Your Street Photography Workshop Guide to Chicago

street chicago
The “windy city” is a great place for Street Photographers.

Your Street Photography Workshop Guide to Chicago

Chicago being the third populous city in the United States offers a multitude of places to take breathtaking pictures. As a multicultural city it thrives on the harmony and diversity of its neighborhoods. Chicago embodies the values of America’s heartland-integrity and is known as a very passionate sports town.

In this article you will find an overview of places, galleries and workshops within the city of Chicago that every Street Photographer should know.


Millennium Park and the Bean

Millennium Park is one of the most touristy spots in Chicago and has more than one reason to stop by when visiting Chicago: The 24.5-acre park features Frank Gehry’s “Pritzker Pavilion” serpentine bridge and Jaume Plensa’s “Crown Fountain”, with its ever-changing array of locals’ faces spewing water every five minutes during the summer months.

The Lurie Garden sparks with year-round flower displays and monthly garden walks, as well as Anish Kapoor’s 110-ton Cloud Gate, which is mainly called “The Bean”. You better pay a visit in the morning though, otherwise the Bean’s surface will reflect the sun, making it hard to take decent pictures.


The Navy Pier

Located on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan, the 3,300-foot-long pier currently includes over fifty acres of parks, shops, gardens, family attractions, restaurants,and exhibition facilities. With more than 9 million people visiting Navy Pier Park every year, it is an incredibly popular destination. Opened in 1916 Navy Pier hosts the PNC Bank Winter Wonderfest from December through January. There are many outdoor attractions at the Navy Pier Park, as well as lots of outdoor art.

Being Chicago’s frontrunnner tourist attraction, it is also one of the most popular travelling destinations in the Midwestern United States. Use CTA bus #124 from Union/Ogilvie Stations and Millennium Station and CTA bus #29 from LaSalle Street Station and Millennium Station and you will be there in no time.


Chicago Riverwalk

If you’re in search of breathtaking views of some of Chicago’s most gorgeous architecture, we highly recommend taking a stroll along the Riverwalk. A lot of public walkways and seating areas offer access to boat tours and water taxis, as well as waterfront cafes and restaurants. There are many areas where you can start your tour, for example you can take the CTA bus #29 to LaSalle Street Station.


The Magnificent Mile

Walking up and down the Magnificent Mile you will find some of Chicago most historic buildings, such as the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Water Tower, and the Hancock Building to name a few. At night, find yourself a good location to set up and shoot some car trails. You will get there with the Red Bus Line, exit via Chicago Avenue or Grand Avenue and walk east approximately 3 blocks.

Amazing Street Photography from Chicago on Flickr:


Smoke break.


The best photo galleries for Street Photographers in Chicago

Chicago offers a multitude of galleries and museums adressing photography in general, as well as Street Photography, Classic Photography and Contemporary Photography in detail. Wether you want to visit exhibitions or find a place to display your own work, listed below are some of the places to be.


Museum of Contemporary Photography

Established in 1984 by Columbia College in Chicago, the MoCP has become the leading photographic museum in the Midwest. It houses a collection of over 10,000 images dating back to 1936. The MoCP also founded the Midwest Photographers Project, that has the goal to encourage and support emerging artists. The museum collaborates with a variety of digital artists and community educators.

600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605


Stephen Daiter Gallery

Stephen Daiter Gallery showcases exquisite and vintage examples of important classic American and European photography from the 20th century, including experimental, avant-garde, photojournalistic and documentary work.

230 W. Superior, Chicago, IL 60654


Chicago Cultural Center

Initially built as Chicago’s Public Library in late 1800, this well-designed building has developed into a pilgrim site of activity for artistic expression, hosting a multitude of lectures ( free of cost), exhibitions, concerts, theater or dance. The stunning building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as a multitude of free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events.

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602


Alibi Fine Art

Located in the Ravenswood neighbourhood the Alibi Fine Art gallery has focused on exhibiting works often overlooked or forgotten, from early career artists as well as nationally recognized talents.

4426 N. Ravenswood, Chicago, IL 60640


Street Photography Workshops in Chicago

As diverse as the city itself as diverse are the numerous workshops for Street Photographers offered. No matter if you want to improve your skills or if you’re an absolute beginner, there’s a wide range of Street Photography Workshops provided in Chicago.


Filter Photo – gallery meets workshop

Filter Photo is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization focusing on contemporary, fine prints – contemporary and photography. Since 2009 it has organized the annual Filter Photo Festival, celebration of photography, including workshops, lectures, exhibition receptions, artist talks, and other diverse programming, that lasts for several days.

The organization provides varied workshops, not only Street Photography. The workshops are for photographers of all levels and some are even free of charge so you can use them as an trial course if you’re a beginner in photography.


Chuck Jines – explore Street Photography photojournalist

The internationally published photographer offers numerous diverse Street Photography Workshops and Photowalks in Chicago.
You can choose a two days and one night guided adventure where you get exclusive access behind the scenes ,will do night flash photography and are able to use a black and white lightroom, where you can edit your photos or participate in a one day workshop.

But that’s not all Jines, who is also the publisher of the Gravis magazine, offers for Street Photographers. You can also attend a social documentary Photowalk that is designed for all skill levels. On his website you will find a list of material you will need for the course. In this course you will learn how you capture candid images, make strong compositions, create a great setting, deal with people in public and much more.

If that’s not enough you can also participate in the “Power-Packed, NO Fluff Workshop” where you get to know the traditional Street Photography in Chicago, learn something about the history and build up a meaningful knowledge and strong confidence referring to Street Photography.

Every workshop is a group class but can also be attended as an on-to-on session.


Take your Street Photography to new heights

Eric Kim and Satoki Nagata sometimes guide Street Photography workshops for beginners in Chicago. The main goal of this workshop is to show how Street Photographers capture the decisive moment. In order to do so you will learn how to become invisible, conquer your fear and react to people, plus there are some technical skills that will be taught in this Street Photography course. In a group of 15 like-minded persons you will get to opportunity to create amazing black and white photos and benefit from the feedback of two professional photographers who have much experience in Street Photography.

Additionally Erics Kims blog gives you the opportunity to get a feeling for Street Photography in Chicago by providing several tips and tricks for Photographers.

Getting to know Chicago by using a Street Photography Workshop

The travel and Street Photographer John Batdorff, who published several Photo books, offers Street Photography Workshops for even smaller groups of about 6 people. His workshops provide the great opportunity to take pictures of all the significant sights and of the people living in Chicago. Starting in Lincoln Park, the group meets in a Cafe to get to know each other and discuss the all day workshop. Right at the meeting point you’ll be able to make an amazing shot of the Chicago Skyline.

Afterwards you will walk through the city, take photos of faces that pass your way and get to know some techniques that help you improve your skills. On the website is a lists of the gear you’ll have to bring with you to get the most out of the workshop.


Urban and Street Photography Workshop Chicago

This workshop focuses on the urban environment as subject and setting for your Street Photography. It addresses beginners as well as professional photographers. Guided by an architect, designer and photographer you will not only learn how to take great shots but also the basic principles of photographing buildings and man made structures. This knowledge will help you to break the rules and create incomparable pictures.

The main goal of this four day Workshop is to take your skills to another level regardless of your current state. You will also learn how to work with natural light and use the given settings with all their elements for your individual photos.

The big-grid city Chicago offers lots of unrivaled opportunities for Street Photographers whether you want to explore the city by yourself or participate in a Street Photography Workshop. Just give it a shot and you will see the various possibilities Chicago provides.


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