Chicago is considered one of the food capitals of America, if not the food capital. And rightfully so. The Windy City is known for an array of delicacies that have become famous worldwide. From the iconic deep-dish pizza to a wide variety of Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs.
Unsurprisingly, such an abundance of tasty-looking meals gave rise to a vibrant food photography scene. At Wonderful Machine, we define food photography as “a product or an experience, including showing it being grown, prepared, served, and consumed.”
As you will soon see, Chicago food photographers are experts in their craft. Whether they are shooting meals from Michelin-starred restaurants, cozy local eateries, or street food stalls, the quality of their work is something to rave about.
So let’s dig in and see what you can expect from the best of the Chicago food photography scene!
Tyllie Barbosa is an experienced Chicago food photographer who has been infusing clients’ imagery with character and vitality since 2005.
During her career, she has shown herself to be a master at the craft of food photography, capturing photos that entice the palette through crisp and fresh imagery. Like a perfectly folded croissant, her photos are light and airy; and her creative compositions will keep you coming back for seconds.
The list of clients she’s worked with is quite impressive — including names such as Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Oscar Mayer, Quaker, Ziploc, Kerrygold, and even Google.
A Chicago food photographer with a five-star reputation, Anthony Tahlier is the chef’s choice. His work is classic and pristine, with an attention to detail that transforms even the simplest dish into a decadent display.
Whether it’s a cloud of backlit steam, a sizzling piece of steak, or a melting slice of cheese, Anthony’s use of motion helps to highlight the mouthwatering experience of Chicago’s best cuisines.
While food photography is certainly a large part of his portfolio, his work spans a range of subjects, from people to places to the things people love and crave.
Featuring bold images that pop with contrast and color, Jason Little’s work is surreal and fun with a playful edge. He has a flair for the eccentric and creates some of the most distinct food photography we’ve seen yet.
Taking inspiration from the cutting edge special effects and camera work of 80s blockbusters, Jason aims to bring the same wonder and magic to productions of all sizes. With thorough communication, thoughtful production design, and a healthy dose of fun, his team makes your brand come alive through ultra-colorful imagery that transcends traditional commercial photography.
Through collaborative imagination, extensive pre-production and improvisational adaptability, Jason is an ideal partner for creating contemporary work that leaps off the page and screen.
With a less studio-based approach and more focus on natural settings, Lucy Hewett’s food photography captures the moments that relate to food. Artful storytelling results from her thoughtful compositions, documentary-style approach, and bold use of color. She captures all the details and tells the story beautifully, from the farmers who grow the crops to the chefs who prepare them.
With a clear vision and a joyous, collaborative approach, Lucy leads the collective endeavor of image-making. She has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Keebler, and Amazon. In addition to her bright energy and steady hand, she brings a strong, hardworking, and humble ethos to every project she undertakes.
Part of being a great food photographer is being able to handle beverages as well. Whether it’s showing the sweat glistening on a cold mug of beer or the foam flowing over the top, food photographer Morgan Ione can do it all.
Though she now lives in Chicago, Morgan got her start in New York City, where she spent the first ten years of her career building her food and beverage portfolio. Her extensive experience has provided her with an enviable list of commercial and editorial clients spanning a wide range of industries, including restaurants, boutique hotels, and travel brands.
Different projects call for different levels of production. Morgan has an extended network of producers, video crews, food stylists, prop stylists, studios, creative directors, and graphic designers that help to make every shoot a success for her clients.
Having photographed more than 300 restaurants, Sandy Noto has gained extensive experience as both a food and travel photographer. Her style is bright, energetic, and upbeat and often features a minimalistic approach to capturing shots where the plated food plays the starring role. She’s also great at showing how food fits into the lives of the people she’s photographing. Food & Wine, The Wall St. Journal, and the Chicago Tribune have all published her work, offering proof of her flair for creating fresh, bright, and engaging images that satisfy their craving for beautiful food stories. She’s also worked with a broad range of food and travel-focused brands and she’ll never turn down an assignment that allows her to collaborate or travel.
In his classic style, Matthew Gilson uses ambient lighting to create crisp imagery that is sure to tempt your taste buds. He cooks up a professional edit with go-to images for chefs and restaurant extraordinaires. Through his use of contrast and natural lighting, he creates dark and moody images that turn up the heat and bring out the drama of each dish. In fact, you can almost taste the tender, juicy, and cooked to perfection flavor of each bite.
Matthew holds an MFA in experimental filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his clients include three-star Michelin restaurant Alinea, Time, and Bon Appetit, to name a few.
We hope you enjoyed indulging in this list of the seven best food photographers in Chicago as much as we did!
See more Chicago Food Photographers.