As we shift away from single-use plastics, many manufacturing companies are considering how their products can be reused as well as recycled. For plastic bag and tupperware company Ziploc, their newest silicone release, Endurables, are versatile and long-lasting, making these a great replacement for the breakable bags of the past.
The company recently hired Chicago-based food photographer Morgan Ione to conceptualize all the functions these products offer, in prep, cooking, and clean up. She takes us within the many kitchen appliances we use daily to get an inside look at these Endurables in action.
An avid home cook myself, I was interested in how well the product would work, and also all the ways you can use it for food storage and cooking. The product is made well and holds up to what it says it can do.
Although Morgan had no prior relationship with Ziploc, the project began when she heard from a producer at Energy BBDO in Chicago. They had seen her previous work and thought she could establish a balance between the food imagery and the CGI needed to compose the images in post-production.
This shoot required a lot of problem-solving which is a strength of mine, as well as technical skills, and knowledge of working with and shooting food in general.
The client workshopped a creative brief that would highlight the Endurables product to look like it was full of amazing food, while still needing to separate each element into individual shots. Morgan and the creative team broke this down into four aspects: Endurables’ product, food and ingredients, kitchen appliances, and hand talent.
The goal was to introduce the general public to Ziploc’s new product and demonstrate the versatility of its use. Endurables can go from freezer to oven or boiling water – from frozen to finished all in the same vessel. My experience lighting and photographing all of these components made me a great fit.
Ziploc had provided Morgan with a few recipes and ingredients but also relied on her collaboration with food stylist Michael Deuson to figure out the remaining recipes. The two knew they wanted to find meals that would shoot well in this context, while also showing a variety of options that could be made with the Endurables product.
Michael and I spent a lot of time talking through which foods would be best and he spent a day testing recipes as different options to see how they would present. I also provided feedback on stock images that would work for backgrounds for some shots, guidance on prop choices, and explained in detail how I would execute this shoot.
In order to meet the project requirements, the client determined there would be two shoots: one Morgan would produce on her own and a second larger production in which she brought on a producer. Both shoots took place in studios local to the Chicago area and each took a full day to complete the necessary shot lists.
The first shoot was tabletop, shot on white. The second shoot involved more props, angles, and hand talent. I also had to shoot the product in a dishwasher, as well as a microwave interior. The people present were me, my producer, digitech, assistant, prop stylist, food stylist and assistant, agency producer, and hand talent.
When considering the final images, Morgan and the team strived to shoot the ingredients and cooked meals to match the correct sizes and varying shapes of the Endurables. Consumers would be able to view the images and get a sense of the options and portions these bags allow. To show the product’s versatility, some food needed to be shot in a way that initially appears frozen and then transition to seared and seasoned in the oven.
Everything needed to be shot in a way that in post/CGI the food and product would both look perfect. Some of the foods they wanted to shoot were tricky to style in a way that made sense and also looked good – the brownies and the eggs were foods that easily could have looked not so appetizing. Micheal and I did a lot of troubleshooting to get it right.
For many at-home cooks, one of the biggest challenges is conceptualizing how a bunch of separate ingredients can come together to make a delicious meal. The same goes for any photographer working with CGI in post-production, gathering the necessary shots to compose together a compelling image that looks genuine. In this project, Morgan had to consider both objectives and found a similar artistry that mirrors the creativity found in the kitchen and the studio.
Figuring out how to build and shoot the food so that it would look accurate in the final image was tricky and I have a really good grasp on how to do this again in the future. I loved creating so many components that came together in post to make these final assets!