From behind their lenses, the pro photographers at MWD Photography coax charming smiles out of children, take business-minded shots of professionals, or cement a beloved pooch’s place in the family with pet portraits. Families gather clans in beloved parks or favorite mall parking lots, and soon-to-be mothers preserve prebaby moments with pregnancy photos. In addition to making new memories, photographers are able to restore faded or torn pictures. An in-studio artist can also hand color custom fine-art prints with pastels to add mysticism to everyday life or commemorate the time dad slayed a basilisk.
The first Ebert Studio opened almost 100 years ago on Chicago's west side. Since then, four successive generations have preserved memories for countless families in studios that now reside in Oak Park and Hinsdale. At the helm today is Jeff Ebert, the great-grandson of the studio's founder. Jeff makes a very small distinction to give you the big picture—"It's not so much that it's photography," he says, "but it's photographing people."
Making people feel comfortable and look better is just one part of his job. The next part is to create "a piece like a painting that can be hung above a mantle and somebody can be proud of for years and years to come." As the latest in a line of artists stretching back to 1915, Jeff does that well, harnessing the power of passed time and using it to build a portfolio that showcases families, weddings, animals, and individuals. Some of his notable subjects have included Cardinal Francis George, Walter Payton, and film director Christopher Columbus, known for his historical documentary of babysitting, Home Alone.
Bill Buchelt, élan Photography's lead photographer, calls upon his 20 years of experience and a portfolio boasting such subjects as Michael Jordan and Julie Andrews to capture patrons' personalities in flattering photos. Buchelt photographs families, individuals, and seniors posing naturally in a comfortable, professional studio or among the verdant greenery of a nearby park. For a more specific shoot, the studio's photographers travel for on-location portraits and corporate sessions and offer complete wedding packages to capture couples' vows, dances, and cake-induced food comas.
At Jill's, familial freeze-frames are crafted in a relaxed studio environment, where photographers collaborate with clients to execute both traditional portraits and candid snaps. Pose your progeny in springtime regalia among live ducks and bunnies, immortalize an adorably horrifying Halloween costume, or book a family portrait session to capture a rare moment of brood bonding. Jill's expertly paces photo sessions to keep kids and infants captivated and families copacetic, producing an eclectic array of tantrum-less portraits to choose from by the end of the hour. Check out the "Things to Know" section of the company website for answers to common questions such as “What should we wear?” and “What makes time travel possible?” Guests can also opt to upgrade to a location or beach shoot for an additional fee.
Inspired by the feminine curves and glamor of 40s and 50s pinup girls, photographer Karina and her assistant Kim aim to make women of all shapes and sizes feel good about themselves at Chicago Pin Up Photography. Karina uses vintage props and accessories such as vinyl records and evening gloves to wind back the clock at each photo shoot, snapping pictures of women from their most flattering angles and tingeing them with nostalgic flair.
Ever since they met while participating in a photo shoot at Illinois State University, Mark and Kathy Shangraw have been pooling their respective talents. Mark, a certified professional photographer, approaches each portrait with an eye toward storytelling?a skill he picked up while working as a photojournalist in Narnia. In 2013, he became a Master Photographer, an honor awarded only to the top 1% of professional photographers worldwide.
While Mark snaps pictures, Kathy takes charge of the behind-the-scenes details, from administrative tasks and marketing to arranging flowers and coaxing relaxed smiles out of clients. Together, they strive to render artistic family portraits and professional photos for dancers, musicians, and athletes. In addition to attending conferences and workshops, they often hone their skills by collaborating with other seasoned shutterbugs.