Life’s golden moments deserve to be celebrated with something special. And what better way to make the holidays a little sweeter than by celebrating with a smooth chocolate and crispy hazelnut delight wrapped in gold.
Chicago and NYC-based Food, Beverage, and Lifestyle photographer Morgan Ione was commissioned by Ferrero Rocher, the world leader in its category, to highlight the premium chocolates for a truly indulgent experience that will leave you feeling warm and cozy all over — just in time for the holidays!
Ferrero Rocher is a premium, elevated brand that embodies a sense of magic. It was important that the images signify enjoying the chocolate as a celebratory moment — whether enjoying a piece by yourself or with friends.
A producer at The Brooklyn Brothers agency in NYC came across Morgan’s portfolio through a google search and pitched her to the client. The client loved Morgan’s work, and the project was underway from there.
With Morgan’s experience shooting and lighting food, packaging, and talent, especially objects and packaging with reflections and metallics, she was an ideal candidate for the technical aspects of this project. This was essential to the client because one of the boxes was hard clear plastic with lots of angles that could reflect light and had a gold tray inside holding the foil-wrapped candy. The other box was primarily metallic gold with some cellophane windows, so lots of reflections to deal with, and metallics that needed to be shot true to color.
In terms of my style — my tendency to shoot uncluttered images, to create natural feeling light made, my eye for composition, and the way I embrace color made me a great fit for this brand in general and for this particular shoot.
Morgan produced the shoot herself so she worked closely with the agency during the entire pre-production phase as well as the wrap up and overseeing of the editing. Creatively, she consulted on the shot list and the creative direction when deciding how to best execute the client’s vision while staying within budget.
The client needed to approve all props brought to set prior to the shoot, so they had more than one call to go over the stylist’s prop pulls so that everything was just right. The shoot included Gifs that needed careful consideration in terms of how to execute — what was the movement going to be, in which sequence should the frames be shot, which shots would lend best to being a Gif, etc. This project also required a significant amount of post-production work, including the delivery of priority selects, the delivery of remaining images, and three rounds of retouching.
The client wanted a lifestyle feeling and hands to be in many of the shots to add a human element. This was accomplished with very careful prop curation, the moments chosen to be portrayed in each shot, and lighting. Images were meant to be timeless – nothing trendy that would date them if they were used in the future.
Scouting and finding a location that worked for this shoot was tricky because Morgan wanted to utilize as many existing surfaces and pieces of furniture as possible. Bringing in couches and multiple tables wasn’t an option, so she found a townhome in Brooklyn that was a bit tight on space overall, but in the end worked out great. The team brought in a faux fireplace and Christmas tree for the winter holiday shots, and moved sets between the kitchen and dining room for the images depending on the creative direction for each shot.
Per brand guidelines, the shoot did not involve any unwrapped chocolates, but the stylist had to do a lot of sorting for the hero pieces and perfectly placing the stickers on each piece depending on the angle to camera.
The nature of the box packaging was tricky, but once we got our lighting and card placement for reflections figured out it was replicable for each setup. The chocolates had to stay at a certain temperature — we were shooting in a townhome in Brooklyn in August that had window AC units. We brought in extra air conditioners to keep it cool and that worked out great.
The energy was upbeat but focused. We had a lot to accomplish (30 total assets — 10 per day over 3 days) so I had to manage a balance of keeping everything moving along at a good pace, yet not letting it feel rushed or demanding. People on set were myself, a digi tech, two photo assistants, a food stylist and assistant, prop stylist and two assistants, the brand marketing team from Ferrero, and a producer from The Brooklyn Brothers team. We had a lot of fun and everything went smoothly.
This job was really fun and I enjoyed the entire project. This shoot expanded my experience producing larger commercial productions. I have found possessing this capability as well as a thorough understanding of all parts of a shoot is a huge value add from the client’s perspective and a selling point for myself as a photographer.
See more of Morgan’s work on her website.