A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their lives in photography


For 16 years, Aaron Patton has been a commercial and editorial portrait photographer in Wichita. With clients ranging from local businesses to international publications and Fortune 500 companies, he gets to see a little bit of everything.

Born and raised in Kansas, Patton has spent his life finding the beauty in what many may consider mundane. As a kid, he spent his summers hiking through pastures, ducking under barbed-wire cattle fences, and swimming in stock tanks; now, he feels right at home photographing those same kinds of images.

He and Christina, his wife of 16 years, explore the world as often as possible and always try to bring a touch of their travels back to their work in Wichita.




What was the moment you wanted to become a photographer?

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with photography. I was 17 and visiting Yellowstone for the first time. On the way, we drove through the Grand Tetons, and I’ll never forget how those incredible peaks just erupted out of nowhere. We pulled over and I took a photo of the mountains with some flowers in the foreground—that was the spark. Haven’t put my camera down since.


What is the hardest thing to photograph badly?

To photograph well? Oh, I can photograph anything badly—sometimes that’s more fun. You learn a lot when you start looking for the worst way to make an image. The hardest thing to photograph well? Gourmet dog treats (speaking from experience).


If you had to describe your photography in terms of a color wheel, where would you fall on it?

I realized this past year that every time I do a personal project, it’s in black and white…so I suppose that’s my answer. I love a good color image, but when it comes to the things I do just for me, I always go back to monochrome.




Who is a Kansan you have never photographed, but would like to? Why?

Normally, I’d say Cassandra Peterson (who doesn’t love Elvira?) or Jason Sudeikis (the world needed Ted Lasso), but I started a project in 2022 called Friends and Other Strangers where I photograph people I’ve known for years and had never have the chance to work with. That’s been one of my favorite series of my career.


What have you learned from being a photographer that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise?

Just how fascinating faces are. Everyone is self-conscious about their face for one reason or another, and nobody should be—it’s often the thing that people dislike the most about themselves that makes them so unique and interesting. I’ve photographed thousands of faces, and I’m still constantly in awe at how every single one is so different.


What is the most common photography advice you share with amateur photographers?

They say that every portrait is a self-portrait, so it’s important to know who you are and what you’re about if you want to make meaningful images.


See more of Aaron's Work

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