Chris Hau on photographing track days and acquiring big brands as clients.
I have spent more time the past few months behind a computer screen than a view finder. I've been focused on utilizing the assets I have built up to reach a new audience & to attain more clients. I know that I am not alone in wondering what it takes to acquire the bigger ticket brands, and what needs to be done once the opportunity is granted.
Allow me to introduce Chris Hau! Chris is a Toronto native who has managed to build a following of over 130K on Instagram & close to 135k on YouTube. Now, that is his social presence which of-course can act as leverage when looking to pickup clients but it wont be enough. Mr. Hau has developed working relationships with some of the bigger brands including world known automaker Mercedes-Benz.
After applying one of Chris Hau's tips on getting in-front of clients and successfully acquiring an opportunity, I figured that it only made sense to reach out on how to... well... not mess up the opportunity. I was new to the automotive photography space and hadn't been to a track day before so there was a lot of uncertainty. As nervous as I was, my chat with Chris in culmination with his YouTube content was enough to calm me down and keep me focused in the right areas.
I was asked to meet with my contact after the race to review my photos and discuss further opportunities. To be honest, this is what I was the most nervous about. I am confident in my abilities as a photographer but networking in a new and unfamiliar space was a bit nerve-racking. My first question for Chris Hau was, what kinds of things should I keep top of mind when conversing with him?
"Just show them that you can add value, and that you understand how it helps them. Photos = exposure = revenue, ‘and’ more revenue means more opportunities for them to hire you.”
“Understand the photos that they want to see. Its not about pretty cars. Track days are about customer experiences so show people having fun."
This made sense to me. I work full time as a Marketing Communications Manager, and a massive portion of my tasks revolve around content creation. I understand the value of quality content and the opportunities that it can produce. Also, marketing isn't about generating sales, its intended purpose is to birth/create a perception. When someone looks at your product, what do they think of and how do they feel. Chris hit it right on the nose! It isn't about the pretty cars, its about the audience and their experiences.
Okay, so play to my strengths/comfort zone and experiment a bit? Or should I play it safe and get what they are expecting? I looked at their Instagram feed and it was fairly flat. It doesn’t contain any images conveying an emotional response or customer experience. Nothing to promote an individual's satisfaction towards their cars. Perhaps that’s my value?
“I would do both. Take what they expect and what is on their grid, and then ‘focus’ on emotional response.”
"Its not all about Insta. They use photos for other marketing purposes."
Creativity is a beautiful thing, but if you are on a fixed timeline like I was, make it a priority to capture the necessary shots. The specific angles and subject matter that your client will be looking for and will likely publish. Once you have done that, go crazy and experiment with whatever time you have left. Like Chris said, don't just scout the Instagram feed. Give their website and other platforms a gander to truly understand what they might be looking for and what they're lacking.
Lastly, I wanted to ask this majestically luscious haired man for ONE MORE quick tip. What is the most effective way to get on a brand's radar?
“In terms of brands, post dope pictures of their products and tag them."
"If they like your stuff, they will reach out”.
Jamal Burger's (Jayscale) advice can tie in here. During my conversation with Jamal, he told me to put my heart in the right place & only to take photos of the brands I appreciate. You could literally just give your bedroom a gander for items you use the a lot/love. Then simply take high quality photos of said items before uploading them and tagging the brand. Easy-peasy!
I want to thank Chris Hau for taking the time, and for helping me focus my efforts. Don't already follow Chris? WHY!? Chris Hau's social links are linked under my track photos below. Next week, I talk with a very special creative that has influenced me in many ways. If you enjoyed this write up, then do me a solid and share it! Thanks for reading!
Below are just a few of my favourite captures from the day.
The red & black Porsche is the vehicle associated with my opportunity.