A Glance of ‘Food Photography’ through the lens of Sharmilla Shah


“Food has to look for it to be consumed or bought,” thinks Sharmilla Shah who adheres to following her passion and offers a warm professional experience with her photography. She offers choices in photography in varied areas. Sharmilla Photography established since 2005 offers professional Photography services in the fields of food, fashion, portraits, interiors, candid wedding, advertising and editorial purposes.

Hospibuz unearths her craze for photography and portrays her experiences in Food photography.

Hospibuz: Please tell us about your journey and accomplishment in the Food photography. How did you develop an interest in this field?

Sharmilla Shah: I am a foodie. So good tasting food and good LOOKING food always catches my attention.Hence my interest in food photography. Pictures of food always caught my eye. So when I became a photographer I knew this genre of photography I will love.

I was introduced to food photography by my mentor. The first and the last rule to shooting food he said was that the picture should make the viewers mouth water , he or she must want to just take a bite after seeing the food. Then the job is done.

I have followed this till date. So this is how it all started for me. The journey so far has been greatly satisfying and exciting to say the least. No two days are the same in my career. My accomplishment is that I have been sought after by some big names in the industry. That makes me feel very valuable .

Hospibuz: What is your favourite setup or types of equipment that you prefer to use while you do Food Photography?

Sharmilla Shah: I am a canon person. So my 5d is my main equipment. For lenses I love the 70-200 mm lens. It allows me to get real close to the food. Apart from this I mix up 100 mm macro shots , 24-105 too gives me good angles a lot of times. Good and interesting lighting does the trick , always.

Hospibuz: Photographer prefers having a food studio of own rather than doing an instant photography. How do you compare the value of a studio to that of a single-shooter photographer?

Sharmilla Shah: Any food photographer will tell u that we can set up the studio for the food shoot,wherever we want, as close to the food as possible. So I prefer going to the food , where it is being prepared so as to retain a lot of freshness and colours and textures. Food shoots mostly are a one main photographers jobs. You may have a food stylist who helps in styling the food , an assistant to the photographer to move things around. Apart from that its the main photographers who is in charge and responsibe for how the shoot turns out. So studio or no studio makes no difference. The idea is to present the food in a certain way , so we can set up wherever we want !

Hospibuz: What are some of the complexities you face while doing Food photography and how do you tackle them?

Sharmilla Shah: Main concern could be food itself looking lifeless , colourless, textureless. These are real issues. Everything else can be managed . Also being clueless about a cuisine can be challenging . I like to know about history of a cuisine I am shooting. Like for the Mongolian cuisine I shot for once, I used a lot of accessories that were relevant. Food culture and its history, one has to keep this in mind.

Hospibuz: Please tell us about your most memorable project of Food photography.

Sharmilla Shah: I loved my exeperience of shooting for the Brand Empire in Banaglore. The challenge was to keep it creative at the same time also present in a way that the common person who visits this joint can not connect with. Its easy to get carried away to shoot exoctic shots but if the Brand that is selling the food cannot present the food in a way that connnect with the people who are actually eating , then there is no point to the whole exercise of the photo shoot. So I had to walk the balance between these two extremities.

Hospibuz: Can you please tell us about the magazines, restaurants or other sets for which you have done the Food Shoot.

Sharmilla Shah: Savvy Cook Book , Food Lovers, Readers Digest are some magazines which have carried my work. Jalpan, Empire, MTR, Churro Destination, Inner Chef are On-line portal, Al Karama, Vapour are a few brands I have shot for.

Hospibuz: Apart from a Food photographer who and what else contribute to the perfect Food Shoot.

Sharmilla Shah: The person who prepares it of course. More that me as a photographer. And the lighting person can really ruin or make our jobs as simple or complicated !

Hospibuz: Please share some of your advice for those who are thinking of starting a career in Food Photography.

Sharmilla Shah: Patience. Always the factor. We have to have patience to get the correct compositions, lighting etc. Be creative. Food is all about presentation. How you make that dish in that plate look to the person who is viewing the image.

Hospibuz: HospiBuz is working on its vision to be the most informative media house on hospitality where HospiBuz aims to cover well accomplished and budding heroes of the hospitality sector. Please suggest, what should journalism in Hospitality sector cover the most?

Sharmilla Shah: I think building awareness is the main job for any media house in any line of Industry. I think people who make this industry are always ignored or forgotten. So focus on people, their individual journeys and how that emerged into the growth of an establishment or brand. This can be a very interesting from the point of the reader. It not only engages but gives away valauble information about people, who build an industry.

                                             Thank you so much for your prestigious time !!