Kipling Swehla





Kipling Swehla

Chicago based commercial photographer

Whether it’s a bustling, highly produced shoot with a crowd of models, assistants, and stylists; a focused tabletop set with a labyrinth of clever lighting tricks; or an in-the-moment-capture-the-mood location shoot; he brings a calm, collaborative energy to the shoot that gets the job done right.

Kipling’s artistic life emerged at age 16 on a mountaintop in Colorado when a friend handed him a Canon AE1.  It was one of those “whoosh” moments, the feel of the camera in his hands, seeing life (in this case an unsuspecting chipmunk) from a different perspective.  He was hopelessly hooked.


After graduating from SIU-Carbondale with a degree in Cinema and Photography, Kipling headed to Chicago. There, he spent several years assisting and learning the business from the city’s top photographers before opening his own photo studio.  While he started out specializing in product photography, many of his clients began asking him to take on all of their location, people, and food assignments as well, since they so appreciated working with his congenial personality and resolute work ethic.


Kipling’s introduction to food photography was with Chef Charlie Trotter, a culinary icon known for his demanding of excellence.  He was brought in to do a test shoot, and after the first shot was chosen to shoot the food for the cookbook, Workin' More Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.  Over an 8-year period, Kipling worked closely with Chef Trotter on multiple projects including 2 more cookbooks, product packaging, and a 2 week project in Cabo San Lucas shooting the resort, One & Only, Palmilla.


Kipling has gone on to shoot cookbooks for Art Smith, Dean Ornish, and Common Threads and has a 25-year track record of collaborating with top chefs, ad agencies, design firms, nonprofits, and small businesses to create high quality imagery for a wide range of projects.



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While in Palmilla, leaning into some wild, prickly bush to get the best angle, Chef Trotter exclaimed, “That’s what I love about this guy.  He throws his whole body into it – whatever it takes to do the job right!”


"whoosh" moment

 Kip at 16

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