Every year brands and marketers build celebrations of all kinds into their content calendars.
For many companies, celebrations and cultural recognitions are a perfect platform for product launches and seasonal collections.

In the west, the winter holidays remain heavily commercialized, with projections for retail shopping to reach, on average, $1,455 US per consumer during the holidays, a healthy number cited by the 2022 Deloitte holiday retail survey. Although the holiday season is synonymous with spending in the west, it is not the only hot seller throughout the calendar year. Back-to-school and back-to-college spending in 2022 was expected to reach 37 billion and 74 billion in the US. That is approximately $864 US and $1,199 US per family, as reported by the National Retail Federation.

Celebrations and festivities are found all over the world, giving Licensing Contributors countless ways to produce salable and evergreen content.

In Hindu culture, Diwali is an important celebration. Thanks to findings from Criteo, we can see that year over year, online sales leading up to Diwali grew 17%. While across China (and increasingly other parts of the world), Singles’ Days has been adopted by major brands like Alibaba in 2009. In 2021 more than 290,000 brands participated in Singles’ Day, 700,000 were participating for the first time.

But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to festive and cultural celebrations, there are various other celebrations and milestones that brands and companies participate in on an annual basis. Below we cover the three types of celebrations we think you should know about, and the 500px team covers some do’s and don’ts to help you create the best content for your portfolio!

A quick look at the various types of celebrations found in commercial advertising

Celebration marketing

You have probably seen it a million times by your favorite brands, but did not realize it had a name. Celebration marketing has become very trendy and is when a brand celebrates observed months or days that are dedicated to recognizing a particular theme, group, or concept. National Women’s Day is a very popular celebration by brands and companies.

Some other popular observed days and months are:

-Black History Month (USA, Canada, Ireland, and the UK)
-Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (USA, Canada)
-World Mental Health day (Global)
-Pride Month (Various countries around the world)
-National Singles Day (China and beginning to be seen in other parts of the world)

Do’s and Don’ts

DO research observances that are celebrated in your home country and shoot any that resonate with you.

DO use friends and family in your shoots and strive for relatability and diversity in your casting.

DO consider food as a way to capture celebrations.

DO remember that these celebrations are a space to positively recognize culture and contributions—your shoots should reflect this.

DON’T shoot various celebrations with the same models in front of the same background. This will look too stock-like and will most likely be declined.

DON’T overdo it with the props. Sometimes subtly is best. A small rainbow pin on a lapel will speak louder than 100 photos using the same rainbow flag.

Festive and cultural celebrations

These celebrations are baked into our annual calendars and are observed on an annual basis. Typically, most brands and companies will celebrate festive or seasonal occurrences, however small or large.

In Western culture, holidays like Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the seasonal transitions (i.e., fall/winter and spring/summer) are just some of the popular celebrations.

However, every country and culture will have its own traditions and celebrations, and 500px highly encourages content that is diverse and depicts a variety of cultures and experiences.

Do’s and Don’ts

DO capture celebrations that you take part in and that represent you.

DO consider storytelling when shooting your content. From intimate details to wide shots, get creative and document every part of your experience.

DO look for candid shots of people laughing, crying, hugging, and partaking in the celebration.

DO remember that festivals in the street or a public place may need to be creatively and strategically shot to ensure no copyright or IP issues are present. This may include costumes, people in the background that do not have a model release, and logo/names of business.

DON’T intrude on religious or ceremonial celebrations without proper acknowledgment and permission.

DON’T submit multiple photos that are similar in composition.

Milestones that unite us

Milestones are often overlooked, which is unfortunate because milestones typically have a way of uniting us. From first steps, first words, first day of school, graduation, first home, etc., these are very relatable concepts that can be captured by anyone in any country.

There are tons of milestones, from big to small, that are worth celebrating and can make for amazing evergreen content that can sell again and again.

Do’s and Don’ts

DO use people you know and shoot authentic moments.

DO get creative when illustrating milestones. Why can’t your dog have a birthday celebration?

DO capture candid reactions. These are often the best photos and evoke real emotion.

DO remember that everyone is different, and milestones come at different times for everyone. Do you know a mother who went back to school in her 30s? Or an elderly couple tying the knot? Perfect, we want to see it.

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