"Out of Chicago" Brings Together the "In Crowd"

Today's guest blog post is by the talented, dedicated and enthusiastic Chris Smith, founder of the Out of Chicago conference. Take it away, Chris.

I am always nervous to write for Rick's site. He has been my biggest supporter and mentor. From the first time he convinced me to lead a photo walk, to Out of Chicago growing into a full-blown conference, Rick has always been there to help. Thank you, Rick . . . and I am super excited that you will be speaking at the 2016 event.


2015 marked the second year of the Out of Chicago conference. What started as a fun get-together for a few of my photography friends has turned into an event beyond anything I could imagine. In 2014, 15 of my photo friends taught classes on how they shoot. In 2015 I was able to convince Elia Locardi, Bryan Peterson, Juan Pons, Valerie Jardin, Thomas Leuthard, Bob Davis, Jim Harmer, and 24 other amazing photographers to teach what they do and lead photo walks around the city. It was an unforgettable weekend in Chicago.

There is something special about the Out of Chicago conference. I don't know what it is. But I've never seen so many photographers this excited about photography in one place before. Maybe it's because we're not only learning from the best photographers in the world, we're out on the streets of one of the greatest photography cities in the world. The conference venue is in the heart of Chicago, walking distance to the best photo locations in the city.

Some highlights: Photographing the Chicago Riverwalk with Juan Pons. Leading a photowalk with Elia and Naomi Locardi. Leading a photowalk with Jim Harmer. Hanging out with instructors and attendees at the after-party. Teaching my classes on photographing Chicago. Meeting my photography idols. Giving out cameras and lenses as prizes from our sponsors. Meeting so many photographers that I've only known through social media and the internet.

Sometimes I think I'm dreaming. Our 2016 lineup includes some of my absolute favorite photographers. You know at least one of them. The 2016 lineup is headlined by Rick Sammon, Frederick Van Johnson, Jimmy McIntyre, Bryan Peterson, Mike Moats, Jim Harmer, Valerie Jardin, Karen Hutton, Rob Knight, Corwin Hiebert, Derrick Story, Levi Sim, and a whole bunch of people yet to be announced.


Save the dates for June 24th-26th, 2016. For a limited time, we are doing a pre-sale. Save $200 off the full conference price and pay only $199 for the full conference registration. Click here to sign up. It will be another special weekend.

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Thank you Chris for your kind words and great post. I can't wait to attend the event!

Explore the light,

What's new? My 36th book: Creative Visualization for Photographers