Live your best creative life
Out of Chicago began in 2011 as a blog by Chris Smith to share his photography adventures. Since then it has evolved from a published book, “The Photographers Guide to Chicago”, to the first and largest annual midwest photography conference of its kind. Things have changed since then, but the vision has remained the same, which is to connect and immerse enthusiasts and professionals alike with the best possible learning experience around photography.
Today, Out of Chicago creates immersive, in-person and online photography conferences each year, attracting the world’s best photographers from their field for you to connect and energize your photography alongside the pros. We are all photographers ourselves, so we understand what it takes to be inspired and get to the right place at the right time to get that one epic shot. Each conference is unique and creative allowing you to interact and learn something new every time. Our in-person, hands-on events take you to epic destinations throughout the year, such as Acadia, Moab, and Yosemite National Park. And once-a-year, you can attend our live, online, global photography conference where over 50 world-class photographers gather in one place, at one time, to share their discoveries from the past year, and for you to learn, share and get feedback from the pros.
Join us and be part of a community as passionate about photography as you.
Chris Smith, Founder
Out of Chicago started in 2011 when Chris began to photograph our beautiful city. Chris used his knowledge from the blog to write “The Photographer’s Guide to Chicago”. Chris’ vision has always been to connect passionate photographers with each other, which has lead him to creating destination oriented conferences each year. Chris loves photographing the city and using his 17+ years of teaching physics experience to teach others about his photography passion. When he’s not creating new events for Out of Chicago, you will find him hanging out with his wife and two kids or playing hockey. csmithchicago.com
Anne Belmont, Presenter Liaison
As Presenter Liaison, Anne gathers presenter information for the website and makes sure presenters are welcomed and have everything they need before and during our conferences. Anne specializes in flower photography and teaches classes and workshops with Out of Chicago and other conference venues. She also works in partnership with Lensbaby to spread the love of their creative lenses. annebelmontphotography.com
Malinda Kavetschanky, Operations
As a team member of Out of Chicago, Malinda helps with everything from everyday accounting to big picture details on new events. She is passionate about making Out of Chicago a strong community of photographers and loves meeting new friends. In addition to photographing Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and travel, she enjoys portrait photography too. malindakavphoto.com
Lesley Ames, Marketing Director
With over two decades in brand marketing and integrative communications, Lesley has always enjoyed connecting people through storytelling. She helps Out of Chicago with everything from creating and promoting yearly events, brand development, writing and digital media. In her spare time, Lesley enjoys being an inspired student of photography, traveling the world, and experiencing new adventures. lesleyames.com
Bob Wojda, Video
Bob has been working in the video industry for thirty years. He’s traveled the world as a producer and director and started his own full-service production company in 2008. Bob’s interest in DSLR cinematography brought him to the Out of Chicago team where he both teaches and assists with the moving picture side of the organization. Besides shooting, Bob races sailboats in the summer and enjoys watching movies with his family.