Sunday, June 28, 2020

Instagram Photography Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I started a photography challenge on Instagram. Every week I post a topic with an image and ask you all to participate. Keeping it very simple but letting the creative juices flowing.
  • Take a picture or use one from your archive. I highly recommend you to create an image rather than using one from your archives. 
  • Follow me on Instagram. 
  • Use the #CulinaryOptics #WeeklyChallenge
  • Tag me on the post. Link to my Instagram 

So far we have done splash, summer, white on white and pour. This week I'm planning on a very simple topic - anything in your home, the mundane everyday object. It could be food, flowers, a pen, paper, whatever you want. If you want to read more - click here. 

I do hope you can participate. Thank you 

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Moody Food Photography Workshop - Keeping Yourself Sane in Troubled Times

Everyone loves a dark moody image. The deep shadows tickle the senses. The technique was used for the first time during the Renaissance period and was called Chiaroscuro. Bold moody, contrast is what it is all about. It is my personal favorite way to light a food story/still. I've been constantly asked to do a workshop on "moody photography."

Did you also admire those dark, moody food images that not only create a mood but also, just make your mouth water? Well, here’s the program you’ve been asking for. I will be presenting a workshop on Zoom on how to style, light, and shoot those moody images. Learn how to create a mood, while emphasizing your food.

I'm thrilled to partner with Jerry, who is my first teacher and a photoshop genius. He will be teaching us how to take our photo editing to the next level.

Jerry Deutsch a food and product photographer. Learn how to get that image from the camera to the screen or print.

The workshop will take place on May 5, 2020, at 11 am Central Time (that’s Noon Eastern Time) and will take you from start to finish. A question and answer period following the presented material.

We know that times are tough right now and many of you are not working, so the cost of this workshop is a mere $10.00 payable by PayPal. So, contact Simi at or through Facebook/Instagram Direct Message.  To guarantee your seat, make your $10 payment, payable to through PayPal. Space is limited so act now to guarantee your spot.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Red lentil veggie soup

Every time I get on the blog to post, I promise myself to keep it regular. It is one thing or the other that has kept me away from posting. To start with I have started teaching photography online, which takes up a lot of time, scheduling classes, prepping class material. Not complaining, I just love it but it takes time. Then I also shoot a lot for Adobe, I must have read 8-10 books last year. I'm taking a few courses ( not photography). All that takes away time, but it is not an excuse. I will try to be regular.

Last two months (almost) I was in India, my mom turned eighty and she asked me to come and spend time with her, so I ended up spending a month with her. It was great because my sister was there as well, so it was three of us, I felt I had traveled back in time, school days. Sharing a few images, the one in the deep maroon sari is my mom. I think I look like my mom - my is the same nose. We ate, we shopped and we had so much fun.I'm so glad I spent time with her and she was so happy. Precious!

Then I was in Bengaluru for about three weeks, we had a family wedding. We had a wedding in the family after nearly twenty years, a total riot. We danced almost all night and it was a big fat Indian wedding. This time I met all my cousins and some of my v v close friends. I wanted to meet a few more people but just could not do everything. I also ran into my best friend who was visiting from Singapore and she was there only for two days. All in all, it was a fabulous trip.

I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing people. Now, back to Chicago, it is not that cold but it's cold. After the hustle-bustle of India, it really feels very quite here. Somedays I love the quite and somedays I really miss India. Thankfully, I love what I do and that keeps me happy-busy.

This is my go-to recipe for jet-lag days, quick and easy and also very light on the stomach. Red lentil or masoor is one of the lightest lentils to digest, so if you are going vegetarian or vegan - it's good to start with red lentil. It is sold as masoor in the Indian grocery store.



  • 1 cup cooked red lentil/masoor 
  • 2 cup veggies chopped (red bell pepper, carrots, red pumpkin)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a pan add ghee, let it melt and add the veggies, let it roast. 
  • Add salt and cover it till it cooks a bit. 
  • Add it to the blender, add the cooked daal and ginger and grind. Add water if necessary. I do not like to add store-bought veggie stock as it has way too much salt. 
  • Serve hot with your favorite bread. Garnish with sweet bell pepper, toasted
    pumpkin seeds and roasted ajwain seed ( onion seed) 
It can't get easier than that. I love the vibrant color. 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Muffin Tin Ice cream

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

It has been a whirlwind of a year so far. I had promised myself to update TNS at least once a month and I cannot believe that I have not had the time to do so. I was in India in April-May for almost a month and when I got back I was working on a spice project followed by online photography tutorials that were packed. If you are interested to register for my online class - click here. I now offer group lessons as well, the post has all the details and if you have further questions you can email me or send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment here.

About these super easy muffin tin ice cream. These are super easy and almost have a gourmet look about them. My sister and brother-in-law were visiting and my brother-in-law loves desserts, so I created this ahead of time so I could spend time with them and not be stuck in the kitchen.

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

Muffin Tin Ice cream - Simi Jois Photography

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Online food photography and styling group lessons

Food Photography is not as overwhelming as it looks when you first pick up your camera. Not all genre of photography requires the same skill.  If you ask me to do sports photography, I would probably need not just different lenses but also some lessons in sports photography, where timing is everything.

Food and lifestyle photography is about storytelling. It is about colors, textures, light, shade, framing and a lot more. It can get overwhelming. In my last workshop, I had a student walk up to me and say..." Why are we doing all this? What is the purpose of it all?" You have to find your purpose, you have to find what urges you to pick up the camera and create. You have to find what makes your heart skip a beat and warm up. Just like a poet may not have any purpose to write about dancing daffodils, yet the only purpose is a calling from the heart. Photography is art, it is an expression of that voice in you that are looking for a canvas.

In the last few years, I have enjoyed conducting a hands-on workshop. The energy and creativity give me goosebumps. A lot of people don't like to learn in workshops, a lot of them are not in the same town and can't travel. This is a great opportunity for people like you, who want to learn at your own pace and in the convenience of your home. Online classes were limited to a one on one customized lesson plans, but now I am offering group lessons.

The first group lesson will be scheduled in the second week of August, depending on the time zone of the students who enroll, I will announce the date/time.  I will send out a few date/time and you can pick what works for you

Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime - again students can vote what they prefer.
3 session of 2 hours each 

Manual mode and storytelling.
You do not require to know how to shoot manual, but at the end of 3 days, you will start getting comfortable with using manual mode.
How to narrate a story and use the camera to work for you and not against you.

So if this is something that you have been wanting to learn and not done it yet. Here is your chance to enroll in this group lesson. I will be limiting the number of students to keep the class intimate.

If you are interested please fill this online form

$150 for the 3 sessions ( 2 hours each)

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you there.

*If you have financial hardships please email me and let me see how we can work things out.

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