Judy Pan of Foodooboos on Working with Food Brands, Her Instagram Strategy & Photography
Judy Pan has over 13,000 followers on her food Instagram, Foodooboos. She manages her Foodstagram while working full-time and running a part-time photography business. In today’s interview, she shares her favorite food in the DC area, her journey as an influencer, and much more.
Who is Judy Pan?
Judy Pan is a food influencer with over 13,000 followers on her account, foodooboos, a high school math teacher, and a part-time photographer.
Her start in social media began when her friends told her, “you should share your recipes on a blog!” and when she got her first Fujifilm camera.
“It’s funny because right now, my food Instagram centers more on businesses and restaurants as opposed to recipes (although I share some of those occasionally)… I didn’t realize that it would get me this far.”
Shortly after, she joined a group called DMVFoodieCrew where she met many talented foodies and creatives. Once she reached around 1,000 followers on Instagram, companies started reaching out to her individually for collaboration opportunities, and she realized that her Instagram had a lot of potential.
Judy shares that her Instagram account name, foodooboos, is a combination of the words food and soondubu, a Korean tofu stew, which she had really strong cravings for at the beginning of her Instagram journey.
After being invited to join the DMVFoodieCrew, Judy was exposed to a larger idea of what being a food influencer could entail for her.
“Nearby restaurants, big and small in the area would invite us [the DMVFoodieCrew] to try out their food in exchange for sharing their business on our respective pages.”
Popular Foodstagram Content
Judy notes that “one video that I didn’t expect to get so many likes is when Taco Bell came out with their crispy chicken … and that got over 10,000 views!.”
Other popular posts on her account tend to be stacks of food, such as stacks of burgers or cookies, and noodle pulls.
She shares, “Whenever I do a collab with a home business or home baker, those tend to get a lot of engagement as well.”
Judy also works part-time as a photographer, specializing in food, animal, and portrait photography.
She reveals that she enjoys “editing pictures. I still maintain the genuineness of the photo itself, but if there are any crumbs or unappealing splashes or splotches in the photo, stray hairs and dust during a portrait shoot, or the lighting isn’t good, I’m really good at editing those out to make the overall photo satisfying.”
She further mentions “I love doing staged shoots and behind the scene shoots” She recently did a photoshoot for Rice Culture, where she took many beautiful photos of the staff as they worked hard making their delicious Taiyaki.”
Collabs with Food Brands
When asked about her most successful food campaign yet, Judy shared that she enjoyed working with food delivery company called Fantuan Delivery while she was visiting Seattle, Washington. Judy visited at least six restaurants for this collaboration, met the owners, heard their stories, and featured them on her Instagram. She has also worked with huge brands, like Dunkin’ Donuts.
“It’s always a really cool opportunity to work with both big businesses as well as small businesses. I’ve loved getting to know businesses on a more personal level and share their stories. During collabs most of the time I have the opportunity to meet the owner or chefs behind the restaurant.”
She notes that working with bigger businesses usually means that they have specific requests for what is featured, and then she is left to come up with a creative idea for the photo’s framing and look.
Judy shares, “They [the brands I work with] expect me to give honest reviews most of the time, so I’m glad that I’m able to do that so that I’m not posting anything that’s unrealistic on my page.”
Judy notes that being a food influencer has also expanded her horizons.
For example, she shares, “I usually don’t eat raw meat much, but then doing these collabs makes me think, oh, maybe I should try it, and now it’s like, I guess I’m okay with it as long as it tastes good.”
One of her pet peeves about brands is when a company suddenly stops responding once the topic of “rate” comes up, especially because she notes that she is willing to work with people who have tight budgets.
Another pet peeve she noted is when businesses “expect all influencers to do hours of content creation for free… [even though] some people actually do this as a full-time job and spend a lot of time to edit the photos and create videos.”
Judy’s Instagram Strategy
Judy has multiple strategies for her account, including:
- Engaging with her audience and their pages
- Posting high-quality content
- Word of mouth
Regarding word of mouth, she notes, “There have been many times when my friends have been like “Hey, one of my friends saw your TikTok video or one of my friends saw your Instagram post and told me about it.”
Judy shares that she frequently has people reach out to her saying that they enjoyed a restaurant she recommended, which she says “builds the trust people have towards my page”
Future Plans & Final Thoughts
When asked about her top recommendations for people in or visiting the DC area, Judy notes, “A restaurant called MyHome Thai Bistro is really good. When you walk inside, it’s very aesthetic and they have delicious food.”
Another restaurant she recommends is Semicolon Cafe, which features fluffy egg sandwiches usually only seen in New York or the West coast. However, Judy has seen more of these places coming to the DMV area, which she is excited about.
In terms of future plans, Judy shares that “There are more features coming soon to my page, more giveaways to come, and hopefully finally make some food guides”
Lastly, Judy says she is “also looking forward to making more compilation videos, rather than just voiceovers and music videos. Compilations are where I recommend, for instance, different DC cafes to visit all in one video.”
Judy is excited about the relationships she has made through her food and photography pages and hopes to connect with more people.