The Secret to Creating Stunning Holiday Campaign Imagery

What is a holiday campaign? Let’s assume you have certain goods and messages that you want to market to consumers shopping for holiday gifts—a campaign is a multi-media, highly-visual storytelling device that can help keep these products and messages top of mind, all while boosting your sales, creating brand awareness, and increasing customer engagement. 

Now’s the time to start planning whatever version of a holiday campaign you’d like to deploy. This could be an omnichannel extravaganza complete with tv and radio spots, billboards, mailers, a gorgeous print catalog, advertisements in local media, and more.

Or it could be something a lot simpler.

Smaller independent stores may have a budget for the bare minimum approach: All that’s needed is a selection of beautiful photos—plus engaging copy to accompany them—for feature on social media, email blasts, and on your website.

Where to begin? Many Plumb Club members furnish their retailer partners with turnkey social media and website assets, which might eliminate the need to shoot a campaign from scratch. For example, “We will always provide artwork for any of our retailers for social media and ads for free, this can help stores that do not have someone on staff to do this,” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager at Ostbye.

Failing that, retailers should strongly consider collaborating with a professional photographer or social media specialist to produce a portfolio of holiday campaign images.

But before you dive in:

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is they will invest significant dollars in a holiday campaign, but they don’t have a real story or strategy for making the best use of those marketing assets,” says Alain Simic, a noted NYC based jewelry and fashion photographer and co-host of the NYC Jewelry Week podcast, The Rough Cut. “Think long term, think strategically, think about how this helps to grow the narrative behind your brand. Dropping a few gorgeous images on social media for a few weeks will not bring sales; it’s about a long-term investment and strategy—always—holiday season or otherwise.” 

Execution should be at the very highest level it can possibly be, even if resources are limited. “You are in the luxury game, and part of that includes certain trappings, such as professionally produced imagery that can capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of your target consumer,” adds Simic. “Don’t underestimate the power of that fantasy; in luxury, it is everything. This is your one shot at making a splash in the market, and one should think of those marketing materials as just as important as the materials you source for your designs.”

From photo compositions to styling tips and lighting, here are more pro tips to make your holiday images sparkle from all angles.

CONCEPTING: Your images don’t need to scream “Christmas” to convey that you’re offering giftable jewelry. When it comes to aesthetics, sameness doesn’t stand out. Try to create an ambiance that feels “festive” and “adds a touch of magic to the jewelry pieces,” advises Laryssa Wirstiuk, founder and creative director of Joy Joya, a digital marketing agency for jewelry brands in Los Angeles.

But should you plan a campaign of still life images or one in which your jewelry captured on models? “Still life is more cost-effective, and you can do beautiful and wildly inventive things for a holiday campaign,” says Simic. “The advantage of an on-model shoot, though, is that those images do the work of brand-building and storytelling while accomplishing something very practical: showing the pieces to scale on a person. This is incredibly important if your business is largely e-commerce focused.”

COMPOSITION:  Some tips for when you set up the shots…

  • Avoid cluttered compositions that distract from the jewelry. “Simplicity allows the jewelry to shine,” says Wirstiuk.
  • Choose backgrounds and props that complement rather than overpower the jewels. “Our social media specialist likes to create a color palette that is appealing to the eye and that look good together in the Instagram grid,” says Namie, at Ostbye.
  • Highlight details with close-up shots: “Zooming in on elements like gemstones, clasps, or unique designs creates a sense of intimacy,” says Wirstiuk.
  • Emphasize versatility: Show how the jewelry can be worn for various occasions, from casual gatherings to formal celebrations, to help customers visualize the jewelry’s ability to coordinate with a variety of looks.
  • Incorporate elements that align with the target audience’s values and convey a lifestyle that’s relevant to them, or to which they might aspire. Show the jewelry being worn by models in relevant scenarios, such as holiday parties, family gatherings, or intimate moments. “This helps customers connect emotionally and envision themselves wearing the jewelry,” says Wirstiuk.

LIGHTING: It’s important to experiment with different lighting techniques to enhance the jewelry’s sparkle and brilliance. Play with natural light, soft diffused lighting, or dramatic spotlighting to create captivating visual effects.

Lighting can also be a way to create images with a holiday feel without defaulting to something more literal, like a red velvet backdrop or springs of holly. It’s an approach that also feels unexpected so that your images cut through the red, green, and gold stories that jewelry shoppers are bombarded with during the holiday season. 

“A warm, soft, and ambient lighting setup always evokes romance,” says Simic. “Romance is really the essence of the holiday spirit for all of us, and not just with your lover but with your family and your friends. There is a romantic spirit about the holiday season that you can evoke with the right lighting while also doing something that helps you visually stand out in the market.”



Retailers, remember that you have many resources available to you—including a robust library of TPC content—whenever you need ideas, advice, and insights on the latest trends.