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The 8 Best Food Photographers in Pittsburgh

The City of Bridges is a city of crossroads in terms of geography, culture, and dining. With Polish, German, and other European influences on the cuisine, foodies come in droves to taste test local pierogies, kielbasa, chipped ham, and other local delights. Restaurants in the area do well and are always in need of good images to showcase their venues to prospective clients! Thankfully, Pittsburgh has some of the most talented shutterbugs in the nation. So we invite you to take a look at the best food photographers in Pittsburgh as of 2019!

1. Michael Ray

Professional food photographer Michael Ray is a master of the art of controlled studio lighting. He almost effortlessly creates images that look good enough to eat! With his years of industry experience, Michael calls several nationwide name brands satisfied customers, including Food Lion, Del Monte, Church’s Chicken, US Foods, and many others.

In addition, Michael runs a food photography blog where he posts tips, behind-the-scenes photos, and tutorials on the subject for all aspiring and professional food photographers to digest. We love that Michael’s food photography style has just the right amount of punch and color contrast — not too bright nor too shadowed. And instead of a contemporary or classic take, he gives a realistic yet inviting presentation of each dish that, combined with expert styling and orientation, leaves you wanting to sample the treat for yourself.

2. Adam Milliron

Adam Milliron is self-taught in a variety of skills, including the food photography he’s since mastered. Based in Pittsburgh, Adam works out of Iron Mill, his own personal studio located in the East End. The 2,00-sq.ft. facility includes a 500-sq.ft. commercial kitchen with stainless steel work spaces; a commercial refrigerator and walk-in freezer; and soft, pleasing natural light coming from 90° of glass window panes.

His ability to find the “hero angle” (i.e., the composition that best showcases each aspect of a dish) is incredible. In particular, we really enjoy his full countertop spreads of artfully arranged multi-course meals. Be it pizza night, Mediterranean, Asian cuisine, or something closer to home, Adam tells the story of each dish through delightful textures and colors.

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3. Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is a Pittsburgh-based interior, architecture, and lifestyle photographer with a talent for capturing captivating culinary images. With over 10 years of experience, Erin calls several clients satisfied customers, including Country Living Magazine, the Food Network, and Philadelphia Magazine, among other publications.

Her food photography has an artistic, natural quality to it, celebrating the textures, form, and colors that make food innately appealing while presented in arrangements that captivate and inspire curiosity. We love how closely she brings her viewers to each dish, allowing us to savor textures, consistency, moisture content, and other intimate food details. You can almost smell the steam rising off the hot pie or chocolate fondue! 

4. Carla Cardello

Freelance food stylist, recipe developer, and food photographer Carla Cardello specializes entirely in crafting culinary works of art and documenting them. Certified in the culinary arts and with a bachelor’s in multimedia, she understands not only the essential techniques used in cooking and baking, but how to customize images to match the needs of each client’s brand.

As a result of her flexibility and specialization as a food photographer, her portfolio is full of different styles and takes on food photography. Images that tell stories of grandma’s kitchen, country living, holiday feasts, and food vignettes of individual dishes are just a small part of what she does. Her lighting styles also vary tremendously, from timeless to bright and modern. Regardless of the style your brand demands, Carla Cardello is one of the best food photographers in Pittsburgh to collaborate with!

5. Michael Fornataro

Thanks to his own dedication, as well as his decision to step up to the role of staff photographer during his time working for WHIRL Magazine, Michael Fornataro learned the ins and outs of professional food photography in an organic fashion. He has mastered the way in which lighting, angles, and good composition all contribute to how a dish is experienced through the visual medium. As an editorial food photographer, he’s an expert at setting up run and gun lighting to maximize productivity and impact. With images covering restaurants from multiple Pittsburgh venues, Michael Fornataro is definitely a food photographer to consider for your next photoshoot!

6. Tom Cwenar

Working out of a 12,000-sq.ft. studio in Pittsburgh’s South Side, Tom Cwenar works both in studio and on location nationwide for some of the largest advertising agencies in the country. Tom’s work has a distinguished character we enjoy immensely, making especially good use of shallow depth of field and bokeh-filled backgrounds to highlight subjects in captivating ways. He usually takes a tableside view in his work as well, so it’s much easier for the viewer to imagine themselves at the table, ready to eat! 

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7. Noah Purdy

Commercial and editorial photographer Noah Purdy uses contemporary food styling and lighting to create some of the best images we’ve seen. We love how his portfolio features overhead images that showcase food artfully arranged into groups on cutting boards, complementary dishes, and single dishes with matching cutlery.

The aerial view works especially well for culinary artwork suitable for calendars and cookbooks. Noah’s subdued lighting, combined with the character of his props and backgrounds, impart lifestyle takes, country living, and other potential stories to his food photography. It’s no wonder he’s among the top food photographers in Pittsburgh for branding.

8. Amy Shafer

After spending a decade climbing the corporate ladder, Amy Shafer decided to start her own business as an independent photographer, and she hasn’t looked back since. Covering children, families, events, products, and the culinary world, Amy works as both stylist and photographer on each of her food photography shoots. Amy’s work has a distinctive bright character we enjoy, neither too moody nor washed out in lighting, and it allows her work to showcase fine details that may otherwise be lost or unnoticed.

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