The Food & Drink Series – with Food Photographer & Stylist Shilpa Razniewska


Q&A with Shilpa Razniewska of Soulful & Healthy

I’ve been following Shilpa Razniewska’s food journey for many years. And every step has been a pleasure to witness. From the early days of ‘Soulful & Healthy’ through to award-winning, and brand building – my mouth has watered on more than one occasion at the sight of Shilpa’s beautiful recipes and delectable food photography and styling.

Born and raised in Bangalore, India, a country that stole some of my heart many moons ago, Shilpa has called Ireland her home for over eight years now. Living in Dublin with her husband and son, Shilpa starting her blogging journey from her kitchen table in 2014, with the launch of her award-winning food blog Soulful & Healthy. Since then both her site and her role of Freelancer Food Photographer & Food Stylist have grown from strength to strength – a testimony to the work she has produced for some of the biggest Irish and international food brands around.

We’re absolutely thrilled to feature Shilpa here on The Life of Stuff Food & Drink Series. For mouthwatering food photography and styling as well as recipes inspired by Irish, Indian, Polish and worldly flavours – connect with Shilpa via her website SoulfulandHealthy.com and on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter.

Q&A with Food Photographer & Food Stylist Shilpa Razniewska of Soulful & Healthy

The Food & Drink Series - with Food Photographer & Stylist Shilpa Razniewska - Shilpa Portrait

You work with food in front of and behind the lens – where did your love of food come from?

My love of food goes way back to when I was a teenager, I loved to watch my Mum cook and enjoyed helping her in the kitchen, from chopping veggies to being the official taster amongst my three siblings. This was because even though my Mum is a vegetarian, she would still cook meat for us – she wouldn’t taste it so she would ask me to check if the salt and the spices were right. From then on I tried simple recipes – watching local television or finding inspiration from magazines for an evening tea time snack. From then until now, I still love cooking!

What came first for you – recipe development, or styling and photography?

It was creating recipes – I started off with blogging and sharing recipes on my blog, but I didn’t know anything about photography or styling. I gradually started learning about how to make my recipes look their best, in order to tempt my readers to try them. This lead to learning how to style my recipes, and then photograph them. The aim was always to make the food stand out.

Do you feel you could make a choice between styling, photography and recipe development – or are they deeply entwined?

I don’t think I can choose one, they all go hand in hand and I thoroughly enjoy them all. I often work with brands who ask me to use their product and create a recipe for them, then style and shoot it. This whole process is something I love doing.

Where do you get inspiration from for your work?

I know this might sound very clichΓ©d but fresh ingredients inspire me to create something with them.

When it comes to photography, there is so much inspiration around us. Take nature; I love the colour schemes that already exists in it, for example a lady bird is red with black spots, beautiful flowers and plants have a perfect combination and contrast of colours. I always notice this and I love to recreate it in my photography.

My style of photography is dark and moody but at the same time you can see riots of colours. I also follow many talented photographers on Instagram who have inspired me and share their knowledge for free. This has helped me learn so much and I am still learning from them.

Do you have a signature style/ dish?

My style of photography is dark, moody and sometimes rustic, I think this shows in my photos. I do like to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new, so I do try out bright and airy photos sometimes, but always the dark side is more attractive πŸ™‚

What’s your view on Irish Food Culture?

Irish Food Culture has changed so much in the past couple of years, I have seen it evolve. When I first started blogging at the end of 2014 the healthy lifestyle had just gained interest amongst people. Gradually I have noticed that more and more people are cooking at home and exploring new cuisine.

I share many Indian recipes on my blog and I get messages from many of my Irish readers that they tried my recipes and loved them. People here have become more aware of what they eat and what type of ingredients they buy and cook with. I have seen many farmers markets become popular over the years and locals throng these markets to buy some of the freshest, organic produce.

You’ve worked with a number of brands both Irish and international – but who would your dream client be?

Yes I have been grateful and happy for the opportunities here in Ireland and abroad and to work with some top brands and clients. It has helped me grow as a photographer and I’ve gained so much confidence. At this moment in time, my dream client would be to photograph for Adare Manor, to be able to photograph their food and gorgeous interiors πŸ˜€

What’s the worst food to style and photograph?

Some of the most simple ones are the most difficult to style, it is a challenge to make a bowl of soup, a bowl of porridge or even hummus look attractive. Then it all goes down to what toppings you can use to make the food stand out. Also the right use of props will make a boring bowl of porridge look its best.

Professionally – what has been your greatest achievement?

I think up until now my greatest achievement was when I won a ‘Best Irish Blog’ award. I never ever thought that my blog would be recognised in the UK and win ‘The Best Irish Blog on 2018! There have been many milestones I have managed to reach with the amazing support I got from this community, but I think the award will always be special because I know how I started my website – it was so small and the photos where rubbish, but to be able to win an award amongst many other talented bloggers was a huge achievement for me.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I had so many things planned out for my blog and my photography business, but everything changed due to Covid. I had plans of writing a cookbook but with the current situation all of this is postponed, lets see how it goes, maybe in the near future I might write a cookbook πŸ˜‰


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Edwina O'Connor
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