Here at YARD NYC, we are prepping for a big new business pitch for a jewelry company. The company reached out to a few advertising agencies, YARD included, and every agency will have an opportunity to present our ideas to rebrand the company. This process is not ideal, as we are essentially in competition for the jewelry company’s business. It’s my understanding that in most cases, companies come straight to us for our creative advertising services! Needless to say, the YARD team is a bit on-edge right now, preparing for a high-stakes pitch.
The pitch team consisted of an account director, strategy director, creative director, 5 creative art directors and copywriters, and myself + the intern team! So, out of an office of ~50 people, 20% of the whole office was on-deck for this pitch!
Myself and Enbe, the art direction intern, were sent out to get props for a mock photoshoot, so YARD NYC could provide our (potential) clients with custom, one-of-a-kind product photography for the final pitch presentation. To achieve this, the brand sent us a selection of their jewelry pieces, ranging in price and style. The creative team dreamed up three artistic directions for the product photography, and used existing jewelry photography to illustrate their vision. These are three concepts that needed props:
Direction 1 – Clean, direct sunlight, reflection, shadows, make jewelry the hero
Direction 2 – In situation, playing with set design and props
Direction 3 – Conceptual and artful set, playing with patterns, colors and textures
First, Enbe and I went to Paper Source to find large pieces of paper for direction 3, to serve as a backdrop for the photography. We also got rolls of black craft paper, which would be used over the windows of the back office, to block out the light – per the photographer’s wishes. Also on our shopping list were envelopes. Finally, we got a variety of satin ribbon in different widths and colors for direction 2.
Next, we went to Lowe’s to purchase greenery for direction 1, and had no luck finding a palm leaf to achieve the shadow in the example photos. My local grocery store has banana leaves, so I elected to pick one up the next morning on my way to the office. While I was there, I also picked up fresh roses in white, pink, and red.
Finally, we went to Michael’s craft store to pick up miscellaneous items, such as silver and gold chain, faux diamonds, and some fake foliage for direction 1 (since fresh palms were hard to come by!)
When we got back to the office, we got started with installing the black paper over the windows in a room in the back of the office. The next day, this room would be the photographer’s studio, and he was providing professional lights. The high-end photographer is a friend of YARD’s chief creative officer, and was providing the photos to us as a favor. I learned that photographing jewelry, especially diamonds, is very challenging, and that the CCO’s friend was very familiar with the process.
When one of the creative directors reviewed the items Enbe and I had purchased, he was mostly satisfied, but wanted to see a greater selection of colored paper for the photographer. So, the next morning, after I had stopped to buy flowers, I headed to Blick art supply to pick up some more large pieces of paper. I essentially purchased each color of the rainbow to ensure that I was covering all the bases and provide the photographer with everything he needed. Overall, buying the wrong paper was hardly a mistake, and I think it really goes to show how much attention to detail that YARD provides its clients.
Throughout the pitch process, I was amazed to see how so many people truly worked together to achieve the best possible work for the final presentation. Everyone on the team brainstormed and bounced ideas off of one another, often resulting in a better and more refined idea. And the CCO’s personal network of friends/professionals really paid off, and within a 3-day window, we bought props, took photos, and edited final forms for the client presentation.
With permission of YARD, I’d love to share the final photographs with you all! It’s fascinating to see how seemingly random items, like a palm leaves, construction paper, ribbon, rose petals, and an envelope can transform into such sophisticated product photographs: