Crave Cook Click Women’s Day Celebration 2017-Meet Simi Jois of Turmeric N Spice-Food Blogger & Photographer
Food Blogging and Food Photography has been my first love among all the other passions which I try to pursue. During this journey of blogging I got inspired by my favorite bloggers whose work I admire the most. One of such bloggers is Simi Jois of Turmeric N Spice. I am a big fan of her food blog and food photography. Her images have a certain warmth and genuineness which is very hard to find.
She not only inspires her readers to cook and click but also shares very interesting tips and tutorial to improve food photography.
International Women’s Day Celebration is a perfect occasion to talk to Simi and introduce her to my readers on Crave Cook Click.
Thank you so much Simi for taking out time for this rendezvous. Tell us about your blog Turmeric N Spice.
How did all get started?
The blog started as a need to document recipes. I know it sounds cliche, but it was purely a need to document recipes in a searchable format. From the blog stemmed my love for photography.
My love for photography is a means to feed my creativity. Being born in a family where everyone is an artist, you tend to learn how to express yourself through art. Photography is my medium. Over the years I have tried many things and finally found something I identify with. When you are hungry for something you search ways to feed your hunger, that is how I got started.
Choosing food blogging and photography over a successful career in Media Planning & Advertising must have been a tough choice. At which point you decided that this is it?
I was not old enough to even understand the field of advertising, let alone be successful – two years, that is all. But I knew it was not for me, for many reasons. One of the basic reasons was the frustration of not being able to express myself creatively. There was no use of my creative voice in media planning. I quit as I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but somewhere I knew I was on the quest of finding my creative niche’.
Any specific reason for choosing Turmeric N Spice as the name for your blog?
(Smiles) I have gotten emails from people telling me that turmeric is also a spice :). I know turmeric is a spice. So, what’s with turmeric n’spice ? Growing up in India, whenever I asked my mother for a recipe or she gave me and my sister ( more my sister than me) instructions to cook a savory Indian curry, she would always say, “haldi aur masala”. Even today, when I ask her on the phone she will say, “haldi aur masala” haldi meaning turmeric is to enhance the color of the curry and masala aka spices is for the flavor. So, there was nothing more fitting for my blog than turmeric n’ spice, after all it’s my memories woven around food.
Were you always passionate about cooking or this passion developed gradually?
I have always been fond of food. Living with my parents, I never felt the need to cook, but I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen standing and chatting with mom. I fell in love with spices, aromas and textures around food. When I had my own place, cooking came naturally to me. I loved the experience of taking raw ingredients and turning them into a meal, I find it magical. Food is a complete sensory experience, like no other. So, I would say, always in love with food and passionate about cooking
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mother has been a very big influence in my life, she inspires me to chase my dreams.
What is the workflow of your recipe development, photography and food blog post? Basically how do you plan your posts?
Fairly simple work flow. Try a recipe, test it on family. Retry with recommendations, measure out exact proportions, document the recipe, photography, write the post and publish.
Any ingredients you can’t stand? Which one can’t you live without?
I can’t think of anything I can’t stand…
Can’t live without spices.
What’s the most adventurous dish you’ve ever made and eaten?
For me adventures has to be something that is creative and fun, not necessarily complicated. So, for me the most fun thing I made was sugar art – caramel art.
Which qualities one must have to get started in food blogging?
Blogging has a lot of aspect to it, especially food blogging. Love for cooking, trying new recipes, photography, styling, love to share and contribute to the (blogging) community. If you don’t like any of this…. not sure food blogging is for you. It’s not just food … there is so much more to blogging than just recipes.
How much important is food styling and presentation in food photography? How much time do you spend in these tasks in each of your post?
Food styling is vital to food photography. Food styling makes the food have a taste appeal, makes it looks appetizing. You may have the best tasting dish but visually if it turns the person off, the recipe may not get that kind of attention.
Between styling and photography I spend about 2-3 hours on every post. Some come naturally and some need more time to think and execute. As you shoot more and more it is hard to be creative every time. How many ways can you really shoot a tomato… that is the challenge and my mojo.
What is your philosophy behind blogging which gives you the maximum satisfaction?
Blogging let me be who I am and I just loooove that about it. The creative freedom.
If we need to try one dish from your blog which one, it would be?
I love intense flavors and I love to try something new, in the recent past I have made a malpua panna-cotta , hope you try it.
You have done multiple professional food photography assignments. How was the experience?
The more relaxed you are the better the outcome. I have not worked that much but the first few times, I was really nervous, I was so sure they will hate my work and then I will have to find a hole to hide. Thankfully, things worked out. I like to plan ahead, think of the possibilities, alternatives and love to ask a lot of questions. It really helps me to know the work better and to give my best. I have enjoyed working for people/brands as it has taught me a lot. This is just a start, hope to do more in the future.
What gear do you use for food photography?
Camera : Nikon D 610
Lens : Nikkor 50mm 1.8G
Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro
What is your favorite food photography tip?
Relax. Read the light, style your image and shoot.
Which is the must read food photography tutorial of yours?
I’m not sure anyone of them is a must read, there are so many amazing tutorials out there. However, among the most popular are:
1- How to do moody shoots
2- Steam in food photography
3- Painting prop boards for food photography
Right now, I am in the process of re-working my tutorials . So you may not find them on the blog. Will get back with new and better soon.
Any recommendations on must have props for food photography?
As far as props are concerned one can get creative with what one has. But neutral tones WITHOUT big printed stuff on plates helps.
What is your take on editing food pictures?
Editing is as old as photography. Digitally enhancing your images for contrast, light and color is definitely something I work on. I’m not that keen on digital manipulation to the extent it becomes more digital art than photography .
Many times my husband or friends get really irritated when I don’t let them eat and first click the photographs of the dish. How do you do it? Do you cook, click and then serve or first serve and then click?
The blog eats first and the best plated food, no questions asked. lol!
Any tips for novice bloggers who want to explore food blogging & food photography.
Do it for the love of it, without much expectation. If you tie expectation to it, you are sure to get disappointed, speaking from first hand experience and not trying to give gyan. It takes a lot to be successful in food blogging with the competition, one may not have all the traits to be the biggest, but if you can find your niche’ – you have been successful.
With the advent of social media, we spend lot of time in posting our work and replying to likes, comments etc. What is your strategy for marketing your blog and how much time do you devote for it?
I used to pay attention to marketing, not anymore. I have one life to lead and I want to do what I love… I just cannot keep up. If I am going to push my content and spend time doing that, there is no time for photography. End of the day you have to pick and choose what you love to do.
What’s the one super power wish you had?
I really wish I can always practice photography, till the day I live.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a food blogger and food photographer?
Good thing – you can eat what you cook for the blog, try new things. I have made some amazing friends through blogging.
Bad things – friends and family think you are a chef, and expect a lineup of dishes a mile long.
Give your Top 4 Food blogs that inspires you the most?
Are you kidding me, give 4 and have the rest of them come and get you. lol !
Blogging is very satisfying but equally exhausting. How do you manage your time between family, food blogging and professional assignments? Any tips for the readers?
I have never really had a problem with that. I make a weekly list of things to do on Sunday nights and that helps me a lot. I write everything down in my planner, helps a lot.
Do you have any specific plans in mind for Turmeric N Spice? Where do you see it at the end of 5 years?
I really do not plan that ahead, ask me about next week. Hope to be creating everyday 365 days, that is all.
Thank you so much for having me Anita, it was a pleasure and I am honored.
Know more about Simi & Turmeric N Spice by following her on the below mentioned social handles
Blog link :http://www.turmericnspice.com/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/turmericnspice
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/culinaryoptics/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Turmericnspice/
Portfolio : http://www.simijois.com/
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