Photographing a food brand from scratch....

I’m delighted to share this fun project I shot for Za – Pizza Express’s new offshoot. Located in the City of London in Fenchurch Street, Za is a new pizza place that’s bursting with pizzazz. It may be a little slice of its parent company, PizzaExpress, but it’s got a big heart, and fabulous food to match. 

When Za asked me to photograph the food for their advertising, website and social media platforms, I was absolutely thrilled. As a totally new brand, it was exciting to be involved from the beginning of the journey, and to be given the opportunity to capture the look and feel of the brand. I’m sure you’ll agree that we achieved that  – take a look at their website to see some of the images we created.

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With so much to shoot and so much to do, we took enough photographic kit to fill a minivan. As well as the usual cameras and lighting equipment, specialist equipment was necessary to shoot all the slow motion and moving image elements. I was eternally grateful that we had the unusual luxury of being able to store all the kit on site, which was a great help after long days of shooting over several weeks!

We shot a huge number of images for Za, including playful conceptual stills, video content and animated gifs. It was a challenging environment to work in as we had to work around lots of pillars, low ceilings, and the busy marketing team who were constantly in different meetings with different suppliers! As we worked, different food was constantly being sampled and tested, looking for the highest standard possible. Even the crockery and glass samples were scrutinized to ensure they were right.

One of my highlights was learning a thing or two about coffee – the different coffees were shot with a talented coffee barrister, who made coffee art look so easy

 You cannot help but smile when you see their cheekily delicious Egg and Bean Pot animated Gif, which I did as a little extra

Post production was a tight turnaround,but we did it. I was particularly thrilled to see my images of the food come to life with colour pops and movement, like this fun animation of marching pizza pieces, and these spinning salads.  I was blown away when I walked into the store in Fenchurch Street and saw how all my imagery had been put together.

Loving the challenge of a deadline, I relish working with a great team more than anything. We had a few late nights and – no surprise – lots of delicious lunches courtesy of Za! Plus, a great sense of achievement on completion as I simply loved what Za did with the images and their branding and look. To top it all, when I walked into the restaurant, I saw that they had even brought some of my stills tolife with content animation, which rather blew my mind! It’s worth going to have a look for yourself. I’ll show you later…

We shot over 130 white cut outs and I can’t imagine the number of coffees we drank!


My Fantastic Team

Art Direction was by Sally Williams, who created structure and clear direction that meant every shot was used to its full potential. I had an assistant and digital assistant, food stylist Seiko Hatfield, and one of my favourite prop stylists, Aurelien Farjon, who managed to source surfaces that exactly matched the Za brand pantone colours, and gathered brilliant props for the concepts. Plus, of course, the passionate and enthusiastic Za team themselves who we couldn’t have done it without, and all produced by the wonderful Sharon Grossman of Piccallo.

 The Za shoot was really memorable and enjoyable, and I couldn’t have done it without the most phenomenal team. Thanks, guys! 

At the end of a very big shoot it had to be done … the wrap wriggle!

Plus some BTS’s….

When I asked Malou to work on Za by PizzaExpress, I felt like I had an enormous responsibility & expectations hanging over my head: Za was completely new, nothing visual had ever existed. These were going to be the very first steps of building a brand & its personality that’s going to live on for years to come. And my word, did Malou live up to all the expectations! A pleasure to work with all round: super fun, creative, professional and with a great work ethic (thanks for the late nights!). What I most valued is this: they say that “the client is always right”, but with her creative flair and a keen eye for detail Malou broke that rule to make sure that the final product I received is the best it can be. Genuinely enjoyed working with her and the team creating content that went outside my comfort zone and brought a brand to life in a creative & ownable way – one that is now being used as an example for any work to come! Thanks for all the hard work and making sure could proudly show off Za!
— Gabby Barysaite- National Marketing Manager of PizzaExpress

Need the Malou Burger treatment for your food brand? Then you know what to do – get in touch with me today. I can’t wait to talk about how we can help you bring your brand to life with beautiful photography!