Budgeting a photography or video shoot is about getting as much of your money seen in the finished pictures and film. Good budgeting leads to a high production value, which gives the fashion audience a strong perception of high quality.
The optimal use of your budget comes down to two key decisions: to hire the right photographer and filmmaker, and to hire the right talent to perform in front of the camera.
You will see that the best use of the budget is not by having the best accountant or producer (even though they are very important to have), but by getting the best idea executed.
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
1. Hire the right photographer and filmmaker
A restaurant is only as good as its chef. Photography and film are only as good as its their creators: the photographers and filmmakers.
A great creator has an original idea and realizes it with equally original creative actions. It is something that personally affects him. He doesn’t create a derivative of a current fad, nor does he copy a successful artist and delivers a budget version of it. He creates something that is fully experienced by him – which is why it can be fully experienced by the audience.
This originality also means that he has a wide range of knowledge and gets his inspiration from his personal life and the full history of art – not from TV or daily media where every story is already so boiled down that it contains no real moment any more. Literature, film, history, politics, painting, architecture, music, philosophy: the whole world of culture is on command to inspiration.
Because the artist has an original idea and experience, he doesn’t need to blow up the budget by getting impressive and expensive looking things so everything looks cool.
Truly experienced moments are highly impressive by may not cost that much to produce. You can see this in movies that didn’t cost a lot of money to make, but because of an original creator earned their budgets a hundred times over at the box office.
Original content instead of a copy of the current fad is great use of budget for a second reason: it will be created specifically for your brand. It won’t be a show piece that could be for any brand, but it will be content that tells what you want to be told about your designs.
Paraphrasing Picasso: “Mediocre artists copy, great artists invent and get inspired by making a great artist’s work their own. Inspiration is appropriation”
Build a world around your brand, and people will come and settle in it.
The Performing Talent – the Ingredients
Great models make everything they wear look exciting and incredibly beautiful and elegant. It’s the infinite grace of their movements and the elegance of their being. A great model will make others want to wear your designs. It is an almost hypnotic quality of inspiration.
A great actor makes people watch him. They cannot look away when he performs, as we cannot look away from something real that is unfolding in front of our eyes. And when people can’t look away from him, they cannot look away from your designs in the film/video.
They are in front of the camera. They are what is being photographed and filmed. The impersonate the project, making it transition from idea to reality. Never hire mediocre talent. Only great talent can bring a project to life. Allowing the chief creative only mediocre talent is like sending a race car driver into battle with a car with four flat tires.
Let the chief creative do the casting. He will pick the talent he can work best with to achieve the project’s goals. Take a look at his choices and approve them – or discuss them if you are not sure, but don’t outright decline them. The best talent for your company might just be someone left-field to your expectations.
3. Crew, location, props – the spices
I’d love to shoot with a 1935 Duesenberg SSL. Or at one of Neutra’s case studies in LA. Or on a Carribean island. Or in the ruins of a Mayan city in the jungle.
If you have the budget for such a feat, it’ll be great. Great locations and props like exotic cars are intoxicating and fantasy lifting, but you can still create a great, inventive and enticing story that will work great for your company without them – as long as you get the two key decisions of the budget right.
A great chef can cook a wonderful dish with great ingredients, even if he uses only basic spices. If you have the budget for exotic spices, he’ll create a masterpiece for you.
The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.
3. Hair, makeup and styling
Hair, makeup and styling will give the performers an even sharper edge to their already great looks. A high end artist can give a spin to a model that will make your audience’s head do the same.
They are pricey, and if it’s not in the budget you can get away with a solid performer. A solid performing hair stylist and makeup artist will make the models and actors look good without spoiling the show. This means: hair and makeup will look good and not pull attention to itself and ruin the show (which a mediocre hair and makeup artist will do).
The same goes for a stylist: you’ll want at least a solid performer, so your designs look great and new and ready to be picked up by your customers: no ugly wrinkles, no overturned collars or dresses that move into awkward positions when the model moves: just solid professionalism.
The compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation.
The Charisma of Ideas and Creativity
The charismatic power of ideas and creativity will attract people’s eyes, minds, and hearts to your brand. The story told and the world created for your brand will make them see everything and come back again and again – dressed in your fashion designs.
It will also make you feel the charisma of your own creations and charge you with a push of passion to go further and higher. And it will make the people proud who work for your brand, and this motivation will lead them to new heights.