Live your best creative life

OUT OF CHICAGO
BOTANIC

Flower & Garden Photography Conference

August 23-27, 2020 

Spark your creativity in a diverse, botanical paradise with 5 days of flower and garden photography, shooting side-by-side with the pros.

Immerse yourself in 385 acres of gardens as you photograph landscapes of contrasting colors, shapes and textures, including dahlias, cactus flowers, water lilies, lotuses, hummingbirds, butterflies, native plants and roses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. From the Japanese Garden to the Sensory Garden and English Oak Meadow, wander the garden paths as you push your creativity learning to capture flower personalities, use diffusers and reflectors, shoot garden landscapes, post-process textures and more.

Instructors

Shoot side-by-side with some of the world’s best flower and garden photographers

Out of Chicago Botanic brings over a dozen leading creative flower and garden photographers together for an intimate conference experience. Ranging from garden landscapes to macro scenes, learn hands-on a variety of creative photography styles and diverse perspectives from this all-star team. Each day you will go in the field to shoot side-by-side and photograph all the prized places in the Chicago Botanic Garden. With this many creative photographers in one place, we promise to deliver an inspired, mega-workshop and photography experience.

“It was an amazing week. In all different kinds of ways. You learn a ton of information from phenomenal photographers. It’s something for everyone.”
— JEANINE

Location & Accommodation

Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois

Experience 385 acres and 27 spectacular prized gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden, including the Japanese Garden, English Walled Garden and Oak Meadow. Classroom sessions take place at the Embassy Suites Northshore by Hilton in Deerfield, Illinois, an all-suite hotel that is set-up as a perfect basecamp for photographers, with first-class accommodations, conference facilities and an awesome happy hour! The Chicago Botanic Garden is conveniently located just down the road, where daily hands-on excursions take place. This is the perfect place to learn, play and be inspired.

“It was wonderful to be among so many people who didn’t think I was crazy for wanting to shoot all day, every day.”
— LINDA

Highlights

What makes this conference unlike any others? There is none other like it. Over five days, explore 385 acres of gardens as you shoot side-by-side with over twelve of the best flower and garden photographers in the world. Each day choose who you want to learn from and where you want to go. From the Japanese Garden to the English Oak Meadow, Sensory Garden and more, you won’t want to miss out on this epic photography experience. 
“The program was filled with amazing photographers to learn from. Whether you are a beginner or pro, this conference is for everyone. Highly recommend!”
— BETH
  • Slowing down and practicing mindfulness in photography
  • Learning to find compelling subjects that capture emotion
  • Learning macro and flower photography basics and effective camera settings
  • Learning about light and how to work with it to create impact
  • Composing for macro photography, small scenes and grand landscapes
  • Learning to use aperture creatively
  • Learning creative techniques to capture flowers and gardens in new ways
  • Workflow tips from capture to print
  • Post-processing tips from the pros
  • Learning to see and process for dramatic black and white images
  • Experimenting with new techniques such as light box photography and water drop refraction
  • And much more

A sampling of the 100+ sessions to choose from.

Itinerary

Each day will be an adventure as you explore the Chicago Botanic Garden. Keep yourself immersed in photography, morning, noon and night. Push your creativity and technical skills with daily hands-on, in-the-field photography classes, discussions and small group critiques.
Day 1

Check in to Embassy Suites Northshore in Deerfield, IL (4pm)
Meet & greet reception
Group dinner
Welcome by Chris Smith, founder of Out of Chicago
Opening keynote presentation with Anne Belmont
Evening breakout sessions

Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Cooked-to-order breakfast at Embassy Suites
Morning field sessions at the Chicago Botanic Garden/mini workshops at hotel
Group lunch/Group presentation
Afternoon field sessions at the Chicago Botanic Garden/mini workshops at hotel
Dinner with your excursion/workshop group at the Garden or area restaurants
Evening classes, image reviews
Scheduled time to work with an instructor one-on-one

Day 5

Cooked-to-order breakfast at Embassy Suites
Closing presentation
Check out of hotel (11am)
Photocrawl at Garden

What makes us different?

EPIC LOCATIONS  |  WORLD-CLASS PHOTOGRAPHERS  |  HANDS-ON INSTRUCTION

We bring over a dozen photographers with multiple perspectives to one place and create an experience you can’t get anywhere else. With over 75 classes, workshops and interactive sessions to choose from, compare this to a regular photography workshop or conference, for just as much cost or more.

Traditional Workshop

  • Hands-on, in-the-field instruction.
  • Single instructor.
  • Small group.
  • One photography style and perspective.
  • Everybody follows the same schedule.

Out of Chicago

  • Hands-on, in-the-field instruction. (10 or fewer people)
  • Small group classes and interactive sessions.
  • 10-15 leading photography instructors in one place, at one time.
  • Diverse styles and perspectives from one photography genre.
  • Limited to 100 attendees for an energetic yet intimate event.
  • Meet other photographers with your same passion.
  • Social time with attendees and instructors including group meals and more.
  • Vendors and opportunities to buy and test equipment.
  • Choose from a variety of classes and excursions to create your own personalized, daily photography adventure.
  • All classes and field-sessions included in price.

Traditional Conference

  • 10-15 photography presenters.
  • Vendors.
  • Hundreds of attendees.
  • Additional cost for field-sessions.
  • Everybody follows the same schedule.

Our promise

Live your best creative life

Out of Chicago brings together passionate enthusiasts with world-class photographers, all in one epic location, where you learn and shoot side-by-side with the pros. Since 2014, we have organized more than 15 hands-on photography conferences in Chicago, New York City, Moab and more. We are all photographers ourselves, so we understand what it takes to be inspired, get to the right place at the right time and live our best creative life.

EPIC LOCATION

From iconic landscapes to dramatic outdoor spaces, we handpick each location for our conferences so you can get the most out of photographing a place. Inclusive of first-class conference facilities to stepping out your door for the first morning light, we promise you a perfect place to learn and play.

IMMERSIVE LEARNING

Each event brings together over a dozen world-class photographers from across the country that specialize in one niche of photography. Spend five days immersing yourself in classes and interactive sessions, learning side-by-side from the pros. This means you can learn, shoot and play in your passion with others just like you.

HANDS-ON INSTRUCTION

Get five full days of personal, hands-on instruction in the classroom and in the field. We teach it. Then you practice what you learn, with your favorite photographers at the top of their game. Pro-level photographers will lead you on daily excursions and assist you in getting the perfect shot.

WORLD-CLASS PHOTOGRAPHERS

Take your photography to the next level with some of the world’s most creative photographers in their field. We’ve gathered over a dozen leading photography instructors, each with their unique perspectives, to teach you what they know. This means we are all here with one purpose – to help you make great images.

CRITIQUE & POST PROCESSING

Receive feedback from instructors during daily group critique sessions or get post-processing help during your session. Return home with gallery ready images you are proud of.

FRIENDLY COMMUNITY

Be part of a community that is as passionate as you are about photography. Get to know attendees and instructors over several days. Stay in touch afterwards on Instagram or in our private Facebook group. Come back the following year to connect again but, in a new location.

CONFERENCE PRICE

$1800

Reserve with a deposit of $900. The remaining balance is due 60 days before the event. This event is limited to 100 attendees.

What’s included?

Opening dinner and 3 lunches
Hands-on instruction from the top photographers in the field
More than 75 scheduled sessions to choose from for a personalized learning experience
Daily hands-on workshops and in-the-field excursions
Personal one-on-one sessions and small-group image reviews
Private Facebook group to connect with your fellow photographers to coordinate carpools

What’s not included?

Hotel, Airfare and Transportation
Membership to the Garden
Most dinners are on your own so you can go out with fellow attendees and instructors

“Thank you for enriching our lives by bringing us all together with such beautiful, passionate instructors. They gave us so much inspiration. So many life lessons. Not just photography.”
— USHA

Frequently asked questions

How do I get to the conference?
The conference and classroom sessions will be held at Embassy Suites Northshore by Hilton (1445 Lake Cook Road, in Deerfield, Illinois). Daily hands-on excursions will take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden, just a ten minute drive east of the hotel.You can fly into Chicago O’Hare International Airport (30 min drive) or Midway International Airport (1-1.5 hr drive). There will be a Facebook group for you to coordinate carpools and find other attendees to share the cost of a room at the Embassy Suites.

How are we getting to The Chicago Botanic Garden?
It will be up to you to drive to Chicago Botanic Garden. You will meet your instructor at the various garden locations each morning or afternoon. Attendees can coordinate rides with each other if they choose to.

How do I book my room at the hotel?
We have a block of rooms so everyone can stay at one hotel. Rooms are $139 + tax a night and can be obtained by calling 847-945-4500. Mention “Out of Chicago” at registration.

We recommend everyone stays at the Embassy Suites Northshore Hilton. Part of the fun of the conference is hanging out with n photographer friends and instructors, eating breakfast together, attending Happy Hour (free to hotel guests) and sharing the elevator together as you start and end each day. Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at noon. Your room includes a delicious made-to-order breakfast each morning and Happy Hour. More info about the hotel and its amenities can be found here.

What if I live locally and choose not to stay at the hotel?
That’s ok, too, but keep in mind that we have long days and adding a commute will make your day even longer.

Do I need a membership to Chicago Botanic Garden?
Admission to Chicago Botanic Garden is free, however there is a $25 parking fee per car/per day. Parking is free for members. If you are riding with others in a car, only one person in the car needs to have a membership card. This card is presented at the gate house as you come into the garden before you park near the Visitor’s Center. Once you park and go through the Visitor’s Center, no one checks your membership again – you walk right through to the gardens.

A basic “Garden 1” membership is $99. Or, a “National Garden 1” membership is $72 (for those who live 75 miles or more from the Garden). Information on memberships is available here.  There are many gardens all over the country that have reciprocal memberships that will get you into CBG without the parking fee. Check the listing here to see if your membership to another garden is reciprocal. You can simply show that membership card at the gatehouse, so don’t forget to bring it with you.

Please note that although the gatehouse opens at 8 a.m., it is possible to get into the Garden much earlier. We will offer some excursions earlier in the morning. The Garden closes at sunset so we will be able to photograph later on some evenings to take advantage of beautiful light. The Garden Cafe with an outdoor grill and terrace is a great place to have dinner with your group after an afternoon excursion.

What locations will we photograph within the Garden?
Chicago Botanic Garden covers 385 acres and comprised of 27 individual gardens and 3 greenhouses. We will be photographing all areas of the Garden including the aquatic gardens, the English Walled Garden, The Circle Garden, the Rose Garden, the Sensory Garden, the Japanese Garden to name a few. There are many beautiful landscapes to be captured such as the Serpentine Bridge, the Carillon Tower, the vistas of the Japanese Garden and more. To learn more about the areas of the garden here.

What fitness level is required for the excursions?
Most excursion locations will be an easy 10 minute walk from the parking lot.

What is the weather like in August?
Typically August is warm but varies from year to year. We chose August because it holds the least chance for rain and is the month when the gardens are at their lushest. The variety of flowers to photograph is endless.

What if it rains?
We encourage excursions to go out in light rain but schedules will be re-arranged to accommodate heavier rain, as needed.

Who is this event for?
Photography enthusiasts and pros. All levels of passionate photographers are welcome. Just be ready to eat, sleep and drink flower and garden photography for five days.

What photography equipment do I need?
You’ll want a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a tripod. A macro lens is suggested as well as a wider angle lens for garden landscapes. A longer focal length zoom lens with a polarizing filter is helpful for capturing waterlilies in the aquatic gardens. We’ll share detailed equipment recommendations before the event. A laptop is suggested so you can work on your images during the post-processing and critique sessions.

What is the tripod policy at Chicago Botanic Garden?
Tripods are allowed in all areas of the Garden and in the greenhouses. Do not place tripods in plant material or block paths with tripods or equipment. Be mindful that people with handicaps may need more room to navigate paths. A good article on etiquette in a botanic garden by instructor Anne Belmont can be found here.

Will there be equipment that I can try? What if I forget something?
Yes! We’ll have some of your favorite equipment manufacturers on hand to loan out equipment to try during the field sessions. Gary Farber and Hunt’s Photo will be at the event to provide anything you may need during the event.

Will there be a chance to hang out with the instructors?
You bet! Throughout the week we will eat meals together, hang out in the evening and photograph together in small groups. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and hang out with your favorite photographers.

Will I be sitting in classes all day?
This is a hands-on, immersive photography experience. We’re not going to bring you all the way to Chicago Botanic Garden to sit in a classroom watching something you could watch in bed on YouTube. Over 5 days, you’ll learn new techniques in the field while shooting with some of the world’s best photographers. There is classroom time available to practice post-processing and to get feedback on images, but you’ll be in the field a good deal of the time. There are plenty of options available each day for you to create a schedule that matches your interests, inside and outside the classroom.

When will I choose my sessions?
We will release the full detailed schedule six weeks before the event. At this time, we will give directions for you to choose your sessions and preferred instructors you want to work with so we can create a custom schedule for you. Group presentations are open to everyone. In-the-field sessions are limited to 10 participants. All participants will have an equal opportunity to get into the sessions of their choice.

Can I bring a non-photographer friend or family member with me?
Of course! They are welcome to join us for the group presentations at no charge. The in-the-field teaching excursions are limited to ten people and are reserved for conference attendees only. A meal pass will be offered at an additional charge so that they can join us for group meals.

What is the refund policy?
You can read the refund policy here.

If you have any other questions, please email me chris@outofchicago.com

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