Downtown Cairo, Instagram takeover

Mid March I was approached by the Ismaelia company company to take over the IG account @downtowncairo for a Friday morning, exploring more cool locations in downtown Cairo, where Victorian architecture meets Islamic architecture, a melting pot for several cultures back in the early 1920s till late 1970s, leaving traces still.

Starting with an early morning shot for Talaat Harb square, as one of the busiest locations in Cairo, early morning was a bliss only one man walking, after that a quick visit to one of the abundent spaces where an old transportation company used to be, a quick one for the archiving room. After that was a time for a good coffee, Kafeine was the choice, a cozy modern coffee space tucked off Sherif Basha street.

Heading to Bab El Luk a quick stroll in the small allies , found one of my best ones right before the Friday prayers take place, a man praying in a small street with a Church in the background, a real message showing how the people are united.

Couldn’t drop some graffiti along the old AUC library building, and then a couple of colorful shop elevations around the same area.

Back to Kasr El Nil street was the time for some basbousa, where one of Cairo best kept secrets takes place, Ahmad Attia known as El Nil Pastry, followed by some images for a fruit shop.

For more on instagram follow @yehiaelalaily

London, in search of the perfect coffee part One

Where to have a good cup of coffee in London? apart from the commercial ones like Costa and Starbucks, its not easy to find, decided to work on this subject to define the best coffee places around, roamed through Central London W1 to define these hot spots

1-Monmouth Coffee company

Visited the one located in Covent Garden, very close to the great Neals yard, they provide the best coffee, the espresso was rich in flavor and aroma a changing mix according to the season, what I had was Brazilian base beans, with Colombian and Guatemalan support, also got as well two packs 500gms each to use at home, Finca Cascabel-Colombia, and Montes de Cristo-Costa Rica, defenitly they provide the best coffee experience in London, what i missed is the filter coffee, next time will give it a try.

The interiors are nice, minimal and modern, and i love the outdoor seating area, on both sides of the road.

2-Soho Grind

Opened in 2014, as a second branch after the original one, this small shop with a cocktail bar in the basement made a good impression on every one, the coffee is very good and strong, i had a macchiato it was just right, not too much froth and still the coffee tasted great.

Interiors are simple and raw, using wood and white walls is a very interesting combo, also they have the best espresso martini in town.

3-Colbert Chelsea

of the few places that do have the soul of an Italian coffee bar, old
french decor, with retro paintings and images all over the walls of the
place, busy as can be all day, good coffee but not as good as the two
mentioned before, but much better than other places, lacks aroma.

Ice cream, ice cream

A commissioned editorial for El Beit Magazine, with Food Stylist Sarah Ibrahim.

Dandorma popsicles

Worked alongside the talented food stylist Sarah, to develop some refreshing summer ice cream recipes, and photograph them to be featured in El Beit’s August Issue.

Warm chocolate sauce on vanilla ice cream

In the middle of summer in Cairo means; very hot weather and challenging environment for ice cream shoots. The studio ACs were blasting on highest power, and very careful and insulated transportation of the ice creams. We do whatever we must to get the perfect shots.

Chocoalte ice cream

Styling choices were made to mix and match vintage and the modern, while the photography were done in high key, and low key to match the freshness and the flavors of the ice creams. 

Cherry coconut popsicles

Vanilla Milkshake

Sarah Ibrahim - Website


My Editorial Work - Link here

Rome food and Coffee spots

Haven’t been to Rome for while, and decided to have a quick visit for 4 days, a kind of a food trip and vacation.


The coffee every where around Rome is great, the roasting is made to the Italian taste, fine and dark roast. So a espresso in any coffee bar is great, a place must to try is Greco Cafe near the Spanish steps, amazing espresso in an old historic location built in the 18th century. 1760.

The best way to have your coffee is on the bar, it cost much less than having it on the table.

The traditional espresso shot


  • Taverna Trilussa


in the old city, one of the best food spots in Rome, with a huge indoor
area, and a small outdoor space, average service but the food is out of
this world, and interiors are old and decorated with celebrity images, signed football shirts, and tennis racquets.

Bresaola di Bufala from Pontina Pampas

Ravioli Mimosa -One of the best dishes i did try ever, a must try and double the order.

Gnocchi con Pomodorini dattero e Provola fresca affumicata

Beef fillet soaked in Barolo wine


  • Ginger

Steps away from the Spanish steps, providing a gastronomic experience based mainly on organic products, with a good looking modern interiors, very pleasant place to be, and the tropical inserts in the menu is great


ROASTBEEF BIOLOGICO, Organic roast beef, homemade berries vinaigrette and salad

CESTINO CON MANZO BIO, Organic beef tataki with organic brown basmati rice, ratatouille of seasonal vegetables and Dijon mustard

SELEZIONI FORMAGGI GINGER, Selection of Italian D.O.P. and Slowfood cheeses

SMALL FRUIT PLATTER, Selection of tropical and seasonal fresh fruits

GINGER TROPICAL, Ice cream with mango & passion fruit served with fresh fuits

  • Gusto wine bar

Very central location 5 min away from the Spanish steps, indoor, outdoor seating with a small bar in the back, good service.


Layered slice eggplant alternated with buffalo mozzarella and smoked provola cheese

Salmon steak on quinoa sauce and guacamole

Splet Rigatini with Zuchhini pesto biologic spect flour pasta with zucchini pesto, mint and cheese.

  • Legrotte

Very central location 2 min away from the Spanish steps, indoor,  and a small outdoor seating area, the interiors resembling the name of the place as a cave, built years and years ago but they look nice.


Carppacio di Bassiano

Zucchini blossoms and anchovy

Scliced beef with rocket and tomatoes 

Pizza Napolitana

The interiors with a hand painted  drawings

  • Al 34

A nice place near the Spanish steps as well, very traditional Italian place, and a wide range of wines.



Sliced raw zucchini with truffe cheese

Linguine with lobster


Happy eating and enjoy Rome, happy to answer any inquiry

El Maleka pasta, BTS, props and final images

Commissioned to shot an editorial content for El Maleka pasta, 80 recipes based on 20 each quarter.

Food styling by my good friend Sarah Ibrahim,

a basic mood board was developed by the team, earthy colors and high key look, a basic easy looking visual was the aim, the recipes were out of the box, covering a wide range as sweet pasta, salads, and more.


A snap shot from the mood board

Props in the selection and sorting phase

Some of the white enamel props,  and the arrangement on set

Food in the making

Some of the final works

To have a complete view of the project check

SAID- A chocolate heaven


SAID, one of the first chocolate factories in Italy, since 1923, Located in the heart of Soho,been there this summer and it was a great treat, we headed there after dinner for an authentic traditional espresso, more of a hand crafted cup of coffee not a commercial one.

We headed there, and we were astonished by the interiors, retro/country one, mixed with an industrial look, by using old coffee grinders, and chocolate molds all over the walls, along the take out boxes.

We had the menu, ordered our coffee and our host recommended us to try a desert, we went for the chocolate cup, milk chocolate and dark chocolate too, also he highlighted the hot chocolate they offer with a rich layer of dark chocolate.

Settle down with theses choices and we were absolutely in it,  the chocolate cup is amazing, served in a chocolate cup with a chocolate spoon, the milk chocolate is outstanding.

The chocolate coffee topped with dark chocolate was great, and the espresso as well, did try the chilli chocolate was great.

I believe the chocolate jars will taste good as the chocolate cup.

`The walls covered with chocolate mold

The chocolate cup

Hot chocolate with dark chocolate topping

Chocolate paste, even better than nuttella

Chocolate nipples

the slogan

The coffee grinder

The chilli chocolate

Wall details



SAID water bottle

Pasta in the making

It was great to shot an editorial about pasta, in one of the best Italian restaurants in the middle east, Strada located at the Four seasons Cairo First residence, Chef Ricardo Barrisi showed us the way after getting the dough done

Here is how to get the best dough (from my point of view)

work with small piece of doughstart from a square/rectangular shape
roll from the center one way up, or down
fold it into flat rolls (in case of hand cutting)
get it into the machine or cut it your self

It can be used right away, stored for weeks, or frozen

Downtown Cairo fashion shoot- lighting diagrams and BTS

The breath taking architecture of downtown Cairo always was a source of inspiration, had a dream of shooting an editorial in the streets out there, but dreams don’t come true, due to security levels in Cairo these days.
During the hot summer days of Cairo I was commissioned by Enigma magazine to work on a fashion editorial about downtown fashion, it was impossible to do it in the streets, we scouted a low budget hotel looking one of Cairo oldest squares, and we decided to shoot in it.
We scheduled 5 visuals during that day, most of them were looking over the square, later on we rescheduled due to the security measures and we did only one over looking the old architecture heritage of Cairo.

Will state a couple of shoots associated with a lighting diagram

Take 1
We had to go as quick as possible to finish this image, it was sunlit from the background, with an angel.
The curtain was included to add more vibrant and lively mood.
Camera settings
Camera Nikon D3X
Lens 85mm/f1.4
Aperture f5.6
Shutter 1/160
ISO 100
Spot metering

Take 2

Shooting in the back of the building where the place is considered as a service access for the building, very dim light, cats every where, too hot, and the nearest power supply is 15m away.
The lighting have to be controlled to hide several ugly features in the building as a background, using a beauty dish with a white reflector on a 400w elinchrome head, to light the face and the body, along the staircase too.
Camera settings
Camera Nikon D3X
Lens 85mm/f1.4
Aperture f1.4
Shutter 1/60
ISO 200
Spot metering

The Team
Photography and Retouching Yehia El Alaily
Art director Yasmine Reda
Stylist Radwa El Ziki
Model Dina Bahgat
Make up Dolly Yanni
location Tulip Hotel

More from the shoot

From the press, Enigma magazine September 2014

For more information and work

The Borough market

For any foodie thats the place to be, simply heaven on earth for all the foodies, you can have a quick view on the map here
As a start I am writing this based on several visits over the years to the market, here is a quick brief about this great place

Fresh fruits and vegetables
All what you think of is there, from the buffalo tomato, to the yellow cherry tomato, the figs where they are native to the Mediterranean basin are fresh and good as it gets, haven’t seen much mango’s out there, but great lichee, and dragon fruit.

Shows-Demo kitchen
All the shows are great for me the Lesley Holdship was amazing, also Katherine Frelon, among others seen long time ago.

Exotic food and nuts
The Turkish delights are crazy, the best you can get, also the Jamaican dips and sauces I saw one day was great.
The borough nuts are great, loved the salted cashews

Sea food
This is not a question, amazing, Sussex fish always catch my eyes

Tried several fuccacia, and french bread, most of the were good, but the interesting part is the bakery school.
The cinnamon tree bakery is a must try

Bath soft cheese company is a must try, great catch there is bath soft

Meat poultry and game
Several vendors, but never tried any of them

Union jacks, where the flats meet the British flavor 

As a food photographer, food is a passion, a way of living, and one of my all time favorite chefs is Jamie Oliver, one of the few where you can watch, work on his recipe and have a great meals in his eatery.

Union jacks is the merge between jamie Oliver, and Chris Bianco, the owner of Pizza Bianco in New York city.

On a summer day went exploring the union jacks for dinner, in the heart of Covent garden, we took over the elephant table right in front of the pizza oven, after waiting for 20 min, the service was super, relaxed and knowledgeable to answer any question about almost anything.

We ordered the following
Pizza Margareta
Red Ox pizza, with Ox tail
8oz rump steak
Organic Scottish salmon
Tender steam broccoli
Skinny chips
Going through the ordered

The flats, PIZZA
The flats were still sizzling freshly as ever, the grated horseradish produced fumes and breathing in all on the Ox tail pizza. The dough was thin and a little juicy. The ox tail flavor was extremely dominant and strong, along the brisket and fresh horseradish, while the fresh basil leaves on the margarita added the required flavor along the fresh tomato layer, and the chunks of sliced fresh mozzarella.

The starters
The mushrooms were out of this world, you can keep on going on that for a while, its all i can say, while the prawn cocktail arrives in a jug looking amazing, was good, where you can find n several places by the same quality.

The 8 oz rump steak, ordered medium, and it was a medium as ordered, juicy, tender, with the right pink color, the pepper corn sauce was mild, not as the traditional french pepper sauce, the beer roasted mushroom, was good, out of all it is a great dish perfectly cooked.

The Brick oven
Organic Scottish salmon, is a must try, I am not a salmon fan my self, but i have to admit that I loved this one, the ingredient makes a big difference, while the shaved fennel, cucumber & red onion salad is amazing.

The oven pizza

The Ox tail pizza

The Salmon

8 oz steak


The wine cellar

Behind the scenes-Shooting Egyptian food for editorial use

Shoot The evolution of Egyptian food
Client Enigma magazine
Date April 2014
Location Cairo Egypt

We had a long way to reach n to this shoot, we planned shooting on location in many several restaurants and outlets in Old Cairo, the magazine team took the initiative to contact them, but sadly it all ended up by total rejection from the owners.

So we did another alternative by setting our food up, no styling at my place using as much homey props and we did more than that by getting a complete foul (fava beans) tray from a street seller near by.

Got as well a separate koshary (UN mixed) every ingredient separated and it was layered to get a unique fresh homey look.

For dessert we did have a rice and apricot pudding placed in several glasses.

May workshop, Cairo May 2014

Location, Photopia, Heliopolis, Cairo
Day 1 From 6pm to 9pm

The food culture
Food photography history and trends
Image usage and pricing
Shooting food
Food styling
Lighting for food photography

Day 2 From 12pm to 5pm

Practical work on two sets of lighting, one with available light, and one with strobes in the studio.
With 6 students and a food stylist, working on 4 food sets, lighting, framing and retouching.

Using Format