In this large city, there are plenty of opportunities for Chicago photography. You may be an enthusiast, professional, or maybe you just really enjoy looking at photographs. Keep in mind, there are a handful of great options for galleries, shops, and schools – but the ones we have highlighted here will get you off on the right step.
Chicago Photography Guide:
Museum of Contemporary Photography
The Museum of Contemporary Photography is a haven for photography lovers – from fine art to photojournalism. They opened their doors in 1976 and have been working with local, national, and international artists ever since. They are the leading photography museum in the Midwest. This allows them to showcase some of the greatest works in the world.
Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center is a diverse venue that provides many varying exhibits to indulge in. The building itself is a beauty – true work of architectural art. They have ongoing showings, as well as rotational showings of photography and other mediums. They offer free public events year around from concerts, theatre, exhibits, and more.
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
The Mary and Leigh’Block Museum of Art is located in Northwestern University. They specialize in fine art exhibits. Their goal is to enrich the students’ lives and creative minds by giving them a first-hand look at great pieces of art to inspire them. The same goes for you and me. You do not have to be a student to appreciate the great venue, and the amazing pieces of work that flows through their door and onto the wall.
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most highly recognized galleries in the United States, as well as having an international presence. They have been displaying works since 1879. Since then, they have managed to collect around 300,000 pieces for their permanent collection – on top of that, there are rotating exhibits. Year round they hold community events from gallery talks to performances. They are so passionate about photography and art as a whole that they established their own school – dedicated to art.’They are conveniently located in the heart of Chicago, making this gallery one not to be missed while you explore.
111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
Central Camera Co.
Central Camera Co. has been at the forefront of photography sales and knowledge for over a century – their doors opened in 1899. You can walk in blind, and walk out feeling like an expert on your new purchase. They have a very large stock that contains both new and used equipment. The used equipment covers vintage favorites, to second-hand up to date models and accessories. If you are a true photography fanatic, expect to spend at least an hour browsing. Be sure to strike up conversation and ask to see items. The staff is more than pleased to help out. Plus, you never know what you may learn from them.
230 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60604
Dodd Professional has also been around for over 100 years, but they have been serving Chicago photography needs since 2008. They carry the highest end equipment and accessories. The staff are passionate photographers with extensive knowledge of everything in stock. Sometimes it is tough making the final decision on choosing one item over another. Fortunately, they allow you to be hands-on with many of the items to help sway your decision in favor of one over the other. From the hobbyist to the professional, Dodd has what you want.. what you need.
2840 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Emulsion Gallery & Lomography Embassy Store
Emulsion Gallery is aimed more for a niche market – this allows them to excel greatly in their offerings. Their specialty is film. Old habits die hard, but film never will – they will make sure of that. They carry the range of Lomography brand cameras and accessories. For those who do not know, Lomography has breathed life back into film cameras. Their offerings mimic the styling of vintage cameras – Diana, Pinhole, and 120 Film cameras are just to name a few. They also carry other brands, and a nice selection of instant film cameras.
Their film stock is hefty. They cover the essentials for crisp, clean looking photos – to the styles that produce vintage effects [no Instagram needed]. Other than actual equipment, they have bags, straps, frames, and other neat options. If you are addicted to film, prepare yourself before entering – it will be better than Disney World. They also process film!
1422 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
International Camera – Repairs
International Camera will be your savior if you find yourself in Chicago with broken equipment. Their prices are very reasonable, especially when comparing to manufacturers. Another pro is that there is no downtime due to shipping both ways. You drop-off your equipment [gently please], and they personally hand it back to you once it is repaired. They are extremely knowledgeable, skilled, and above all – honest. For most repairs, their turn around time from the time you drop it off will blow your mind! I have had to wait weeks from manufacturers – not the case here. Many items can be returned in days.
The camera gods have blessed us with these samaritans.
9 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60602
Chicago Photography Academy
Chicago Photography Academy is a very flexible academic establishment. Their classes range from a day, to one-year, and online. You can learn everything that you need to here. They cover the basics, portraiture, studio, wedding, and more. Part of digital photography is the editing process. Their Adobe Lightroom classes are essential if you do not utilize the program yet. It has saved me an unbelievable amount of time over the years since I switched from Photoshop as my main editing program. For the photographer with a time-crunch, to the photographer that wants to completely immerse themselves in their studies -Chicago Photography Academy can be tailored to your needs.
3047 N Lincoln Ave #209
Chicago, IL 60657
Richard Stromberg’s Chicago Photography Classes
Richard Stromberg’s class is devoted to not only developing one’s photography skills, but themselves as artists. The immense support behind everyone in the program will make you feel like you can take on the photography world by storm and be a great success – and you can be if you choose to be. The class options are extensive. They have a free weekly 90-minute camera workshop that introduces people to their equipment, one-day classes, and lessons that span weeks.
To truly feel inspired and confident behind the camera, Chicago Photography Classes will get you there.
4001 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute can be a little confusing at times – but in the best of ways. It is hard to tell where the museum ends and the school begins – it is that intertwined. For the photographers that are looking to fully immerse themselves into crafting their art, and potentially other mediums, the Institute is the venue for them. They allow you to explore all variations of photography, encourage exploration, and also will give you a degree on top of it all.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a photographic workhorse.
111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
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