Shanley Cox is known throughout Kansas City for her impeccable fashion sense and culinary taste. She has eye for capturing the beauty present all around our favorite city. Every post on her Instagram is basically our #aesthetic goals. Her Instagram is essentially our number one source for finding out the most picture perfect places in Kansas City.

We’re so glad she agreed to sit down with us and share some of her photography tips, advice and favorite local restaurants.

How did you get started on Instagram?

I honestly thought at first that it was an app to just put filters on your photos, so it took a while before it sort of sunk in that Instagram was for social media. My Instagram by accident started focusing more towards food. I was new to Kansas City and I was getting to know the city through its food culture. Then I found a lot of people who started following me were interested in food too, and we started swapping stories hey have you been here? Have you heard of this new restaurant?

How long have you been on Instagram?

About 6 years now

When did your Instagram start gaining more popularity?

The more I started to try and take better photos, the more I found that people were paying attention to what I was posting.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I find inspiration from traveling, meeting beautiful people, eating delicious food, and seeing beautiful things. I also follow a lot of Instagram influencers and people who have a similar aesthetic. I always think it is really fun to find inspiration from a photo and twist it into your own style.

How would you describe your own photography style?

I would say it is light and whimsy. I love using the color white in pictures. It is so clean and sort of beautiful.

Of all the pictures that you’ve taken which one has been your all time favorite?

I think I was so inspired when I went to Paris this spring, and I almost had to hold back with all my photo taking. There were so many beautiful places to photograph. I think all of the photos I took in Paris are my favorite.

What are your three favorite local Instagram accounts?

I love @cookieandkate, she’s a vegetarian recipe blogger in Kansas City. Her photos are always so colorful and inspire me to want to cook in my own kitchen, which is really hard to do…

@givemesomeoven her photos are so bright and beautiful, and I love her aesthetic. And I’ve met her in person and she could not be any sweeter!

This isn’t food related, but sort of my style inspiration is @stepsofstyle. She nails every outfit photo and I want everything she ever wears.

What about 3 accounts in general?

@darling magazine, @theeverygirl and @glitterguide. I love accounts where you can find new people and these accounts feature so many.

In general what do you like about Instagram?

What I like about Instagram is it is a way for photographers to feature their work. I love that you can put it together in a cohesive way and it can look very beautiful. It feels like a mini art gallery. Instagram also helps you find a community of people who have the same interests as you. There are also a lot of people building each other up and supporting one another on the app.

What do you think is the key to a perfect photo? Do you use any editing apps?

I use a DSLR camera to take my photos. Then I sort of edit them in light room. As far as mobile apps, I always put a VSCO filter on my photos. I use the same filter on my photos, which is A6. I like to play a lot with the exposure and make things very bright. The key to a perfect picture is definitely lighting, and it also helps to have something beautiful to shoot.

What advice do you have to give someone who wants to start up a food blog or Instagram?

The best piece of advice to give someone is to one, find your unique angle and take a creative approach to stand up above the rest. The second piece of advice is to really work on your craft. Everyone has great photos so make sure you are meeting that standard.

What do you do when you’re not on Instagram?

I work full time as a writer for an advertising agency called Barkley. I’m a writer for Barkley’s Payless account so I write about shoes! Everything from commercials to marketing emails.

Ok now let’s talk about food and you! What is your favorite restaurant in Kansas City?

One of the best meals I’ve had recently was at the Antler Room. And the desserts are so good!

Best BBQ in Kansas City?

Slap’s BBQ!

Favorite coffee shop?

Monarch. It’s become my new favorite and it is so beautiful. Their iced coffee has changed the coffee game.

Donut shop?

I’m more of a classic, no frills donut girl, so I really love John’s Space Age Donut.

Favorite pizza place?

1889 Pizza Napoletana, but a close second is Pizzeria Locale.

Your go-to drink?

Champagne, I love the bubbles! I’m always like LaCroix over water.

Tea or coffee?

I’m a huge green tea person. I drink it all day every day.

What is the best dish you’ve ever made?

I’ve been told I make a really good steak.

Best food city in the States?

I was just in Charleston and had one of the best meals of my life at this place called the Ordinary. The city’s restaurants just hit it out of the park and have the perfect combo of comfort and seafood mixed with that southern hospitality.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Well photography of course. I love to travel. Whenever I can get vacation time or holidays I always try to travel. I’m also a huge animal lover and I love fostering animals. I have a cat of my own. Her name is Sasha and she has a lot of personality. I actually have a foster kitten right now too!

What do you hope people take away from your Instagram?

I think the most rewarding thing for me is when people comment on my post and say “Oh my gosh I didn’t know this place was in Kansas City,” or “I can’t wait to check that place out!” I love being able to support local spots and help inspire people to check out local places.

What is one thing you want your blog post followers to know about your Instagram?

That life is not always as perfect as it seems on Instagram. For every 1 good photo I post on Instagram there are 200 that are awful. I can’t tell you how many ice cream cones I’ve dropped trying to hold a camera in one hand and my cone in the other!

What are your future plans for your Instagram?

I want to keep getting better with my photography and keep traveling and keep being a nice person on Instagram and encourage others who are trying to make it in this social world as well.