With a population rivaled only by New York City and Los Angeles in the US, Chicago is home to a diverse assortment of businesses providing for its more than 2.6 million residents. In fact, the Windy City’s economic output rivals those of entire nations, surpassing Switzerland’s GDP for instance by quite a fair margin. With so much commerce running through the city all year round, you best advertise your goods and services in the most flattering manner possible to beat the competition. And that’s where our list of the 10 best product photographers in Chicago will come in handy.
At Wonderful Machine, product photography applies to “any inanimate object not covered by our other specialties, often products.” So, while we have other specialties dedicated to fashion, beauty, cosmetics, and food and drink, images applicable to those categories will be featured less often in this list.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the best product photographers in Chicago we have on our radar.
Color and contrast are at the heart of Jason Little’s photography, shooting from angles high and low to narrate stories of wonder and intrigue from the world of food and drink. With a passion for production that started with his childhood VHS library, Jason’s work in this niche is nothing short of magical, and it’s the kind of magic you also find in his product photography centered mostly on beverages.
After communicating with you extensively to understand your vision, Jason brings a unique and vibrant touch with the production design and lighting. Take a look through his portfolio and you’ll see why. With a knack for the theatrical, he’ll cast your product as the main lead of the photo shoot, presenting it as pure box office gold.
Bringing more than 10 years of commercial photography experience with her, Zoe Rain is as dynamic and versatile a photographer as they come. After working as American rapper Macklemore’s full-time tour photographer, she spent her fair share of time with the most recognizable faces in the world, whether it was Ed Sheeran or Christina Aguilera. At this point, you’ve inevitably seen her genius behind the camera somewhere in the world, whether it’s on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine or on billboards lining up the highways of America.
Zoe’s product photography takes on several different hues. She can paint items with a realistic and authentic touch, informed by her background in photojournalism. If needed, she can also bring the pieces together in a colorful and idealized manner, presenting your goods and services in their most aspirational sense.
Her flexible approach has made her a number one target for numerous brands, including Nike, Red Bull, Budweiser, Apple, Spotify, and countless others.
Chicago product photographer Morgan Ione expresses her creativity through many dimensions, whether it’s by writing words or painting photographs with her camera. These dual passions are informed by her educational background, earning a degree in Journalism from Boston University, and Editorial and Advertising Honors from The New England School of Photography.
Morgan specializes in the categories of food, travel, portraiture, and interiors. She adorns her images with the perfect amount of light to capture a wealth of color from the subject, background, and foreground, all complementing one another to create a vibrant composition. It’s the same approach you see with her product photography, with an emphasis on food, drink, and furniture items.
She has collaborated with the likes of PepsiCo, Ferrero Roche, Starbucks, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Bon Appetit, and numerous others.
Anthony Tahlier loves photographing it all, and a quick glance through his website is all the evidence you need: interiors, portraits, food, and lifestyle imagery. There’s no shortage of these categories in his portfolio, and when it comes to the subject of product photography, he has a penchant for the display of beverages.
Anthony is somewhat of a bottle whisperer. Through immaculate planning beforehand and on set, he lets the beverage come into its own, using the optimum range of colors and lighting to present brands at their best. Whether it’s the golden sheen of a refreshing Modelo Especial or the regal ruby red of a Cooper’s Hawk Pinot Noir, Anthony finds the most favorable viewpoints for the subject in the frame.
His photos have been on the pages of Food & Wine Magazine, Fortune, and GQ, and he has worked with the likes of Marriott Hotels, Mercedes, and American Express to name a few.
In the most laudatory terms, Alex Wallbaum is the Willy Wonka of product photography in Chicago and beyond. He brings a signature flair of vibrant surrealism to his still life images, turning ordinary items into extraordinary ones. Food, beverages, shoes, or even board games can be transformed into compositions cooked up in our wildest dreams and fantasies, where they outgrow their functional purposes and take on lives of their own.
If you’re looking to promote your goods and services in contrarian fashion with a touch that is out of this world, Alex Wallbaum should be the first person on your list. Brands such as Nike, Cards Against Humanity, CROCS, and PUMA can vouch for him.
Chris Litwin found his home in the niches of food, beverage, and product photography. He’s always on the lookout for a unique challenge and perspective in these specialties, uniting different combinations of framing, lighting, and coloring to define the products in front of him. As a student of sculpture in college and studio photography in grad school, he brings a trained eye and honed skill set to each photoshoot, unafraid to experiment should it be required. At times, he’ll let the product reveal itself in contrast to the surrounding, while on other occasions he’ll let it blend in and revel with the hues and shades around it.
Clients in the beauty and cosmetics, fashion, tech, and industrial spaces have sought his talent and expertise, with his images appearing in magazines, billboards, TV spots, books, and packaging.
Nothing is out of place in an image taken by Nicolas Gourguechon. He’s a Chicago product photographer who pairs subjects with environments that feel like home to them. Through objects in the background and foreground, along with his complementary use of color across every inch of space, Nicolas positions products to look and feel their best in photos. Every item belongs exactly as it is.
He has an extensive formal education in photography, graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design before furthering his craft at The Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, and Maine and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. In short, he brings years of knowledge to the specialties of product, interiors, food, and lifestyle.
Some of his clients include Target, Crate & Barrel, XXL Magazine, and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Erika Dufour is a lover of life, using her many passions in dance, martial arts, painting, ceramics, food, and music to fuel her journey in photography. Her product photos utilize minimalism quite masterfully, on-site and in the studio. She isolates a few key variables in the frame, letting the subject and a narrow selection of colors in the foreground and background harmonize with each other for a picture-perfect marriage.
Her portfolio in this specialty mostly features beauty, cosmetic, fashion, and furniture products, from rosy pink shampoo bottles to various designs of desks and drawers.
If you’re searching for a Chicago product photographer to present your brand with a colorful and playful approach, Jennifer Marx is a fine candidate. Her work feels like a rainbow reimagined a thousand different ways through a thousand different objects, featuring a full spectrum of color and delight for the eyes. Jennifer’s a fan of framing products from high vantage points and intricately designed setups, turning her photos into novel discoveries. It’s hard not to feel like a kid on Christmas day ripping through all the presents or a UFO surveying an unchartered landscape.
Her unique style is most visible with arts and crafts items, though you can see offshoots of it with food, drink, and tech products as well.
We’re rounding out our list of product photographers in Chicago with Bethany Puterbaugh. Wherever she goes, a camera accompanies Bethany at all times, even if she’s away from work assignments cycling, hiking, or camping. She brings an uber-focused eye for detail in the fashion and beauty specialties, that is just as visible with her product photography. Her photos feel like visual essays in the abstract, introducing the subject to seemingly unrelated objects with some thread of shared characteristic: primarily color and texture. With this approach, she can make rubber slippers part of the fabric of a coral reef, or a pink, cotton shirt the friendly neighbor of a dried flower arrangement.
Bethany has worked with brands like Nike, Amazon, Jockey, Target, and Ford Models to highlight just a few.
You could be after clean, sleek, and by-the-book outtakes for your goods and services, or perhaps something that’s a bit out there, featuring unconventional and daring concepts. Whatever your requirements end up being, we’re certain our list of the 10 best product photographers in Chicago will provide plenty of good food for thought.