With a career spanning more than 20 years, Balanced Exposure's owner, Russell Lowe, has worn many hats, including forensic photographer, wedding photographer, and commercial photographer. Russell has always had a passion for teaching, which is why he finally opened up his own studio space. He and his staff help novice photographers shake hands with their shutter button during introductory Photo Essentials classes for DSLR cameras, whereas DSLR Advanced classes lead intermediate students further into the world of flash lighting by exploring how to use external flashes, set up studio lighting, and sell paparazzi-style photos of local squirrels to National Geographic. Aspiring wedding and studio photographers hone their craft and practice postproduction techniques in the fully equipped studio, which also hosts professional portrait shoots.
The shutterbug instructors at Shoot Like A Pro cement photographic know-how into their clients’ craniums through technical lessons and onsite practice. During workshops and excursions, students first learn to manipulate their own cameras, picking up tips about ISO, f-stop, shutter speed and composition before testing their skills during two hours of shooting time. Shoot Like A Pro’s events lend themselves to all types of digital cameras as well as to beginner photographers and more experienced students looking to refresh their skills.
Music Education Centers of America’s melody makers spark musical discovery in students of all ages and experience levels with lessons in vocals, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, brass, woodwinds, and string instruments. Whether students are forming a rock band or composing a series of jingles for the local blacksmith, they can hone their talents under the guidance of established performers and educators. The center offers private lessons six days a week, tailoring times to customers’ schedules. Teachers help burgeoning musicians select instructional books to purchase, while seasoned artists may bring their own material and lists of potential stage aliases. In addition to lessons, MECA houses a full-service music store, stocking print music, accessories, guitars, and stray quarter notes seeking adoptive homes. Upright pianos, grands, Yamaha digital pianos and keyboards, and Lowrey organs are also available to be specially ordered. MECA also provides a variety of on-site rentals. The centers’ Fun Over 50 program offers lessons to seniors, offering grandparents an opportunity to develop their musical talents and bond with grandchildren by rapping over complex barbershop harmonies.
After 6 years of award winning instruction in dance and the performing arts, VPA has launched its brand new Adult Program. This exciting new program offers an array of dance and fitness classes suitable for all levels, from the beginner to the seasoned veteran.
Winner of several contest awards from the Wedding Photojournalist Association including photographer of the year in 2012, Steve Matteo still remembers his early days as a news photographer for a small suburban weekly, rushing back to the newsroom to watch the film slowly develop and a sliver of history take shape. Though he went on to tackle more exciting assignments and career changes—working at the Daily Herald, compiling images for UIC's yearlong City 2000 photo project, and photographing Princess Diana's visit to Chicago in 1996—one thing hasn't changed: the thrill of knowing that his camera has memorialized a story forever.
Today, Steve is equally at home shooting for Fortune 500 companies and clients such as Northwestern University as he is creating individual portraits. When he photographs a wedding, he uses the same ingenuity and photojournalistic eye that he honed while working as a sports photographer for HBO Sports and the Associated Press—photos he took of Sammy Sosa in 2003 appeared in numerous media outlets, including MLB.com, after Sosa's broken bat was found to be filled with cork and Cracker Jack prizes. His wedding photography, meanwhile, has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, and garnered a 2012 Bride's Choice award on WeddingWire.com.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.