If you are a dancer planning on doing a summer intensive or a winter intensive in Chicago, it would be a shame if you don't take the opportunity to explore this gorgeous city and take some photos as a keep sake for your time here.
Since I'm a dance photographer in Chicago, and have shot all around the city, I thought I'd share some of my favorite spots with you.
ps. All the photos shown in this blog post were taken by yours truly :)
It sounds obvious, since Navy Pier is the most popular tourist destination in the midwest, but I feel like a lot of dancers don't take advantage of this location. You get access to lake Michigan, and the city skyline as well. Not to mention the ferris wheel (Centennial Wheel), Pepsi Wave Swinger, and the carousel, which all make a great backdrop to your photos! A word of advise, go there early in the morning and preferably during the week, to avoid tourists.
3-North Avenue Beach
Believe it or not, there are about a dozen white sand beaches in Chicago! And one of my favorite is North Ave Beach. It showcases one of the best views of the city and provides photo shoot spots on the beach itself or on the bike/walk paths long the lake. There is also a small lighthouse(not shown in the gallery) covered in graffiti that will give you a grungy vibe that's in stark contrast of the surrounding area. Early morning or during cloudy days are best times to visit because without buildings to provide shade, mid day sun will result in harsh shadows on your face and blown out backgrounds.
2-Buckingham Fountain/Rose Gardens
While Millennium Park gets most of the attention, let's not overlook Buckingham Fountain and the two rose gardens on the north and south side of the fountain! The Buckingham Fountain area provides something we don't get too much of in the city...SPACE! While most of downtown Chicago is jam packed with skyscrapers, there is surprisingly wide open spaces in this area. The southern rose garden is almost always empty, so you don't to worry about tourists photo bombing your selfies. And to get the best photo of the fountain, be a little patient because the center jet, which shoots up 150ft in the air, comes on once an hour.
Last, but not least, Millennium Park! You can't come to Chicago and not visit the iconic Cloud Gate (don't ask a local where the Cloud Gate is, a lot of us only know it as The Bean, lol). The structure has a metallic surface which reflects the gorgeous architecture of downtown Chicago, and the sky. Within a stone's throw away is the Crown Fountain. Faces of Chicago locals are projected onto the 50 foot towers and there are water spouts that spit water into a center shallow pool. By the way, I'm doing a terrible job of describing this art installation, it is much more fascinating in real life. Near by you will also find Lurie Garden, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and Cancer Survivors' Garden. You can easily spend a whole afternoon enjoy the scenery and take instagram worthy photos with your friends.
Of course there are more amazing places to explore in Chicago, but these 4 I mentioned here is a good start. The best time to go is always early in the morning for the best light and least amount of tourists. If you are looking to capture something really special, not just quick selfies, feel free to contact me to discuss a personal shoot. If you are visiting from out of state or even from a different country, you really owe it to yourself to have a professional capture these priceless moments.
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