A food photoshoot in a zoo? Simply whatever next?

What better way to spend a day than a trip to the zoo? How about numerous trips to the zoo and a food photoshoot (one of my favourite commissions!)

I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to spend several days at Banham Zoo in recent months, mixing work with pleasure. In fact, between providing press shots for team members, photographing some of the zoo’s main attractions, and creating publicity shots for several exciting projects (including their new pizza restaurant – yum!) You could say I’ve come to feel at home surrounded by the wild cats and exotic animals there.

I was first invited to Banham Zoo, one of Norfolk’s best-known tourist attractions, to capture some intrepid headshots of their newest acquisition. Not, as it happens, a new beast at the menagerie, but their newly installed Retail Manager, Claudia Roberts.

Whilst Claudia and I had been connected on LinkedIn for a while we hadn’t actually met, but it turns out she loves the natural-light, candid style of photography I have provided for other clients. So, when the time came, she reached out to me.

The brief was simple: With Banham Zoo looking to rustle up plenty of press to publicise their Christmas activities, some professional, lifestyle headshots would be needed to add to their press pack for the human touch.

It goes without saying that a zoo makes a great backdrop and it turned out to be a lot of fun taking photos of Claudia, mixing with the animals and showing off the merchandise she spent her time sourcing.

This turned out to be the first of many engagements at this wonderful attraction, although, as was the case for so many businesses, the pandemic meant Banham Zoo had to close for a while, so Claudia, newly promoted to CEO,  and her team focussed on keeping the place afloat, the animals secure, and planning for a safe return for visitors when the time was right.

Since restrictions were lifted I’ve become a regular visitor to Banham – especially as the organisation goes from strength to strength and there have been increased opportunities for headshots and media images. I have especially enjoyed doing these ‘press’ style shots, finding those interesting details that bring the images to life, and add interest and attraction.

Most recently I was commissioned to return for a food photoshoot on the very day that UK restaurant and venue restrictions were lifted and Banham coincided this with the opening of their amazing new ‘Parkside Pizza’ restaurant. This meant managing a natural light food photoshoot amidst a lot of excitement and activity, negotiating my way around both staff and customers as the team were put to the test on their very first day of trading whilst co ordinating with the Chef in order to ensure I could photograph the food as it came freshly prepared and hot!

I thrive on the excitement and bustle of a workplace shoot but this was a real test of my abilities to capture candid, food photography and branding imagery with some action shots, all without getting in the way or missing anything important. The day was a great success (If I do say so myself!) and I managed to photograph some wonderful branding images that really capture the quality of food, energy and bustle of the new restaurant and their full menu of Pizza, salad and puddings.

In case you were wondering, yes! I managed to sample some of the delights from the pizza oven (I mean, it would have been a shame to waste all that delicious pizza prepared for our photoshoot, wouldn’t it?) And I thoroughly recommend it.

With so much more planned for this amazing Norfolk attraction, I suspect I’ll be making more trips in the future. And I Simply can’t wait.

 

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