Those are the wise words of the American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I completely agree. As far as creative endeavors, I receive more satisfaction from the process than the product. I’m fascinated by the twists and turns that one takes on the road to their final stop, and these challenges are what provide learning and growth that can be carried on to the next project.
On that note, I want to reflect on a promotional video I created for Meghan Kindsvater at MeliaBelle Photography. Meghan is a lifestyle and wedding photographer and the video was shot on Belle Isle in Detroit. The styled shoot was a collaboration between Meghan and her colleagues Baily Dehenau, a makeup artist, and Dana Frost, a stylist and fashion blogger.
Watch the MeliaBelle Photography video.
1. Authenticity: The shoot had a relaxed atmosphere and this allowed Meghan’s personality to come through. She’s clearly at ease in the video, as she can be seen smiling and laughing and enjoying herself. Meghan’s passion for photography and her love of capturing people is also reflected. You’re seeing Meghan as she actually is, and the people to whom I’ve shown the video have responded to her genuineness. “She’s great!” one individual said. “If I was trying to decide between Meghan and another photographer and I saw this… I’d hire her!” I took that as a high complement because my goal was to create something that would set Meghan apart from her competitors.
2. Preparation: I like to have a good understanding of my subjects before work begins on a project, and so I reviewed Meghan’s information before filming. This included her website, her photos, her blog, and her social media presence. I had a good idea of Meghan’s photographic style, her background, her motivations, and this became the basis of the interview questions. When she and I sat down, we had a thoughtful and thorough conversation, and this was critical as her responses drove the video’s narrative.
3. Editing: Meghan’s business is photography, so, of course, I wanted to showcase her work. I put care into integrating the pictures she took during the styled shoot with the video I shot of her crafting these images. At times, I even matched footage and photography to show the exact moment the photos were captured. This allows the viewer to see the artist at work and to watch as the creative process unfolds.
4. Music: I used Kevin MacLeod’s “Daily Beetle.” It’s a light ukulele-driven piece that suits the tone of the video. On his website, incompetech.com, the composer recommends the tune be used for “feel-good stories” and my piece is just that. It’s amazing how much music adds to a project – a good video can be made even better with the right track. One person used the word “refreshing” to describe the video, and I feel that’s due, in part, to the selection.
A still image from the MeliaBelle Photography video.
In summary: I advise that you first determine the tone of the piece before beginning a creative project. In addition, make sure to go in having done some research and pay close attention to detail. Further, be sure to choose the appropriate materials and consider the time and length. This was a video project, but this guidance can be applied in the some way to almost any art form.