story telling

3 Things to Consider When Making a Promo Video


Am I ready?

That is one of the biggest questions I hear from artists that are considering a promo video. What about my brand colors? My 3 words? What about albums I carry? 

Am-I-ready? 

In some ways, yes, those are details you should be concerned about. They don't have to be perfected, but certainly to a point that you are at least happy with (confident at best!). Honestly, I would compare this process to building a website. In essence, this video will be a MOVING experience of what your brand stands for, your values, and your promise. The essence of who you are. SO, how do you know if you're ready?

These are 3 things that I would tell my potential clients to consider for a promo video:

T I M I N G // 
Knowing Who You Are. This includes knowing your strengths and passions. Consistency. Is the style I am portraying or message I am sending consistent in my work? Analyze your journey in your photography. This journey will continue to evolve - there is no finish line - but you know when you have a strong foundation. You stand for something.

CHOOSING YOUR STORY TELLER // 
How do the videos (s)he has made make you feel? Can you imagine yourself in them? Are you captivated by the videos and do you connect with them? Is that how you want your story told?

And one of the most important..

T R U S T // 
There are 2 people to trust. Your story teller ... and you. Most likely if you were inspired by your story teller and their work, it is pretty easy to hand the reigns over. But there's a second part to this: trusting yourself. If you know who you are, trust yourself and what you do. This is why timing is number one. Your story teller (this goes for videographer, photographer, and graphic designer) can make the BEST product - but if you do not feel that YOU are represented, then you will not be happy. Period. No awesome transition, imagery, or music will change that because the purpose here is to tell YOUR STORY.

I love finding that story. I can ask the questions to dig deeply into finding what it is that makes you stand out. There are perspectives that we need as artists - someone on the outside - because sometimes when we are so deeply embedded into our world it's hard to see those key elements that define us. And that is what I love to do and what I am here to do. To help ARTICULATE it. But I cannot tell you who you are. There's a midway point to meet with your story teller.

I want to end this with Mike's story. Read his perspective being on the other side before watching his video. When Mike contacted me, I had already been following him enough that I had an idea for his story. He's highly recognized as a storm chaser, but I saw the connection between that and his family and what a beautiful story it was. Honestly, it was far more beautiful when I started filming it than what I pictured in my head.


There is no greater gift than that as a story teller. And truthfully, I believe that kind of magic happens when those 3 things I talked about come together.


A Yearning, A Story

I don't know where it started. I went to high school for theater. My acting? Sub par. Creating stories? Fascinating. I would make up monologues in front of the mirror as a child -- characters that would cry, characters in rage, and characters in love. My improv teacher asked me to take on playwriting.

Movies began to stir me, and in high school when I saw Memento it was the first movie that gripped me and begged me to be a part of something like this. Nike commercials fascinated me. Throw in the right DP and song... music videos inspired me.

I went to college for Film... but it was all theory. I wrote plays, I took photos, and I read a lot. I was always drawn to photography, but never fathomed I would do it professionally. And slowly, this past year has revealed what ingredient God has composed me of: story telling.


(collaboration with Jasmine :)

When I started doing video for the first time this year, I would often be asked how these shots occurred to me. I couldn't explain it because... I don't see them any other way. It's the way that I, Alejandra, visualize a story. And I realized that as a photographer, my goal was always to tell the story of my client.

I have NO idea what this will entail and what this says about my business in the future... but oh it feels so good to better understand these yearnings I've grown up with. Jose brought a book from work home that I had no interest in reading at all titled Now, Discover Your Strengths. He told me he had heard how good it was, and in a spontaneous moment one day, I picked it up from the coffee table and started to read it.

On finding your talent: "While your spontaneous reactions provide the clearest trace of your talents, here are three more clues to keep in mind: yearnings, rapid learning, and satisfactions. [...] Your strongest connections are irresistible. They exert a magnetic influence, drawing you back time and again. You feel their pull, and so you yearn." How I love the word yearn. It describes the feeling perfectly.

He defines strength as = talents + knowledge + skills. Buckingham and Clifton basically break down the concept of "strengths" so that we learn what people mean by capitalizing on them and managing our weaknesses. VERY interesting read to say the least. I think we all have an idea of what comes naturally to us, but to dive into a deeper understanding of it and apply it professionally is new to me. A dreamer is nothing without the right tools and knowledge. That's why I consider myself lucky to have married an engineer.... he helps ground me every now and then. But not without tainting him with some spontaneity ;)

I leave you with a video Jose found by Albin Holmqvist that reinforces my passion of story making...


Anything that stirs you up like this? What makes you yearn?