By Emeka Ikechi, Director, Vanity Studios
When the festive season is in full swing, it’s a good idea to theme your product and social media images appropriately. Unfortunately, this usually means the same kinds of images on every account ─ sprigs of holly and baubles strewn across some snow or festive Santa hats on everything! These obvious ways to theme photos are so overused they have become cliché and boring.
This year, why not consider some creative ways to give your images a Christmas feel without resorting to the obvious. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Opt for soft lighting
Christmas often conjures images of stockings by an open fire and soft candlelight on a dark night. Fortunately, this picturesque image can be easily recreated with a bit of soft lighting or candles of your own.
Rather than the usual full flash photography, you could opt for some warmer and softer lights to highlight the features of your photo. Whether it is a product shot or a headshot for your own social media, some soft, angled lighting can create the warm glowing effect that is traditional at Christmas time.
To enhance the effect, consider a background that captures some of the same feel. You could go for a frosted window, helping reflect some of that warm glow back and making the photo feel cosy and warm. Or perhaps a starry night or open fire, bringing a warm flickering glow to the background of your image.
Use Christmas colours
Christmas colours of red, green and white are so well established that they can imply festive spirits without being overt. A simple red background cloth with a touch of green or white is enough to theme your imagery without being twee.
Or perhaps you could use some festive red or green ribbon tied around the product or your own hair to hint at Christmas without having to scream it.
Play around and see what works to both make your product look amazing while giving a touch of Christmas theming to your photos.
Pick some creative props
While a lot of props may feel obvious, when used well, props can bring the perfect touch of Christmas without the cringe.
You could go for a traditional Christmas feel with a candy cane, Christmas tree, or some wooden decorations. Or perhaps a modern twist would fit better for your brand. Try a touch of tinsel with some fairy lights for a twinkly effect.
If your brand is more child-focused you could opt for props like elves, Father Christmas, or reindeer. You could even create an eco-feel by featuring some re-use, no-plastic props, a real tree, or presents wrapped in brown paper with string.
While it’s important not to overdo it, a few props carefully placed around the edges of your photos can quickly convey Christmas while fitting effortlessly in with your brand.
Consider non-traditional colours
Speaking of branding, rather than using traditional Christmas colours of red, green and white, why not consider switching it up and using your brand colours instead.
You could have some more traditional props, such as wrapped presents or baubles, but in non-traditional colours. Not only would this stand out from a crowd of green and red themed photos, but it would also enhance your branding.
Try some alternative models
It’s always a good idea to carefully consider who should be featured in your photos, especially at Christmas. While product photos often use young, thin, attractive people to model items, Father Christmas is the exact opposite of that description. So, at Christmas, you can take greater risks with who you feature in photos.
Perhaps a model who looks more like Mrs Claus would help you tap into a whole new demographic. Or what about featuring some angelic-looking children in angel wings?
Tap into your own traditions
The festive spirit is all about fun and frivolity, as well as tradition, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with your photos. Do you have any personal traditions that you might want to share with your followers? They could help show your personality as well as buck traditional trends, helping you stand out while enhancing your personal brand.
Or perhaps your company has a Christmas tradition that you could share, capturing people’s imagination while showing the human side of your business.
Look outside your own culture
On the subject of different traditions, why not look to other cultures for inspiration?
Did you know that in The Netherlands they leave shoes by the fire for Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) instead of stockings? And rather than leaving milk and cookies out, they pop some carrots in the shoes for Sinterklaas’s trusty steed, a white horse named Amerigo.
Or that, in Ukraine, they decorate their Christmas trees not with tinsel, but with homemade spider webs? The story goes that a poor widow could not afford to decorate her tree, so the spiders decorated it for her with their own webs instead.
Sharing some other traditions can be interesting, eye-catching and informative, showing that you are a global citizen with interest and respect for cultures beyond your own.
Christmas photos can be cringey and cliché if you stick too rigidly to tradition. However, it is also a time of year when you can take greater risks when it comes to your photography. It’s a fun and festive time when people seek connection and cosy jumpers over effortless cool.
By leaning into this frivolity, it’s possible to create some truly eye-catching photography that brings out more of your brand while still capturing the Christmas spirit!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emeka Ikechi is Director of Vanity Studios, a contemporary studio for photoshoots in the centre of Shoreditch in London. Since 2009 Vanity Studios has been providing clients with high quality professional photos and an excellent photoshoot experience. The team of photographers and make-up artists ensure each client receives bespoke photography that meets their requirements.