Being a great food photographer isn’t about what equipment you have — it’s about making the most of what’s in front of you, including the lighting that surrounds you, such as in a studio or the middle of a restaurant. Tons of businesses need adept food photographers, from restaurants to grocery stores and modern undertakings like online delivery apps. And stunning images are not just an essential for brands, either. A professionally shot food photograph that compels you to crave the subject is crucial for food bloggers and influencers alike. These Kansas City food photographers have an eye for detail, delicacies, and deliciousness — check out their mouthwatering work.
A Kansas City-based photographer and writer, Shanley Cox is a wiz at creative marketing. Doing her due diligence in both fields, she’s able to not only understand where a brand is coming from, but also visualize where it’ll go. Formerly a senior copywriter with Barkley advertising, she has a marketing background and the experience to prove it. To Cox, photography is more than a pretty photograph — her commercial and food photography serve as a deep dive into her clients’ visions, captivating creatives and audiences alike.
Benjamin Fuentes Longoria is the man behind Kansas City Foodie Finds. A food blogger and photographer who knows and loves food, he travels around KC sampling and shooting the city’s best eats. Be it Kansas City’s famous barbecue or the newest, delicious spots in town, he’s able to capture them in words and photographs. He’s one of the top Kansas City food photographers whose pictures are always the cream of the crop — or BBQ sauce of the ribs. Or, well, you get it.
He might live in Kansas City and have a studio based there, but Alistair Tutton is an Englishman through and through. After first crossing the pond as part of a university exchange program, he became an American citizen and has been a professional photographer for more than a decade. American citizen or not, Tutton still has his British sense of humor intact, which comes in handy when it comes to the running of his blog, Peas, Love and Yorkshire Puddings.
4. Ryan Strong
Ryan Strong has been creating all sorts of art for more than 15 years. Directing and executing creative ideas for brands local to Kansas City and beyond, there’s no limit to what he can do — photography, music, videography, branding: you name it, Strong can do it. As the head of his own creative agency, The Strong Agency LLC, Ryan has worked with renowned clients like GQ, Vogue, Showtime, and Reebok. His food photography is best used by restaurants and bars, showcasing new menus and chefs alongside some of the best food stylists in KC.
5. Steve Puppe
Do you know how to pronounce Steve Puppe’s last name? Yes, it’s like the young dog, which we couldn’t love more. Puppe is a freelance commercial and editorial photographer whose assignments range far and wide. As well as being one of our favorite Kansas City food photographers, Steve shoots everything from portraits to agriculture. Surrounded by art for as long as he can remember, Steve’s first brush with commercial photography was when he worked with Hallmark Cards. After graduating from Kansas University, he pursued a career in photojournalism. These days, however, he’s back in KC shooting for big commercial clients, as well as cooking up mean BBQ.
6. Ben Pieper
Ben Pieper has a simple philosophy: produce creative and unique photography. The studio is made up of Pieper, assistant photographer Anneka DeJong, and a huge team of stylists and assistants who put their heart into every project. As a culinary artist, Ben is able to capture the beautiful, natural color schemes and compositions of ingredients and meals. He’s an ace at it, which makes it unsurprising he has a lot of huge national clients on his books, such as Hellman’s, Applebee’s, Kellogg’s, and Jack Stack’s BBQ.
7. Ashley Elwell of threethree Photography
Ashley Elwell is the woman behind the lens of threethree photography. Although her specialties are portrait and lifestyle photographs, she also shoots a lot of food and events photography around the city. Elwell has a strong passion for using her camera to convey and tell her clients’ stories. Graduating from Missouri State University with a BFA, she’s a creative photographer with a sharp eye. Quite simply, Ashley’s commercial work compels us to ask, “Can we eat it?”
8. Jenny Wheat
If ever a photographer’s name was created just for them, it’s that of Jenny Wheat. As the owner of Wheat Photography, Jenny snaps commercial imagery that supports a brand’s vision. She and her assistant Hilari Holt are good, kind people who also like to have fun with their shoots. After all, Wheat has been taking photographs professionally for more than 14 years. From winging it in her home studio to now having taken photos of Kansas City’s biggest and best, she’s come a long way and, most importantly, loves what she does. Her photos elevate any food product, showcasing them in an elegant, airy style.
KC is the perfect city for foodies. The classic Kansas City-style barbecue is mimicked in restaurants across the world. There are small bistros serving soul food classics like gravy, grits, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas. In addition, more modern ventures are mixing traditional and contemporary for a whole new type of feast. However, even the most delicious meals don’t always photograph well. Photographing food is an art that these Kansas City food photographers have mastered.