do you think's the most important creative skill set to have?

Tri Nguyen  47:36  
I wouldn't say I'm the most creative person. But in working with other creatives, you know, being able to identify someone's talent is important. There's, there's people who are very creative, you know, doing music videos, I want to say I'm one of those people, you know, I think you have to like, recognize that kind of ability, I think.

Michael Der  47:56  
Yeah. And what about personality? Do you think there's a personality trait that has been the most beneficial to you or something that you see amongst the people that you admire? As if only I could incorporate that more? I'd be alright. Yeah, I

Tri Nguyen  48:09  
wish I could be more creative. You know, there's, there's this people who are very creative, and they just pull things out of thin air, and it just looks great. You know, for me, it requires a more a more thorough process, I think. But yeah, I mean, I mean, that's, that's not something I know, that's not something that you can just work towards. It's, that's that's inherent talent, I think, you know, so it's not, I don't, I don't try to I don't aspire to be that person, you know, cuz I know, I can't get there. Yeah, it's just one of those things where it's like, no matter how hard I train, I'll never be as fast as Usain Bolt. So I, I just, I'll never get to that point.

Michael Der  48:44  
You know what, so it will get a few questions here. Before we wrap up. What's the best thing about what you do? And what's the worst thing?

Tri Nguyen  48:53  
Best thing? You know, I, I really love the fact that it's, it's an I'm an entrepreneur, and I, I work as hard as I want to work. I generally like working hard. But you know, you always feel like you set your own hours. It doesn't mean I'm sitting back at the beach, you know, I work hard, and I see the fruits of my labor pretty quickly. You know, you work hard, you get what you put into it.

Michael Der  49:17  
If somebody would ask you sum it up for me, what does being an entrepreneur mean to you? Like, what would you tell them?

Tri Nguyen  49:24  
It's, it's very satisfying, you have the opportunity to build something for content creators like us, we have creatives like us, you know, these photos, I took the photos and the videos, I produce the videos, you know, so I can it's just very gratifying in that sense.

Michael Der  49:38  
What do you think is the best lesson or piece of advice that you've been given in your career?

Tri Nguyen  49:45  
One of my first boss as when I was an it was just got to college was an IT guy. He said, do the right thing. And you'll never you'll never be in trouble. Just Just do the right thing. You know? And yeah, and he's definitely right. You know, you always will find yourself These situations where you can't bend the rules here, can I cut the corner there? Just do the right thing. You know, sometimes that ends up resulting in like less money, but your integrity and your reputation are the most important thing. And yet sometimes you think you think that by cutting corners, no one's gonna see or no one no one's gonna notice but, you know, eventually is gonna catch up with you or somebody who wouldn't one day somebody will notice and then, you know, then you're in a bad situation, you know, just do the right thing. And the other thing I would say is, you know, I always have in the back of my head, my dad's voice is like, don't be lazy. You know, there's a lot of times where like, the end of the shoot, I'm like, Oh, I'm so tired. It'd be great to have this one shot, you know, set the lighting through this one shot, but just kind of tired. But then that voice comes up. Don't be lazy. And I do it. Yeah, don't be lazy.

Michael Der  50:52  
I think what you're talking about is, is overlooked sometimes, you know, this, this notion of the ethics behind things and just the integrity, just having integrity and what you do. Yeah, and being a professional and being somebody that people want to work with is really important for people to hear.

Tri Nguyen  51:05  
Yeah. And, yeah, I've had a couple of situations where I point out to the client that, hey, we didn't want to send out final invoice, hey, we didn't actually do this. For example, last week, two weeks ago, I sent that invoice, we had this production and on my proposal, I was gonna propose to pay for lunch for the crew. And the client ended up catering it I could have just, I could have just passed that on. But I said, Hey, we didn't, we didn't, I didn't actually pay for lunch. I'm gonna take it off the invoice now. And they appreciate things like that, you know, they see that Alright, this guy, this guy has integrity, you know, he's, he's not gonna he's not gonna screw me. He's not gonna screw me over next time.

Michael Der  51:38  
Right? Yeah, you could have easily padded the invoice. And we know, I think you and I both probably know of people that have done things in ways that we probably don't approve of, or don't see quite eye to eye with. And maybe sometimes that's a reflection of the industry that it's so competitive. You know, I guess I'll ask you that, like, you know, how, how have you felt about this industry in itself working with other creatives? I mean, has it been more often than not beneficial and positive? Or have you experienced some negative as well?

Unknown Speaker  52:09  
Yeah, I've been lucky.

Tri Nguyen  52:10  
I've everyone I've networked with, you know, in my network has been positive, and they've been a positive influence. I guess everyone, but I'd say I'd say 99% of people have been positive, you know, they want to help other people. And, and that, you know, maybe it's because I tried to help other people too. And that, you know, that kind of, you know, that karma kind of goes around. But, yeah, it's a good industry. You know, there's, there's a lot of good, a lot of good folks out there who just want to want to, you know, be part of a good team and create good stuff. So, you know, that's been positive for me.

Michael Der  52:42  
Yeah, I think that, to your credit, I think you're putting off good energy. And that that karma that you speak of it is what goes around comes around. So I think you're, I think you are attracting the right people because of what you're putting out. Yeah,

Tri Nguyen  52:56  
I hope so. I hope that's the case. I got into this because I just went for it. You know, there's a lot of people, especially when I was in the corporate ranks, there's a lot of people who are kind of dying a slow death is just kind of like, you know, it's a very comfortable job well paying. But you can tell there was like, it was kind of like that. What's that Robin Williams movie? Dead Poets Society, you know, you kind of get into this. Again, there's military, like, you're pushing the doing this, but you can tell them that they want to yearn for something else. And I I definitely yearn for something else. And I did it. I'm so glad I did it. Because I did something I wanted to do something I enjoy. And, you know, this past year, my father passed away.

Michael Der  53:39  
I'm sorry to hear that he

Tri Nguyen  53:40  
Yeah, thanks. But he, he was on he was sick for a while. And he told my brother, you know, shortly before he passed away that, you know, I should have did what, what she did, I said something more creative. Something in the creative field, am I this is my dad, who was was a PhD in computer engineering. You know, he's, I thought he loved that. I thought he loved that work. But it turns out that, you know, he, he wanted to do other things, you know, if you find, you know, opportunity to do what you enjoy, or, you know, that's, that's the most important that's like, the most rewarding thing in your, in your career is finding what you enjoy, and being able to do it as a career, you know, if it's photography or videography, just go for it, and see how it works out, you know, if you work hard, and then maybe work out.

Michael Der  54:21  
And one last question that kind of popped into my brain, if there was a word for the year for 2021, that you wanted to kind of put up on your poster and say, This is my North Star for the year that you wanted to advise people on? What would that word be?

Tri Nguyen  54:35  
I'd say just have the courage to do it. Just Yeah, just just just go for it. If it works out great. And if it doesn't work out, at least, you know, but just have the courage to give it a shot. You know, and if you're already in the industry, reach out to that client that you always been, you've always been admiring, you know, just be ready. You know, have all your ducks in a row and reach out to them and see what happens. You know, be proactive and just go for it.

Michael Der  55:00  
Well, on that note that's going to bring our conversation to an end. I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to jump on this program to shine a little light on what you do, and to help inspire other creators out there.

Tri Nguyen  55:11  
Yeah. Hey, thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun. Let's do it again.

Michael Der  55:13  
Absolutely, anytime. So folks, thank you for tuning into the show. Thank you to Tri Nguyen for an amazing conversation, be sure to follow us on Instagram at Tri underscore Nguyen underscore photography Tri is that that's TRI NGUYEN, correct. That's That's correct. Awesome. So reach out to him on social let him know that you appreciated his words today. And lastly, folks, if you've enjoyed this content as a whole, if you're enjoying what we're doing here at entrepreneurs, I'd be honored if you could review the podcast on your preferred listening platform, whether it's Apple, Spotify, or Google, let the world know you found your newest favorite podcast. that's gonna do it for me. Thank you Tri thank you to all your listeners on Michael Der. I'll catch you next week.

TRI NGUYENProfile Photo


Commercial Photographer / Filmmaker

My name is Tri and I’m the founder of Bay Area-based Tri Nguyen Photography. My path to photography was not a straight line, as after getting my B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and MBA from Johns Hopkins University, I pursued a career in information technology. It was during my time working in corporations that I developed my professional and detailed approach, and I discovered that I really enjoyed the collaborative spirit that comes from teamwork.

As my career progressed I realized my true passion was photography, and that my unique background would help me better serve my clients. I don’t think of my subjects as a job, but as a story waiting to be told. Extensive preparation and collaboration are an important part of my approach, and it’s very important to me that you feel comfortable, confident, and excited about our time working together as well as the end result. I’ll provide the talent and leadership to get us there.