Sylvie Li

Food | Last Updated: July 13, 2021

I’m Sylvie Li and I specialize in food, interior and lifestyle photography.

I have a degree in marketing and international business but switched careers a few years ago. It’s my third year as a freelancer.

As much as I love to be on the road, Montreal will always be home.

My interest in photography began when I travelled to China ten years ago with a basic Canon Rebel XS. I love telling stories through photography and conveying emotions or memories, be it with food or interiors. I’m inspired by everyday life, the beauty of light, nature, textures and design.

I shoot mostly with natural light, but I use Profoto B1X flashes if needed. I keep my gear pretty minimal as I always shoot on location.

Here’s what’s in my bag:

Canon 5D Mark IV: This is the camera I use for both editorial and commercial work.

Canon 50mm f/1.2: I love this lens for its depth of field and versatility. It’s sharp and I use it a lot for overhead shots.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8: When I document a story on location and need to photograph the place, people and food at the same time, this is the lens that I use.

Canon 100mm f/2.8: This lens is great for close-ups and macro shots and to get details. I use this lens when I shoot from an angle.

Olympus OMD E-M5: I like to travel light, so I bring this camera with me. It’s a few years old but still a great mirrorless camera. It used to be my primary camera before I bought the Canon 5D Mark IV.

Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3: This lens came with my Olympus OMD EM-5 when I bought it. It’s great for traveling.

Olympus 45mm f/1.8: It’s a beautiful and sharp lens for portraits and close-ups of food.

Olympus 25mm f/1.8: The equivalent of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera. Really sharp and lovely.

Macbook Pro 13-in and Tether Tool cable: I always shoot tethered when I can on Capture One Pro to see the images on a big screen and make adjustments, or to quickly upload photos during/after a photoshoot.

Sandbag: Used when I shoot overhead and to stabilize my tripod.

LaCie Rugged Portable hard drive 2 TB: This is the external hard drive I use when I shoot.

Seagate Back Up Plus Hub for Mac 7 TB (not pictured): For my second back up at home.

Wacom Intuos: I always edit with my Wacom tablet.

Blower and Promaster Lens Cleaner: These ensure my lenses are free of dust and/or fingerprints

USB keys: My backup on location before I wrap up a photoshoot (see ideas)

Software: I use the latest version of Capture One Pro for basic retouching (contrast, exposure, brightness, sharpness, color correction) and I edit my photos in Photoshop.

Manfrotto 190: I always shoot on a tripod for food so I can concentrate on composition, lighting, etc.

Manfrotto 410 ballhead: I use this one when I shoot interiors, it allows me to make precise adjustments.

Manfrotto 496RC2 ballhead

Manfrotto 058B and Manfrotto 131D (not pictured): I love this tripod when it comes to shooting food in studio. It’s perfect for overhead shots.

iPhone (not pictured): My most used camera as it’s always with me!

Westcott Illuminator 52” 6-in-1 Reflector Kit: To bounce, diffuse or cut the light.

Canon Speedlite 600 EXII-RT and white umbrella: I use a flash when it gets too dark or when there’s little to no natural light on location, combined with a white umbrella

Tripod (not pictured)

Extension cords (not pictured) | @sylvieli

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  1. Heather Hongli on October 23, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Everything in your bag is so tidy and effective! It is nice to see them all together.

  2. Sylvie on October 22, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Thank you for the feature Shotkit :)

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