This week, we’re talking to the hugely talented food stylist, photographer and award-winning blogger Shilpa Kiran (you may know her from, who we are lucky enough to collaborate with here at Sadie’s Kitchen. We featured some of her beautiful work in our recent One Pot Chicken and Bacon Orzo Soup recipe too! Here, she talks to Jennifer McShane about getting her start as a food stylist and photographer, the importance of keeping her blog and the advice she’d give to women trying to get into what is a very tough industry.

How did you get into photography?

By profession, I am a graphic designer. But I quit my job after I got married and moved to Ireland. Needless to say, I was still looking for that creative outlet or a break

I used to paint when I was back in India, since my school days. Then all the commitments that come with growing older caught up, and eventually stopped painting. But I don’t think the creativity in me ever died. Thankfully I found an avenue to explore my creative side through my blog. My passion for photography grew as my blog took shape. When I first started photography for my blog, I took pictures on my iPhone 4s, as I didn’t even own a cameraI wanted to make sure I that I have enough confidence in food photographyonly then did I invest in a camera. 


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I am a foodie and I love cooking and eating, at the same time I wanted to make food look as visually appealing as possible. The more I explored food photography, the more involved I got

What can I say…the more I learnt about photography and food styling the more I fell in love with it. There is still so much to learn, but I am proud of what I have learnt all by myself and from my husband who is a photographer himself. He taught me the technical aspects of photography, helping me patiently at all times. Never did I imagine that it would turn into my job someday, and I job I absolutely enjoy doing! 

How do you go about picking your projects?

I love moody and rustic photography; that’s my style and I incorporate it into my blogThat’s where it all began. My projects are based on my style. Sarah (Sadie’s Kitchen founder) liked my style and asked me if I was interested in food styling and photography for brands, I was very happy to do it for her. I did approach a couple of other brands and if they liked my style they were happy to work with me. It works both ways; sometimes brands have approached me asking me to work for them and at times I have asked few brands if they are interested in working with me. 

For my personal projects, which is my blog, I test recipe that’s on my mind, and if it turns out well, I immediately write it down and try it out again, and then photograph it.

Keep it simple, original, and never stop learning; success will follow eventually. 

What’s your favourite thing about your job?


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I love everything that I doSo far, this has been the most enjoyable profession I’ve been part of. I enjoy every minute of it and my passion reflects in the work I doMy favourite part is the flexibility that I have in terms of creativity, where I am in control of things. I have all the freedom to set things up in the way I want, and if I am not happy with it I can always change it as I please. This always brings out the best in me. 

I used to love to paint before, and now I absolutely enjoy styling a setup. It gives me the same feeling of satisfaction that I experienced when I painted. Just the way I’d admire a painting when it’s done, I now feel the same way when I look at the final image once I photograph it. Also, in terms of my work timing, I work as a freelancer so I get to spend enough time with my family. What more could I ask for?

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts at 7 am, after quick breakfast I drop off my boy to school. Sometimes go for a run on the way back home, finish up my chores and that’s when I work on my photography or I write recipes for my blog. I try to work on my projects in the morning. That way, when my boy is back from school I can spend time with him. I am still a full-time mum; I like the fact that we have a fixed routine; it is more organised this way. 

Tell us a little about shooting for Sadie’s Kitchen?

It was absolutely wonderful working for Sadie’s Kitchen. Sarah made it so easy and comfortable for me. It was more like working with a friend rather than working for a clientI appreciate the complete freedom she gave me to do my thing, and was so supportive. We had a quick chat about how many recipes we can shoot on half day timeline. We then organised and planned the whole shoot. It was a pure pleasure working with Sarah. She is such a lovely, inspiring woman. I was delighted to have had the opportunity to work with such a wonderful person, and not to mention such an amazing product. We chatted over tea and exchanged stories on how we began our careers. Not once did Sarah make me feel pressurized or demanded anything. She made me feel very relaxed and just let my creativity flow. It was an amazing experience. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Sadie’s Kitchen. 


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What advice would you give to other women wanting a career in your industry?

My only advice would be is to do what you do best and the work will come to you. If you are passionate about what you do then keep at it and practice every day. Your passion and effort will definitely reflect in your work. This profession or career develops slowly but organically. 

There are times when you can get frustrated or compare yourself to someone else. Don’t let that demotivate you. Instead of comparing myself with someone else in the industry, I started learning from them. I think this is a healthy approach. It took three and a half years for me to get to where I am today. Like I mentioned earlier, my beginnings were humble. I started taking pictures from my phone and here I am todaydoing photo shoots for several brands. I never thought a day like this will come. 

I did have doubts if I was good enough or if I’d make it big. My dear husband, who’s my critic, my best friend and coach, all rolled into one, told me never to stop or slow down. He asked me to do my best and stop comparing my work with others’. He felt that I should derive my strength from those who have stood by my side, through thick and thin and derive confidence from them.


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This might sound cliched, but it’s true in my case. I built confidence in myself, challenged myself every day, and practised until I was satisfied. That’s what worked for me, my mantra of self-confidence and endless practice. My learning never stops. Every day I learn something new, practice some more, and that’s my advice to anyone who wants to take up food photography. Keep it simple, original, and never stop learning; success will follow eventually. 

You can follow and find out more about Shilpa’s work on her:

(Award-winning) blog:

Instagram: Soulful_and_Healthy

Twitter: Soulful_and_healthy

Facebook: Soulful and Healthy